Monday, August 23, 2021

New Job in Hong Kong

Oh, guess what?

I found a job at The Education University of Hong Kong. In my role, I have to facilitate and bring to pass online teaching collaborations between the faculty in my department and those from a university in another country for the benefit of students to give them an opportunity to benefit from "learning abroad while at home".

Monday, January 11, 2021

How to quickly establish knowledge on a field

One of the fastest way to create a mental frame of a new field is to do a literature review. But it is not a passive processing of reading and reading and reading. Instead, while you're reading, you're extracting key information, key findings; and recording them. Give yourself time to immerse yourself into the literature. Pursue threads that interest you. Allow yourself to stop at a sentence or paragraph that makes a lot of sense to you, look at the citation, find it in the reference list and go after that article to find out more.

I record key findings into a table.

Gratitude for a library subscription

 One of the things you may learn to appreciate most about being in a university - whether studying or working - is the library subscription to all the journals. After you are out, you lose access to all the knowledge garnered in the world in their original form. You want to check the accuracy of some research? You have to go right to the source. And for research, the first unadulterated and polished work of researchers is found in the journal article.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

I'm back!

I've been so quiet for some time. 

Did you think maybe I have abandoned the path? I stopped wanting to be a researcher or writer or in academia?

Actually, last month, I had the opportunity to help plan a writing retreat for a group of Thai academics. It was the most interesting experience that I am grateful for. 

I was observant about myself during that time about how highly aroused I get from doing a task like that. Instead of using the words "performance anxiety" which probably most people would use to describe the emotions I felt,  I want to use using the words that psychologists used to describe bodily states like mine. Specifically using the circumspect model of affect.

Yes, lately I have began exploring something new. I want to try to come up with a PhD proposal that touches on a topic different from what I used to study. 

It is challenging but I am going to give it a try.

And I am beginning by reading up about this new topic that I am interested in. It is in the intersection of language, emotions, and our body.

"I know there are people who are able to think clearly and run at the same time but I prefer a slower speed. When I walk my thoughts are set free. My blood circulates and, if I choose a faster pace, my body takes in more oxygen. My head clears. If my phone rings while I am sitting down, I like to stand up and pace about as I speak. My memory, concentration and mood improve after only a few steps. 'If you are in a bad mood, go for a walk,' was Hippocrates' advice. And if you are still in a bad mood: 'God for another walk.' The context is reflected in our language. Motion and emotion. Move and moved." (Kagge, 2020, p. 87)

"When we were preparing to go to the North Pole in 1990, we spent a few weeks testing our gear in Iqaluit, a small town in the north-east, in the Canadian Arctic.

It was here that I learned about a valuable Inuit tradition. If you are so angry that you can hardly control your feelings, you are asked to leave your home and to walk in a straight line through the landscape outside until your anger has left you. You then mark the point at which your anger is released with a stick in the snow. In this way, the length, or the strength, of one's rage is measured. The most sensible thing that you can do if you are angry - a condition where our reptilian brain rules our decisions - is to walk for a while away from the object of your anger." (Kagge, 2020, p. 110)

What am I getting at? I was very moved by Lisa Feldman Barrett's idea that emotions are what we describe physical sensations our body experiences, instead of psychological states, if I understand it correctly. It is more physical than psychological. So it means that different people and cultures can interpret and describe the same physical sensations differently, and people can choose to see these physical sensations as physical sensations, rather than label them as "depression" or "anxiety". But the rule is that if you do not give yourself a break after your body has been reacting for some time, eventually you get sick.

You can read more about it here:

And here:

I am intrigued with this neuroscience perspective to emotions, because from my own experience with myself, I noticed that emotions are indeed very physical and bodily, and definitely when you do something to your body, it does something to your emotions.

Think about going for a massage or going for a walk or for an adventure or for a freediving session or falling in love. 

I don't know what kind of research project can come up from this but I'm curious if I can craft a research proposal to study something I am uniquely interested in and in a position to ask and answer. I am wondering if I can find a question that I am willing to spend 5 years of study seeking an answer for.

I am going to give it a try. If I can find such a thing, maybe I should do a PhD.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Adulthood is a Great Time to Grow

"Adulthood is a time of growth and change, and learning may be affected by adverse changes—such as unemployment—or positive changes—such as the opportunities to return to study when child-care responsibilities end. Recurrent education can be transformative, a point of departure for a new lifestyle or a new sense of personal identity." - Peter Kennedy

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Researcher as an Instrument

One of the most important lessons I've learned about being a scholar, learning a new field, or academic writing is a concept I picked up from qualitative research that is used to describe the nature or status or workings of the researcher in the methodological section.

The researcher in qualitative research is seen as an "instrument". What does that mean? When we talk about research instruments, we think about survey forms or maybe some kind of machine set up for experiments. What they have in common is that they have to be described in the methodological section because how they are designed, how they are positioned or created, has an influence on the results. Their very nature influences the quality and rigor of the findings.

We describe them so that we understand why the findings look the way they are, why they may have a certain angle to them.

And so is the researcher whose very nature - what he or she believes, the background he or she came from, the training and experiences - all influences how the data is eventually analysed and how the paper is written.

I take this a step further - knowing this, I deliberately take time to educate myself and to take care of myself. How much I understand of the world - not just my narrow scope of work - influences how well I can analyse and write my papers.

I take the time to understand something, many things, other people, the world, politics, experiences, what concerns the everyday man, and what concerns the policymakers.

I bring my very own unique take to the table.

Be brave. :)

Learning a new field

One field is closely related to another. When I was in the field of citizenship education, it was closely related to political science. I found that I had to read up on politics to study patriotism. Other related fields include history and psychology.

Today, I am in the field of lifelong learning and it is closely related to economics. It's fascinating to me that I have to be well-versed in these fields that I never had much exposure to. It is challenging because I have a lot of learn. But fulfilling because I find myself transversing the knowledge world in ways that I never thought I would.

Who would have known that I would be reading up on Economics now. And interested in things like Human Resource. Fascinating...