27 September 2011

Keeping a Beginner's Mind

As an experienced software developer, I care deeply about retaining my ability to remain flexible in my habits and learning style.  That's the only way I got good, and if I ossify in my learning habits, I'll end up the equivalent of a COBOL programmer.  Certainly not the way to live up to the broad possibilities that exist to make the world a better place.

I appreciated the wider perspective that I got from glancing through these slides by Patrick Kua:
The Beginner's Mind
Although I had seen and skimmed Pragmatic Thinking & Learning, this presentation was a gentle and useful introduction to the whole idea of the Dreyfus model of skill aquisition.

Another very useful idea that this presentation expressed was the contrast between "skill-acquiring apprentice" vs. "closed-minded expert".  Patrick said that the "skill-acquiring" attribute can also apply to highly-skilled practitioners.

Among the tips Patrick gave, the following were useful to me:

  • You can't be an expert on everything. [so don't even try]
  • How can I try this safely?
  • How does this fit in my world?
  • Remain curious.
  • Mix with diverse groups.
  • Beware of built-in biases.
  • Avoid judging early.

The reason I decided to compare/contrast some of the ideas in this presentation was actually because of my forays into the Pragmatic Thinking & Learning book, which was one of three "Further Resources" offered at the end.

Patrick recommended the following books for further learning:

Because of the context in which the Apprenticeship Patterns book appears, I want to read that as a next step for learning how to make a real difference at FamilySearch.

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