Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thoughts On Adult Learning: Search for the Self

Thoughts On Adult Learning: Search for the Self

What I have learned has just been accumulated through diffusive reading mostly and for a lot of people that does not equate with experience measures of knowledge accumulation. Jung's theories of subliminal perceptions impact on the silent self as well as the conscious self. My silent self resides in my reading and writing. These cannot be nurtured without doing both. But connecting disparate information and points of view is way more interesting than grading exams. There are harvests of scenarios for the future out there which suggest the current youth cultures and students of the world share more in common in terms of technology and their connectivity to it than ever before. I find that hopeful. The planet is starving for cooperation. Clashes of cultures are where solutions and concessions need to be grown and learned. Like planting trees on bare rock.

Korea: My Working Habitat

I started out here in 1996 teaching in a small south coastal city at a cram school for two years. Then I moved closer to Pusan for another two years teaching at a medical university. Then I made a move for The UAE for three years teaching at a former US SAM missle site which had been turned into the Abu Dhabi Navy's equivalent to ROTC navigation officers training college. That is when I started looking for more learning and Dr. Stephanie Jones was manning the UOW booth at Dubai Education Expo in 2003 and assured me that a UOW MIB would pay for itself. She was completely right. My accounting professor called me, "camel boy."

Single: But Looking!

I'm as happy as a single guy can be! The dating pool is not large but I am moving closer to nesting stage - the habitat is concrete jungle but the motivators are the same - I just met a young teacher and I hope things grow warmer. If she is a dream I want to remain in hibernation. I plan to stay here where I am now - a second tier private university owned by a New Age Eastern Religion (a Korean version of Buddhism/Reincarnation Worship) until they tell me to get out -which could be any day. However I always have a comfortable escape route.

It took three years of nearly continuous and targeted job searching anywhere to find this one where I least expected it and by accident. I was willing to leave then for Bangladesh to teach part-time at The Liberal Arts University of Dhaka but Korea kept me. I've just worked here in Korea and The UAE.

But my serious offers and inquiries over the last six years have included:

Head of Beginner English Unit: Management and Development Institute of Singapore.

Manager of International Student Advisement: The University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Domestic Marketing Director: EF English First (Saudi Arabia).

Business Development Associate (Joint Venture in Seoul): Qatar Gas Company.

English Language and Literature, Morals and Ethics Teacher: Singapore Ministry of Education.

Air-traffic controller instructor in Iraq: TELIC Corporation.

Head of Economics and International Business in a private school: Brunei Darasallam.

International Program Manager: Fortune Five Company in Rüsselsheim, Germany.

Social Scientist with Human Terrain System (BAE Systems)

HR Management with undisclosed banks in either Hartford, Connecticut or Rhode Island

I stumbled a lot in Canada and I had to make a conscious choice. Play hard scrabble in one of our urban metropoli or choose to live in nations where the social contract may be more traditionally based on public order (peace?) and a tolerance of expatriates along with enough holidays for studying. I have a few stalwart friends in these diverse pursuits, mentors and supporters and a fan club of students. I'd say my parents and family are still my best friends. We moved around NS a bit. Most of it feels like home. However the study of cross cultural behaviour in business is a strong pull towards a subject which has also become something like home and lets the world feel a lot like home too. An Algerian contractor once told me, "We make our fortunes far from our homes."

I haven't heard of Jeannette Vos until today but I agree with principles of accelerated learning - it works for some - I rushed my masters through nine months of full-time on campus learning instead of twelve with permission from the department mostly to save money on cost of living expenses but it definitely impacted my ability to consume research materials at some sort of accelerated rate. Also in realizing how to find what I was looking for and anticipating hunches became a real treat for me. They wished me luck and told me it was a heavy load. It was.

I was having lots of wild dreams too and intense headaches on occasion which I attributed to my brain attempting to grasp something new and forging new webs. I think there is some sort of anticipatory process which allows humans to find what we need to find to consume learning similar to selective filtering in advertising. We see what we want or need to see to survive and grow. It is amazing and the concept of self-realisation is high on my list of research motivations.

I come home to Nova Scotia once every 1.5 years or so. I miss the community there but I don't miss the working or economic environment or political complacency. My parents and brother remain there. As New Brunswick and PEI are chock a block full of family. And various clumps of friends and a sister in Kingston Ontario.

Amazing what we share with strangers! What are you reading these days?

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