Juxtapositions for Creative and Critical Thinking
On September 20, 2012 I attended the Core Convocation held at St. Catherine University in the O’ Shaughnessy Theater. The topic of the Core Convocation was entitled Juxtapositions and Mental Gymnastics, instructed by Geri Chavis.
Chavis is an English Professor at the University of St. Catherine. She has been teaching at the university for some thirty five years or so. She is involved in therapeutic use of poetry for healing. She exclaimed her love for literature of the Romantic period and her fascination of multidisciplinary or integrated education. Chavis refers to her approach to education as “horizontal interactions”. This Idea of “horizontal interactions” basically describes what she calls the juxtaposition, where two or more completely opposite ideas, subjects, media, excreta can be linked somehow. In education this linking becomes important. I think it helps the students actually learn verses just memorizing material in order to pass a test. When subjects are presented in a manor so that they can be linked it creates not only repetition but also a new light in which to view things, like that “ah ha moment” in which one truly understands something for the first time. Last semester I attended the University of Minnesota Rochester. There, they pride their college courses on being integrated. All my classes from Calculus, to Biology, to The History of Terrorism could be linked in one way or another. I found this concept that Chavis also described as “linking knowledge across fields” to be extremely useful based on my own experiences. I am very good at memorizing material. I typically get good grades in school, but I feel that in the past I have actually “learned” very little. If I had to retake some of the tests I aced then I would fail miserably. I found that I actually “learned” more last semester; I was able to make that linkage and apply it to my studies to which I actually understood the material....
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