Sunday, January 17, 2010

The hard things in life are never easy...

So it turns out that doing the right thing is much harder than it sounds, which maybe is why its so easy to avoid doing.

I had to make a tough decision the other day because logically it seemed the better thing to do. For once, I actually took the advice of somebody else! (something I'm working on trying more) Though, the problem is that it's not really what I want; not at all. I suppose I'm trying to have faith that the advice of others is something to be trusted when you don't know what to do yourself.

The only problem is that every hour that goes by, give or take a few where I'm feeling particularly excited about something I'm doing, feels like I'm needlessly and mindlessly beating myself up with a crowbar! Why should something, which everybody tells me is right, feel so fucking awful?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Project Avoidance

The real reason I'm writing today is because I have a large canvas next to me that is unfinished, but lack the actual free time to get into it. Day jobs..... go figure.

Our new school should be about engaging every student primarily. Each student should have an equal opportunity to learn, which means first learning what they want to learn. Students should have an option to customize a curriculum to themselves, while still achieving standards of learning in a given field. It's obvious that in fields such as medicine and law there are a lot of classes that perhaps a student might not want to take, but is still pertinent to their field. What I aim to get rid of are the classes that are considered 'general studies' and by definition have nothing to do with what a student plans to specialize in. Another 'do-away' would be classes that may be pertinent to your overall field, but not to your specialty. Hence, maybe there is no reason for a patent lawyer to take classes in criminal law. I'm not positive, but it seems slightly redundant, right?

Secondly, students should be able to customize their workload to learn in a way that is most effective to them, not to a general body of students. If you're a quick learner, but have a hard time with homework, and excel at tests, then why ought you do homework if the purpose of the homework in the first place is to give you practice for the test. Maybe a student doesn't learn well by reading. If the student can find the information online in video lecture format, all the more power to him/her. Also, if a student can read the book, never attend class, and pass, who cares?

My main case here is that there is a divide between what schools teach and what students want to learn. There is a divide between how schools teach and how students learn. Initially I thought it was a small minority, including myself, that felt stifled by the Higher Education system, but as I ask more people I realize that many students feel the way I do. I guess they have better coping skills... :S

Our school focuses on customizing each student's learning experience to themselves through multiple mediums in an engaging and social environment, where each student is responsible for his/her own education and is personally compelled to work side by side with their peers from all walks of life.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Why we want to teach...

We've all been through a lot. Some have been through more than others, but what's important is that we all have different experiences, and none of us has the same lessons to learn from life. That's just the way it is.

Yet, constantly, we are trying to teach others what we've learned. Why? Why don't people take our advice? Why can't others understand all we've been through and avoid the same pain? After all, we are telling them how it is! We've been there!

My answer to this is simple, its because we don't want to.

We, as humans, want to learn in a way that is engaging and fulfilling to us, which may not necessarily be the way our peers have learned. We want to experience life, not be told about it. As I look back, I remember that my favorite teachers were always those that engaged me and wanted to know what I thought. They were also typically the teachers that most of the students enjoyed. These educators understood the power of experience. Experience, it is said, is the great teacher of people. The school system is built with the idea that we will enter an environment that will allow us to learn, but what happens if the classroom does not give a student the correct learning experience? What happens when the experience is counter-productive to students' learning?

The system falls apart, students leave, students fail. Not that it was actually the student that failed, but because the school failed. It failed to give the student the proper experience he/she needed to learn.

Now, the bigger problem?

Only the student knows what experience will lead to proper learning for him/her. Only the student knows how best to educate him/herself.

Now, the biggest problem?

The school is to structured. It has too many rigid edges. It's too stiff.

The solution?

A school that is malleable. A school that can bend but not break. A school where the object is to create experiences catered to students, not to some, but to all.

Soon there will be art...

The new piece I'm working on started of as a shitstorm... quite literally. Ha ha. I was trying a format that I was uncomfortable with, believing it would just come from me, as if I would already know how to do it. The format would have been more realistic. I wanted the painting to be in the form of flowing silk cloth. Different sections would be different colors. At this moment I am reminded of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Fuck me....

I soon realized that I have no idea how to paint realism, so the painting turned purely abstract, mostly to save what ego I had left in the project, but also because this is a $100 canvas and simply can't afford to waste it *concerned faux-smile*. At the point where I accepted that I wasn't going to pull a semi-realist painting out of my ass the project took a turn. A near 180 degrees in fact.

I started making obscure, small brush dabs at certain locales on the canvas, on top of splotches of color that I'd previously painted. They reminded me of people off in the distance, all grouped together, but I'm not sure why. There is a sense of defiance and maybe a hint of sadness.

After that, I washed my brushes, thinking I was done.


So I picked up my brushes and my favorite color to paint, which is red and began creating filled red boxes and rectangles in random places and sizes through the center-right of the painting. This fulfilled my need of minimalism on top of my previous failure. It gave me a sense of returning home. Though not finished, I'm thinking of dubbing the painting: "Your red boxes can't make us leave, we were here first!"

Thankfully home,

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Basically finished. Just needs some touchups. Two interlocking circles that are different in many ways, yet still cling together. Maybe just because it feels right. To the circles, thats enough.