Doing Participant Observation

I really like the idea of noticing details about your environment that normally go unnoticed. I think secretly I just want to be a Jason Borne who notices every little thing that may or may not impact his survival. That would be cool. But seriously, I think in a general sense, we tend to be over anxious to respond to our environment or circumstances or the person we are talking to and forget to just listen/observe. We can learn a lot if we just refrain from responding. If we jump to respond, even if we contain that response in our head, it creates a certain bias in everything else you experience from that point on. So observing is important, but it’s difficult. But I think we can practice this by multi-tasking and mentally backing out of our environment for a period. My experience as an interpreter has helped me on the multi-tasking side a great deal. To do a live interpretation you have to listen to a phrase, then remember, translate and speak all while listening to the next phrase. Something like this will likely help me to engage in my environment while at the same time noticing the details that don’t directly demand my attention.

~ by Abraham on 7 February 2011.

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