There was a time, when knowledge seeking was free flowing and uninhibited. Knowledge was an individual construction based on a persons own mind and discipline. What is it that I want to know? But what comes first? I seem to be lost in time, not aware of time. Why is it that we suffer, specifically students and colleagues. Why is it that students don’t thirst for knowledge, but are satisfied with so little? What is it within International organizations of higher learning that causes such discomfort? Is it the cultural confusion? Learning in a second language? For some the experience is perhaps pleasurable, but for others absolutely distasteful. Can I get to the bottom of this?
Many of our students are on their own for the first time, and have difficulty adjusting. Many are lonely and missing home, making new friendships and having their values challenged. Levels of adjustment vary from one student to the next, as are their abilities to transcend cultural differences and boundaries.
Many struggle with a second language, and doubt their abilities as others seem to progress or have an aptitude beyond theirs.
Although as humans we are born as citizens of the world the ability to learn any language, and acquire any cultural traits, by the time these students arrive, their abilities to acquire a new language, and adapt to new cultural traits are lacking.
The student must discover on their own that they want to learn, and the teacher must discover on their own that they want to teach, and this can be done through reflection, compassion and care, through a communal approach of unity.
Happiness may or may not be our natural state. Although we are born crying, we soon and easily find joy. It is society that causes our angst, uneasiness and suffering, and if we are to live in society we must become equipped. A curriculum that does not focus on values is limited. Not ‘banked’ values, but self-reflective values one discovers on their own.