While I get mired in the details of qualitative research and the intense focus of a dissertation, it has occurred to me that I need to find ways to keep current with the world at large. I’m a voracious consumer of information, so this is not anything new to me. But I was thinking about how you can so easily get lost in the details and forget the big picture. Why am I doing this research? What do I want to accomplish? How does this fit in to the world around me?
For me, the purpose of my research is hopefully to find new ways and refine traditional ways of engaging students in the learning process. I hope from what they would learn from my courses or curriculum is not what to think, but how to think. By developing a critical eye, engaging in the world around them, and practicing 21st Century Skills, they are poised to tackle the critical problems and opportunities that face our world today. From this base, they can go anywhere, and can see that they are truly an influencer as a global citizen. While discipline-specific knowledge is essential and will be the crux of innovation, there is something to be said for keeping an eye on the big picture, seeing the opportunities when they arise, and being open to interdisciplinary collaboration. So, in short, the purpose of this blog post is to talk a bit about those resources that help you to think beyond your discipline-focus and shake off the tunnel vision that sometimes comes when working on a project like a dissertation.
While playing tourist this weekend, I passed one of the city’s larger libraries and peeking in, saw the sight that inspired this post. The wind had picked up and a sunny day had turned grey, blustery and chilly, decidedly unsummery. Just inside the sliding glass doors of the library entrance and past the check-out machines, however, was a little piece of summer. Patches of astroturf lay on the library’s linoleum floor, beneath brightly coloured garden umbrellas. Folding plastic chairs and small tables stacked with books were arranged around the space.
And unlike in the other study and work spaces scattered throughout the library, every chair in this little oasis was occupied. Read the rest of this entry »
Recently, my mom, sibs, spouses, and assorted offspring all reunited for the first time in a long time. Seven years to be exact. Somehow, we all managed to negotiate the time off and navigate shuttles, airports, customs, rental cars, and driving on the left side of the road to arrive safely in one (beach) place to celebrate my mother’s 75th birthday. (Full disclosure, I have a weakness for movies that come out around Thanksgiving and depict families in full dysfunctional swing. Mmmm – some recognition there? ) We had a wonderful, grand time as they say in Newfoundland – some glorious highs, a few predictable lows, but mostly enjoying ordinary, everyday moments spent catching up on each other’s lives.
We’re a family of readers, so book swaps are inevitable when we get together. I was just finishing “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese. It came out of my backpack a bit rumpled and a lot dog-eared, but my brother laid claim to it immediately. My mom was unpacking in the next room, so she re-gifted her copy of “Annabel” by Kathleen Winter. I finished the first that evening and relished the second over the course of the week; on the beach in early morning, late at night, and in quiet moments above the family fray.