Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 4- Problem Based Learning and Research Groups

We spent the morning (la manana) again at the beautiful Hotel Candelaria, where we got more in depth into our mission here. Initially, we spent an hour in our individual teams (mine is Gero Research) where we discussed our goals for the coming weeks. Then we dispersed into Problem Based Learning Groups which consisted of people from the different teams along with a facilitator, mine being the brilliant director of our program, Gelya Frank (an Anthropologist from USC).

In short, problem based learning is a meeting of the minds from different professions. We read about a problem then talk about it, adding our own viewpoints based on experiences in our professions and personal lives. Students and professors alike here are all brilliant and view things through a different lens. We’re idealistic, realistic, and true to our professions, but nonetheless we all have a common goal of doing our best to contribute a solution to the issue at hand.

Gelya, though brilliant as she is, is careful to allow us to cultivate our own thoughts. While she has so much to teach us, she chooses to challenge us instead by having us dig deep within our minds to find the answer, instead of just giving it to us. As much as you want to be intimidated by her presence, it’s hard to feel anything but comfortable because she’s just that sort of welcoming and encouraging spirit. With all the talented people here though, I often find myself wondering how much I can really offer. I know there’s a reason I’m here, I just have to find my place.