How have you learned what you have learned?
I have learned what I have learned through the knowledge and experience of others. At the same time allowing myself to create my own knowledge and understanding through trial, error and first hand experience.
Where does your knowledge come from?
My knowledge comes from oral history and interpersonal relationships. First hand accounts from other people that have experienced life. I have done this in a lot of the work that I have done inside and outside of the military. I feel like I am a sponge, absorbing the essence of knowledge to understand my own knowledge of subjects or experiences.
How do you think your western education has impacted your knowledge and how you learn?
Western education has given me structure in the way I look and analyze things. As a social work many of our tools are westernized in order to standardize our methods in a way it can easily communicate to others.
Have you gained knowledge in non-western ways?
I have, I believe in the obtaining knowledge; one is exposed to culture. Culture may intersect an individual’s pursuit of knowledge due to cultural limitations. When I was in Iraq, I gained so much knowledge and understanding of the people by becoming indigent, establishing rapport and putting a dominant western way of handling things to seek truth. I gained so much truth and respect by doing this, obtaining more knowledge then my predecessors.
What did you learn and how?
The video, taught me a lot. First, there are still good people out there that what to make a difference. I feel like the relationship Dr. Meyers had with her language, her culture and knowledge was so powerful. She conveyed her message in a way that was inspiring and palatable for the audience. It honestly made me want to learned the hawaiian language, but through this experience; made me what to learn more of my own language. Second, I learned that not everything has to be done empirically. By understanding the truth really is about the people, the practical becomes the framework.
How important might place-based knowledge be to the practice of social work?
This is very important. Especially working in rural social work. Establishing that rapport as a potential outsider, is key to the success of social work practice. For example, I would have never been successful if I didn’t get days of classes on cultural sensitivity, pre-deployment. This is relatable to a social worker being culturally competent. Any practitioner should invest time in understanding their population they are working in.
Why do you think Manu doesn’t want people to take written notes while she is speaking?
Dr. Meyers, seems like she took that in a biological and spiritual realm of understanding. Biologically talking about our brain processes and responsibility of both left and right hemispheres. But throughout her talk she talked about being enlightened spiritually by absorbing what she was sharing. I personally believe internalizing information is key to retention of knowledge.
How might that contradict with how we have been trained to learn?
Throughout my BSW program we had extensive instruction on human development. Focusing on the brain. In our assessments our BioPsychoSocial give us a template of understanding our clients. But to spiritually understand them, we have to understand where they came from and their influences. In a different spectrum of understanding we have to understand how they understand that information. Spiritual connection is not a scholarly subject that is dominant in our field but it is very much a part of out client centered approach to understanding our clients and their needs.
In addition, I would really like to meet this lady.