Graduated from Stanford University, Professor Raymond Langley is experienced in the fields of biology and psychology. He currently teaches Introduction to Psychology, Social Psychology, and Fundamental Mathematics at APU.
Like many students, Professor Langley had his first job at a school cafeteria while he was an undergraduate student at Stanford. After receiving his master’s degree at the same school, he started working in a biology laboratory for a few years in the United States. Five years later, he received a Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship to study abroad in Oita City. He worked in a radio factory for a couple of years before coming back to the United States.
After earning his Doctor of Philosophy Degree at the University of Illinois, Prof. Langley worked as a glider pilot, and then as an IT professional. After a few years, he decided that he wanted to speak a new language fluently, and with past experience in Japan, he chose to study the Japanese language as his new life goal. He went back to school in the United States to study for a Japanese Master of Arts degree, which required him to go back to Japan. He finished his Master of Arts degree thesis while he was in Oita City, and he has been working in Japan since then. He misses the taste of authentic Mexican food in San Francisco, California where he was born. But above all, he misses his family, relatives, and friends in the United States.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE ILLUSION OF BEING CONNECTED
As a large number of students in general use social media intensively both at school and at home, Prof. Langley, with experience in the psychological field, helped to put into words both the good and bad sides of social media. According to Prof. Langley, social media helps us to be closer to our family, relatives, and friends. One of the features that he loves about social media is video calling, with which he can see the faces of his family members although they are physically very far away. That sort of experience is valuable to people who are living away from their families like Prof. Langley.
Prof. Langley understands that on a genetic level, human beings are so alike, which is the reason we like sharing information and stories with people whom we call family and friends. With the help of technology, sharing is easier than ever. But Prof. Langley strongly advises that students should use social media wisely. With experience in the field of psychology, he argues that with the unhealthy use social media, many people, especially students, are unknowingly bringing harm to themselves. When using social media, removing the physical human interactions and leaving lonely emotionless messages can create a severe drug-like addiction. In other words, instead of spending time on social media, students should spend time talking with their friends either directly or through video calls.
CLASSROOM INTERACTION AND EFFECTIVE LEARNING
There are two problems regarding student learning that have been on Prof. Langley’s mind. Firstly, Prof. Langley fears that online lectures might replace ordinary classrooms in the near future as computer technology is growing faster than ever. He argues that online lectures are useful when students want to learn at their own pace, though, students cannot interact with each other and with teachers as they would in ordinary classrooms. When students have difficulty or questions, it would be much harder for instructors to notice and give assistance to those students. Secondly, there has been innovation in nearly every aspect of our lives, but classrooms have been the same for decades. Teachers have been finding methods to deliver lectures effectively to students. However, students are still sitting for almost the whole lecture. Prof. Langley illustrates that the scenario of students sitting still in class is just the same as pilots sitting in the cockpit of an airplane for long periods of time. We will become less adaptable to the surrounding environment, which means that we will lose focus and not be ready to ask and answer questions. Prof. Langley believes that asking students to stand up and move around in class every 15 minutes would help refresh their concentration and make them more eager to ask teachers questions.
All in all, the interview with Prof. Langley was a success. He is admirable for his strong sense of optimism and his genuine curiosity. Neither the negative sides of social media nor classroom study could stop his appetite for learning new ways to help students study better. Those are valuable characteristics that students can learn from a teacher with a lifetime of experience like Prof. Langley.
Photographer: Yuhan Mao