A. Reflective Listening
For the first exercise, I paired with a classmate, Tom Fulcher. We took turns to interview and listen to each other and we chose different topics to talk about. Then and there, I realized that I quite enjoy listening and I often prompt with open ended question, sometimes to try and make the conversation going on, sometimes purely out of curiosity, because I am quite inquisitive in nature. In reflective listening, I tried positioning myself in the speaker’s shoes and try to see and perceive the external world the way the speaker would. It helps very much for me to be unopinionated and polite and not interject the other person’s speech.
As a speaker, I believe I am quite a confident speaker, that is, for topics that I’ familiar with or with things that I won’t mind sharing. While speaking, my brain keeps racing in the background to find and interesting topic or unusual way to portray my message. It is actually quite pleasureable to engage with the person we speak with, who would intently listen to what we say and respond with appropriate prompts.
B. Defamiliarisation of everyday reality
For this exercise, I remember watching a few minutes long (mundane) video of waiting for a train to arrive at Circular Quay station and a video of sitting in a bus. It would be quite boring to experience it, but sitting in the lecture theater and trying to imagine myself being in the person’s shoes, gave a rather interesting insight. Beause we take daily experiences for granted, that is only human nature, with so many things and stimuli going on around us, if we are not filter out what we receive, our brains will probably be shorted due to over-processing.
After watching the video, we were supposed to write, without thinking, whatever we observed in the videos. Because we are so cultured to think before writing, I actually find this exercise rather difficult! And by watching the seemingly boring activity through other people’s eyes, I actually paid more attention on small details than I normally would. Other than that, we were also required to fill in the following form, one for each experiences. And yeah, I imagined being hungry in both scenarios LOL.
c. Empathic modelling
The last exercise involved trying to place ourselves in the shoes of a visually impaired person. So, we wrapped our glasses and camera on our phones with a piece of cling wrap, so it becomes blurry.
It was a good exercise to visualize what a visually handicapped person experiences in his / her daily life, seeing the world in blurry images, unable to enjoy the details with as much details as they should be with perfect eyesight.
Experiencing the normally familiar lecture theater from an unfamiliar perspective actually slowed me down significantly, as I had to be careful with my steps, trying to avoid subtle objects that may look unlcear in my ‘new’ field of vision. I notice that it heightened my sense of hearing, albeit to a little extent, but the human body adjusts to changes in order to help us survive. Sound and colour are very important cues to help us identify our location, so when one is handicapped, the other adjusts to become more sensitive to receive stimuli from the external world.
Relying on only our sense of orientation can be misleading often times, because the mind plays trick on us and it can be quite fatal. For example, if a diver only rely on his sense of direction underwater, without actually having a device to tell his depth, he/she might just accidentally swim deeper into the abyss instead of up to the surface. Everyday interactive scenarios do rely on perceptual cues beyond sight, although I’d say, they’re still primarily visual, because we can still listen to music, and disconnect ourselves from the world, while still going about doing our activities normally.