Wednesday we finally woke up to beautiful weather, clear skies, and a very busy schedule ahead of us. We had four lectures today across a variety of topics such as innovation, liberal arts, optical illusions and changing perspectives, and public health. All four of these topics made students think critically about the topics in how they relate to society as a whole, but also the impact that they then have on themselves as well.
The topic of innovation made the students think of how you have to first notice a problem, then come up with a solution to it. This reminded me of design thinking which became somewhat of a catch phrase in Japan maybe like 5-10 years ago, though I am sure many people still haven’t heard of it. After this lecture the students had a problem to think about and actively try to fix by brainstorming in a group, deciding on a solution, then explaining how they are going to rectify the situation through their decided course of action.
The next topic of liberal arts enabled the students to think about differences in the American and Japanese approach to education, and the merits and demerits of both. I, myself, have only received a liberal arts approach to education being an American and love how well-rounded the education system made me. As an educator, I don’t believe that either country has a better education system than the other; they are just different, and I think the style of education a person will like will vary from individual to individual. One thing I would say is how the leaders in education globally advocate that they produce the best leaders, and so it is important to be a well-rounded individual.
Our third lecture dealt with optical illusions and changing perspectives. Through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we have all come across friends sharing various pictures and memes, and I am sure that at some point, at least I know I have, some of us have seen some very interesting optical illusions with pictures that change depending on how we look at them, or how our eyes focus on them. This was what the first part of this lecture entailed, and then it lead into how people portray themselves through social media. We see pictures of friends who are on a beautiful beach, skiing deep powder, hiking big mountains, or eating delicious food. But, do these pictures really portray who they are? We often wish that we were where they were doing what they were doing and feel a sense of envy. But, are our friends truly happy? Is their relationship with their boyfriend/girlfriend really that great? Pictures only show a very limited insight into someones lives and we often feel jealous of them, but that is how they are trying to portray themselves and what we see is not always what the reality portrays; it is important to understand this distinction when looking at other peoples pictures and thinking about their lives.
Our last lecture about public health got students to think about health and how socioeconomic factors, genes, mental wellbeing, fitness, stress, diet, etc all play a significant impact on our health and how doctors only try to treat the ailments that we face. However, doctors in public health look at all these factors holistically and try to deal with diseases and ailments on a much bigger, more diversified scale. I think for our students this was one of the more interesting discussions based on all the questions students were asking afterwards. It might be that many students participating desire to get into the medical field, but their insightful and inquisitive questions illustrated how curious they were about the topic.