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What’s the Big Idea? CEP 818 Perceiving Definition and examples Observing involves using any of the senses to arrive at a judgement. Thus, one can observe by watching, listening, smelling, tasting, or feeling. For example, you need to be a keen observer to see the difference between glass and crystal (this is if you can identify the concentration of lead – the higher, the better crystal it is), so much so that people usually give the glass a slight ting on the rim (the higher the pitch, the more likely it is to be crystal). This leads to another point, which is knowing what to look for. So people wanting to tell the difference between glass and crystal have to know what to look for – the concentration of lead or the high-pitched ting. So observing involves both knowing what to look for and looking for it carefully. In addition, observing helps make proper inferences. A quintessential observer was Sherlock Holmes, who could infer the nature of the crime thanks to his sharp observational skills. While observing means “watching” carefully with the purpose of arriving at a judgement, imaging entails representing an object in one’s mind. The purpose of imaging is to visualize the same item from different angles in order to understand it better. People with advanced imaging skills can manipulate an object in their mind (rotate it, change its shape, color and size, …) so that they can solve a particular problem or come up with unusual uses for this object that are not obvious to most people at first sight. Impact on my own personal life As a keen observer, I will be able to avoid embarrassing or unpleasant situations. Observing people will enable me to fine tune my impressions of people and make me aware of their emotions and inner state. As such, I will be able to empathize with people in grieving situations, and tell when people are telling a joke and when they are being sarcastic. This difference is crucial since it can cause misunderstandings and sometimes end relationships. Observing will also help me make wise decisions. In a rapidly changing world where interpersonal skills are essential survival skills, I will become more sensitive to subtle signs that might make the difference between keeping or losing a job, winning or losing people, succeeding or failing in business, and advancing or regressing in life. Imaging in its turn can play a vital role in saving time. When I was at school, I excelled in space geometry as I was able to manipulate the different shapes in my head before writing down the solution. Other students had to try out every single possibility on paper, which was time consuming. This is also true when I park my car in huge parking lots. In my mind I draw a three dimensional picture of the whole place and remember landmarks so I can find my way back. There are actually so many situations where imaging turns out to be a boon. Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: September 2010

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What’s the Big Idea? CEP 818 Impact on my ability to teach creatively Observing is at the core of teaching. As a teacher, I need to interpret the subtle signals students send out consciously or unconsciously, such as their attitude toward me and the subject I teach, their results, their enthusiasm, in short every single change that occurs throughout the teaching process. Students’ behavior is not to be taken lightly, and being an observant teacher I will be able to anticipate the outcome of a lesson by studying such behavior. As such, I can tailor my lessons to meet the needs of each individual student. This can’t be achieved without me thinking creatively. While observing helps spot weaknesses in students, imaging quashes them. With imaging, students can overcome their weaknesses and arrive at solutions in any way that makes sense to them. As a teacher, I will present the material in a variety of ways to appeal to all their senses, and students will benefit from the different perspectives through which things can be seen. When I was at school, space geometry was explained on a flat surface (ironically), and most students simply couldn’t visualize the hidden lines lying in the back. Wouldn’t have realia addressed this concern? Wouldn’t have kinesthetic students benefitted from manipulating those realia to get a better feel of how things work in reality? I sometimes feel we’re late in figuring things out, but the good news is it’s never too late

Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: September 2010

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Perceiving