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Spadework | Issue 34 | n+1
"By the time I started organizing so much that it felt like a full-time job, it was the spring of 2016, and I had plenty of company. Around the country there were high-profile efforts to organize magazines, fast-food places, and nursing homes. Erstwhile Occupiers became involved in the Bernie Sanders campaign and joined the exploding Democratic Socialists of America, whose members receive shabby business cards proclaiming them an “official socialist organizer.” Today’s organizers — not activists, thank you — make clear that they are not black bloc participants brawling with police or hippies plotting a love-in. They are inspired by a tradition of professional revolutionaries, by Lenin’s exhortation that “unless the masses are organized, the proletariat is nothing. Organized — it is everything.” Organizing, in other words, is unembarrassed about power. It recognizes that to wield it you need to persuade untold numbers of people to join a cause, and to begin organizing themselves. Organizing means being in it to win.

But how do you win? Historical materialism holds that crises of capitalism spark revolts, perhaps even revolutions, as witnessed in the eruption of Occupy and Black Lives Matter; uprisings in Spain, Greece, and Egypt; and the British student movement against tuition fees. But there’s no guide for what happens in the long aftermath, as the left has often learned the hard way.

In previous moments of upheaval and promise the left has often turned to Antonio Gramsci, who sought to understand why working-class revolts in Europe following the Russian Revolution had led to fascism. Gramsci concluded that on some level people consent to subservience, even take it for granted, when the order in which they live comes to seem like common sense. Hegemony was subtler than outright coercion, more pervasive, permeating the tempos of daily life.

It was hegemony, Stuart Hall argued in 1983, that was key to understanding the disappointment of his own generation — why Thatcher and the new right had triumphed in remaking common sense after a decade of labor union revolt. Hegemony shaped how people acted when they weren’t thinking about it, what they thought was right and wrong, what they imagined the good life to be. A hegemonic project had to “occupy each and every front” of life, “to insert itself into the pores of the practical consciousness of human beings.” Thatcherism had understood this better than the left. It had “entered the struggle on every single front on which it calculated it could advance itself,” put forth a “theory for every single arena of human life,” from economics to language, morality to culture. The domains the left dismissed as bourgeois were simply the ones where the ruling class was winning. Yet creating hegemony was “difficult work,” Hall reminded us. Never fully settled, “it always has to be won.”"



"The Thatcherite project was since then much advanced, and we had internalized its dictates. For our whole lives we had learned to do school very well; in graduate school we learned to exploit ourselves on weekends and vacations before putting ourselves “on the market.” Many of us still believed in meritocracy, despite learning every day how it was failing us. The worse the conditions of academic life became, the harder everyone worked, and the harder it became to contest them. Plus, we were so lucky to be there — at Yale! Compared to so many grad students, we had it good, and surely jobs were waiting on the other side for us, if for anyone. Who were we to complain? Organizing a union of graduate students at Yale seemed to many like an act of unbearable privilege — a bunch of Ivy League self-styled radicals doing worker cosplay."



"Realizing that it was not enough for people to like me was revelatory. I had to learn to be more comfortable with antagonism and disagreement, with putting a choice in front of people and letting them make it instead of smiling away tension and doing the work myself. I had to expect more from other people. With other organizers, I role-played the conversations I feared most before having them; afterward, I replayed them over and over in my head. I struggled to be different: the version of myself I wanted to be, someone who could move people and bend at least some tiny corner of the universe.

It’s not easy to be the site of a battle for hegemony. It’s not a beatific Whitmanesque “I contain multitudes”; it’s an often painful struggle among your competing selves for dominance. You have one body and twenty-four hours in a day. An organizer asks what you’ll do with them, concretely, now. You may not like your own answer. Your inner Thatcherite will raise its voice. You can’t kill it off entirely; you will almost certainly find that it’s a bigger part of you than you thought. But organizing burrows into the pores of your practical consciousness and asks you to choose the part of yourself that wants something other than common sense. It’s unsettling. It can be alienating. And yet I also often felt I was finally reconciling parts of myself I’d tried to keep separate — what I thought, what I said, what I did. To organize, and to be organized, you have to keep in mind Hall’s lesson: there is no true or false consciousness, no true self that organizing discovers or undoes. You too, Hall reminds us, were made by this world you hope to change. The more distant the world you want to live in is from the world that exists, the more deeply you yourself will feel this disjuncture. “I’m not cut out for this,” people often say when they struggle with organizing. No one is: one isn’t born an organizer, but becomes one."



"The relationality of organizing is maybe the hardest thing to understand before you’ve done it. But it is the most important. This is not because people are governed by emotions instead of reason, though they sometimes are. It’s because the entire problem of collective action is that it’s rational to act collectively where it’s not to act alone. And you build the collective piece by piece.

Organizing relationships can be utopian: at their best, they offer the feminist dream of intimacy outside of romance or family. In the union, I loved people I did not know very well. In meetings I was often overcome with awe and affection at the courage and wisdom of the people there with me. I came to count many of the people I organized with as my dearest friends. When I needed help, there were always people I could call, people who would always pick up the phone, people I could and did talk to about anything. These relationships often served as a source of care and support in a world with too little of those things. But they were not only friendships, and not only emotional ballast. The people I looked to for support would also push me when it was called for, as I would them; that, I knew, was the deal.

Our relationships forged the practical commitments to one another that held the union together. They made us accountable to each other. They were difficult and multifaceted, often frustrating, intensely vulnerable, and potentially transformative but no less prone than any other relationship to carelessness, hurt, and betrayal, and always a lot of work. We were constantly building them and testing their limits, pushing each other harder the closer we got. They had to bear a lot of weight. In more abject moments, I wondered whether they were anything more than instrumental. More often, though, I wondered what was so menacing about usefulness that it threatened to contaminate all else.

The word comrade, Jodi Dean argues, names a political relationship, not a personal one: you are someone’s comrade not because you like them but because you are on the same side of a struggle. Comrades are not neighbors, citizens, or friends; nor are they any kind of family, though you might call them brother or sister. The comrade has no race, gender, or nation. (As one meme goes: “My favorite gender-neutral pronoun is comrade.”) Comrades are not even unique individuals; they are “multiple, replaceable, fungible.” You can be comrades with millions of people you have never met and never will. Your relationship is ultimately with the political project you have in common. To many noncommunists, Dean readily admits, this instrumentalism is “horrifying”: a confirmation that communism means submitting to the Borg. But the sameness of the comrade is a kind of genuine equality.

Being an organizer is like being a comrade in some ways but different in others. The people you organize alongside may be comrades, but the people you are organizing often aren’t; the point of organizing, after all, is to reach beyond the people who are already on your side and win over as many others as you can. So you can’t assume the people you organize share your values; in fact, you should usually assume they don’t. This means that unlike comrades, organizers aren’t interchangeable. It matters who you are. McAlevey’s theory of the organic leader is that people have to be organized by people they know and trust, not by strangers who claim to have the right ideas. The SNCC looked for “strong people” — not necessarily traditional leaders, but people who were respected and trusted among their peers, on the logic that people would only take risky political action alongside people they trusted. When organizers reflect the people they organize, they win: when women of color organize other women of color, a 2007 paper by Kate Bronfenbrenner and Dorian Warren shows, they win almost 90 percent of elections. This cuts both ways: when women and people of color led the organizing in my department, we often struggled to get white men to take us seriously.

Yet the comradely element of organizing can also open up space for building relationships with people beyond those boundaries. It’s not that class and race and gender disappear, transcended by the cause — … [more]
alyssabattistoni  organizing  academia  academics  highereducation  highered  2019  labor  work  unions  thatcherism  reaganism  margartthatcher  communism  ronaldreagan  capitalism  meritocracy  hegemony  stuarthall  busyness  antoniogramsci  comrades  relationships  relationality  utopia  hierarchy  instrumentalism  equality  leadership  politics  class  race  gender  school  schooliness  schooling  transcontextualism 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
What Makes a Fair College Admissions Process? | JSTOR Daily
"Move Away from Meritocracy
Nadirah Farah Foley

Especially in the wake of the recent news of a coordinated bribery scheme, many people seem to agree our selective college admissions process is broken. There is far less consensus, however, about why we think it’s broken, and what a better, fairer admissions process would look like. Some think that the process would be fair if it were conducted without special considerations for legacy students, development cases, or athletic recruitment. Others go further, focusing on the myriad mundane ways—aside from bribery and donations—that the system allows privileged people to leverage their resources to secure and perpetuate their advantages. But I contend the process is inherently unfair because it is based on meritocratic principles designed to produce unequal outcomes. A truly fair system would reject meritocratic logics and instead operate on the principle that high-quality education is not a reward for the few, but a right of the many.

Our current process, in which applicants are stratified into a hierarchical higher education landscape, takes a meritocratic ideology as its foundational premise. Meritocracy, the term popularized by British sociologist Michael Young’s 1958 The Rise of the Meritocracy, is typically imagined as a system in which all have equal opportunity to compete on a “level playing field” on the basis of “talent” and “ability,” and all are rewarded equitably based on their “merit.” While this system sounds fair at first blush, a meritocratic ideology poses two problems, either of which should be sufficient cause to critically question it, and perhaps abandon it entirely.

First, upholding meritocracy necessarily entails accepting and upholding inequality. In the case of college admissions, we currently have a system in which some schools have more resources, are more prestigious, and are deemed “better” than others, and those schools have limited seats. We try to allocate those seats “fairly,” on the basis of demonstrated past success and evaluations of future potential. It’s far from a perfect system, but we can rationalize it as ideologically consistent with a meritocratic ideal of equal opportunity and reward for individual talent, effort, and ability. But perhaps, rather than focusing on who “deserves” the “best” schooling, our societal commitment should be to making a high-quality education available to all. Such a commitment would require a rejection of the stratification and inequality presupposed by a meritocratic system and lead us to question whether a stratified society—and assignment to places in an unequal education system—could ever be just.

Second, even if one were inclined to find inequality and stratification acceptable, the reality is that we are so far from the ideals of equal opportunity and a level playing field that the unfairness is glaringly obvious. As sociologist Jonathan Mijs argues, opportunities for demonstrating merit are far from equally distributed. In the United States, where racial residential segregation and local control of schools combine to disproportionately relegate nonwhite (especially black) students to underfunded schools, the claim that anything approaching equal opportunity exists is laughable. Our emphasis on standardized tests, which have roots in racist, ableist, eugenicist science, evinces a narrow understanding of what intelligence is or could be. Holistic admissions evaluations, which provide necessary latitude to consider students’ contexts and lived experiences, also provide privileged applicants another opportunity to show off well-filled extracurricular profiles and essays carefully coached and edited by counselors and consultants. In sum, our current admissions process is—top to bottom—built to misrecognize privilege as “merit,” and thus advantage the already advantaged. To say wealthy white applicants are gaming the system belies the fact that they’re really just playing the game—a game in which only they have full access to the equipment. Perhaps the way to fix this is not to try to change the rules, but to stop playing the meritocratic game entirely.

If that seems a drastic proposal, let me try to convince you it’s a necessary one. We could try to work within the current system, striking the policies that are most obviously and egregiously unfair: legacy, donor admissions, early decision, recruitment of athletes in country club sports. While an improvement, this does nothing to address the fact that even with those components stripped out, the process still falls far short of fairness, because our very metrics of merit are skewed toward privilege. We could try to calibrate for disadvantage, but that’s essentially what holistic evaluation tries to do now—and it’s not enough. Meritocracy is an arms race, one in which the privileged are always better equipped.

We could, as many scholars have proposed, move toward a lottery, which would go a long way toward making explicit the role of luck in college admissions. But I’m concerned by the way some thinkers discuss a potential admissions lottery. Proponents of a lottery often suggest that there should be some baseline level of “merit” in order to enter the lottery. Such a formulation of the lottery doesn’t entail a rejection of our metrics of merit, meaning it would likely reproduce existing inequalities. To avoid that, a lottery would need to not use simple random selection, but instead be carefully calibrated to ensure the resulting class is not just representative of the pool (in which wealthy white students are overrepresented), but of graduating high school students. That could be achieved by assigning different weights to students depending on their background, or by using a form of stratified random selection, in which the applicant pool would be divided into smaller pools based on, for example, demographic factors, and a certain number of students would be accepted at random from each pool.

The lottery is an exciting idea, but one likely to run into legal challenges. And beyond that, it doesn’t do enough to address the unfairness inherent in our unequal education system. I think we need to go a step further than asking what constitutes a fair admissions process, and instead ask what constitutes a fair society. We should recognize that our college admissions process is merely holding a mirror up to our society, reflecting how competitive, individualistic, unequal, and unfair the United States is. A truly radical solution would require the reorganization of our entire class structure and the redistribution of resources, thus obviating the need for such a high-stakes college application process.

It seems that we cling to meritocracy as a way of clinging to some hope of a better life in an increasingly unequal world. But rather than investing our hope in a fairer admissions system, I think we should dream bigger, and invest our hope in a more just society—one in which we live in community rather than competition. That might look like taking up Harvard professor Lani Guinier’s call to emphasize “democratic merit,” or it might look like dispensing with merit—and its attendant acceptance of deserved inequality—entirely.

Everyone deserves access to education. A fair admissions system would have that as a core premise and reject ostensibly just, “meritocratic” inequalities."
juliepark  christineyano  nadirahfarahfoley  2019  admissions  colleges  universities  meritocracy  lottery  collegeadmissions  highered  highereducation  merit  inequality  academia  academics  education  school  schooling  us  firness  laniguinier  democracy  privilege  jonathanmills  race  racism  michaelyoung 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Marxism 101: How Capitalism is Killing Itself with Dr. Richard Wolff - YouTube
"Despite a concerted effort by the U.S. Empire to snuff out the ideology, a 2016 poll found young Americans have a much more favorable view of socialism than capitalism.

Though he died 133 years ago, the analysis put forward by one of the world’s most influential thinkers, Karl Marx, remains extremely relevant today. The Empire’s recent rigged presidential election has been disrupted by the support of an avowed socialist, Bernie Sanders, by millions of voters.

To find out why Marx’s popularity has stood the test of time, Abby Martin interviews renowned Marxist economist Richard Wolff, Professor Emeritus of Economics at UMass - Amherst, and visiting professor at the New School in New York.

Prof. Wolff gives an introduction suited for both beginners and seasoned Marxists, with comprehensive explanations of key tenets of Marxism including dialectical and historical materialism, surplus value, crises of overproduction, capitalism's internal contradictions, and more."
richardwolff  karlmarx  academia  academics  capitalism  accounting  us  inequality  communism  socialism  marxism  berniesanders  labor  idealism  materialism  radicalism  philosophy  dialecticalmaterialism  humans  systems  change  friedrichengels  slavery  automation  credit  finance  studentdebt  poverty  unions  organization  systemschange  china  russia  ussr  growth  2016  power  democracy  collectives  collectivism  meansofproduction  society  climatechange  environment  sustainability  rosaluxemburg  militaryindustrialcomplex  pollution  ethics  morality  immorality  ows  occupywallstreet  politics  corruption 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Carol Black on Twitter: "I'm sorry, but this is delusional. If you don't read the book the first time for rhythm and flow, just *read* it, you haven't read the book. You have dissected it. This is like the vivisection of literature. There is no author ali
"I'm sorry, but this is delusional. If you don't read the book the first time for rhythm and flow, just *read* it, you haven't read the book. You have dissected it. This is like the vivisection of literature. There is no author alive who would want their book read this way."



"Look, the reality is that most people do not want to analyze literature. It's a specialty interest, a niche thing. There is absolutely no reason all people should have to do this. By forcing it we just create an aversion to books.

[@SOLEatHome "Would you consider someone re-reading a book they love and noticing things they missed the first time analysis? It at least fits what has come to be known as "close reading""]

Kids who become writers (or filmmakers, or musicians) re-read, re-watch, re-listen to their favorite things repetitively, obsessively. They internalize structure, rhythm, characterization, language, vocabulary, dialogue, intuitively, instinctively.

Close reading & analysis is a separate activity, it requires a whole different stance / attitude toward the book. It can enhance this deeper intuitive understanding or it can shut it down, turn it into something mechanical & disengaged.

I think it's a huge mistake to push this analytical stance on children when they are too young. I was an English major, & I don't think I benefited from it until college. Younger kids should just find things they love & process them in ways that make sense to them.

This is one of the many delusional things about the way literature is taught in HS. The reality is you have to read a book at the *bare minimum* twice in order to do meaningful analysis. But there is never time for this. So we just club the thing to death on the first reading.

One of the principal things a writer does is to work incredibly hard at refining the way one sentence flows into the next, one chapter springboards off the last. To experience this as a reader you have to immerse yourself, turn off the analytical brain, just *read* the damn book.

To insert analysis into this process on a first reading is like watching a film by pausing every couple of minutes to make notes before continuing. It's fine to do that in later study, but if you do it the first time through you've destroyed everything the filmmaker worked for."

[@irasocol: How a teacher destroys not just reading but culture. Can we let kids experience an author's work without dissection? How I tried to address this in 2012... http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2012/11/why-do-we-read-why-do-we-write.html "]



[This was in repsonse to a thread that began with:
https://twitter.com/SOLEatHome/status/1053338882496958465

"This thread details a real school assignment that was asked of a high school student to do while reading a book they hadn't read before. I assure you this is is not something isolated to one school:

Annotate.

Inside front cover: major character with space for...

...character summaries, page reference for key scenes or moments of character development. Evidently these are enormous books.

Inside Back Cover: list of themes, allusions, images, motifs, key scenes, plot line, epiphanies, etc. Add pg. references or notes. List vocab words...

...if there's still room. (big books or small writing?)

Start of each chapter: do a quick summary of the chapter. Title each chapter as soon as you finish it, esp. if the chapters don't have titles.

Top margins: plot notes/words phrases that summarize. Then go back...

...and mark the chapter carefully (more on these marks to come)

Bottom and side margins: interpretive notes, questions, remarks that refer to the meaning of the page (???). Notes to tie in w/ notes on inside back cover

Header: Interpretive notes and symbols to be used...

...underline or highlight key words, phrases, sentences that are important to understanding the work
questions/comments in the margins--your conversation with the text
bracket important ideas/passages
use vertical lines at the margin to emphasize what's been already marked...

...connect ideas with lines or arrows
use numbers in the margin to indicate the sequence of points the author makes in developing a single argument
use a star, asterisk, or other doo-dad at the margin--use a consistent symbol--(presumably to not mix up your doo-dads?) to...

...be used sparingly to emphasize the ten or twenty most important statements in the book.
Use ???for sections/ideas you don't understand
circle words you don't know. Define them in the margins (How many margins does a page have?)
A checkmark means "I understand"...

...use !!! when you come across something new, interesting or surprising
And other literary devices (see below)

You may want to mark:
Use and S for Symbols: a symbol is a literal thing that stands for something else which help to discover new layers of thinking...

Use an I for Imagery, which includes words that appeal to the five senses. Imagery is important for understanding an authors message and attitudes
Use an F for Figurative Language like similes, metaphors, etc., which often reveal deeper layers of meaning...

Use a T for Tone, which is the overall mood of the piece. Tone can carry as much meaning as the plot does.
Use a Th for Theme: timeless universal ideas or a message about life, society, etc.
Plot elements (setting, mood, conflict)
Diction (word choice)

The end. ::sighs::"]
carolblack  irasocol  howweread  reading  literature  closereading  2018  school  schooliness  education  absurdity  literaryanalysis  writers  writing  howwewrite  filmmaking  howwelearn  academia  academics  schools  unschooling  deschooling  analysis  understanding  repetition  experience  structure  rhythm  characterization  language  vocabulary  dialogue  noticing  intuition  instinct  film  flow 
october 2018 by robertogreco
The University of California: 150 years of being boldly Californian - YouTube
"What does it mean to be boldly Californian? For 150 years, the University of California has embodied an imaginative, audacious and pioneering spirit. And our 10 campuses, 5 medical centers and 3 national labs continue to lead the country towards a bright future - for everyone.

Explore our interactive timeline capturing UC's vast history and commemorating its astounding accomplishments, distinguished academics, artists and athletes: https://150.universityofcalifornia.edu "

[See also: https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/what-it-means-be-boldly-californian ]
uc  universityofcalifornia  california  2018  history  science  research  highered  highereducation  marketing  art  athletics  sports  academics  timelines 
may 2018 by robertogreco
How to Teach Art to Kids, According to Mark Rothko
"If you’ve ever seen Mark Rothko’s paintings—large canvases filled with fields of atmospheric color—and thought, “a child could do this,” you’ve paid the Abstract Expressionist a compliment.

Rothko greatly admired children’s art, praising the freshness, authenticity, and emotional intensity of their creations. And he knew children’s art well, working as an art teacher for over 20 years at the Brooklyn Jewish Center. To his students—kindergarteners through 8th graders—Rothko wasn’t an avant-garde visionary or burgeoning art star, he was “Rothkie.” “A big bear of a man, the friendliest, nicest, warmest member of the entire school,” his former student Martin Lukashok once recalled.

Rothko was a thought leader in the field of children’s art education. He published an essay on the topic (“New Training for Future Artists and Art Lovers”) in 1934, which he hoped to follow up with a book. Though he never completed the project, he left behind 49 sheets of notes, known as “The Scribble Book,” which detailed his progressive pedagogy—and from which we’ve taken five lessons that Rothko wanted all art teachers to know.

Lesson #1: Show your students that art is a universal form of expression, as elemental as speaking or singing

Rothko taught that everyone can make art—even those without innate talent or professional training. According to the painter, art is an essential part of the human experience. And just as kids can quickly pick up stories or songs, they can easily turn their observations and imaginings into art. (Similarly, he believed, taking away a child’s access to artmaking could be as harmful as stunting their ability to learn language.)

For Rothko, art was all about expression—transforming one’s emotions into visual experiences that everyone can understand. And kids do this naturally. “These children have ideas, often fine ones, and they express them vividly and beautifully, so that they make us feel what they feel,” he writes. “Hence their efforts are intrinsically works of art.”

Lesson #2: Beware of suppressing a child’s creativity with academic training

As Rothko saw it, a child’s expressiveness is fragile. When art teachers assign projects with strict parameters or emphasize technical perfection, this natural creativity can quickly turn to conformity. “The fact that one usually begins with drawing is already academic,” Rothko explains. “We start with color.”

To protect his students’ creative freedom, Rothko followed a simple teaching method. When children entered his art room, all of their working materials—from brushes to clay—were already set up, ready for them to select and employ in free-form creations. No assignments needed.

“Unconscious of any difficulties, they chop their way and surmount obstacles that might turn an adult grey, and presto!” Rothko describes. “Soon their ideas become visible in a clearly intelligent form.” With this flexibility, his students developed their own unique artistic styles, from the detail-oriented to the wildly expressive. And for Rothko, the ability to channel one’s interior world into art was much more valuable than the mastery of academic techniques. “There is no such thing as good painting about nothing,” he once wrote.

Lesson #3: Stage exhibitions of your students’ works to encourage their self-confidence

“I was never good at art,” recalled Rothko’s former student Gerald Phillips. “But he…made you feel that you were really producing something important, something good.”

For Rothko, an art teacher’s premier responsibility was to inspire children’s self-confidence. To do this, he organized public exhibitions of his students’ works across New York City, including a show of 150 pieces at the Brooklyn Museum in 1934. And when Rothko had his first solo exhibition at the Portland Art Museum a year earlier, he brought his students’ works along with him and exhibited them next to his own.

These exhibitions gave Rothko’s students a newfound excitement about their work, while educating the public about the potential of children’s art. “It is significant,” Rothko writes, “that dozens of artists viewed this exhibition [of student works at the Brooklyn Museum] and were amazed and stirred by it.” Rothko wanted critics to see that fine art only requires emotional intensity to be successful.

Lesson #4: Introduce art history with modern art (not the Old Masters)

When teaching young students about art history, where do you start? For Rothko, the answer was clear: Modernism.

With 20th-century art, children can learn from works that are similar to their own, whether through the paintings of Henri Matisse, Milton Avery, or Pablo Picasso. These iconic artists sought pure, personal forms of visual expression, free from the technical standards of the past. “[Modern art] has not been obscured by style and tradition as that of the old masters,” Rothko explains. “It is therefore particularly useful to us…to serve as an interpreter to establish the relationship between the child and the stream of art.”

But while exposure to modern art can help boost children’s confidence and creativity, it shouldn’t interfere with the development of a unique style. Rothko discouraged his students from mimicking museum works as well as his own painting practice. “Very often the work of the children is simply a primitive rendition of the creative ends of the artist teacher,” he warns. “Therefore it has the appearance of child art, but loses the basic creative outlet for the child himself.”

Lesson #5: Work to cultivate creative thinkers, not professional artists

In addition to fanning students’ creative instincts, great art teachers can help students become more self-aware, empathetic, and collaborative—and this generates better citizens in the long run, Rothko believed. At the Brooklyn Jewish Center, he hardly cared whether his students would go on to pursue careers in the arts. Instead, Rothko focused on cultivating in his students a deep appreciation for artistic expression.

“Most of these children will probably lose their imaginativeness and vivacity as they mature,” he wrote. “But a few will not. And it is hoped that in their cases, the experience of eight years [in my classroom] will not be forgotten and they will continue to find the same beauty about them. As to the others, it is hoped, that their experience will help them to revive their own early artistic pleasures in the work of others.”

And, in turn, Rothko’s own creativity was revived by his students’ unabashed expressiveness. When the artist began teaching, his works were still somewhat figurative, depicting street scenes, landscapes, portraits, and interiors with loose brushwork. Upon retirement, his style had transformed to complete abstraction, taking the form of vivid, color-filled canvases that he hoped would intuitively resonate with adults and children alike.
markrothko  education  teaching  arteducation  art  howwetech  children  lcproject  openstudioproject  creativity  learning  unschooling  deschooling  modernart  modernism  academics  pedagogy  2018  expression  human  humans  conformity 
february 2018 by robertogreco
How Successful Valedictorians Are After High School | Money
"What becomes of high school valedictorians? It’s what every parent wishes their teenager to be. Mom says study hard and you’ll do well. And very often Mom is right.

But not always.

Karen Arnold, a researcher at Boston College, followed 81 high school valedictorians and salutatorians from graduation onward to see what becomes of those who lead the academic pack. Of the 95 percent who went on to graduate college, their average GPA was 3.6, and by 1994, 60 percent had received a graduate degree. There was little debate that high school success predicted college success. Nearly 90 percent are now in professional careers with 40 percent in the highest tier jobs. They are reliable, consistent, and well-adjusted, and by all measures the majority have good lives.

But how many of these number-one high school performers go on to change the world, run the world, or impress the world? The answer seems to be clear: zero.

Commenting on the success trajectories of her subjects, Karen Arnold said, “Even though most are strong occupational achievers, the great majority of former high school valedictorians do not appear headed for the very top of adult achievement arenas.” In another interview Arnold said, “Valedictorians aren’t likely to be the future’s visionaries . . . they typically settle into the system instead of shaking it up.”

Was it just that these 81 didn’t happen to reach the stratosphere? No. Research shows that what makes students likely to be impressive in the classroom is the same thing that makes them less likely to be home-run hitters outside the classroom.

So why are the number ones in high school so rarely the number ones in real life? There are two reasons. First, schools reward students who consistently do what they are told. Academic grades correlate only loosely with intelligence (standardized tests are better at measuring IQ). Grades are, however, an excellent predictor of self-discipline, conscientiousness, and the ability to comply with rules.

In an interview, Arnold said, “Essentially, we are rewarding conformity and the willingness to go along with the system.” Many of the valedictorians admitted to not being the smartest kid in class, just the hardest worker. Others said that it was more an issue of giving teachers what they wanted than actually knowing the material better. Most of the subjects in the study were classified as “careerists”: they saw their job as getting good grades, not really as learning.

The second reason is that schools reward being a generalist. There is little recognition of student passion or expertise. The real world, however, does the reverse. Arnold, talking about the valedictorians, said, “They’re extremely well rounded and successful, personally and professionally, but they’ve never been devoted to a single area in which they put all their passion. That is not usually a recipe for eminence.”

If you want to do well in school and you’re passionate about math, you need to stop working on it to make sure you get an A in history too. This generalist approach doesn’t lead to expertise. Yet eventually we almost all go on to careers in which one skill is highly rewarded and other skills aren’t that important.

Ironically, Arnold found that intellectual students who enjoy learning struggle in high school. They have passions they want to focus on, are more interested in achieving mastery, and find the structure of school stifling. Meanwhile, the valedictorians are intensely pragmatic. They follow the rules and prize A’s over skills and deep understanding.

School has clear rules. Life often doesn’t. When there’s no clear path to follow, academic high achievers break down. Shawn Achor’s research at Harvard shows that college grades aren’t any more predictive of subsequent life success than rolling dice. A study of over seven hundred American millionaires showed their average college GPA was 2.9.

Following the rules doesn’t create success; it just eliminates extremes—both good and bad. While this is usually good and all but eliminates downside risk, it also frequently eliminates earthshaking accomplishments. It’s like putting a governor on your engine that stops the car from going over fifty-five; you’re far less likely to get into a lethal crash, but you won’t be setting any land speed records either."
schools  schooling  success  valedictiorians  cv  highschool  parenting  academics  rules  compliance  unschooling  education  deschooling  shawnachor  grades  performance  karenarnold 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Free From the Start: One Child’s Progressive Path to Educational Freedom | Alliance for Self-Directed Education
"To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about schools, and I wasn’t looking for a book recommendation. But a few months before my son was born, the man that my ex and I chose as our sperm donor/dad suggested a book. Reading it changed everything.

The book was Free at Last: The Sudbury Valley School, by Daniel Greenberg, and it introduced me to self-directed learning. Greenberg’s basic principle is that children are compelled to learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it. Left to themselves, they do an amazing job of determining not only what they like, but what they need, and they instinctively know the best for them to go about learning it. This concept made immediate sense to me, and I was inspired.

Not only did I buy a whole bunch of copies and start handing them out to friends, but even before my son, Timothy, was born, I decided that I would trust his learning instincts. It wasn’t always easy—there were times I wanted to teach him things I thought he “should” know—but I kept at it. When he was five, for example, he said he wanted to learn to read, so, together we went online and looked for reading workbooks. He chose one, I ordered it, and he used it to teach himself to read. It was effortless.

Before long, it was time to find a school, and I searched for a school with a self-directed philosophy. Unfortunately, there were none nearby, so we found a “progressive” school that was child centered with only 10-12 children per class. The children were sweet, Timothy had a lot of fun, and it was a good choice.

Kindergarten went without a hitch, but in first grade, it became evident that Timothy was far ahead of his classmates in both math and reading. This could have been problematic, but his first grade teacher was excellent; she quickly was aware that he needed more advanced assignments. She kept him very engaged.

Second grade was a different story. Timothy became bored academically, and he craved social time with other children. As the year went on, instead of getting closer with his classmates, there seemed to be less and less group time, and Timothy began coming home from school increasingly upset. Together, we realized that he needed a change.

Meanwhile, a self-directed learning school had finally been founded in Manhattan, and almost as soon as the Manhattan Free School opened its doors, we visited. Despite my personal hopes, Timothy wasn’t that interested, and—remembering to try to let him figure out for himself what was best—I didn’t push. But when second grade started to go so badly, he asked to see the school again. After a day’s visit, he knew he wanted to switch. He has been there for almost five years.

After the first year, however, the school almost didn’t make it. The director and staff had been having both interpersonal and philosophical disagreements, and the school itself had cash flow issues that left it unable to pay staff and overhead. Closure seemed imminent.

The same man who recommended the book that would change my life came to the rescue. He volunteered to run the school for free if the parents would let him transform the school based on a concept he called agile learning. The parent body agreed, and the Agile Learning Center concept was born. The man with the idea was Arthur Brock, Timothy’s dad.

Timothy has flourished. People who don’t understand self-directed learning environments often are concerned about students missing out on certain “important” topics, but Timothy understands math concepts, reads and writes. He grasps and retains a myriad of scientific concepts, and he enjoys memorizing historical facts so much that he knows more about some history than I.

Most parents of self-directed kids will tell stories of their childrens’ experiences and accomplishments that sound amazing against the backdrop of traditional education. But it’s really because self-directed students have the time and support to pursue their interests. Often, they grow the most in areas that are not tested for in traditional education.

Since he was very young, Timothy’s passion has been computers; he started coding when he was around 6 or 7, and now—at age 13—he teaches others, he built a computer last year, and he has a small group of tech support “clients”. He currently is most motivated by spending time learning to be social and collaborative. He is trying hard to understand how to make and keep friends. It hasn’t always been easy, but it is super important to him, and he’s starting to figure it out.

Being in an environment that is not forcing an unnecessary academic curriculum, but rather is giving him the freedom to spend his days interacting with both students and adult facilitators has been perfect.

He has found that he loves facilitating conflict resolution for younger children, he likes collaborating on projects, and he enjoys being a sounding board for his friends when they need someone they can trust.

When I was pregnant almost fourteen years ago, I did some crazy things. I ate food combinations that made no sense, I had fits of glee and anger, and I slept in bursts and starts. Of course, I knew that I was bringing into the world someone who would change my life, but I didn’t know that reading a book would change both of our lives.

Being committed to self-directed education (and parenting) has been both nerve-wracking and exhilarating. I’ve had my moments of concern, but when I take a step back and ask myself if my son (now a teenager) is learning, on his own terms, the skills he will need to be a successful and happy man, the answer is 100% yes."
self-directedlearning  self-directed  sfsh  progressive  schools  education  learning  howwelearn  agilelearning  sudburyschools  academics  content  2017  mercercarlin  manhattnfreeschool  freeschools  arthurbrock  unschooling  deschooling  agilelearningcenters 
april 2017 by robertogreco
15min in the morning: Homework is Bullshit — Technology Musings
"One of the pain points of parenthood is knowing that every choice I have for sending my daughter into school is likely going to grind out much of her enthusiasm for learning, bit by bit, through shitloads of homework.

The phrase you often see is that schools have an “academic focus.” Avoid those like the plague.

All of it is total fucking bullshit.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up” — Pablo Picasso

My gut feeling is this started sometime in the late 1990s, as the quest for higher academics was misconstrued by parents and schools into “giving the kids lots of homework will equal mastery in every subject.”

I still remember the news stories from the early 2000s, about gradeschool kids taking home backpacks so filled with books for completing homework that they were developing back troubles. By the mid-2000s my first friends with kids entered schools and talked about two to three hours of nightly homework at the “academic” schools. My own child hit kindergarten around 2010 and I hoped the thirst for mindless drudgery had dissipated but sadly, it did not.

Looking back (and acknowledging it’s through deep shades of nostalgia), I loved my childhood including school. I grew up in Southern California, so weather wasn’t a variable in my life and I could work all day at school and play all evening at home. I didn’t have nightly homework until high school, and it was fucking grand. I rode my bike for hours every night, visited local parks, played in the woods, played Atari 2600 at home, ran on cross country teams, and generally had a good time palling around my neighborhood with friends for hour after mindless hour. In my younger days, I spent as much time behind a desk at home as I was in the community pool, and I think I turned out alright.

College is mostly about the work you do outside the classroom lectures, so homework is required and expected, but we’ve lost sight of high school serving as college prep, which is a good time to teach study skills and introduce homework to students. But asking 8 year olds to spend two hours every night doing repetitive math worksheets? What the fuck is the point of that?

Kids today only have time for one or two sporadic hobbies. I know more than one twelve year old that can’t play guitar because of homework loads. Sports require huge blocks of time that are hard to work into after school schedules, despite our pushes to get kids moving and be less sedentary.

We’ve spent the last 15 years pushing kids through punishing homework regimens which would mean those young kids of the early 2000s are entering college now. Did we raise an entire generation of math super students crushing standards at levels never seen before? Or did we pulverize most kids’ curiosity and love for learning along the way? A high homework load seems like we’re preparing kids for boring, repetitive behavior, like those found in many factory jobs. Will there be any factory jobs ten years from now?

Kids need downtime. Play is important. Kids can love learning, pursue any hobby they like, and fill idle time with their imagination. These are the things I fear we lose every time we ask children to spend hours every night on what basically amounts to busywork."
homework  sfsh  schools  matthaughey  2016  parenting  children  hobbies  academics  education  learning  busywork  play  downtime  howwelearn  howwelern  curiosity  loveoflearning  deschooling  unschooling 
july 2016 by robertogreco
School is a 16-Year Internship for Professors — Life Learning — Medium
"The habits, ideas, processes, and perhaps most importantly, incentives of the environment you want to be a part of will teach you vastly more than consciously studied facts.

Julian Jaynes, in his seminal book on consciousness, cites a study where students were told to compliment any girl wearing red. Within a week, red outfits were everywhere in the school. The girls weren’t consciously responding to factual knowledge but internalizing the compliments and altering their behavior subconsciously. Jaynes argues that learning signals, skills, and even reasoning are not, in fact, conscious processes. In fact, after taking in the basic structure, being conscious of learning gets in the way and slows the process.

This means the subconscious queues and incentives of the environment are a more powerful force in determing what you learn than whatever conscious topic is presented. What you pickup on and get rewarded for and see others doing to succeed or fail shapes how your brain transforms and adapts to succeed.

This has some pretty interesting implications for schooling, from kindergarten through college.

The school setting, whatever subject is being taught consciously, is a single-file line-standing, speak-when-given-permission, the “expert” knows all right answers, zero-sum, obedience training program. The clear “winners” in the school setting are the authority figures and those who best please them. The academics and kids who do things that academics like.

In other words, school is a 16-year internship for being a professor.

You’re immersed in the daily habits, worldviews, problems solving methods, attitudes, and incentives of professors. What you learn from shadowing academics isn’t whatever topic they might be teaching as much as how to be like them.

This is, of course, the ideal program if you want to be an academic. I have many wonderful professor friends and I’ve met some young people who want to be professors. The system was built for them, and it’s a good fit. They should stick with it happily.

The problem is that most people have no idea that they are in an extended academic internship. Most don’t want to be professors or they simply have no idea whether they do or not because they’ve never been around anything else.

You can’t discover what you might enjoy or be good at from academic books and practictioners telling you about it. You need to experiment and experience it. You need to be around people doing those things. You need to apprentice with people other than just academics to learn what people other than academics do and how to succeed in that world.

Get out of the classroom and try real world stuff to find what you enjoy and are good at and immerse yourself in the subconscious learning of how to succeed in whatever environments you explore. A few courses or books or a major can’t give you that knowledge while your subconscious is fully occupied with learning how to be a professor.

You might not be learning much from the conscious process of schooling (hence forgetting everything after the test), but you’re definitely learning something in school. The question is, do you want to learn that something? Will it help you, or set you back in a dynamic marketplace that cares only for value creation, not academic process?"
schools  schooling  academia  academics  2016  isaacmorehouse  learning  howwelearn 
may 2016 by robertogreco
How to Read for Grad School | Miriam E. Sweeney
"In graduate school the work load increases and students will find that they are expected to master two to three times the material that they were used to as an undergraduate. This can be intimidating to the point of overwhelming a student into paralysis. Following these tips should help you master your readings instead of allowing the readings to master you!

1. Read Strategically, Not Linearly. Reading for graduate school is different than reading a book for pleasure. When we read for pleasure we often start at the beginning of the book, reading carefully in a linear fashion. If you do this with your academic material, it will take twice as long and it is likely you won’t retain the right kind of information from the reading. Instead of reading linearly, read strategically. As an academic reader your job is to mine the text you are reading for information. Instead of cruising along the narrative, you need to dive in, find the information you need, and move along to the next stack of readings for class.

If you are reading a book this means you should look over the table of contents, then read the entire introduction carefully. In academic books, the introduction is where the author states all of their main points, the framework they will use, and an outline of what information will be covered in each chapter. Next, look over the last chapter. This is the conclusion, which will restate the main arguments of the author and will often contextualize these arguments in a broader context, suggest next steps, or speculate solutions or alternatives. From here you can go to the parts of the book you want deeper knowledge about. Individual chapters will be laid out similarly to the book structure with an introduction, and middle and the conclusion. Skimming the beginning and end of the chapter will give you the main points, then you can gather evidence by browsing the middle parts of the chapter. Remember, you are not really expected to read every single word of the book; your mandate is to understand the author’s main ideas, arguments, and be able to articulate why this discussion matters.

If you are reading a journal article, start by checking the name of the journal that published the article. This will key you in to the scope and boundaries that the article is working within. Next, carefully read the title and the abstract of the piece. A good abstract should clearly explain the main argument of the article, the kind of evidence the author uses, and a succinct conclusion, or what the author found out. Armed with this information, look over the introduction to see how the author is framing their work, paying attention to the citations they use. This tells you who the author is trying to be in dialogue with. Next, flip to the discussion section. Sometimes this is separate than the conclusion, sometimes not, depending on the disciplinary standards of the author and journal. Read the discussion and conclusion carefully. These sections will explain the author’s main arguments and the “why you should care” piece. Now you can go back through the article armed with the knowledge of where the author is leading you and browse over methods and results sections. Pay attention particularly to images and data visualizations. Note how these things relate to or support the discussion and conclusion sections you read.

Reading strategically instead of linearly will make you a more efficient and effective academic reader. Getting familiar with how different formats of writing are structured will give you the confidence and control to find the information you need in them more efficiently.

2. Take Notes! As you are reading strategically, you absolutely must take notes simultaneously. Otherwise it is guaranteed you will not remember the kinds of details you need to recall in class, in your paper, in your own research down the road. Develop a system of your own whether it is sticking a post-it note in the book and jotting something down, or opening up RefWorks or Zotero, or Word and throwing some notes down as you read. Whatever you do, remember that future you will have NO IDEA what present you is thinking, no matter how brilliant a thought it is. Be specific, include detailed citations and pages numbers for direct quotes so you don’t have to chase them later.

If you are reading as preparation for a class, make sure you are also jotting down 3-5 questions, observations, or provocations that you can use in class for participation. In grad school, everyone is expected to participate on a high level, so have something to say ahead of time to avoid the high-blood pressure that comes from your professor’s cold, hard stare.

3. Be purposeful. Being purposeful in your readings means that as you are moving strategically through the text you are also being deliberate about what you want to glean from the reading, what are meant to glean, and how this fits with the other readings and conversations you have had in class, along with your own life experiences. Ask yourself, “What is the author trying to say? What is motivating her exploration of this topic? What does this research contribute? What academic conversations is the author trying to align with? What are the main arguments of this piece? How does this relate to my other assigned readings?” Going in with these questions in mind will focus you as you read and aid you in pulling out the most relevant information.

4. A Critical Perspective. Lastly, applying a critical perspective in your reading is helpful for situating a reading in broader contexts. Contrary to how it sounds, being critical does not simply mean being negative or criticizing wantonly. Critical perspectives are those that trace and name flows of power: Who has power and who does not? Who benefits from particular social arrangements, and whom do they marginalize? Critical perspectives also question assumptions and values that are implicit in arguments: What values are underlying this work? What experiences and perspectives do these values privilege? How might centering different values or experiences re-frame the argument or conversation? Asking questions like this will help you have deeper conversations about your readings, and really, isn’t that the whole point of graduate school?

Time to make your reading work for you- good luck!"
reading  pedagogy  teaching  2012  miriamsweeney  howto  tutorials  studying  notetaking  criticalthinking  gradschool  howtoread  academia  academics 
february 2016 by robertogreco
After a String of Suicides, Students in Palo Alto Are Demanding a Part in Reforming Their School's Culture | VICE | United States
"There are a few encouraging signs that the community is coming around to recognizing and ultimately fixing these flaws. In March, the school board voted to allocate $250,000 of the district's budget to hiring two more full-time therapists for the high schools, which will relieve the strained workload of the counseling staff. At Gunn, students took the matter of improving mental health into their own hands, organizing the Student Wellness Committee with the help of Herrmann. It organically grew out of their discussions on what needed to change at the school after Cameron Lee's death. One of the things they set up was a referral box, which allowed students to anonymously refer their friends to counseling. "A startling number of people have told me that they wouldn't talk to a counselor if they had a friend who was in trouble," Gunn sophomore class president Chloe Chang Sorensen explained.

The committee also launched a mental health awareness campaign to educate students about causes, symptoms, and resources available to them. And finally, the committee collaborated with an organization called Youth Empowerment Seminar (YES!) to implement a mindfulness curriculum in physical education classes starting in the fall. These students were not interested in waiting for the adults to act. They made themselves into agents of change."



"Students were not willing to passively accept the superintendent's decision. Two Gunn juniors, Ben Lee and Nina Shirole, co-founded the Palo Alto Student Union to advocate for and promote the student voice. They put up posters with the words SUPPORT STUDENT CHOICE, SUPPORT STUDENT VOICE all over Gunn. And many teachers supported their efforts. With the superintendent sitting behind him on stage, retiring Gunn mathematics teacher Peter Herreshoff said in a speech at graduation, "Your class this year witnessed the imposition of an unjust policy regarding zero period. Although it didn't affect you directly, you united in solidarity with future graduating classes to oppose that policy. Although you didn't win, yet, you learned about taking agency over your lives and working collectively to do that." The student union considered holding a student walkout over the zero-period change but ultimately decided to host a sit-in at a school-board meeting.

A few weeks after the decision was announced, dozens of students attended a Tuesday-evening board meeting. This was the meeting at which zero period was originally meant to be discussed, but McGee had unexpectedly made a unilateral decision beforehand. One after another, students came up to the podium and blasted the superintendent. Gunn senior and school-board student representative Rose Weinmann called the move "misguided paternalism." What students were most peeved about was that the zero-period decision was orchestrated in a top-down manner without their consultation. Ben Lee told me later, "We were blatantly disregarded by the community. It was good to show that we weren't lesser beings. We were going to fight for our right to be heard." He believes that the decision was rashly made to "appease a few people." Shirole also thinks it's a contradiction that physical education and broadcasting classes during zero period will remain when the underlying intention of the change was to help all students get more sleep. And she says the research on later start times does not "account for the element of choice," as zero period is optional."
nikhilgoyal  paloalto  suicide  education  schools  2015  culture  society  siliconvalley  mentalhealth  academics  gunnhighschool  depression  anxiety  stress  parenting  studentvoice  studentchoice 
december 2015 by robertogreco
YaleNews | VICE editor explains how art and journalism can intersect in ‘reportage art’
"Crabapple spoke about her early years, shared some insights she gained through her art and journalism, and talked about the future of journalism.

“I was a terrible student. I didn’t get into a single academic college. … It’s probably not surprising that I never worked an office job [too],” remarked Crabapple. “Instead of doing my tests, I filled the blank spaces where the answers belonged with pictures of Kurt Cobain, my imaginary boyfriend.”

Crabapple then was sent to “a school shrink” who diagnosed her with oppositional defiant disorder, which she described as the “clinical basis of being a journalist.”

The first lesson Crabapple learned “by being a bad kid, being a failure early on,” she said, was that “trouble is the best school for an artist and a journalist.”

“Being the bad kid teaches you to work from an ‘internal compulsion’ that propels you to do something you want to or need to do — you don’t do something for external validation or an external reward.”

Crabapple’s “internal compulsion” propelled her to draw. “Through it all, I drew. I was terrible for the first 20 years that I drew pictures, but I kept doing it because I was obsessed. I drew … and even if I was locked up in a room, I would draw,” she said."
mollycrabapple  art  unschooling  education  learning  howwelearn  schools  journalism  academics  failure  deschooling  compulsion  instrinsicmotivation 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The Suicide Clusters at Palo Alto High Schools - The Atlantic
"In the late 1990s, when she was an assistant professor in Yale’s psychiatry department, Suniya Luthar was doing research at an inner-city school in Connecticut. She wanted to know whether misbehavior correlated more with poverty or with a stage of adolescence. She needed a second school to use as a comparison. An undergraduate student she worked with had connections at a school in a Connecticut suburb that was more upscale, and Luthar got permission to distribute her surveys there. The results were not what she expected. In the inner-city school, 86 percent of students received free or reduced-price lunches; in the suburban school, 1 percent did. Yet in the richer school, the proportion of kids who smoked, drank, or used hard drugs was significantly higher—as was the rate of serious anxiety and depression. This anomaly started Luthar down a career-long track studying the vulnerabilities of students within what she calls “a culture of affluence.” I called Luthar, now a professor at Arizona State University, in March to find out whether the anxiety she was recording amounted to familiar teenage angst or something more serious. As it happened, she was about to fly to Palo Alto. A meeting on adolescents and suicide, hosted by Stanford’s psychiatry department, had been organized in a hurry. Earlier that month a fifth kid had killed himself, Byron Zhu, a 15-year-old sophomore at Palo Alto High. He had walked in front of an early-morning northbound train. The police were still at the scene when kids were biking to school that morning; the principal, who had rushed over, asked the police to put up a special barrier so they wouldn’t see.

Luthar had been invited to give a presentation on affluent youth as a largely unrecognized at-risk group. Convincing people that rich kids are at high risk isn’t easy, she said. But she has amassed the most thorough data set we have on that group, from schools scattered across the country. Luthar’s data come from school districts where families have median incomes of more than $200,000, and private schools where tuition is close to $30,000 a year. Her research suggests a U‑shaped curve in pathologies among children, by class. At each extreme—poor and rich—kids are showing unusually high rates of dysfunction. On the surface, the rich kids seem to be thriving. They have cars, nice clothes, good grades, easy access to health care, and, on paper, excellent prospects. But many of them are not navigating adolescence successfully.

The rich middle- and high-school kids Luthar and her collaborators have studied show higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse on average than poor kids, and much higher rates than the national norm. They report clinically significant depression or anxiety or delinquent behaviors at a rate two to three times the national average. Starting in seventh grade, the rich cohort includes just as many kids who display troubling levels of delinquency as the poor cohort, although the rule-breaking takes different forms. The poor kids, for example, fight and carry weapons more frequently, which Luthar explains as possibly self-protective. The rich kids, meanwhile, report higher levels of lying, cheating, and theft.

“We assume that because [these kids] have money and a good education, everything is fine,” Luthar says. And in the long run, money and education will protect them. But in adolescence, the dangers posed by the culture of affluence can be “quite potent.” That doesn’t mean rich kids are more likely to kill themselves. Studies on youth suicide have generally turned up few differences among social classes. But it does mean many are deeply suffering.

One of the two major causes of distress, Luthar found, was the “pressure to excel at multiple academic and extracurricular pursuits.” In one study, for example, kids were asked to choose and rank their parents’ top five values, from a list of 10. Half of the values were related to achievement (“attend a good college,” “make a lot of money,” “excel academically”), and the other half to well-being and personal character (“are honest,” “are kind to others,” “are generally happy with yourself and your life”). When the kids chose a greater number of achievement-related goals, that usually correlated with personal troubles, Luthar said.

The kids were also asked how much they identified with sentences such as “The fewer mistakes I make, the more people will like me” and “If someone does a task at work/school better than I, then I feel like I failed the whole task.” From their answers, Luthar constructed a profile of elite American adolescents whose self-worth is tied to their achievements and who see themselves as catastrophically flawed if they don’t meet the highest standards of success. Because a certain kind of success seems well within reach, they feel they have to attain it at all costs—a phenomenon she refers to as “I can, therefore I must.” Middle-class kids, she told me, generally do not live with the expectation that they should go to Stanford or earn $200,000 a year. “If I’ve never been to the moon,” she said of middle-class families, “why would I expect my kids to go there?” The yardstick for the children of the meritocratic elite is different, and it can intimidate as much as it can empower.

The second major cause of distress that Luthar identified was perhaps more surprising: Affluent kids felt remarkably isolated from their parents. When I wrote “The Overprotected Kid” for this magazine last year, I assumed that the brand of helicopter parenting I described as typical of my cohort involved a trade-off. Parents might be sheltering their kids, but at least they were more emotionally in tune with them than, say, the parents of the ’70s divorce generation were with their children. Luthar disabused me of this comforting narrative. The kids in the affluent communities she studied felt their parents to be no more available to them, either emotionally or physically, than the kids in severe poverty did.

Some of the measures Luthar used were objective: Did the family eat dinner together, or hang out in the evenings? Here, she discovered that some busy parents would leave adolescents alone in the afternoon and evening and often weren’t home at all during those hours. She also measured the kids’ feelings of closeness—“My father understands me,” or “My mother knows when I am upset.” Here again Luthar saw a fissure: Children had the sense that their parents monitored their activities and cared deeply about how they were spending their time, but that didn’t translate into feeling close. Many children felt they were being prodded toward very specific goals and behaviors by parental cues, some subtle, some less so. Their parents glowed warmly when they did well in school or sports but seemed let down when they didn’t. Often the kids learned to hide their failures—real or imagined—for fear of disappointing their parents. Other research has shown that a feeling of closeness to parents was inversely linked to household income, meaning that the most-affluent kids felt the most alienated. “It’s mind-boggling,” Luthar says. “We are comparing them to a group of parents we think of as being in dire straits—largely single mothers on welfare whose circumstances are assumed to affect the quality of their parenting. And yet kids from these affluent families, mostly Caucasian, say they feel no closer to their parents than the poor kids do.”

Luthar’s research was incorporated into the 2006 best seller The Price of Privilege, by Madeline Levine, a child psychologist who practices in the Bay Area. She reported that the adolescents she was encountering would “complain bitterly of being too pressured, misunderstood, anxious, angry, sad, and empty.” In the past couple of years, other best sellers have sounded a similar note. William Deresiewicz, a former Yale professor who contributes to this magazine, argues in Excellent Sheep that elite education “manufactures students who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose.” The New York Times columnist Frank Bruni’s Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania warns of the dangers of insisting that admission to an elite college is necessary for a successful life.

After leaving Stanford, Julie Lythcott-Haims wrote a book, published in June, called How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success. In it, she confesses that as a dean, she had interacted with students who relied on their parents “in ways that felt, simply, off” and who seemed “existentially impotent.” She detailed the growing mental-health crisis at colleges, and described the brilliant, accomplished students who “would sit on my couch holding their fragile, brittle parts together, resigned to the fact that this outwardly successful situation was their miserable life.”

I’ve read all these books, and so have many of my friends. We have kids this age, or about to be this age, and yet somehow we can’t absorb the message. I didn’t, really, until I spent some time in Palo Alto.

Since Levine wrote The Price of Privilege, she’s watched the stress in the Bay Area and in affluent communities all over the country become more pervasive and more acute. What disturbs her most is that the teenagers she sees no longer rebel. A decade ago, she used to referee family fights in her office, she told me, where the teens would tell their parents, “This is bad for me! I’m not doing this.” Now, she reports, the teenagers have no sense of agency. They still complain bitterly about all the same things, but they feel they have no choice. Many have also fallen prey to what Levine calls a “mass delusion” that there is but one path to a successful life, and that it is very narrow. Adolescents no longer typically identify… [more]
hannahrosin  suicide  siliconvalley  affluence  parenting  schools  education  2015  hannarosin  paloalto  gunnhighschool  anxiety  mentalhealth  children  youth  adolescence  psychology  depression  academics  suniyaluthar 
november 2015 by robertogreco
CURMUDGUCATION: Can We Rebuild Social Capital?
"Can We Rebuild Social Capital?
I often disagree with his answers, but Mike Petrilli frequently asks excellent questions.

In the recent National Review, Petrilli is spinning off Robert Putnam's latest book about America's children and discussing the idea of social capital. The problem is simple, and clear:"the fundamental reality of life for many children growing up in poverty in America today is the extremely low level of 'social capital' of their families, communities, and schools."

The problem with any deliberate attempt to build social capital, as Petrilli correctly notes, is that nobody has any idea how to do it. Petrilli accuses Putnam of suggesting that we throw money at the problem. Well, I haven't read the book yet (it's on the summer reading list), so I can't judge whether Petrilli's summation is correct or not.

But Petrilli himself offers three strategies for addressing the issue. And as is often the case, while he raises some interesting and worthwhile questions, his line of inquiry is derailed by his mission of selling charters and choice.
1. Invite poor children into schools with social capital to spare.

No, I don't think so. Social capital is about feeling supported, connected, and at home in your own community. You cannot feel at home in your own community by going to somebody else's community.

Schools contribute to social capital by belonging to the community, by being an outgrowth of the community which has significant role in running those schools. Inviting students into schools that are not in their community, that do not belong to those students and their families-- I don't think that gets you anything. Social capital finds expression in schools through things like evening gatherings at the school by people from the community. It depends on students and families who are tied through many, many links-- neighbors, families, friends. It depends on things as simple as a student who helps another student on homework by just stopping over at the house for a few minutes. These are things that don't happen when the students attend the same school, but live a huge distance apart.

Making a new student from another community a co-owner in a school is extraordinarily different. But anything less leaves the new student as simply a guest, and guests don't get to use the social capital of a community.

2. Build on the social capital that does exist in poor communities.

The basic idea here is solid. Putrnam's grim picture aside, poor communities still have institutions and groups that provide social capital, connectedness, support. I agree with Petrilli here, at least for about one paragraph. Then a promising idea veers off into shilling for charters and choice.

Education reformers should look for ways to nurture existing social capital and help it grow. Community-based charter schools are one way; so (again) is private-school choice.

Churches, service organizations (in my neck of the woods, think volunteer fire departments), and social groups (think Elks) are all community-based groups that add to social capital. Unfortunately, as Putnam noted in Bowling Alone, those sorts of groups are all in trouble.

One of the fundamental problems of social capital and these groups is a steady dispersing of the people in the community. People spend too much time spreading out to come together. Spreading them out more, so that their children are all in different schools and no longer know each other-- I don't see how that helps. Social capital is about connection.

3. Build social capital by creating new schools.

Exactly where does a high-poverty community come up with the money to build a new school? The answer, he acknowledges, is for charter operators to come in from outside and create a new school from scratch. He also acknowledges that it's an "open question" whether such schools create any new social capital.

I would also ask if it's really more inexpensive and efficient to spend the resources needed to start a new school from scratch than it is to invest those resources in the school that already exists. Particularly since with few exceptions, that new school is created to accommodate only some of the students in the community. If the community ends up financing two separate but unequal schools, that's not a financial improvement, and it is not creating social capital.

Do we actually care?

In the midst of these three points, Petrilli posits that growing social capital and growing academic achievement (aka test scores) are two different goals that are not always compatible, and we should not sacrifice test scores on the altar of social capital.

On this point I think Petrilli is dead wrong. There is not a lick of evidence that high test scores are connected to later success in life. On the other hand, there's plenty of evidence that social capital does, in fact, have a bearing on later success in life. High test scores are not a useful measure of anything, and they are not a worthwhile goal for schools or communities.

Petrilli's is doubtful that lefty solutions that involve trying to fix poverty by giving poor people money are likely to help, and that many social services simply deliver some basic services without building social capital, and in this, I think he might have a point.

And it occurs to me, reading Petrilli's piece, that I live in a place that actually has a good history of social capital, both in the building and the losing. I'm going to be posting about that in the days ahead because I think social capital conversation is one worth having, and definitely one worth having as more than a way to spin charters and choice. Sorry to leave you with a "to be continued..." but school is ending and I've got time on my hands."
socialcapital  mikepetrilli  petergreene  community  communities  busing  education  schools  testscores  testing  poverty  cityheights  libraries  reccenters  connectedness  support  edreform  reform  robertputnam  society  funding  neighborhoods  guests  connection  academics  inequality  charterschools 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Early Academic Training Produces Long-Term Harm | Psychology Today
"Research reveals negative effects of academic preschools and kindergartens."



"A Study in Germany that Changed Educational Policy There

For example, in the 1970s, the German government sponsored a large-scale comparison in which the graduates of 50 play-based kindergartens were compared, over time, with the graduates of 50 academic direct-instruction-based kindergartens.[2] Despite the initial academic gains of direct instruction, by grade four the children from the direct-instruction kindergartens performed significantly worse than those from the play-based kindergartens on every measure that was used. In particular, they were less advanced in reading and mathematics and less well adjusted socially and emotionally. At the time of the study, Germany was gradually making a switch from traditional play-based kindergartens to academic ones. At least partly as a result of the study, Germany reversed that trend; they went back to play-based kindergartens. Apparently, German educational authorities, at least at that time, unlike American authorities today, actually paid attention to educational research and used it to inform educational practice.

A Large-Scale Study of Children from Poverty in the United States

Similar studies in the United States have produced comparable results. One study, directed by Rebecca Marcon, focused on mostly African American children from high-poverty families.[3] As expected, she found—in her sample of 343 students--that those who attended preschools centered on academic training showed initial academic advantages over those who attended play-based preschools; but, by the end of fourth grade, these initial advantages were reversed: The children from the play-based preschools were now performing better, getting significantly higher school grades, than were those from the academic preschools, This study included no assessment of social and emotional development.

An Experiment in Which Children from Poverty Were Followed up to Age 23

In a well-controlled experiment, begun by David Weikart and his colleagues in 1967, sixty eight high-poverty children living in Ypsilanti, Michigan, were assigned to one of three types of nursery schools: Traditional (play-based), High/Scope (which was like the traditional but involved more adult guidance), and Direct Instruction (where the focus was on teaching reading, writing, and math, using worksheets and tests). The assignment was done in a semi-random way, designed to ensure that the three groups were initially matched on all available measures. In addition to the daily preschool experiences, the experiment also included a home visit every two weeks, aimed at instructing parents in how to help their children. These visits focused on the same sorts of methods as did the preschool classrooms. Thus, home visits from the Traditional classrooms focused on the value of play and socialization while those from the Direct-Instruction classrooms focused on academic skills, worksheets, and the like.

The initial results of this experiment were similar to those of other such studies. Those in the direct-instruction group showed early academic gains, which soon vanished. This study, however, also included follow-up research when the participants were 15 years old and again when they were 23 years old. At these ages there were no significant differences among the groups in academic achievement, but large, highly significant differences in social and emotional characteristics.

By age 15 those in the Direct Instruction group had committed, on average, more than twice as many “acts of misconduct” than had those in the other two groups. At age 23, as young adults, the differences were even more dramatic. Those in the Direct Instruction group had more instances of friction with other people, were more likely to have shown evidence of emotional impairment, were less likely to be married and living with their spouse, and were far more likely to have committed a crime than were those in the other two groups. In fact, by age 23, 39% of those in the Direct Instruction group had felony arrest records compared to an average of 13.5% in the other two groups; and 19% of the Direct Instruction group had been cited for assault with a dangerous weapon compared with 0% in the other two groups.[4]

What might account for such dramatic long-term effects of type of preschool attended? One possibility is that the initial school experience sets the stage for later behavior. Those in classrooms where they learned to plan their own activities, to play with others, and to negotiate differences may have developed lifelong patterns of personal responsibility and pro-social behavior that served them well throughout their childhood and early adulthood. Those in classrooms that emphasized academic performance may have developed lifelong patterns aimed at achievement, and getting ahead, which—especially in the context of poverty—could lead to friction with others and even to crime (as a misguided means of getting ahead).

I suspect that the biweekly home visits played a meaningful role. The parents of those in the classrooms that focused on play, socialization, and student initiative may have developed parenting styles that continued to reinforce those values and skills as the children were growing up, and the parents of those in the academic training group may have developed parenting styles more focused on personal achievement (narrowly defined) and self-centered values—values that did not bode well for real-world success."
petergray  psychology  education  children  learning  howwelearn  academics  2015  directinstuction  unschooling  deschooling  schooling  schooliness  poverty  davidweikart  rebeccamarcon  nancycarlsson-paige  geralynmclaughlin  joanalmon 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Common-place: Common Reading: Undisciplined Reading: Finding surprise in how we read, Matthew P. Brown
"I read and teach novels regularly. But is the linear novel the only way one gets lost in a book? Consider those reference works that captivate you: a cookbook, a sports trivia volume, or a recordings guide. You open these books and escape into the pleasure of the cross-reference, the serendipitous, the transport to the known and the unknown. When I open David Thomson's New Biographical Dictionary of Film, forty minutes later the hard-boiled eggs are hard and boiling over, the cats are draped over the sleeping three-year-old, the dishes are still in the sink. Other than in Thomson's massaging, prickly prose, I know not where I am. The faint motion sickness I feel is from the cascade of ideas, memories, and anticipations, so different from the psychological and physiological response to channel- or Web-surfing, comparable fragmented modes of consumption. But reference-book reading of this sort assumes connoisseurship—that fancy word for heavy-panting, lighter-waving fandom—a habit of mind profoundly disciplinary.

I should feel shame about my disorderly reading, but I don't. In fact, I'd like to defend it as a reading practice of depth, rather than superficiality. Disorderly reading mimics the mind's generative activity of thought and discovery, those instances where you know something is happening but you don't know what it is. We might better call it discontinuous or nonlinear reading and acknowledge its long history, a history that reveals the fact that nonlinear reading lends itself to routinized procedure as well.

Reading seems ineluctably bound up in discipline, in customary behavior that precedes and structures the significance of the reading. But how then does reading become a means to the new, the unknown, the undiscovered? If even messy reading falls into predictable patterns and outcomes, how might what we read, or rather how we read, surprise us?

My contention is that one might use discipline to escape discipline, that freeing the mind is achieved by entering into restrictive procedures that liberate thinking. Let's begin by assessing that literary form most associated with the unknown, the undiscovered, or the novel—that is, the novel. Then we'll turn to early modern disciplines, finding analogies in them for contemporary reading scenes. Our guide here will be that Other to the twenty-first-century secular intellectual: the seventeenth-century English devout, those bigoted regicides and colonial Malvolios known—not without controversy, now and then, now perhaps more than then—as "Puritans.""



"Another reading discipline of surprise derived from Puritan mores is the conventicle. Conventicles were extramural religious meetings of select congregants within a church, most famously practiced in early America by Anne Hutchinson during the Antinomian controversy. (A quiescent version of conventicling from contemporary church history is the cellular model of Rick Warren's organization, the Saddleback megachurch.) Rooted in the idea that reading matter rather than institutional authority could be a source of spiritual sustenance, conventiclers absorbed scripture, repeated sermons, and sang psalms. Conventicling operated along a spectrum from conservative to separatist. And, like puritan, conventicle was a rhetorically charged word that could mean devout private gathering or conspiratorial unlawful assembly, depending upon who did the labeling.

Pious or riotous, conventicling illuminates a classroom dynamic familiar to current undergraduate literature professors. My rough sense is that in research universities and non-elite colleges, a majority of the students in each course are cats we herd unsuccessfully, while a largish minority learn something in a rote way. The remnant is the conventicle, actual or virtual students who meet with their minds in class discussion, with each other outside of class, and with the professor after sessions. When I read Susannah Rowson or Herman Melville or Toni Morrison or Richard Powers for class preparation, I have the majority in mind, as I gather the three points I want to get across in the fifty minutes. Reaching and teaching this majority is one of the real pleasures of my professorial life. But, in the reading prep, I have the conventicle in mind, for that is where the surprise happens."
via:asfaltics  reading  howweread  matthewpbrown  2007  books  chaos  messiness  linearity  novels  behavior  orderliness  rules  academics  academia  pedagogy  nonliner  structure  structures  puritans  conventicles  oulipo  authorlessness  linear 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Talk to Your Kids: The poorer parents are, the less they talk with their children. The mayor of Providence is trying to close the “word gap.”
"Providence Talks had its critics, some of whom thought that the program seemed too intrusive. The A.C.L.U. raised questions about what would happen to the recordings, and one of the organization’s Rhode Island associates, Hillary Davis, told National Journal, “There’s always a concern when we walk in with technology into lower-income families, immigrant populations, minority populations, and we say, ‘This will help you.’ ” She continued, “We don’t necessarily recognize the threat to their own safety or liberty that can accidentally come along with that.”

Others charged that Providence Talks was imposing middle-class cultural values on poorer parents who had their own valid approaches to raising children, and argued that the program risked faulting parents for their children’s academic shortcomings while letting schools off the hook. Nobody contested the fact that, on average, low-income children entered kindergarten with fewer scholastic skills than kids who were better off, but there were many reasons for the disparity, ranging from poor nutrition to chaotic living conditions to the absence of a preschool education. In a caustic essay titled “Selling the Language Gap,” which was published in Anthropology News, Susan Blum, of Notre Dame, and Kathleen Riley, of Fordham, called Providence Talks an example of “silver-bullet thinking,” the latest in a long history of “blame-the-victim approaches to language and poverty.”

To some scholars, the program’s emphasis on boosting numbers made it seem as though the quality of conversation didn’t matter much. As James Morgan, a developmental psycholinguist at Brown University, put it, obsessive word counting might lead parents to conclude that “saying ‘doggy, doggy, doggy, doggy’ is more meaningful than saying ‘doggy.’ ” Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a psychologist at Temple University, told me that Hart and Risley had “done a very important piece of work that pointed to a central problem”; nevertheless, their findings had often been interpreted glibly, as if the solution were to let words “just wash over a child, like the background noise of a TV.” Her own research, including a recent paper written with Lauren Adamson and other psychologists, points to the importance of interactions between parents and children in which they are both paying attention to the same thing—a cement mixer on the street, a picture in a book—and in which the ensuing conversation (some of which might be conducted in gestures) is fluid and happens over days, even weeks. “It’s not just serve and return,” Hirsh-Pasek said. “It’s serve and return—and return and return.”

The original Hart and Risley research, whose data set had only six families in the poorest category, was also called into question. Mark Liberman, a linguist at the University of Pennsylvania, said, “Do low-income people talk with their kids less? Well, that’s a question about millions of people. Think of people in the survey business, trying to predict elections or develop a marketing campaign. They would find it laughable to draw conclusions without a large randomized sample.” Encouraging adults to talk more to children was all to the good, Liberman said, but it was important to remember that “there are some wealthy people who don’t talk to their children much and some poor people who talk a lot.”

Indeed, recent research that supports Hart and Risley’s work has found a great deal of variability within classes. In 2006, researchers at the LENA Foundation recorded the conversations of three hundred and twenty-nine families, who were divided into groups by the mothers’ education level, a reasonable proxy for social class. Like Hart and Risley, the LENA researchers determined that, on average, parents who had earned at least a B.A. spoke more around their children than other parents: 14,926 words per day versus 12,024. (They attributed Hart and Risley’s bigger gap to the fact that they had recorded families only during the late afternoon and the evening—when families talk most—and extrapolated.) But the LENA team also found that some of the less educated parents spoke a lot more than some of the highly educated parents.

Anne Fernald, a psychologist at Stanford, has published several papers examining the influence of socioeconomic status on children’s language development. In one recent study, Fernald, with a colleague, Adriana Weisleder, and others, identified “large disparities” among socioeconomic groups in “infants’ language processing, speech production, and vocabulary.” But they also found big differences among working-class families, both in terms of “the children’s language proficiency and the parents’ verbal engagement with the child.” Fernald, who sits on the scientific advisory board for Providence Talks, told me, “Some of the wealthiest families in our research had low word counts, possibly because they were on their gadgets all day. So you can see an intermingling at the extremes of rich and poor. Socioeconomic status is not destiny.”

In response to the privacy concerns, Mayor Taveras and his team volunteered their own households to be the first ones recorded. They also guaranteed that the LENA Foundation’s software would erase the recordings after the algorithm analyzed the data. Though this probably reassured some families, it also disappointed some scholars. “That’s a huge amount of data being thrown out!” James Morgan, of Brown, told me. “There were real concerns whether families would participate otherwise. But as a scientist it breaks my heart.”

To those who argued that Providence Talks embodied cultural imperialism, staff members responded that, on the contrary, they were “empowering” parents with knowledge. Andrea Riquetti, the Providence Talks director, told me, “It really is our responsibility to let families know what it takes to succeed in the culture they live in. Which may not necessarily be the same as the culture they have. But it’s their choice whether they decide to. It’s not a case of our saying, ‘You have to do this.’ ” Riquetti grew up in Quito, Ecuador, came to America at the age of seventeen, and worked for many years as a kindergarten teacher in Providence schools. In Latino culture, she said, “the school is seen as being in charge of teaching children their letters and all that, while parents are in charge of discipline—making sure they listen and they’re good and they sit still. Parents don’t tend, overall, to give children a lot of choices and options. It’s kind of like ‘I rule the roost so that you can behave and learn at school.’ ” The Providence Talks approach “is a little more like ‘No, your child and what they have to say is really important.’ And having them feel really good about themselves as opposed to passive about their learning is important, because that’s what’s going to help them succeed in this culture.”

Riquetti and the Providence Talks team didn’t seem troubled by the concerns that Hart and Risley’s data set wasn’t robust enough. Although no subsequent study has found a word gap as large as thirty million, several of them have found that children in low-income households have smaller vocabularies than kids in higher-income ones. This deficit correlates with the quantity and the quality of talk elicited by the adults at home, and becomes evident quite early—in one study, when some kids were eighteen months old. Lack of conversation wasn’t the only reason that low-income kids started out behind in school, but it was certainly a problem.

The biggest question was whether Providence Talks could really change something as personal, casual, and fundamental as how people talk to their babies. Erika Hoff, of Florida Atlantic University, told me, “In some ways, parenting behavior clearly can change. I have a daughter who has a baby now and she does everything differently from how I did it—putting babies to sleep on their backs, not giving them milk till they’re a year old. But patterns of interacting are different. You’re trying to get people to change something that seems natural to them and comes from a fairly deep place. I don’t know how malleable that is.”

After decades of failed educational reforms, few policymakers are naïve enough to believe that a single social intervention could fully transform disadvantaged children’s lives. The growing economic inequality in America is too entrenched, too structural. But that’s hardly an argument for doing nothing. Although improvements in test scores associated with preschool programs fade as students proceed through elementary school, broader benefits can be seen many years later. A few oft-cited studies have shown that low-income kids who attended high-quality preschool programs were more likely to graduate from high school and less likely to become pregnant as teen-agers or to be incarcerated; they also earned more money, on average, than peers who were not in such programs. Such data suggest that a full assessment of Providence Talks will take decades to complete."
class  language  cultue  education  parenting  2015  margarettalbot  headstart  bettyhart  toddrisley  nclb  learning  vocabulary  rttt  policy  angeltaveras  providence  rhodeisland  conversation  words  children  howwelearn  providencetalks  andreariquetti  jamesmorgan  linguistics  annettelareau  patriciakuhl  richardweissbourd  debate  verbalacuity  advocacy  self-advocacy  academics  schoolreadiness  kennethwong 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Low-Income High School Students Get Less Time to Learn, Calif. Study Shows - Time and Learning - Education Week
"The difference between attending a high-poverty and a low-poverty high school in California is nearly two weeks of instructional time a year, according to a new study on lost learning time from the graduate school of education at the University of California, Los Angeles.

In schools where most students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, teachers said they lost about 30 minutes of class time a day to emergency lockdowns, computer shortages, noisy and dirty classrooms, a lack of qualified substitutes, preparation for standardized tests, and students' dealing with the stresses of living in poverty.

As the chart below illustrates, the report also found that on any given day, low-income students are three times more likely than wealthier students to miss school, arrive late, or be distracted in class because they're hungry, homeless, don't have transportation to school, have no health insurance and are sick or caring for sick family members, are dealing with immigration issues, or live in violent neighborhoods.

"The ZIP code that you live in and, hence, the neighborhood in which you go to school, determines how much learning time you have, and the amount of learning time is a critical educational opportunity," said John Rogers, a UCLA education professor and co-author of the report."
education  2014  california  publicschools  poverty  inequality  hunger  violence  immigration  stress  health  academics  schools 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Never change | MrMacnology
"My wife sent me this picture today. It’s put a smile on my face ever since I saw it. It is a perfect example of who my son is. He is silly and he enjoys indulging his imagination. I hope this never changes. He is fortunate to have a wonderful 2nd grade teacher this year that fosters these traits and has created an environment where my son feels comfortable, safe, and happy to be himself.

But what happens next year? What happens if he has a teacher that was looking for a more “academic" answer? What would have happened if he had another teacher that told him that his answer was wrong? Is it wrong? At what point do we as teachers and educators stop allowing our students to be themselves; stop allowing them to share a different answer that’s not on the answer key; stop allowing students to bring their world into their classroom and into their learning without consequence?

As I sit and laugh at my son’s answer, my eyes well up with appreciation for who he is becoming…but they also well up because I’m afraid. I’m afraid that someone might say something that discourages him from being himself; that discourages him feeling safe to share his thoughts and explain his learning in ways that are meaningful and relevant to him. I’m afraid that person could be me. Maybe I’m over thinking this. Maybe I’m not."
learning  education  parenting  schools  schooliness  creativity  2014  unschooling  deschooling  fear  meaning  meaningmaking  relevance  academics  assessment  jeremymacdonald 
october 2014 by robertogreco
McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: A Generic College Paper.
"Since the beginning of time, bullshit, flowery overgeneralization with at least one thesaurus’d vocabulary word. In addition, irrelevant and misleading personal anecdote. However, oversimplification of first Googled author (citation: p. 37). Thesis statement which doesn’t follow whatsoever from the previous.

Utterly contrived topic sentence revealing pretty much every flaw of structured essay writing. Therefore, supporting sentence invoking source that exists only in the bibliographies of other cited material (pp. arbitrary to arbitrary + 5). Contemplative question? Definitive refutation paraphrased from a blog found at 2AM:
“Massive block text to lend legitimacy to this sorry endeavor.”
— Legitimate-sounding Anglo Saxon name (year between 1859 and 1967)

Obviously, non-sequitur segue. Utter misinterpretation of the only other author researched for this paper. Blind search for evidence reflecting increasing desperation (authors 4, 5, and 6). Moreover, loose observation to try to force coherence. Indeed, an attempt at humor!

Hence, statement violating every principle of syllogism followed by unnecessary semi-colon; forgettable punch line. Open-ended question undoing what little intellectual progress has been made? Filler sentence, which breaks entire flow of argument, specifically designed with maximum complexity in mind so as to solve lingering word minimum concerns.

Unconvincing conclusion statement. Empty belief that prompt has been answered sufficiently and requires no further investigation by anyone, ever. Last sentence, which consumed approximately 95% of the total mental effort dedicated—still reads clunky."
writing  education  essays  academics  howwewrite  howweteach  schooliness  fiveparagraphessays 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Why Girls Get Better Grades Than Boys Do - The Atlantic
[My tweet: https://twitter.com/rogre/status/512741051941924864 "“Why Girls Get Better Grades Than Boys Do” http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/09/why-girls-get-better-grades-than-boys-do/380318/ … Missing: Conscientiousness or deference? Innate or conditioned?"]

"This self-discipline edge for girls carries into middle-school and beyond. In a 2006 landmark study, Martin Seligman and Angela Lee Duckworth found that middle-school girls edge out boys in overall self-discipline. This contributes greatly to their better grades across all subjects. They found that girls are more adept at “reading test instructions before proceeding to the questions,” “paying attention to a teacher rather than daydreaming,” “choosing homework over TV,” and “persisting on long-term assignments despite boredom and frustration.” These top cognitive scientists from the University of Pennsylvania also found that girls are apt to start their homework earlier in the day than boys and spend almost double the amount of time completing it. Girls’ grade point averages across all subjects were higher than those of boys, even in basic and advanced math—which, again, are seen as traditional strongholds of boys.

What Drs. Seligman and Duckworth label “self-discipline,” other researchers name “conscientiousness.” Or, a predisposition to plan ahead, set goals, and persist in the face of frustrations and setbacks. Conscientiousness is uniformly considered by social scientists to be an inborn personality trait that is not evenly distributed across all humans. In fact, a host of cross-cultural studies show that females tend to be more conscientious than males. One such study by Lindsay Reddington out of Columbia University even found that female college students are far more likely than males to jot down detailed notes in class, transcribe what professors say more accurately, and remember lecture content better. Arguably, boys’ less developed conscientiousness leaves them at a disadvantage in school settings where grades heavily weight good organizational skills alongside demonstrations of acquired knowledge.

These days, the whole school experience seems to play right into most girls’ strengths—and most boys’ weaknesses. Gone are the days when you could blow off a series of homework assignments throughout the semester but pull through with a respectable grade by cramming for and acing that all-important mid-term exam. Getting good grades today is far more about keeping up with and producing quality homework—not to mention handing it in on time.

Gwen Kenney-Benson, a psychology professor at Allegheny College, a liberal arts institution in Pennsylvania, says that girls succeed over boys in school because they tend to be more mastery-oriented in their schoolwork habits. They are more apt to plan ahead, set academic goals, and put effort into achieving those goals. They also are more likely than boys to feel intrinsically satisfied with the whole enterprise of organizing their work, and more invested in impressing themselves and their teachers with their efforts.

On the whole, boys approach schoolwork differently. They are more performance-oriented. Studying for and taking tests taps into their competitive instincts. For many boys, tests are quests that get their hearts pounding. Doing well on them is a public demonstration of excellence and an occasion for a high-five. In contrast, Kenney-Benson and some fellow academics provide evidence that the stress many girls experience in test situations can artificially lower their performance, giving a false reading of their true abilities. These researchers arrive at the following overarching conclusion: “The testing situation may underestimate girls’ abilities, but the classroom may underestimate boys’ abilities.”

It is easy to for boys to feel alienated in an environment where homework and organization skills account for so much of their grades. But the educational tide may be turning in small ways that give boys more of a fighting chance. An example of this is what occurred several years ago at Ellis Middle School, in Austin, Minnesota. Teachers realized that a sizable chunk of kids who aced tests trundled along each year getting C’s, D’s, and F’s. At the same time, about 10 percent of the students who consistently obtained A’s and B’s did poorly on important tests. Grading policies were revamped and school officials smartly decided to furnish kids with two separate grades each semester. One grade was given for good work habits and citizenship, which they called a “life skills grade.” A “knowledge grade” was given based on average scores across important tests. Tests could be retaken at any point in the semester, provided a student was up to date on homework.

Staff at Ellis Middle School also stopped factoring homework into a kid’s grade. Homework was framed as practice for tests. Incomplete or tardy assignments were noted but didn’t lower a kid’s knowledge grade. The whole enterprise of severely downgrading kids for such transgressions as occasionally being late to class, blurting out answers, doodling instead of taking notes, having a messy backpack, poking the kid in front, or forgetting to have parents sign a permission slip for a class trip, was revamped.

This last point was of particular interest to me. On countless occasions, I have attended school meetings for boy clients of mine who are in an ADHD red-zone. I have learned to request a grade print-out in advance. Not uncommonly, there is a checkered history of radically different grades: A, A, A, B, B, F, F, A. When F grades and a resultant zero points are given for late or missing assignments, a student’s C grade does not reflect his academic performance. Since boys tend to be less conscientious than girls—more apt to space out and leave a completed assignment at home, more likely to fail to turn the page and complete the questions on the back—a distinct fairness issue comes into play when a boy’s occasional lapse results in a low grade. Sadly though, it appears that the overwhelming trend among teachers is to assign zero points for late work. In one survey by Conni Campbell, associate dean of the School of Education at Point Loma Nazarene University, 84 percent of teachers did just that.

Disaffected boys may also benefit from a boot camp on test-taking, time-management, and study habits. These core skills are not always picked up by osmosis in the classroom, or from diligent parents at home. Of course, addressing the learning gap between boys and girls will require parents, teachers and school administrators to talk more openly about the ways each gender approaches classroom learning—and that difference itself remains a tender topic."
gender  schools  boys  girls  education  homework  compliance  conscienciousness  angeladuckworth  2014  martinseligman  deference  authority  self-discipline  adhd  grades  grading  gwenkenney-benson  conditioning  goalsetting  persistence  lindsayreddington  connicampbell  disaffection  testtaking  timemanagement  studyhabits  learninggap  attention  distraction  academics  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  teaching  gendernorms  society  enricognaulati  assessment  standardization 
september 2014 by robertogreco
‘The Procedure’ and how it is harming education
"Imagine John as the best middle school science teacher in America. Put him in an expertly administered upper-class suburban school. Assign him smart, healthy, highly motivated kids, drawn from advanced placement classes. Be sure each has two college-educated, happily married parents.Limit his class to no more than a dozen, and schedule it for late morning when they’re sharpest.

Now, hand John that 776-page textbook to distribute—the one organized like the contents of a dumpster at a demolition site—and assure him it covers the material that will be on the high-stakes tests.

What will happen? Almost certainly, at the end of the term every kid in John’s class will ace the test, and everybody—kids, parents, administrators, school board, the local newspaper, cable news—will be impressed and happy.

Everybody except John. He won’t be impressed and happy because (remember?) he’s the best middle school science teacher in America, and he knows—notwithstanding the test scores—how little his students actually learned in their race to the end of the textbook. They slam-dunked the test not because they learned a lot of science but because they followed The Procedure.

The Procedure: 1. Take notes during lectures, and hi-lite key sentences in the textbook. 2. Before a big test, load the notes and hi-lited passages into short-term memory. 3. Take the test. 4. Flush short-term memory and prepare for its re-use.

It’s no exaggeration to say that just about everybody in the country thinks The Procedure isn’t just acceptable but essential. It’s so broadly used, so familiar, so taken-for-granted, that many schools and universities go to great pains to accommodate it. Some even have rituals to enhance it.

The Procedure, of course, is called “cramming.” Do it well and it leads steadily up the academic ladder.

But here’s a question: Does The Procedure have anything do with educating?

Learning—real LEARNING—starts when, for whatever reason, the learner wants it to start. It proceeds if the aim is clear and what’s being learned connects logically and solidly to existing knowledge. It’s strengthened when mistakes are made, clarifying the potential and limitations of the new knowledge. It’s reinforced when it’s put to frequent, immediate, meaningful, real-world use. It becomes permanent when it’s made part of the learner’s organized, consciously known “master” structure of knowledge.

Slow down for a moment and think about it. Cramming is indisputable proof of the superficiality and inefficiency—even the failure—of what’s going on in most classrooms across America. What’s crammed wasn’t learned or there would be no need to cram; what’s crammed isn’t learned or it wouldn’t be forgotten.

In the real world, where it counts, the gap between crammers and learners is vast, and tends to widen over time. Unfortunately, the thus-far-successful “reform” effort to cover the standard material at a standard pace, and replace teacher judgment with machine-scored standardized tests has further institutionalized cramming and hidden the failure its use proves.

What a waste!

Here’s a fact: Information overload is just one of about two-dozen serious problems directly or indirectly connected to our 19th Century core curriculum. Sadly, no, tragically, instead of rethinking that curriculum, starting with its fundamental premises and assumptions, reformers have considered it so nearly perfect they’re determined to force it on every kid in America.

Aren’t we going at the job backwards? Shouldn’t we be doing just the opposite—developing and capitalizing on the learner diversity that enables humankind to adapt to change?"
marionbrady  2014  memorization  cramming  learning  schools  teaching  education  standardizedtesting  testing  academics  policy 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Free is not for Nothing. — Medium
"If you’ve never experienced it, “free” just seems like a lower number on a slider that has “half-price” in the middle. But free is not a number.

If you paid for your education, you’re likely to understand education in transactional terms. In straightforward economic terms, it means that if you charge some money, you can have some stuff. With more money comes more stuff, higher quality stuff.

But “free” is something different than “less.” And free is not less than cheap. It’s something else entirely.

Instead of education, try thinking about love. There are people who pay for love. Some pay a lot, some pay a little. But let’s be honest: everyone knows that the moment you start paying anything, it’s not just love plus money. It’s something else entirely, and the problems in paying aren’t solved by paying less than others."



"What our experiences often have in common is this: for many of us, Cooper wasn’t even the cheapest way to go to school. And it certainly didn’t offer the best facilities, campus, labs, studios, athletics, or dorm life. It was always about immense sacrifices.

So the question is: why did we go? We went not because of the financial value of free — that is, zero tuition — but rather, because of the academic value of free.

Free for everyone meant that the students who were there were beholden to nothing (nothing!) except their passion, talent, hard work, and brilliance. This unique, very particular sensibility — that, more than any other thing they could build, hire or install — this was the experience of the institution."



"Because “free” affects far more than than a fiscal bottom line. It affects the intentions, behavior, ambition, and performance of everyone in the system. In other words, it determines the academic quality."



"Remaining free is what will allow Cooper Union’s shortcomings to remain what they were for us: a source of pride, of worthy sacrifice, a reason to fight, and strive, and someday, to give back.

Academic quality is a framing, a mindset, for the best students and for the best faculty, all of whom have choices about where to settle down. They won’t come to Cooper because it’s cheaper. They went there because it was free. We were seeking an exceptional environment. Genuinely exceptional. Cooper Union was exceptional.

It came to the edge through mismanagement and misconduct. And now, I fear, misunderstanding. Most anyone who experienced it knows that the tuition-free education was the source of academic excellence, not the threat to it."



"Attending a free school of sacrifices taught me something about what free meant. Building a half-price school of sacrifices is to succumb to the culture of Cubic Zirconium and Corinthian Leather. It’s fool’s gold. Ghetto scrip. It’s not for real, and it’s not for good."

[Felix Salmon after the vote: "The Shame of Cooper Union" http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2014/01/11/the-shame-of-cooper-union/ ]
kevinslavin  cooperunion  free  love  money  education  academics  struggle  effort  meaning  sacrifice  lean  2014  highered  highereducation  tuition  transactions  payment 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Why Academic Teaching Doesn’t Help Kids Excel In Life | MindShift
"Academics. Most of our current school system revolves around it, and yet, I think it falls miserably short of what our kids need. To be honest, I think our academic system of education is highly overrated, at best. At worst, it destroys a number of our kids.

Hear me out. I’m not saying that our kids shouldn’t learn to read, or do math, or develop other valuable skills. But too often, the focus of our kids’ school day is Content with a capital C, with little connection to why it matters. Instead of learning together, many of our students spend hours filling in worksheets or copying down lecture notes that they could google in 30 seconds.

Too often the lectures they listen to are boring and irrelevant to their lives. And from my experience, most of this content is simply memorized, spewed out for an exam and then quickly forgotten. But beyond this, there’s often only one right answer, which frequently cultivates in our students a fear of failure.

SCHOOLS VALUE HOOP JUMPING

For the most part, kids who we consider “academic” tend to be good hoop jumpers. They’ve figured out the system and can navigate their way through the predictable demands of the system. But they are seldom truly engaged. Rarely are they transformed by their learning. They’re going through the motions.

Research shows that some of the least engaged students are the highest achievers. Think about that. They do well because they know how to “do school.” Is this really the best we have to offer them? What if you’re not “academic”? Most of these kids pass through too many years of their young lives feeling like they don’t measure up. Feeling stupid. And for some, it radically alters their trajectory of their adult lives. Unfortunately, too many students have to recover from school once they graduate. Is this really what we want for them?"



"THREE QUESTIONS TO GUIDE STUDENT-DRIVEN LEARNING

As I’ve worked with my students, we’ve come to realize they need to be able to answer three questions, regardless of what we’re researching:

What are you going to learn?
How are you going to learn it?
How are you going to show me you’re learning?
How they get to this last question is often their decision. And what they come up with never fails to surprise me.

My classroom hasn’t always looked like this. But over the past three years we’ve shifted to a constructivist pedagogy that has transformed not only my thinking, but my students as well. Now we learn in an inquiry, PBL, tech-embedded classroom.

The journey at times has been painful and messy, but well worth the work. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that my students will often exceed my expectations, if only they’re given the chance."

[Reminds me some of something I wrote: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/66225339559/a-curriculum-in-questions ]
shelleywright  constructivism  student-derivenlearning  learning  teaching  education  schools  howwelearn  2013  cv  tcsmny  academics 
november 2013 by robertogreco
HammerOn Press - The Para-Academic Handbook
"There is a name for those under-and precariously employed, but actively working, academics in today's society: the para-academic.

Para-academics mimic academic practices so they are liberated from the confines of the university. Our work, and our lives, reflect how the idea of a university as a place for knowledge production, discussion and learning, has become distorted by neo-liberal market forces. We create alternative, genuinely open access, learning-thinking-making-acting spaces on the internet, in publications, in exhibitions, discussion groups or other mediums that seem appropriate to the situation. We don't sit back and worry about our career developments paths. We write for the love of it, we think because we have to, we do it because we care.

We take the prefix para- to illustrate how we work alongside, beside, next to, and rub up against, the all too proper location of the Academy, making the work of higher education a little more irregular, a little more perverse, a little more improper. Our work takes up the potential of the multiple and contradictory resonances of para- as decisive location for change, within the university as much as beyond it.

Specialists in all manner of things, from the humanities to the social and biological sciences, the para-academic works alongside the traditional university, sometimes by necessity, sometimes by choice, usually a mixture of both. Frustrated by the lack of opportunities to research, create learning experiences or make a basic living within the university on our own terms, para-academics don't seek out alternative careers in the face of an evaporated future, we just continue to do what we've always done: write, research, learn, think, and facilitate that process for others.

We do this without prior legitimisation from any one institution. Para-academics do not need to churn out endless 'outputs' because of the pressures of a heavily assessed research environment. We work towards making ideas because learning, sharing, thinking and creating matter beyond easily quantifiable 'products'. And we know that this is possible, that we are possible, without the constraints of an increasingly hierarchical academy.

As the para-academic community grows there is a real need to build supportive networks, share knowledge, ideas and strategies that can allow these types of interventions to become sustainable and flourish. There is a very real need to create spaces of solace, action and creativity.

The Para-Academic Handbook: A Toolkit for making-learning-creating-acting, edited by Alex Wardrop and Deborah Withers, calls for articles (between 1,000-6,000 words), cartoons, photographs, illustrations, inspirations and other forms of text/graphic communication exploring para-academic practice, and its place within active intellectual cultures of the early 21st century."
academics  books  para-academics  alexwardrop  deborahwithers  specialists  research  learning  thinking  making  acting  internet  web  online  markets  economics  knowledgeproduction  networks  networkedlearning  2014 
may 2013 by robertogreco
The University as a Googleplex | MPG
"When you hear people say - now and in our present context - that they want the university to be run like a business - full of "sherpas" but not "coasters" - what they really mean is that they don't want it to exist. At all. They don't want it to be dependent on public dollars, or "welfare," or that they don't want "tenured radicals" to be rewarded for obscure, narrowly applicable research agendas, or that they want higher education to be cheap and affordable. This is a certain kind of business model. More like Wal-Mart. It cheapens education. And it spells, down the road, the end of schooling, generally, as anything other than a bestowal of bare skills on a prospective worker."



"Yes, there are serious structural problems with interdisciplinarity. Many clever deans and provosts and chancellors see the metaphors of "bridges" and "switching points" and "nodes" as cutting-edge cost-saving measures, since, in many cases, a single jointly-appointed faculty isn't a truly new hire; he or she is a reallocated budget line, once wholly in one department or another, and now split. Budget problems are real and ongoing. Your average administratrix does the best that he or she can in an age of limited resources to keep the antique disciplines strong and to open the curriculum up to the avante-garde at the same time. Sometimes, they figure - or hope? - that a single person, allocated in two directions, can do the institutional work of many.

If you are trying to foster new knowledge, hiring is the start of it, not the end. What comes next, though, is what often gets skipped: building a more robust interdisciplinary infrastructure - a Googleplex for academics.

So, then, build bridges, where and when you can. Worry as much about sidewalks as that new humanities building. Offer faculty and staff subventions for a bicycle, or give them away. Don't get too caught up with putting the cognate units close together. Make the process of connection over space easier, so that the practice of articulation between units and fields and offices is generative. Keep your faculty moving. Good ideas often come on the road, in transit, in the spaces between destination and departure. If budgets are tight, worry less about clustering like-minded units; worry more about the creation of scenic walkways with flat, safe sidewalks, and benches.

But, then, don't skimp on the tech. You know what kills ideas? It isn't the sprint from one office to another. It is the discovery, on the end of the route, of dodgy wifi, spotty ethernet, and the chatter of the prehistoric desktop computer. Or it is the grinding weight of that 10 lbs. laptop from 2005. So, really, ipads for everyone and segways, too, along with moleskine notebooks, whiteboards, and color pens. Pay for iphones and cover the data costs. Spend the extra 10 million (a tenth of the cost of a big new LEED building) for the best internet connection. And, while you're at it, set up a shuttle bus. And if someone wants to see if the new google chromebook works for them - just as an experiment - say "yes." This isn't pampering. It is dreamscape infrastructure.

When the time comes to hire someone, embrace the weird. Hire people who don't mind wearing running shoes, or who text while they run, or who gchat through meetings. People who love to be in two places, or three, at once. People who aren't just working on three books at once, but who can actually make progress on each. People who can speak to a handful of fields and not just one. Hire foxes, not hedgehogs. And, above all else, hire people who can work with other people.

And then, finally, don't screw it all up by hanging these people out to dry: change the rules about tenure and promotion to protect interdisciplines, groupwork in the humanities, and digital publishing. Make it possible for new forms of knowledge production to be recognized as equally important and valuable. In the humanities, this means that we need to stop the unthinking worship of the book, and remember that the book is a vehicle for ideas, which get expressed - fully and richly - in many ways.

All of this stuff costs about as much as one lab for one scientist, which sounds pretty efficient to me. And the payoff, which may not come in the form of grant money or retail teaching, is worth every penny. If we want to measure our "best" and our "brightest" universities by their movement of the conversation, by their reorientation of everything we know about anything, then let's steal some good ideas from the Googleplex.

But let's also remember that the Googleplex and Google are different. The former is a structure of innovation, while the latter, just like Wal Mart, exists chiefly to market a product, in this case an eco-system through which an enhancement can be bought and downloaded. So build a Googleplex, but don't be Google. Because the central point here is that while universities can learn some useful things from studying corporate cultures of innovation, they can't ever be businesses. And anyone who says otherwise really, truly, and seriously just wants to kill them off."
highered  google  highereducation  education  business  publicgood  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  schooldesign  organization  2013  academics  technology  crosspollination  lcproject  openstudioproject  hiring  hierarchy  flatness  money  matthewprattguterl 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Lessons Learned: How a Progressive New School Adapts to Realities | MindShift
"One major change has been how students are grouped. The year started with kids of all ages — six to 12 — working together on everything. But that proved problematic. … Now, students are grouped into age-based cohorts, or “bands,” so that age-appropriate work could move along more smoothly."

"assessments covered three areas: students’ project-based learning, social and emotional learning, and skills acquisition and quantitative learning, according to Program Coordinator Justine Macauley. “Rather than assessing the students’ work product, we looked at their work and development during the process of their project,” asking questions like, Are they a supporter of other students’ projects or do they spearhead their own? Do they listen to others? Do they self-advocate? What subject areas do they gravitate to? and How adept is the student at organizing him/herself, their projects, their process?"

"Another change is the frequency in assessments…three times a year, instead of just once."
wateringdown  waterin  featurecreep  deschooling  unschooling  academics  rigor  pressure  parents  progressive  teaching  schools  program  curriculum  gevertulley  justinemacauley  2012  assessment  brightworks 
january 2013 by robertogreco
The American Scholar: Start a Blog - William Deresiewicz
"As Jack Miles puts it in a stellar essay on the question, “It takes years of disciplined preparation to become an academic. It takes years of undisciplined preparation to become an intellectual.”"

"But celebrity, like the institutionalization that comes with being an academic, is inimical to the intellectual’s mission: questioning the mental status quo. The more a part of things you are—the more embedded in the machinery of status and position—the harder that is to do. As Kazin said, “values are our only home in the universe.” Allegiances, to any group, are fatal. The intellectual’s job is to think past the culture: to question the myths, metaphors, and assumptions that limit our collective imagination. The founder of the breed was Socrates. As Kazin also said, an intellectual is someone for whom ideas are “instruments of salvation.” Becoming one requires a little more than setting up a blog."
disruption  status  celebrity  russelljacoby  academics  academia  intellectuals  socrates  deschooling  unschooling  outsiders  thesystem  jackmiles  writing  alfredkazin  haroldrosenberg  clementgreenberg  dwightmacdonald  lioneltrilling  edmundwilson  blogging  publicintellectuals  williamderesiewicz  2012  change  allegiances  outsider 
december 2012 by robertogreco
New Tools for Men of Letters
"The new graphic arts devices are, I believe, capable of working the other way—as implements for a more [p.180] decentralized and less professionalized culture, a culture of local literature and amateur scholarship.

This possibility is especially important today, when electric power promises to develop the village at the expense of the metropolis, and when shorter working hours offer a prospect of leisure to a population of which an increasing proportion is being exposed to college education.



Today the Western scholar’s problem is not to get hold of the books that everyone else has read or is reading but rather to procure materials that hardly anyone else would think of looking at.



Western civilization now expects even poetry to fit the Procrustean bed of the publishing industry.



The art of conversation, with its counterpart the dialogue [p.186] as a literary form for presenting ideas, has also declined since the days of Galileo, while the art of advertising has advanced.

…"

[So much more, but another reaction: academics will always hope everyone is more like them.]
poetry  printing  duplication  microfiche  microfilm  near-print  micro-copying  books  photo-offset  learning  decentralization  professionalization  wpa  greatdepression  dialog  conversation  letterwriting  letters  ruricomp  rural  local  localstudies  academics  academia  research  writing  amateurresearch  amateurism  literature  graphicarts  liberalarts  leisurearts  leisure  education  community  publishing  microformats  mimeograph  media  technology  communication  scholarship  digitalhumanities  1935  robertbinkley  dialogue  artleisure 
june 2012 by robertogreco
The labels change, the game remains the same « Mind Hacks
"Today’s New York Times has a huge feature on the illicit use of stimulant drugs like Ritalin and pharmaceutical amphetamines in colleges and schools by kids ‘seeking an academic edge’.

The piece is written like an exposé but if you know a little about the history of amphetamines, it is also incredibly ironic.

The ‘illicit stimulants for study’ situation is a complete replay of what happened with the branded amphetamine benzedrine in the 1930s, as recounted in Nicolas Rasmussen’s brilliant book On Speed: The Many Lives of Amphetamine…

…In 1937, none other than the The New York Times ran a story about benzedrine calling it a ‘high octane brain fuel’ and noting that without it the brain ‘does not run on all cylinders’. It was clearly pitched as a cognitive enhancer…

So the story isn’t really new but it’s ironic that the New York Times has inadvertently promoted the activity. Again."
speed  brainenhancingdrugs  focus  learning  schools  academics  ritalin  2012  mindhacks  attention  drugs  benzedrine  amphetamines 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Douglas Sloan – Insight-Imagination « Lebenskünstler
“An education in which skills, narrow intellect, and information have no connection with insight, imagination, feeling, beauty, conscience, and wonder and that systematically evades all engagement with the great, central issues and problems of human life, is a wasteland.”

[quoting David Bohm] “…insight is not restricted to great scientific discoveries or to artistic creations, but rather it is of critical importance in everything we do, especially in the affairs of ordinary life.”

“…chronological snobbery and temporal provincialism that so constrict the modern mind set.”

[and this especially on the academically 'gifted'] “Those who display the requisite intellectual skills are singled out as special for their proficiency in the use of an aspect of mind that has no intrinsic relationship to the art of living well as persons…Most have been ill equipped by their education to live well as persons, to find delight in friendship and love, in the joys of sound and touch and color…”
lcproject  insight  humanism  conscience  beauty  snobbery  academia  academics  gifted  deschooling  unschooling  friendship  love  wisdom  living  life  well-being  education  randallszott  douglassloan 
april 2012 by robertogreco
An Introverted Boy Against An Army of Label Makers | A.T. | Cleveland
"I certainly still lie awake some nights worrying that I am in denial, that Simon has some gross deficiency not yet identified, and I am did him great a disservice. I worry constantly that I should limit his reading and solitary time and push him into sports and classes and social activities. But just when I am about to write that check for ice hockey classes I touch base with my instinctive sense of my son, this imaginative, overly verbose happy creature, and decide not to risk ironing out his uniqueness.  Until we can figure out more creative ways to educate and encourage introspective boys who are neither high achievers nor troublemakers—boys “in the middle,” like Simon–I will keep holding my ground, my breath and my tongue, and shoo away the well-intentioned label makers who cross our path."
males  boys  academics  introspection  nclb  productivity  howwelearn  unstructured  creativity  specialized  learningdisabilities  slowprocessing  add  dysgraphia  dyslexia  adhd  overdiagnosis  autism  schooliness  schools  learningdifferences  learning  parenting  education  teaching  introverts  susancain  2012  annetrubek  shrequest1 
february 2012 by robertogreco
The American Crawl : Not Quite EverythingEverything: Why Our Approach to Music Education is Kinda Awful
"And all of this is to prelude a simple question: Why did I have to wait so long for this opportunity? While I was already a music “fan” and immersed in family practices that included going to musical performances, singing at family gatherings, and enthusiastically drumming on car dashboards, it really wasn’t until college that I was able to see music as a source of study, as a place to connect passion with purpose, a place to learn new ways of listening…

we leave music instruction into the hands of people who are inclined on the production side of things (and even then in only limited ways such as marching bands and big band numbers). Why do we wait to make the study of music, its history, and the cultural meaning of it an option only for those students that eventually matriculate into universities?"
anterogarcia  2011  ofwgkta  music  education  teaching  appreciation  listening  popularculture  oddfuture  culture  culturalstudies  semiotics  engagement  classideas  instruction  academics 
december 2011 by robertogreco
How college prep is killing high school - Ideas - The Boston Globe
"Emerging research in the education world suggests that a tougher approach to high school academics might leave students no better prepared for college and work, while also increasing the number of high school dropouts. The National Research Council concluded that high school exit exams have decreased high school graduation rates in the United States by 2 percentage points without increasing achievement. In Chicago, a 2010 study found no positive effects on student achievement from a school reform measure that ended remedial classes and required college preparatory course work for all students. High school graduation rates declined, and there was no improvement in college enrollment and retention rates among students who did graduate."
highschool  college  academics  tcsnmy  toshare  collegeprep  rigor  dropouts  unschooling  deschooling  dropoutrates  education  achievement  achievementgap  graduationrates  2011  research  russellrumberger 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Twitter / @Timothy Burke: "Interdisciplinarity" see ...
[A thread on Twitter about interdisciplinarity…]

"Interdisciplinarity" seems so formal, like a treaty organization. I like the version that's about smuggling stuff across borders. [http://twitter.com/swarthmoreburke/status/63037778606292992 ]

@swarthmoreburke @publichistorian "Idea Smuggler". Love it. [http://twitter.com/navalang/status/63039078488211456 ]

@swarthmoreburke @navalang @publichistorian Cross-disciplinary. Anti-disciplinary. Black-market scholarship. [http://twitter.com/tcarmody/status/63041041145663488 ]

@tcarmody @swarthmoreburke @navalang @publichistorian Bricolage. [http://twitter.com/ayjay/status/63042045635334144 ]

[Additional, unassembled thoughts: discipline tunneling, cross-pollination, kludge, bilge, edupunk, thought trafficking, pirates, buccaneer scholar, clandestine, etc.]
interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  crossdisciplinary  ideasmuggling  crosspollination  bricolage  antidisciplinary  black-marketscholarship  pirates  piracy  cv  academia  academics  timcarmody  alanjacobs  navneetalang  suzannefischer 
april 2011 by robertogreco
The Virtues Of Play | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Nietzsche said it best: “The struggle of maturity is to recover the seriousness of the child at play.” While parents might be tempted to enroll their kids in preschools that seem the most “academic,” that’s probably a mistake. There is nothing frivolous about play."
education  play  children  psychology  games  reggioemilia  montessori  kindergarten  preschool  unschooling  deschooling  jonahlehrer  nietzsche  learning  academics  reading  math  tcsnmy  schools  damagedbyschools  cognition  parenting 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Macleans.ca » Blog Archive ‘Too Asian’? «
"Catherine Costigan, a psychology assistant prof at the University of Victoria, says it’s unsurprising that Asian students are segregated from “mainstream” campus life. She cites studies that show Chinese youth are bullied more than their non-Asian peers. As a so-called “model minority,” they are more frequently targeted because of being “too smart” and “teachers’ pets.” To counter peer ostracism and resentment, Costigan says Chinese students reaffirm their ethnicity.

The value of education has been drilled into Asian students by their parents, likely for cultural and socio-economic reasons. “It’s often described that Asians are the new Jews,” says Jon Reider, director of college counselling at San Francisco University High School and a former Stanford University admissions officer. “That in the face of discrimination, what you do is you study. And there’s a long tradition in Chinese culture, for example, going back to Confucius, of social mobility based on merit.”"
canada  race  education  universities  colleges  socialmobility  academics  meritocracy  admissions  studentlife 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Boys’ Self-Esteem Problems as Girls Move Ahead in Teenage Years - The Daily Beast
"for a growing number of boys across the country, school is creating what some experts consider to be real psychological trauma. “We’re seeing a massive effect not only on boys who are falling behind in school but also on those who seem to be doing fine,” said William Pollack, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “They’re hiding behind a mask, feeling an angst and pain that go very deep and that lead not only to a disengagement from learning, but also from the adults who provide it and the parents who care for them. There’s a silent sense of shame that some will eventually outgrow, but that others who are not as lucky will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”"
boys  gender  girls  adolescence  learning  education  schools  teaching  self-esteem  academics  selfimage  psychology 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Teacher Trap | The American Prospect
"Critics of the film have rightly assailed Waiting for Superman as reductive. A host of factors affect student outcomes -- parental education and involvement, student effort, and peer effects. And as Dana Goldstein observes, underperforming students tend to be disproportionately minority and poor. Academics have come up with complicated models to predict student performance based on such factors, which show what should be common sense: Educational outcomes are a lopsided equation in which teacher quality is but one variable.<br />
<br />
For all the focus Waiting for Superman places on teachers, the film spends very little time actually talking to any; instead, it relies on romanticized descriptions by administrators and reformers. But anyone who has actually taught disadvantaged kids will tell you that most of the time, it's hardly like being Superman; it's a much different -- and much harder -- job."
michellerhee  waitingforsuperman  education  teaching  learning  schools  schooling  policy  blame  disadvantages  academics  parenting  arneduncan 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Learning from the Extremes - Charlie Leadbeater & Annika Wong [.pdf]
"Leadbeater makes further point about increasing relative ignorance that is highly significant for teaching & learning. It is that we can & must put ignorance to work–to make it useful–to provide opportunities for ourselves & others to live innovative & creative lives. “What holds people back from taking risks, is often as not…their knowledge, not their ignorancel.” Useful ignorance becomes a space of pedagogical possibility rather than base that needs to be covered. ‘Not knowing’ needs to be put to work w/out shame or bluster…Our highest educational achievers may well be aligned w/ teachers in knowing what to do if & when they have script. But…this sort of certain & tidy knowing is out of alignment w/ script-less & fluid social world. Out best learners will be those who can make ‘not knowing’ useful, do not need blueprint, template, map, to make new kind of sense. This is one new disposition that academics as teachers need to acquire fast–disposition to be usefully ignorant."

[also referenced: http://www.core77.com/blog/education/_learning_from_the_extremes_-_charlie_leadbeater_annika_wong_15823.asp ]
charlesleadbeater  teaching  ignorance  usefulignorance  learning  lcproject  tcsnmy  schools  risk  risktaking  pedagogy  annikawong  knowledge  education  academics  unschooling  deschooling  gamechanging  disruption  informallearning  informal  olpc  sugatamitra  holeinthewall  outdoctrination  kenya  brasil  india  developingworld  development  technology  filetype:pdf  media:document  brazil 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Advice for Teachers Scorned | Beyond School
"East Asia is blessed by Confucianism. When Han Dynasty...put political support behind [his] teachings...unknowingly rooted in Chinese spirit a devotion to education & scholarship...teachers, students, & schools.
politics  unschooling  schools  education  teaching  clayburell  confucius  confucianism  asia  china  korea  japan  respect  learning  academics  teachers  students  choices  braindrain  eastasia  priorities 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Diary of an Unemployed Class of '10 Philosophy Major in New York City, Part 1 - The Awl
"I’m pretty sure "boutique" has become a business-world euphemism for "insignificant and unsuccessful"—the quivering in my friends’ voices when they describe the boutique hedge fund or boutique consulting firms they work for indicate as much. Would that make me a boutique recent college graduate? I just realized I’ve been in New York for a full week!"
unemployment  nyc  academics  botique  recession  2010  greatrecession 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Education Futures
"Founded on November 20, 2004, Education Futures explores a New Paradigm in human capital development, fueled by globalization, the rise of innovative knowledge societies, and driven by exponential, accelerating change."
education  educationfutures  mayafrost  johnmoravec  academics  blogging  blogs  elearning  future  futures  classroom  curriculum  futurism  futurology  games  technology  teaching  singularity  learning  knowledge  innovation  globalization  edublogs  gaming  e-learning  edtech  web2.0  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  classrooms 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Alfie Kohn is, I think, missing the point « Re-educate
"Here’s a letter written by Alfie Kohn. It’s for schools that don’t give grades to send off to colleges on behalf of their students. I like it, but I think he—just like almost every other education critic I’ve read—is missing the most important thing... The game-changing idea in reimagining our education system is that when you pressure kids with academics, it makes them not like it. However, if you engage the whole child—if you dedicate yourself to making the child feel safe, secure, and loved—those kids will tackle academics with a passion and purpose that will far exceed what they would do if you engage them only in academics."
alfiekohn  stevemiranda  pscs  pugetsoundcommunityschool  education  schools  learning  academics  whatmatters  grades  grading  self  tcsnmy  lcproject 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Write good papers: my slides
"I agreed to give a talk to graduate students on how to write good research papers. I have posted the slides of my talk online. They are mostly taken out of my web page on this topic.
academics  thesis  writing  research 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Neither a Trap Nor a Lie - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"We must operate with the understanding that graduate school is not necessarily a successful professional degree for most students. That may mean we need to recognize the emotional reasons why many students decide to attend graduate school. And yet I am aware that the current job market rewards skills such as focus, expertise, analysis, and productivity. We must somehow inculcate those professional skills while appealing to the contradictory desires that bring our students to graduate school in the first place despite its obvious dangers.
gradschool  academics  academia  humanities  careers  education  employment  highered 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Relevant History: Journeyman again
"In 1997, after leaving academia for a job in the corporate world, I wrote the first version of this essay, and argued that the life of the mind could be pursued as effectively and happily outside the academy as inside. Others have since made the same discoveries and similar arguments; all challenge the traditional views of scholarly life, and the comfortable provincialism of academic culture. The world of learning is a big place; the number of worlds that will find good uses for young scholars is far larger than you think; and the limits your advisors think you live under don't really exist. It's time to find out how to live differently."
alexsoojung-kimpang  humanities  philosophy  academia  jobs  academics  gradschool  phd  highered  writing  life  learning  gamechanging 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Do Good Grades Predict Success? - Freakonomics Blog - NYTimes.com
"[we] assume grades in school predict future success/intelligence...I doubt it...tried to find good studies, but found 5 problems: very definition of success is elusive; How do you measure validity of grades?; Most middle & high schools put so much emphasis on homework vs actual understanding that they are measuring behavior & compliance far more than what has been learned; Creativity & creative people tend to mess up metrics at each level; research found was done at university which tended to bias results using university metrics of success...[Does] present system actually produce more success or heavily limit it? Would different system w/ less emphasis on conformity produce more of best & brightest? Or does annealing effect of being crushed by system help produce best & brightest?...those who have advanced our thinking, abilities, technologies, & economy did poorly in school, yet persisted...persistence may have been critical element..perhaps lost had they been encouraged more."
education  learning  creativity  academics  policy  meritocracy  freakonomics  intelligence  assessment  schools  economics  grading  grades  research  success  psychology  parenting  technology  gpa  life  innovation  society  tcsnmy  evaluation 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don't Go - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"most prospective graduate students have given little thought to what will happen to them after they complete their doctorates...assume that everyone finds a decent position somewhere, even if it's "only" at a community college (expressed with a shudder). Besides, the completion of graduate school seems impossibly far away, so their concerns are mostly focused on the present...It's hard to tell young people that universities recognize that their idealism & energy — & lack of information — are an exploitable resource. For universities, the impact of graduate programs on the lives of those students is an acceptable externality, like dumping toxins into a river. If you cannot find a tenure-track position, your university will no longer court you; it will pretend you do not exist and will act as if your unemployability is entirely your fault. It will make you feel ashamed, & you will probably just disappear, convinced it's right rather than that the game was rigged from the beginning."
education  gradschool  humanities  academia  capitalism  advice  tips  phd  teaching  future  academics  jobs  reality  graduateschool  learning  unschooling  deschooling  society  hierarchy  exploitation  universities  colleges  thomasbenton 
january 2010 by robertogreco
50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"It's sad. Several generations of college students learned their grammar from the uninformed bossiness of Strunk and White, and the result is a nation of educated people who know they feel vaguely anxious and insecure whenever they write "however" or "than me" or "was" or "which," but can't tell you why. The land of the free in the grip of The Elements of Style.
writing  education  strunk&white  language  criticism  english  linguistics  communication  academics  grammar  critique  style 
december 2009 by robertogreco
De-emphasizing academics, cont. « Re-educate
"Plenty of kids from traditional schools make it out there just fine, with a strong academic education and their integrity intact. But they do it in spite of their schooling, not as a result of it.
progressive  education  schools  traditional  academics  integrity  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  change  reform  intrinsicmotivation 
december 2009 by robertogreco
December 18, 2009 – We Are The People We've Been Waiting For | The 3rd Teacher
"Edge is an independent education foundation, based in the UK, which is dedicated to raising the stature of practical and vocational learning to match the emphasis currently placed on traditional academic training. Edge recently produced a documentary titled ‘We Are The People We’ve Been Waiting For.’ The film explores the role of education in equipping our children with the tools they need to face the challenges of our rapidly changing world. The Third Teacher contributor, Ken Robinson, is featured in the film. Here is a short yet powerful trailer:" [more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRi8_fXz1D8 AND http://www.wearethepeoplemovie.com/ AND http://www.youtube.com/user/WeAreThePeopleMovie ]
education  kenrobinson  thirdteacher  documentary  traditional  academics  vocational  learning  schools  schooling  diversity  film  lcproject  adaptability  change  reform  society  publicschools  industrial  gamechanging  onesizefitsall  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  reggioemilia 
december 2009 by robertogreco
On Laxatives and GPA’s | Beyond School
"It takes social intelligence to know how to button-down in spirit, & not just in form. Losing the tie is not the same thing as losing the constipation, as anyone literate in body & facial language knows. How we move, sit, stand, arrange our faces, choose what to say & how to say it, are all forms of writing by which others read us; we’re walking texts, in this sense. And our whiz-kids need to be taught this, since so many of them clearly need it. I could go on forever about this, & probably need to, because I can hear the rumblings before the comments are even formed (so let me say, again, that I’m not saying academics don’t matter, but that so much else matters as well — especially in a landscape of diminishing opportunities). I’ll just close this sermon by saying that what I’m saying is nothing new to adults, but it is to kids. We’ve conditioned them to think that all work, no play, & 4.0 gpa makes Johnny a success, when they really, as the old saw goes, make him a “very dull boy.”"
clayburell  academics  schools  schooling  unschooling  sociality  teaching  education  comments  tcsnmy  grades  grading  play  learning  success  lcproject  deschooling 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Sokal affair - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"In 1996, Sokal, a professor of physics at NYU, submitted a paper for publication in Social Text, as an experiment to see if a journal in that field would "publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions." The paper argued that quantum gravity is a social & linguistic construct. The paper, titled "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity", was published in the Spring/Summer 1996 "Science Wars" issue of Social Text, which at that time had no peer review process, & so did not submit it for outside review. On the day of its publication, Sokal announced in another publication, Lingua Franca, that the article was a hoax, calling his paper "a pastiche of left-wing cant, fawning references, grandiose quotations, & outright nonsense", which was "structured around the silliest quotations [he] could find about mathematics & physics" made by postmodernist academics."
hoax  academics  academia  education  science  writing  postmodernism 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Interdisciplinary Hype - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"The present arrangement of discipline-based departments, combined with interdisciplinary research centers, provides an inelegant but practical way to nurture disciplinary skills while allowing the flexibility for scholars to come together around new and topical areas. Occasionally the results are so compelling that a new discipline is formed. Successful interdisciplinary endeavors are thus transitional. Once they settle into maturity, they increasingly resemble the disciplines they sought to overthrow, at least in their organizational form. Promising new areas of inquiry should be nurtured whether or not they happen to cut across disciplinary lines. They should be encouraged because of their intellectual and practical promise—not because they are interdisciplinary."
interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  academics  highereducation  academia  research  education  multidisciplinary 
november 2009 by robertogreco
College of Creative Studies, UC Santa Barbara
"A former student once described the CCS as "a graduate school for undergraduates." This is an apt description, not in the sense that we expect freshmen to enter CCS with a disciplinary knowledge base equal to that of a graduate student, but we do expect the same level of passion and commitment to the discipline. ...
ccs  ucsb  ccsucsb  colleges  universities  gradschool  academics  undergraduate  education  learning  progressive  alternative  art  altgdp 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Artworld Salon » Blog Archive » What’s wrong with ‘professionalization’?
"What are we really criticizing when we deride the graduates of MFA and PhD programs for nothing more than simply having done what one would expect them to do, which is to go and learn about the enterprise in which they are interested? I suspect that lurking behind such statements lies a romanticized and outmoded notion of the artistic subject—which is to say, of the kind of subjectivity (autodidactic, at odds with decorum and the status quo, sometimes tortured, often difficult, always independent—i.e. an ideal of bourgeois bohemianism) that continues to cling to the definition of the “artist” today like some itchy fungus." + response in comments which begins: "Just as the marriage of poststructuralism and the invasion of academe by the baby-boomer generation produced political correctness and decades of right thinking by a neutered liberal establishment, many MFA programs...often promote less a canon of critical ideas than an effective art world catechism..."
via:regine  art  academia  mfa  professionalism  autodidacts  autodidactism  academics  glvo  autodidacticism 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: You Don't Have to Wonder
"If you start by defining the product/output of the system as either someone prepared for more education, or ready to be trained as an electrician or nurse, then art and literature are pretty much irrelevant, except for training people to produce the expected written academic analyses, and it isn't clear you should even require that, since not only does the electrician not need to do it, I'd argue that people need it less in college than you think (e.g., I studied English at three of the top universities in the world, and I can't recall needing "...knowledge of 18th and 19th century foundational works of American literature," I still lack that, and I don't seem to need it yet)."
education  standards  benchmarks  english  literature  nextstep  academics  tcsnmy  arts  art  writing  us  policy  arneduncan  treadmilleducation  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  foundations  backwards 
june 2009 by robertogreco
The Way We Live Now - Kindergarten Cram - NYTimes.com
"Jean Piaget famously referred to “the American question,” which arose when he lectured in this country: how, his audiences wanted to know, could a child’s development be sped up? The better question may be: Why are we so hellbent on doing so? Maybe the current economic retrenchment will trigger a new perspective on early education, something similar to the movement toward local, sustainable, organic food. Call it Slow Schools." There it is. I'm not the only one using the 'slow schools' phrase.
sloweducation  slow  slowschools  learning  kindergarten  children  schooling  us  society  excess  speed  academics  tcsnmy  homeschool  unschooling  deschooling  competition  wisdom  lcproject  homework 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Education Week: Scholars Mull the ‘Paradox’ of Immigrants
"The academic success, tendency to stay out of trouble, and physical health of children of immigrants to the United States tend to decline significantly from the first to the third generation.
education  immigration  us  society  assimilation  learning  academics  success  english  immigrantparadox 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Another take on Obama’s speech on education
"Obama’s reference may have been positive, but South Korean schools are not places that the majority of elementary and middle school students who have gone to study in the United States wish to return to. This is a result of the battleground of unlimited competition to survive in a society based on academic cliques." ... "A country like Finland has no ilje gosa, but it periodically checks whether individual schools are meeting students’ educational goals, and school boards provide oversight through comparative assessments using data such as sample studies and international achievement evaluations so that individual schools’ problems are not neglected. Teacher evaluations as well are conducted not by principals, according to unilaterally prescribed criteria, but by self-assessment in which teachers set goals and determine whether they have met them. Each school board also researches the opinions of students and their parents to supplement these teacher self-assessments."
korea  education  schools  competition  finland  teaching  learning  policy  politics  well-being  suicide  academics  us  barackobama  society  via:cburell 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Dangerously Irrelevant: Are we willing to roll up our sleeves? [book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0787973475]
"[I]f what we seek is a learning partnership with students, we cannot remain aloof from them or be seen as demanding their respect as a matter of right. Nor can we be viewed as seeking to “buy them off” by offering them a light workload in exchange for minimal compliance and decent behavior on their part. . . . We have to earn their respect . . . by being willing to roll up our sleeves as learners ourselves and to engage them in the pursuit of knowledge worth knowing, of skills worth gaining." [The Game of School by Robert Fried, p. 117]
robertfried  thegameofschool  learning  teaching  tcsnmy  lcproject  deschooling  schools  education  schooling  incentives  homeschool  academics 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Dangerously Irrelevant: Complicit in the atrophy of our children's learning spirit
"We [parents] become so confused, so conflicted, so fearful that unless we keep our children’s minds “on task,” aiming for the honor roll, the advanced placement courses, the grade-point average of life, we will damage their chances to access the next set of elite learning venues, be they the elementary school’s gifted-and-talented program, the high school’s honors classes, an Ivy League college, or a top-ranked graduate program. Such pressures can easily thwart our desire to see the children in our lives as happy, curious, confident, and enthusiastic learners. We see the contrast between how our children respond to the things they love to learn and how they resist or rebel against the boredom and inanity of much of their schoolwork. But we bite our tongues and (still confused) become complicit in the atrophy of our children’s learning spirit in furtherance of their academic careers. [The Game of School by Robert Fried, pp. 80–81]"

[book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0787973475 ]
parenting  thegameofschool  learning  schools  education  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  homeschool  fear  curiosity  confidence  imagination  creativity  cv  tcsnmy  academics  academictreadmill  incentives  lcproject  robertfried 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Dangerously Irrelevant: Test score burrito
"Like Jacob, the biblical youth who sold his patrimony to his brother Esau for the equivalent of a Big Mac, our youth are cajoled into giving up their independent spirit of learning, their spiritual heritage as self-motivated seekers, to get a test score burrito or a report card wrap. The ultimate irony of this transference is that those few students who manage to retain their independent learning spirit . . . are likely to be better positioned to blossom academically and vocationally than those who pursue academic achievement through the Game. It is from that minority unencumbered by pseudo-goals that we get most of our inventors, entrepeneurs, artists, and scientists. What leads to success at higher levels of abstraction and study is precisely this ability to turn from the expected to pursue the intriguing . . . to awaken to the new theory or pattern amid the cacophony of conventional thinking. [The Game of School by Robert Fried, p. 80]"

[book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0787973475 ]
thegameofschool  schools  education  learning  authenticity  curiosity  incentives  creativity  tcsnmy  robertfried  abstraction  success  pseudo-goals  academics  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  cv  testing  academictreadmill 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Wake Up and Smell the New Epistemology - ChronicleReview.com
""It is imperative that someone studying this generation realize that we have the world at our fingertips — & the world has been at our fingertips for our entire lives. I think this access to information seriously undermines this generation's view of authority, especially traditional scholastic authority." ... We [once] chose what knowledge needed to be conveyed to students in what order. Now ... students assign us no more authority than anyone else ... & decide what's worth knowing themselves, we need to reorganize our classes. We need to teach as if our students were colleagues from another department. That means determining what our colleagues may already know, building from that shared knowledge, adapting pre-existing analytic skills, then connecting those fledgling skills & knowledge to a deeper understanding of the discipline we love. ... we need to approach our classrooms as public intellectuals eager to share our insights graciously with a wide audience of fellow citizens"
via:preoccupations  learning  education  change  internet  online  authority  academia  academics  learningstyles  highereducation  colleges  universities  pedagogy  literacy  medialiteracy  knowledge  teaching  epistemology 
january 2009 by robertogreco
PDK International | Thinking Big: A Conceptual Framework for the Study of Everything - Marion Brady
"Our current fervor for highly specified standards for each academic discipline requires students to view reality as composed of fragmented and unrelated bits of information. Mr. Brady argues that what students really need is a system for organizing and integrating what they know so that they can understand the "big picture."" ... "If Buckminster Fuller were alive today, he would surely accelerate his timetable for "the undoing of [American] society." Today's major education-related debates do not even hint at the problem to which he was calling attention. No major participant in those debates is raising a single question about the aims of education, its proper scope, the validity or relative importance of particular standards, or the deeper meanings of "quality." It is being assumed, wrongly, that the institution is basically sound, that it merely needs a tune-up, which can be provided by the play of market forces."

[via: http://borderland.northernattitude.org/2008/12/01/harder-vs-smarter/ ]
education  policy  change  reform  schools  learning  teaching  interdisciplinary  bigpicture  multidisciplinary  systems  buckminsterfuller  knowledge  wisdom  history  crossdisciplinary  lcproject  tcsnmy  academics  gamechanging  startingover  compartmentalization  society  us  curriculum  administration  leadership  government  management  organization  marionbrady  deschooling  unschooling  homeschool 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Generational Myth - ChronicleReview.com
"Consider all the pundits, professors, and pop critics who have wrung their hands over the inadequacies of the so-called digital generation of young people filling our colleges and jobs. Then consider those commentators who celebrate the creative brilliance of digitally adept youth. To them all, I want to ask: Whom are you talking about? There is no such thing as a "digital generation.""
digitalnatives  academia  education  technology  universities  academics  ignorance  students  youth  literacy  informationliteracy  colleges  generations  generationy  millennials 
september 2008 by robertogreco
The American Scholar - The Disadvantages of an Elite Education - By William Deresiewicz - "Our best universities have forgotten that the reason they exist is to make minds, not careers"
"What happens when busyness and sociability leave no room for solitude? The ability to engage in introspection, I put it to my students that day, is the essential precondition for living an intellectual life, and the essential precondition for introspecti
education  assessment  culture  academia  colleges  universities  academics  admissions  elitism  diversity  criticism  gradschool  ivyleague  psychology  society  success  learning  meritocracy  intellect  identity  humanities  humanism  motivation  money  happiness  hierarchy  scholarship  pedagogy  teaching 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Thomas B. Fordham Institute - Commentary - "The genius of American education" [via: http://joannejacobs.com/2008/07/18/extracurricular-learning/]
"here's where most such visitors err: they tend to look inside our classrooms...might be wiser to look at what's happening outside of them, for it might be our extra-curricular activities that represent the true genius of today's American education system
education  us  extracurricular  academics  curriculum  economics  competition  athletics  debate  aftreschool  studentgovernment 
july 2008 by robertogreco
The Burden of the Humanities
"thrust of Huxley’s work, to remind us that if we take such a step in our “quest to live as gods” we will be leaving much of our humanity behind...not a lesson that is readily on offer in our increasingly distracted world...work of the humanities to
academia  education  humanities  literature  academics  philosophy  history  teaching 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Will the Humanities Save Us? - Stanley Fish - Think Again - Opinion - New York Times Blog
"An activity that cannot be justified is an activity that refuses to regard itself as instrumental to some larger good. The humanities are their own good. There is nothing more to say, and anything that is said – even when it takes the form of Kronman
humanities  education  culture  philosophy  academia  art  arts  academics 
july 2008 by robertogreco
The Atlantic Online | June 2008 | In the Basement of the Ivory Tower | Professor X
"The idea that a university education is for everyone is a destructive myth. An instructor at a “college of last resort” explains why." see also: http://www.odonnellweb.com/?p=4414
colleges  universities  education  culture  academia  teaching  society  accessibility  academics  success  learning  assessment  policy 
july 2008 by robertogreco
How The University Works- "The triumph of corporate university. PhDs in crisis. The tuition gold rush...
"Contingent faculty militance. The collapsing tenure system...A nightmarish world of underpaid, overworked undergraduates. Ad the steady conversion of professoriate to the 'tenured bosses' of students & contingent faculty."
academia  universities  colleges  via:grahamje  employment  academics  economics  politics  capitalism  education  precarity  us  culture  edubusiness 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Why Nerds are Unpopular
"School is strange, artificial thing, half sterile, half feral...Teenage kids used to have more active role in society. In pre-industrial times, they were all apprentices ...weren't left to create own societies....were junior members of adult societies."
schools  society  education  teens  youth  apprenticeships  learning  nerds  culture  popularity  bullying  adolescence  paulgraham  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  middleschool  highschool  academics  childhood  children  via:preoccupations 
march 2008 by robertogreco
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