Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Learning Journal 25

In class today we practiced methods in the WILK. It was an interesting experience to see how much we can read into situations based on our cultural understanding. The whole experience was the epitome of people watching. I actually found it pretty easy to simply write down what I saw without reading into the situation. However, when we got back as a group I realized that although I didn't write any of those interpretations down, I thought about them. Normally I wouldn't perceive those interpretations as a bad thing, but I understood the point that our understanding won't always be applicable to what we observe in Tonga.
The second exercise of the class was to try and enter a 'community.' That was a little harder because it meant I had to do more than observe and write. Actually trying to join a conversation or just starting one was a bit of a challenge. I think the main reason for that is that on campus most people are working some form of homework, listening to music, or just wanting to be alone for a minute. I walked around trying to find someone I wanted to talk to and finally ended up joining a group that was taking a survey. They were probably surprised to see someone who was so eager to take participate, but it was interesting to include myself in the study as well as talk to a few of the other students. They guy next to me was mostly interested in the free fortune cookies they passed out, and kept asking if he could have another one. I laughed about that and finished my survey by talking to one of the people in charge for a minute. I think as a whole, joining random conversations isn't something that comes naturally to me. I can do it, but I generally keep to myself so I'll have to get back into the swing of doing it.


  1. I thought the distinction between interpretations and observations was interesting too. It's hard not to interpret behaviors when that is was we have been doing our whole lives. I think that interpretation comes after analyzing and finding trends in behavior, so in order to accurately interpret Tongan behavior we'll need to observe and find trends and patterns in the implied meaning. So while I don't think that interpretation is a bad thing, it can be if it's premature.

  2. I had a hard time not assuming things as well as trying not to interpret them. I have always liked people watching and feel like I am pretty darn good at it. I never really noticed how many things I just assumed things about people though. Definitely something to think about and practice not doing before I go down to Tonga which if you're interested we leave in 37 more days!! Woot woot!