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The Secret of Self-Awareness

Nancy White
Last edited: 4/21/01

I never thought a computer monitor would be such an excellent mirror. Instead of smudged finger prints, slowly I've discovered I can see myself -- through the words I type on the screen.

I used to feel that Internet interactions were fast. That time sped by and reflex was more the order of the day than reflection. However, an odd thing occurred one day when I read over a thread in a discussion months after it was written. I "heard" new voices in re-reading, saw new meaning. I had a better sense of how others might be perceiving me in the interaction with the benefit of time.

My students continue to tilt the mirror my way. Last winter a student clamored for help. She was an aural learner, and reading the words on the screen were just not enough for her. She said, "why can't you record some of your pieces and post audio files, then I can listen to them." Another student astonished me when he recounted how he navigated in a class space in a way that was so different than I navigated. I had forgotten what it felt like to be lost. I had forgotten what it felt like to be out of my element, because I am so comfortable in text. My students put me back in touch with my learning styles and needs by reflecting theirs.

In the rush of this e-world, how do we actively seek self-awareness? Here are a few ideas:

  • Keep a journal - note what you "feel" and "think" - compare it to what others are experiencing
  • Facilitate with a buddy and actively provide feedback for each other
  • Reread threads after they've sat quiet for a while and reflect on the experience. Different? Same?
  • Stop. Breath. Change your rhythm.

Look in the mirror and encourage those you work with to do the same. Share what you see. You'll be amazed.

For more on facilitator self-awareness, check out:

Copyright 2001 Nancy White, Full Circle Associates

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