Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Not forgotten - Professional Development


So after a month of not posting, and probably losing most of my regular readers, I finally have a few moments, again. My family was super-busy with theater in December, and then the holidays.

As I said when I got this job, I'm not able to keep up a post-per-weekday rate. I've had a lot of thoughts that I'd like to write about: about: Professional Development, A Christmas Carol, Star Wars, family, decolonization, and so on.

Speaking of professional development.

Let me start with an anecdote about martial arts. When I trained with the Masters Harmon in Houston, we had several students who were taking both dance and martial arts.  What I recall, is that Master B. Harmon didn't exactly try to change their ballet kicks. Rather, it seems to me like he and his instructors helped build on that kinesthetic dance knowledge to make their martial arts kicks.

One year we traveled to St. Louis for tournament, and somehow I ended up judging a ring. (As far away from my home dojang as I am, I certainly prefer keeping scores and/or time. But it was a good experience.) For hyung, forms, we gave one young woman a silver medal, and her teacher approached to ask about it. He made a comment that she is also a dancer, and they were struggling with the differences in the movement. That was, in fact, the factor that lowered my score. In my home dojang, the dancers often seemed to me to have some of the best forms, because of that integration.

Engineering skills have similarities, in that eventually engineers need to integrate the knowledge into our being.

At the SWE conference, I participated in an Indiana University research study. In my own engineering experience, I've often worked from experience-based principles, rather than mathematical calculations.

Over the holidays, Dr. Chanda's tweeted about teaching Under-Represented Minorities. Some of that applies to my own white woman experiences with engineering education... with how my male professor's explanations often didn't quite connect to my own experiences, and I often had neither the time nor the money to purchase additional, supplemental books and explanations that might suit me better.

So one of the things I've been doing in my "spare time," is reviewing textbooks (old & new) and working practice problems, to better integrate the applicable mathematics into my knowledge base.  Especially now that I have a Master's Degree, it's this sort of review, refresh, and extra practice that will move me from "experience" to "mastery."