Thursday, May 11, 2006

Learning curves

New learning experiences have always intrigued me. Be it in IT, management, advertising, public relations, psychology research, human services, movie making, partying, or my latest stint in a production company. Learning experiences in each case have been varied.

In IT, it started out as fun, excitement, and eventually the excitement died down. I later found my self working under the management side of things. Then again, there was the excitement, and sense of newness. Psychology was a little different. It started out as exciting, became extremely difficult, and then evened out and stayed exciting. I still find it exciting. And now, there’s the movie making experience!

Right now, the experience is an uphill struggle. I have been going home exhausted and utterly wasted. But, the work has so far been rewarding. I have been learning what to pay attention to while casting people for a shoot. The company that I have been working with, does tons and tons of TV commercials. The current project is for a particular brand of diapers, and as you can imagine, I am working with children!

Now, here’s when all that experience and knowledge in Psychology comes into play (or should I say, work). I am learning from experience that working with children is NO child’s play! Though I have been casting about 20 babies (between 1 ½ to 3 years of age) in their diapers I can tell you that its not easy. We (my self and the casting manager) get first brief the parents on what the shoot is about and then let the baby just play in the special “casting set” that’s set up for the kids! We then try to get them to do specific actions, such as getting the babies to look at the diapers, getting them to spin around, and to run around. All normal child like activities don’t you think?
I remember the theories of development that I learnt during the 2nd year of my psych program. Hats of to Ainsworth for the patience in observing the kids and then arriving at patterns of attachment style. This particular cast requires that parents keep quite during most parts of the shoot, while the Casting manager and I, do our little special sequence of shot. The bright florescent lights, on the play mat however does not help and leaves some children running to their parents. This is however not the case with a some other kids. And they are completely comfortable with the fact that they are doing strange things with two strangers!

I have met all kinds of attachment styles in the past 3 days. The secure babies, the preoccupied babies, the dismissing babies, and fearful babies, and I should add, the EXTREMLY fearful babies. Some of them get so frightened, that they literally freeze. They just stand there and stare at you. They neither cry, nor move, nor blink an eye. They just stare!

Though casting setups are typically strange for children, the experience is strange for me too. But interestingly, i have appreciated dealing with strange situations. I am not sure what kind of attachment style I have would fall under, but I cant help ponder how my own attachment style influences they way I deal with ambiguous situations today. I cant help wonder in what ways is my need to explore, my desire for varies experiences, and my need to seek out novel stimuli related to my childhood experiences. No doubt, the children who I am casting may have stories of their own. But, more importantly, I wonder what they will turn into in the next 20 years. Will their attachment styles stay? Or would varied life experiences change the way they encounter learning experiences?

My own learning experience at this production company has been challenging. I could not think about putting my thoughts together until today. Life was a hectic rush, with every stimuli novel and difficult to process. As I slowly learn the culture in the company, I am now taking time out to process those thoughts! I should say that its really difficult, but its happening slowly but surely.

I shall leave you with more photographs at my recent hiking trip to the southern part of Malaysia (Johor). Enjoy!


mythsn_legends said...

It's amazing to hear about your experiences in areas that are varied and challenging and how you learn something new from all these's no wonder that experience is just as good as academic credentials ;)
Good to hear about your latest experience with babies! ;)

Steph said...

Interesting observation! Makes me ponder too!

Instead of wondering what babies will be like in their next 20 years, I always wonder what those adults I come across everyday, were like when they were babies.Hehehe and of course, I still ask the same question every other day- which attachment style do I belong to?

Your question about if the babies' attachment style will stay? My answer to this would be 'depending on their parents.' A secure baby doesn't make a secure teenager if parents are not consistent with their parenting style over the years.

Love this post especially coz' it was about babies and developmental issues!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

I agree that working with children is not child's play. I love working with kids, even doing therapy with the young ones around three years old...but after the sessions I am WIPED OUT. Love the pictures. So beautiful!


astrorat said...

Dear mythsn_legends,
i am having a ball.. but, with little time for "partying". But, the experience is awesome.

Dear steph,
i guess we are both asking the same question. I am still working with the babies, and am still having fun! :D

Dear dr. d,
I agree, working with children is a complete delight. Its really draining and tiring, but... very rewarding! its a complete pleasure working with them.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Just stopping in to see if you posted again.

I lingered on the photos again. Such a beautiful country!

astrorat said...

Dear dr. d,

:) i have not been able to blog as frequently as i would have liked to ;) But, speeds picking up!

The view is amazing... you should see it first hand! :D


flic said...

With all the learning styles you encountered with these children, you must have wondered some moments about the parents of these children.

But I think the child's temperament does remain the same, no matter what. That is how a person is unique during all the "no matter whats" encountered in life.

And all this talk about kids -- you must have also thought about what it is/would be like to be a parent yourself.

I actually like the indoor picture of the film set.

Great blog!