Monday, March 21, 2005

multiple intelligences

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Photo of an old building in Athens by Blair D. Fraser.

Some things I learned at a conference this weekend, seen through the prism of other events that happened coincident to it:

1. Roughly between the ages of 10 and 16, children go through what has been identified as the Romantic Period, whose salient characteristic is the overwhelming feeling of being overwhelmed by one’s own feelings. Kids at this age become fascinated by extremes wholly unrelated to their own lives and become consumed with threatening questions about death and destiny; they are drawn to secrecy, tempted to lie, insecure about their own potential, attracted to heroes who seem to have the qualities it takes to survive in a threatening world, desperate to love and be loved even as they know that whatever they do, someone would be disappointed if only he knew. Some people never progress past this period.

2. In one study, only 54% of Greeks found Greek-accented English acceptable, whereas 100% of the British listeners found the same samples appropriate. On the other side of the coin, only 15% of the British participants in the study found a Liverpool accent acceptable, whereas 100% of the Greeks did. The results clearly have to do with social perception and our harshness toward our own culture first.

3. “Learners learn better if they feel better.” Well, I was at that place to learn, and here’s what happened to me: first (morning) I felt good, then (about lunch time) I felt bad, then (nightfall) I felt Really Good, then (after dark) I felt Really Bad, and finally (next day) I felt fine, unsettled and confused, but all in all, moderately good. I hope this experience has put me in a good learning environment. Because someone (has) shifted my paradigm.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In reverse order:

About (3): I don't know, it sound like one of those things that are too hard to measure to convince me. Pop/soft/fluffy science stuff that you get at the 9oclock news (sex makes you thin, loughing makes you live longer, scratching your balls keeps prostate cancer at bay etc)...
But then again I am a bloody technocrat (where's your raw data, what was your experimental setup, what sampling method did you use, where's the fourier spectrum of your signals etc.), so never mind...

About (2): Very interesting!

About (1): I haven't really shared this with anyone before (except one person), but in this context I will. There was a short period in my life, around the age span mentioned (10-16), where I was TOTALLY convinced that my father was planning to die. I was so certain of it, that I was watching out for him, as much as I could, making sure he wouldn't get the opportunity. I remember one case for example, where we had gone to an excursion in the mountains with our 4x4 car. At some point we arrived at a very narrow, muddy, dead-end road, next to a very steep cliff. My father took us all out of the car (i.e. my mother, my brother and myself), and drove round the corner to make a relatively dangerous manoeuvre to turn the car in the opposite direction. He obviously wanted to keep us out of danger, but I was certain that he had found the perfect opportunity to do what I was fearing. The few minutes that passed between the time he disappeared round the corner of the road and the instant I saw him reappear, smiling and honking the car horn, I will never forget...

PS. Please don't start sending me the phone number of your shrink, I am over it now :-)

1:48 pm EET  
Blogger vague tourist said...

Μ’ αρέσει αυτό το ζήτημα «εξωτισμού» της προφοράς. Για Μεγάλη Βρετανία ας μην το συζητάμε, αυτοί δεν καταλαβαίνονται μεταξύ τους ΚΥΡΙΟΛΕΚΤΙΚΑ. Που να δεις τι αντιμετώπιση είχα εγώ εις τα Houston, Texas…


Τέλος, ευτυχώς, δεν υπήρξα ποτέ θύμα κάποιας «ρομαντικής» περιόδου. Αλλά δεν παραβλέπω το χοντρο-σοκ της συνειδητοποίησης πως έκλεισα τα 30, κάποτε. Ήταν η μεγαλύτερη σφαλιάρα που μου επεφύλασσε η πραγματικότητα - μέχρι σήμερα.

5:14 pm EET  
Blogger Loxias said...

Re: the second point. Native speakers can be so kind to second language learners of their tongue. Too kind, sometimes.

10:09 pm EET  
Blogger ιονκ said...

interesting..what was the conference all about? could you describe in a single word each instance that you mentioned feeling good or bad?

4:02 am EET  
Blogger sissoula said...

A single word? Is this a test of my succinctness and laconicism? I don't think this kind of experience can be expressed so discretely (I used that word for you, Steph), so I will gracefully decline to do so. It's also a little tough to identify what the conference was really about, since it had two very different components.

7:16 am EET  
Anonymous niko said...

I think you could afford to be tersely ambiguous; its not an experiment or maybe yeah, if you wish to call it so. I just thought it would just be damn interesting; but wait a minute you have already answered with more words and thus the so called test dissipates..oh well, I was out late on the east-end smoking shisha and drinking wine - what u expect?

4:11 am EET  

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