Having attended several conferences and workshops this summer on teaching I find continue to ask several questions. The only consistent answer from other attendees is very interesting. The response I keep getting to these questions is " depends on the interpretation." One presenter went so far as to reply that interpretations are determined by the local, regional, state, country specific, and often socioeconomic or religious influences on the presenter/teacher and the student/audience.
So here are a few questions to ponder as we traverse the fall.
1. How often do we use accurate words? (remember one person's definition of a word may not be the same definition or understanding used for the same word by another person). Does the audience/class makeup affect what you say and how you say what you say?
2a. Political correctness. Does it apply to more than ethnic race? Gender? Sexual Orientation? Dance genre (studio-academia-conservatory-theater/concert dance-competition)?
2b. Is comedy an effective tool to lighten the classroom's mood? Should comedy used in bars or for adult humor be used when working with any student? Should an instructor be willing to same one thing to older students when the same phrase would never be used when working with youth? Or are my expectations of acceptable phrases based on what influences my life? And if so, should I expect others to meet the expectations I set forth for myself?
3. Assumptions. How specific are labels? Folk-which region, state, country, or religion? What does dance studio mean?
4. Urban. In which/what instance?
5. Community. Class (economic or dance grouping)? I live in a small luster of rural communities that are so packed with people one might consider the community urban.
6. Personal journeys. Dance life. Are there any hard and fast truths beyond we are born and we die? Personal opinions may be well intentioned misconceptions.
7. What is an appropriate setting to ask questions? When does questioning transition from seeking knowledge to being combative? How do we as teachers and educators maintain open dialogue for growth in learning? How do we as teachers and educators maintain objectivity even if our beliefs or methods may be challenged?
So these questions have been buzzing around in my head for about ten weeks and have raised one further question that I believe I had and asked last spring.
8. When researching how do we as students recognize when our objectivity is actually more bias or prejudice? How do we ensure our research is not influenced by preconceptions of what is research?
Not answers just more questions. Time to reflect.