2018 is a year of transition for me. Up until April I managed a portfolio of worldwide research collaborations between IBM and universities. I was an angel investor looking for good research projects around the world to support to advance technologies and solutions important to the world, the IT industry, IBM, and universities.
In May I retired. I am now independent, exploring what interests and is important to me.
I started this blog to share with my family and friends what I am thinking and doing in my new independent life, and to hear their views.
At this moment I am exploring three domains. The first area is Education and Learning for Grown Ups, a topic that has been important to me for sometime. My interest and concern started with not being able to help my mother who wanted to continue to learn after she immigrated to the US in the mid 90’s. She was always curious. She was a talented painter and full of life experience having lived through a long succession of wars in China and as a diplomat’s wife lived in New Zealand, Portugal, Italy, and Costa Rica. Because she couldn’t use a computer it was near impossible to connect her with others. I kept trying to find ways to help her but I mostly failed.
My effort now is to look more seriously for better ways to help grown ups like myself to keep learning.
My other domains are more personal. The second will be about Learning Related to My Own Life.
The third will be about a more complex topic, My Being Chinese. The best way to describe this complexity is Being Chinese x 5. The times 5 is because I have been Chinese in 5 very different worlds: Being Chinese in New Zealand (early 50’s), in the British colony, Hong Kong (mid 50’s), in Taiwan (late 50’s – early 60’s), in the US (mid 60’s to present), and in China (visiting over the past 20 years).
Another dimension of complexity comes from the two very different worlds my father and my mother came from. My mother’s father is a well known educator and reformer in China and Taiwan. He was a student of John Dewey’s at Columbia. After returning to China, he became the President of Peking University and headed the Ministry of Education to institute education reform. When he moved to Taiwan he led the Joint Commission for Rural Reconstruction (JCRR) which was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation to institute land reform and develop democracy in Taiwan.
My father’s family comes from a very different world. He came from the same southern coastal region in China as the many Chinese who leave China to look for work overseas to build a better life. They were the many Chinese I met growing up in New Zealand, Portugal, and Costa Rica; and now more recently the Chinese I am learning about who in the 1800’s came to Idaho to build railroads and work as miners. All were very poor.
My hope is to gain a deeper understanding of what being Chinese means. And eventually be able to develop a broader view of life that includes the strengths of being American with being Chinese.
2 thoughts on “Transition — From a Career to Being Independent”
On “Education and Thinking for Grown-ups”, my thinking has been shaped in the publication of “Open Innovation Learning” http://openinnovationlearning.com/online/ , particularly in Chapter 9, where I make distinctions between “learning for”, “learning by” and “learning alongside”. There are two major influences (coming through a systems heritage) that might be relevant to you.
The first, by Gregory Bateson, was published in 1972 as “The Logical Categories of Learning and Communication”. If you’re searching on the web, some commentaries by Paul Tosey may also be helpful. The question would be what level of learning would you expect from a grown-up? We might like the young to educated to level 3 (trito-learning), but realistically, adults may only get to level 2 (deutero-learning) or level 1 (proto-learning).
The second, by Tim Ingold, speaks to the development of human knowing not as “the transmission of representations”, but instead the “education of attention”. In doing the research for “Open Innovation Learning”, I made a philosophical shift from epistemology (i.e. a primacy of ends and goals) towards ecological anthropology (i.e. the primacy of perception and affordances in a socio-material turn).
Adults have had decades of being entrainment towards paying attention to aspects of their environments, so the question could be whether they can or should pay attention to some new phenomena in the changing world, or whether the prior affordances are still still available and effective.
I found this website when I came across your paper, “Wu, Lilian, and Wei Jing. “Asian Women in STEM Careers: An Invisible Minority in a Double Bind.” Issues in Science and Technology 28, no. 1 (Fall 2011).” The figures are so surprising. I wonder if there’s follow-up research about the situation now, after ten years. Also as a Chinese student in US in STEM, I would be really interested in your story “Being Chinese x5”.