This entire semester, I kept thinking how interesting it has been taking this class and “Engineering Ethics and the Public” (Ethics) simultaneously. I have been able to use what I have learned in one class to shape assignments in the other, even the required blog posts. I now have realized it makes perfect sense that they are both fulfill the course requirements for the “Preparing the Future Professoriate” certificate offered by the Graduate School.
“Contemporary Pedagogy” has expanded my understanding of some of the vital conversations that happen among futuristic academics and upper-level administrators, often providing concise terminology for some of the concepts discussed in Ethics. Ethics helped me to give a context for these ideas within my own field of study.
Parker J. Palmer’s text, A New Professional: The Aims of Education Revisited, illuminated that one last time before the semester came to a close. Parker walks readers through 5 “immodest” proposals to help transform the institutions that dominate professionals’ lives:
- We must help our students uncover, examine, and debunk the myth that institutions are external to and constrain us, as if they possessed powers that render us helpless – an assumption that is largely unconscious and wholly untrue.
- We must take our students’ emotions as seriously as we take their intellects.
- We must start taking seriously the “intelligence” in emotional intelligence.
- We must offer students the knowledge, skills, and sensibilities required to cultivate communities of discernment and support.
- We must help our students understand what is means to live and work with the question of an undivided life always before them.
I found these suggestions made by Parker to be spot-on–especially the understanding of how, as a society, we overvalue the emotions of “anxiety, anger, guilt, grief, and burnout” in our professional lives over emotional intelligence, even in our personal lives. My friends and I say it all the time: “Americans love to seem busy.”
Two more things jumped out from Parker’s text that I believe summarized what I’ve taken away from both courses.
Contemporary Pedagogy: “The lesson our students learn is to stay safe by keeping quiet…small wonder that they carry their passivity into the workplace. They have not learned, because we did not teach them…”
This highlights the one term that I feel I obligated to subscribe to if I am fortunate enough to be an instructor: critical pedagogy. The next generation of professionals NEED it. We NEED it.
Ethics: “How do I stay close to the passions and commitments that took me into this work–challenging myself, my colleagues, and my institution to keep faith with this profession’s deepest values?”
Believe it or not, although my field’s primary value is to protect public health, people have acted pretty unethically and I never want to be in the position to do the same.
Thank you for contributing to my blog this semester.