Monday, May 12, 2014

Looking v. Seeing

Tuning Your Radio

When teaching young doctors to hear the very low-pitched S3 sound a failing heart makes I have to tell them to "tune" their ears the way they would a radio. The sound they want is like 620 AM (WTMJ in Milwaukee) and will be missed if their ears are "tuned to 1120 (WISN in Milwaukee). Something akin to this seems to happen with eye balls, the brain, looking and seeing. 

People will walk about a wooded area and look at something like this:
But if they "tune" their eyes , they will eventually "see" this:
One of the best ways to get someone to see this way is to hand them a camera. Suddenly, they slow down and look carefully at what is around them. Slowly and with practice new possibilities arise. Soon, a scene such as this
which, at first, appears chaotic and of no special interest...after closer examination becomes...
Folks often look at my 11 x 14 black and white fine art prints and ask if that is how a scene really looked. I answer, "No, that is what I saw." So, slow down and turn your looking into seeing. There is a magnificent world out there waiting for your attention. Don't have a camera? Have trouble slowing down? Try a kayak.

Paddle safe...

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Meet the Paddler

Jeff Adler

Jeff is a Coastal ACA certified sea kayak instructor living in the Milwaukee area and paddling with the Milwaukee group. Married with two kids, he spends his nights as an Emergency Room Physician at one of our premier hospitals. I last saw him a few hours ago when a group of us went out onto Lake Michigan.He was in his clean, shiny Romany; but he sometimes shows up in a Nordkapp. 

Quiet and soft spoken, Jeff shows excellent judgment and, as one would expect of someone in his line of work, calm in the eye of a storm. He is observant, able to explain things well and constructive in his methods of teaching. I, for one, feel he has my back when we are out together. If you see him, introduce yourself and feel safe going out with him or taking instruction from him.

Paddle safe...

Thursday, May 01, 2014


Student centered learning

(Well,, duh)
I found this online (wish I could acknowledge the source): 

These methods include active learning, in which students solve problems, answer questions, formulate questions of their own, discuss, explain, debate, or brainstorm during class

I am thinking that this is what I have thought of as the Socratic method, one that I have always used in the classroom and on the water. For me, it means engaging the student with questions and invitations to ask their own question and add their input. In fact, I usually state near the beginning of classes that "I expect to learn something from you all today". The give and take keeps them and me engaged and on task. 

Teaching someone to teach can be a difficult task.. A (would be) teacher needs to bring a desire, no a passion, to teach and take joy in seeing his/her students succeed. This, in turn, requires us to check our egos at the door as it isn't about us. 

I remind myself of this over and over again as I work to improve my teaching. While doing so, I need to be careful of the yard stick with which I measure success. While I wish to succeed at teaching I only do so when my students succeed.

I once took a writer's course where I learned the old adage, "Writers steal. Good writers steal a lot." So, when co teaching I often choose to be the assistant in order to observe and steal the other instructor's techniques. Heck, that's how I learned do cardiac catheterization. As with my  professional procedures, when teaching on the water I can see parts of what I learned from all my instructors and colleagues. In the end my hope is that those who learn with me benefit from that approach.

Paddle safe...