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Not Leadership Material? Good. The World Needs Followers. - The New York Times
"The glorification of leadership skills, especially in college admissions, has emptied leadership of its meaning."



"In 1934, a young woman named Sara Pollard applied to Vassar College. In those days, parents were asked to fill out a questionnaire, and Sara’s father described her, truthfully, as “more a follower type than a leader.”

The school accepted Sara, explaining that it had enough leaders.

It’s hard to imagine this happening today. No father in his right mind (if the admissions office happened to ask him!) would admit that his child was a natural follower; few colleges would welcome one with open arms. Today we prize leadership skills above all, and nowhere more than in college admissions. As Penny Bach Evins, the head of St. Paul’s School for Girls, an independent school in Maryland, told me, “It seems as if higher ed is looking for alphas, but the doers and thinkers in our schools are not always in front leading.”

Harvard’s application informs students that its mission is “to educate our students to be citizens and citizen-leaders for society.” Yale’s website advises applicants that it seeks “the leaders of their generation”; on Princeton’s site, “leadership activities” are first among equals on a list of characteristics for would-be students to showcase. Even Wesleyan, known for its artistic culture, was found by one study to evaluate applicants based on leadership potential.

If college admissions offices show us whom and what we value, then we seem to think that the ideal society is composed of Type A’s. This is perhaps unsurprising, even if these examples come from highly competitive institutions. It’s part of the American DNA to celebrate those who rise above the crowd. And in recent decades, the meteoric path to leadership of youthful garage- and dorm-dwellers, from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg, has made king of the hill status seem possible for every 19-year-old. So now we have high school students vying to be president of as many clubs as they can. It’s no longer enough to be a member of the student council; now you have to run the school.

Yet a well-functioning student body — not to mention polity — also needs followers. It needs team players. And it needs those who go their own way.

It needs leaders who are called to service rather than to status.

Admissions officers will tell you that their quest for tomorrow’s leaders is based on a desire for positive impact, to make the world a better place. I think they mean what they say.

But many students I’ve spoken with read “leadership skills” as a code for authority and dominance and define leaders as those who “can order other people around.” And according to one prominent Ivy League professor, those students aren’t wrong; leadership, as defined by the admissions process, too often “seems to be restricted to political or business power.” She says admissions officers fail to define leadership as “making advances in solving mathematical problems” or “being the best poet of the century.”

Whatever the colleges’ intentions, the pressure to lead now defines and constricts our children’s adolescence. One young woman told me about her childhood as a happy and enthusiastic reader, student and cellist — until freshman year of high school, when “college applications loomed on the horizon, and suddenly, my every activity was held up against the holy grail of ‘leadership,’ ” she recalled. “And everyone knew,” she added, “that it was not the smart people, not the creative people, not the thoughtful people or decent human beings that scored the application letters and the scholarships, but the leaders. It seemed no activity or accomplishment meant squat unless it was somehow connected to leadership.”

This young woman tried to overhaul her personality so she would be selected for a prestigious leadership role as a “freshman mentor.” She made the cut, but was later kicked out of the program because she wasn’t outgoing enough. At the time, she was devastated. But it turned out that she’d been set free to discover her true calling, science. She started working after school with her genetics teacher, another behind-the-scenes soul. She published her first scientific paper when she was 18, and won the highest scholarship her university has to offer, majoring in biomedical engineering and cello.

Our elite schools overemphasize leadership partly because they’re preparing students for the corporate world, and they assume that this is what businesses need. But a discipline in organizational psychology, called “followership,” is gaining in popularity. Robert Kelley, a professor of management and organizational behavior, defined the term in a 1988 Harvard Business Review article, in which he listed the qualities of a good follower, including being committed to “a purpose, principle or person outside themselves” and being “courageous, honest and credible.” It’s an idea that the military has long taught.

Recently, other business thinkers have taken up this mantle. Some focus on the “romance of leadership” theory, which causes us to inaccurately attribute all of an organization’s success and failure to its leader, ignoring its legions of followers. Adam Grant, who has written several books on what drives people to succeed, says that the most frequent question he gets from readers is how to contribute when they’re not in charge but have a suggestion and want to be heard. “These are not questions asked by leaders,” he told me. “They’re fundamental questions of followership.”

Team players are also crucial. My sons are avid soccer players, so I spend a lot of time watching the “beautiful game.” The thing that makes it beautiful is not leadership, though an excellent coach is essential. Nor is it the swoosh of the ball in the goal, though winning is noisily celebrated. It is instead the intricate ballet of patterns and passes, of each player anticipating the other’s strengths and needs, each shining for the brief instant that he has the ball before passing it to a teammate or losing it to an opponent.

We also rely as a society, much more deeply than we realize, on the soloists who forge their own paths. We see those figures in all kinds of pursuits: in the sciences; in sports like tennis, track and figure skating; and in the arts. Art and science are about many things that make life worth living, but they are not, at their core, about leadership. Helen Vendler, a professor of English at Harvard, published an essay in which she encouraged the university to attract more artists and not expect them “to become leaders.” Some of those students will become leaders in the arts, she wrote — conducting an orchestra, working to reinstate the arts in schools — “but one can’t quite picture Baudelaire pursuing public service.”

Perhaps the biggest disservice done by the outsize glorification of “leadership skills” is to the practice of leadership itself — it hollows it out, it empties it of meaning. It attracts those who are motivated by the spotlight rather than by the ideas and people they serve. It teaches students to be a leader for the sake of being in charge, rather than in the name of a cause or idea they care about deeply. The difference between the two states of mind is profound. The latter belongs to transformative leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi; the former to — well, we’ve all seen examples of this kind of leadership lately.

If this seems idealistic, consider the status quo: students jockeying for leadership positions as résumé padders. “They all want to be president of 50 clubs,” a faculty adviser at a New Jersey school told me. “They don’t even know what they’re running for.”

It doesn’t have to be this way.

What if we said to college applicants that the qualities we’re looking for are not leadership skills, but excellence, passion and a desire to contribute beyond the self? This framework would encompass exceptional team captains and class presidents. But it wouldn’t make leadership the be-all and end-all.

What if we said to our would-be leaders, “Take this role only if you care desperately about the issue at hand”?

And what if we were honest with ourselves about what we value? If we’re looking for the students and citizens most likely to attain wealth and power, let’s admit it. Then we can have a frank debate about whether that is a good idea.

But if instead we seek a society of caring, creative and committed people, and leaders who feel called to service rather than to stature, then we need to do a better job of making that clear."
susancain  leadership  leaders  sfsh  followers  community  courage  honesty  purpose  2017  colleges  universities  admissions  canon  small  slow  helenvendler  arts  art  artists  followership  soccer  football  us  values  credibility  military  authority  power  dominance  ivyleague  admission  capitalism  politics  elitism  adamgrant  introverts  extroverts  allsorts  attention  edg  srg  care  caring  maintenance  futbol  sports 
april 2017 by robertogreco
With a little help from my (edu)friends – Jonathan D. Becker, J.D., Ph.D.
"If you were to meet my son, you wouldn’t immediately notice anything “atypical,” especially if you’re an adult; he loves talking to adults. He doesn’t have much use for other kids, though.  And, that’s pretty characteristic of kids on the spectrum. He has some other pretty classic non-neurotypical features as well. For example, he has some pretty serious sensory integration challenges. Big crowds and loud cacophonous spaces are a problem for him. He’s never worn jeans; he always wears sweatpants or shorts. I could go on…

Schools are designed for neurotypical kids, especially public schools, I would argue. But, my son never went to public school. From preschool through 4th grade, he attended a small, progressive independent school with a “child-centered” orientation1. And, I love this school dearly. I’m on the board of directors. My daughter is thriving there. My son never did. He just never wanted to be in school, anywhere.

In an article about the school from 6 years ago
[http://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/the-power-of-play/Content?oid=1441743 ], the Executive Director said of the school that “…the approach isn’t right for every child — an extremely introverted kid, or a fiercely independent learner, or one that learns better in a more structured school environment, for example.”

Fiercely independent learner. That’s exactly my son."
schools  homeschool  unschooling  education  2016  schooling  neurodiversity  parenting  diversity  introverts  independence  howwelearn  howweteach  allsorts 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Not All Students Want To Change the World | Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension
"“But I don’t want a voice to the world…” he stands with a determined look on his face, expecting me to challenge his decision. “They don’t need to see what I write or what I have to say,” he continues, “It’s none of their business…” And with that, my students have once again challenged my assumptions and I need to change the way I teach.  Again.

So what else have my students proved me wrong in, well quite a bit, but here are the biggest.

Not all students want a voice. From 4th to 7th grade I always have students that don’t want their private thoughts, work, or writing published to the world. Never assume that every child wants their work published or shared, ask first, we would expect the same thing if it were us.

Not all students want to make. I thought when I started doing more hands-on learning that all students would jump for joy, and while some certainly do, there are also students who go into absolute terrified mode when presented with anything abstract. Those kids need to fit into our innovative classrooms as well, so offer choices in how they learn, don’t just assume they want to create something from nothing or do their own version.

Not all students want choice. Some kids just want to be told what to do, not always, not on everything, but some kids need more structure or support through some things.  If we only cater to the creative child who relishes freedom then we are not teaching all of the students in front of us.

Not all students want to change the world. While we may shout about empowered students and how they are going to change the world, not every child wants to change the world, they just want to be kids.

I have learned that while I may love to change the way education is done in classrooms around the world, I need to make sure I don’t disenfranchise students more by assuming they all want to learn like I do. So make room for all of the learners in your world, support them all as they grow, and don’t judge. Push them forward but be gentle in your approach and ask the students first."
teaching  howweteach  pedagogy  children  small  voice  change  making  makers  projectbasedlearning  choice  2015  pernilleripp  education  schools  howwelearn  diversity  scale  imperatives  allsorts  worldchanging  empowerment  agency  pbl 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Designing in the Borderlands by Frank Chimero
"We spend a lot of time making arguments over how to choose sides on these splits. But after a lot of reflection, I’ve decided that I’m not particularly interested in choosing sides.

I want to be the line, and I want to mess with that line, because that line is a total fabrication. Why fall on the side of print or digital if what’s usually needed is both? Isn’t that a more interesting design problem? Why make books with only text or images if they get better with both? The questions go on and on.

Luckily, these distinctions were drawn by us, which means that we can redraw them. We can move the line, toe it, and breach it with a transgressive practice that tries to turn opposition into symbiosis. But you can only cross the line and confuse the distinction if you commit to the middle space.

These borderlands are the best place for a designer like me, and maybe like you, because the borderlands are where things connect. If you’re in the borderlands, your different tongues, your scattered thoughts, your lack of identification with a group, and all the things that used to be thought of as drawbacks in a specialist enclave become the hardened armor of a shrewd generalist in the borderlands."



"I learned a lot through the design process of The Shape of Design. First, that there are opportunities to produce projects that elegantly incorporate multiple mediums. One only needs to look for them. And second, that these design problems become easier to handle if one considers the system as a whole, instead of attempting to chop it up into separate pieces and attack it as smaller bits. Division reduces them in the same way that Massage, Electric Information Age Book, or The Shape of Design would be made small if the individual parts were isolated. The individual bits would be have differently, and the designer would miss the most important thing: these projects are important and big because they are multiple, and to temporarily make them not so is to misunderstand and misconstruct them. For these sorts of projects, my mantra has become:

Everything all at once.
Everything all together.



I had two goals today.

First, I wanted to articulate the biggest opportunity I see in design today: designer as translator, designer as integrator, designer as a merchant of ideas. We’ve built up so much knowledge that is tucked away in books and websites, and often all that’s needed to get that knowledge the attention it deserves is a gentle massage of tone and a switch of format. We can introduce physical materials to the web to reap the benefits of the network, but we can also translate the web’s content to the physical realm to stabilize it so it can be held and appreciated.

The second goal was to cast an additional mold for a designer, and to provide an explanation about why a person would want to go make weird little books and sit and write essays instead of working at an ad agency or startup for six figures. It’s worth documenting the different ways one can go about pursuing a design practice. There are many stories and paths, and I hope all of this is a reminder that the lines we draw to create the contours of our expectations can be disrupted. And that this disruption can, somehow, be soothing to those of us who identify as something different than the standard.

I’d like to finish by revisiting that Calvino quote:
Whenever humanity seems condemned to heaviness, I think I should fly like Perseus into a different space. I don’t mean escaping into dreams or the irrational. I mean that I have to change my approach, look at the world from a different perspective, with a different logic and with fresh methods of cognition and verification.

I hope you get the opportunity to do this at some point in your career, and that my conclusions will help those of you who identify as generalists. If you do not, perhaps I have convinced you that our conception of work is more flexible than we typically believe. The field is wide open; that is why it’s called a field."
generalists  frankchimero  creativity  design  borders  seams  interstitial  cv  trickster  departmentalization  interdisciplinary  dualism  transdisciplinary  print  digital  books  ebooks  bookfuturism  marshallmcluhan  quentinfiore  buckminsterfuller  multimedia  jeffreyschnapp  adammichaels  allsorts  italocalvino  translation 
april 2014 by robertogreco
6, 6: Asymmetrical information
"I have so little interest in grand pictures of the world with nothing to say about children. This assumption in cultural discussions that people step out of a wall sometime between 18 and 21, well, it’s not good enough; it’s not serious enough. If you want to talk to me about surveillance and censorship, tell me about baby monitors and when you would let kids in your care read 4chan. Your approach to that matters more than your approach to the finer connotations of the word “Orwellian”, e.g., whether the figure of thzzzZZZZZZZZ whistling exhalation ZZZZZZZZ whistling exhalation ZZZZZ[snort]ZZZ whistling exhalation ZZZZZZZZ whistling exhalation ZZZZZZZZ."

(Removed from this point a good deal of grumping about people who use arguments in the form “we should be treated like adults” without saying what that means to them other than “down with bad stuff, up with good stuff”, nor how non-adults should be treated; and then kind of halfheartedly trying to shame people for treating Foucault’s geneological method as if it were The Path And The Way Of Criticism rather than a useful tonic; and getting sad that sometimes children’s experience is treated as if it counts only insofar as it will be remembered by the adult they will become.)

"Something I tell myself: Assume you’re teaching. More often than thinking “Oh, I figured something out, time to share”, ask “What am I teaching right now, and am I doing it well?” Sometimes what I’m teaching is not pretty: “Don’t expect too much from strangers” or “Everyone has their quirks” or worse. All the more reason to think about it.

Like a lot of intrapersonal advice, this is tricky to explain: too obvious, too precious, too odd. The principle comes partly from reflecting that many of the most important things I’ve learned were from incidental actions of people working on something else. (I remember flipping through my mother’s MTW and learning about graphic design, poetry, pedagogy – everything but gravity.) It also comes from an idea put well in XKCD 1053.

(And this gives us one of the distinctive flavors of work made for the internet: layerednes. A blog post about some small issue will carry coded gestures to connections with highfalutin’ academic work; deniable hints of limits and risks might appear when a conscientious engineer is made to work hard-sell PR; and who among us has not seen something on a controversial topic flying a big red herring to distract zealots? And we have art like this [http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/04/for-shame-the-giant-poster-that-shows-drone-pilots-the-people-theyre-bombing/360257/ ], which works entirely by lying about its audience: that isn’t for drone operators at all, but by saying it is, it works on its actual audience: people like me.)"



"One of the things that’s been bringing OODA to mind is what you might call legibility capture. Let’s take it as read that we’re surrounded by giant translucent surfaces, and we’re trying to see inside them, and to understand their shapes and connections, in order that we might discern what their deal is. They meanwhile are examining us, covertly, with consent, obliquely, loudly, by proxy, for unknown future use, and in many other ways, which is worrying.

There are many ways to think about this; for me it’s phrased most naturally as “legibility” in the way that John C. Scott has developed it. His brilliance is perhaps fogged by his prose style, which with time becomes its own painfully funny effect, a kind of Marx Brothers–esque absurdism, as he over and over again, in the same book, with placid deadpan, re-introduces legibility as if for the first time.

(Thinking of this becase a couple friends spent the weekend at some kind of Data Tragicomedy conference – my ignorance of the details is a small pleasure but a sincere one – which it pleased me to believe consisted entirely of artbros in their off-blacks standing up, clearing their throats, smiling, and saying “I’ve discovered – or perhaps invented – something that I like to call ‘legibility’…”.)

One of the things that OODA is concerned with, in its productively unsatisfying way, is initiative. In go, this is sente. Alice has sente in a game with Bob when she’s made a move that Bob must respond to, instead of building his own position. To hold sente is to keep Bob on the defensive, so that he can’t plan or build; he’s always a turn behind. (Every time I think about this stuff I’m startled again by the illumination of psychological violence, from domestic abuse to torture-as-interrogation.) Boyd wants you, the student of OODA, to have initiative, because to have initiative is to have options. (Cough cough Nussbaum’s capability approach cough cough sneeze.) You have initiative because you can read the opponent better than they can read you, and so you can at least partly decide how they read you.

Skip this paragraph if you like me are easily disturbed by violence. This gruesome Amnesty briefing on the violence this year in northern Nigeria and this SSP report on the famous body bags in Kadugli both explain (partly) how they did their satellite imagery analysis to identify or confirm mass graves. This is in an obvious way highly responsible: conclusions should be presented with the evidence that led to them; theories should be falsifiable. It also bears risks, because by showing methods to identify mass graves they necessarily show how to hide from those methods, and even how to play into them by creating fake graves to distract and discredit.

That risk is the thing. It’s what I think about when people are like “Ah ha, I figured out I can look at tail numbers, or shell casing markings, or IP addresses owned by spyware companies; now we know what’s up!” Once they know you know but before you know they know you know, you’re at their mercy; they’re feeding you. Legibility capture.

I don’t know. I keep thinking of XKCD 1053, and the kind of empathy it calls for, and of the epigrams Joe Armstrong throws around about Erlang (e.g., p. 9):

The world is parallel
The world is distributed
Things fail

I said at the beignning of the year that my theme would be scale: communicating the sizes of stuff. I’ve done very little about that. I keep remembering things, little parcels of spacetime. Sleeping on a boat under a Saltillo blanket, listening to a flag’s rope ring against the pole in the wind. With a flu, in a parked Volkswagen Golf, reading Elfwood. When you GPS-track yourself you start to find that a lot of what it tells you is about where you weren’t."
charlieloyd  2014  teaching  learning  xkcd  legibility  scale  allsorts  learningallthetime  howwelearn  howweteach  perspective  understanding  layerdness  datadrama  jamescscott  violence  ooda  johnboyd  competition  initiative  offense  empathy  children  legacy  surveillance  censorship  babymonitors  4chan  adulthood  childhood  parenting 
april 2014 by robertogreco
the everyday motion of artifacts: the kindness school (beyond the archeology of white people, pt. 2)
"the kindness school (beyond the archeology of white people, pt. 2)

it simply happened one day
when the teachers decided
enough was enough

all the boys with OCD
spent the day playing drums
or riding their bicycles

and the introverts sat quietly
smiling periodically in the corners
while the extroverts laughed and laughed

and soon the pleasures became many
as varied as the children themselves
until one day a child stood to proclaim

after reading Hamlet all on her own
“I say, we will have no more tests”
to which there was thunderous cheering

yes it seemed simple and obvious enough
the founding of the kindness school
with open doors and children singing"

[Part 1 here: http://plthomaspoetry.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-archeology-of-white-people.html ]
poems  poetry  education  unschooling  deschooling  schooling  schools  teaching  learning  2013  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  diversity  allsorts  plthomas  paulthomas 
february 2014 by robertogreco
The Art of Writing in (e)Books — Book club — Medium
"That marginalia are a form of writing which, like other more familiar genres (gothic fiction, love poetry, newspaper articles), has its own standards and conventions or unwritten rules that evolve over time; and therefore that marginalia are susceptible of artistry. Some people are better at it than others. Taste, talent, discrimination, style, originality—all these qualities may be displayed and recognized in this medium as well as in others. We might think that marginalia are private and personal but the history of the form strongly suggests otherwise: people write notes in books for a purpose, and that purpose often includes being seen by other people, so there’s usually an element, largely unconscious, of showing off or trying to impress. If that sounds negative, say rather, of urgency, of trying to persuade someone else to share your point of view.

The celebrated annotators are celebrated for different reasons. It might be for the content of their notes (extraordinarily brilliant commentary and analysis, for instance), or for their wit, humour, or vivid character, or for some sort of distinctive flair. Recognition of their brilliance usually comes from their contemporaries and depends on current notions of best practice—which in turn depend upon the examples or models that are available at the time. Whatever great annotators emerge in the digital age, the qualities for which their writing is admired are not likely to be quite the same as those beloved annotators of the past, because the models they incorporate will have been different. (Modern digital annotators are unlikely to have been modelling their way of writing notes on Swift, Blake, Keats, etc.) I would expect digital annotation, for instance, to be more personal and more personally revealing than marginalia have normally been in the past, because of the example of social media."



"I would say that modern digital readers will have no expectation of privacy—so the experience of reading will be psychologically somewhat different for them from what it has been in the past—and that they will look forward to participating in a group response, with subgroups, alliances, and hostilities (disagreements) probably emerging over time. But it has always been the case that once words are published (that is, put out there) the writer loses control over them and the group moves in to interpret as best it can, according to its own background and needs. The risk I foresee with digital “conversation” is that it will be too big and confusing. If readers feel overwhelmed they might eventually not want to participate, and go back to talking to themselves."



"When people write in books, they do it for some purpose and they have usually seen books marked up in the way they eventually do it. But readers typically develop a method of annotation that suits them only slowly, over time. If you are of an impatient disposition, the sort of person who never opens the manual before trying out a machine, you can just plunge in and learn by trial and error. If you are more reflective, you might want to figure out why you are planning to do this and what you expect to get out of it. Are you using notes to take in information, to express opinions, to correct a text or to make connections with other reading? Are you doing it so that some other reader will read as it were with you, understanding the book as you do? If you do that you will work more purposefully and effectively from the start. Both kinds of annotator are likely to find their practice changing, however, so perhaps it doesn’t matter which type you belong to."
readmill  annotation  marginalia  reading  howweread  2013  heatherjackson  lisasanchez  books  socialmedia  ebooks  allsorts  sharing  community  bookclubs  messiness  conversation 
december 2013 by robertogreco
We project our own experiences onto our students
"So this is the perspective I’m coming from. There is no should in it, there is no inherent reverence for the adult / teacher /system of schooling, and I realize this world view permeates my teaching. It all comes down to a simple question for me: Is what this person is saying / doing worth my time and attention? I ask myself this questions with regard to every person in my life and I think students should do the same. SO, if I’m struggling with a class, I figure that what I’m teaching them isn’t worth it for them.  Or the way I’m delivering it is not worthy of respect based on their world views. If this is the case, it’s my job as a teacher to find something that works for and with them. It’s very simple.  I don’t go toe to toe with students if I feel like they are being disrespectful because I can’t do it authentically if I myself don’t buy into the idea that they need to respect me just because I’m their teacher…"
allsorts  relationships  experience  learning  2011  howweteach  cv  respect  authority  education  teaching  jakeytoor 
september 2012 by robertogreco
The benefits of the implied or - Bobulate
"Steve Davis on the messiness of “and”:
“Education is not a “this OR that” concept; rather it is a “this AND that” concept. “Or” is clean. “And” is messy. “Or” is obvious “And” is nuance. “Or” is destructive. “And” is human. Do you interact with your students the same way you tweet? Do you eat mashed potatoes AND gravy? Which word describes your pedagogy in the classroom and tweets on Twitter?”

Are you a morning person? A coffee person? A public transport person? A gym person? A phone person?

In each of the provocations, the silent truncation is an “or are you an X person” that the questioner may truly be curious about. Are you a morning person… or do you sleep, slovenly so, into the morning hours? Are you a coffee person… or do you deprive yourself something you know you want to have? Are you a gym person or…

I’ve always been drawn to extremes, at being one or the other, so much so that I’ve never been good at being tempered much. I’ve been expert at the messy “and.” And it’s been to my own surprise that this complex, non-neat divide where most is revealed.
“Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations,” Paul Rand once said.

To my own surprise, I’ve recently been finding I’m “and” in most categories. I’m an early-morning and a late-night person. I’m a phone and an IM person. I walk and take public transport. Being messy has its merits."
lizdanzico  stephendavis  allsorts  2011  diversity  simplicity  complexity  provocations  extremes  thisandthat  lifestyle 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Blog | Surly Bikes: Some answers to just about any bike forum post I’ve ever read
[A taste]

"If you think your bike looks good, it does.

If you like the way your bike rides, it’s an awesome bike.

You don’t need to spend a million dollars to have a great bike, but if you do spend a million dollars and know what you want you’ll probably also have a great bike.

Yes, you can tour on your bike – whatever it is.

Yes, you can race on your bike – whatever it is.

Yes, you can commute on your bike – whatever it is.

26” wheels or 29” or 650b or 700c or 24” or 20” or whatever – yes, that wheel size is rad and you’ll probably get where you’re going.

Disc brakes, cantis, v-brakes, and road calipers all do a great job of stopping a bike when they’re working and adjusted.

No paint job makes everyone happy.

Yes, you can put a rack on that. Get some p-clamps if there are no mounts.

Steel is a great material for making bike frames - so is aluminum, carbon fiber, and titanium.

You can have your saddle at whatever angle makes you happy…"
diversity  humor  allsorts  bikeculture  2011  biking  bikes 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Taming the Wandering Mind | The Moral Sciences Club | Big Think
"Reconciling oneself to the fact that projects "take the time they take" can be a necessary step in finishing projects at all. My mind is not simply prone to distraction, it is prone to rebellion. The wrong kind of pressure makes it resist its own commands, sends it spinning out of its own control. Bearing down, reining in, whipping harder doesn't get "me" back on track so much as set me against myself in a showdown I always lose winning. Better to just glide on the thermal of whim until the destination once again comes into sight and a smooth approach becomes finally possible.

Not to say that one can drift one's way to success. Aims must be fixed and kept in mind, even if one knows it's worse than useless to charge right at them. One must develop a sense of one's attention as one develops a sense of a powerful but skittish horse, calmly riding wide of known dangers…

We need to reconcile ourselves to our own temperaments, stop trying to fight or drug ourselves into submission…"
medicine  drugs  howwework  howwewrite  allsorts  productivity  focus  willpower  self-mastery  self-improvement  self-accommodation  gtd  effort  adhd  2012  hanifkureishi  attention  distraction  willwilkinson 
february 2012 by robertogreco
We Can't Teach Students to Love Reading - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education [Too much to quote]
"I don't think of the distinction btwn readers & nonreaders—better, those who love reading & those who don't so much—in terms of class, which may be a function of my being a teacher of literature rather than a sociologist, but may also be a function of my knowledge that readers can be found at all social stations…much of the anxiety about American reading habits…arises from frustration at not being able to sustain a permanent expansion of "the reading class" beyond what may be its natural limits…

American universities are largely populated by people who don't fit either category [readers & extreme readers]—often really smart people for whom the prospect of several hours attending to words on pages (pages of a single text) is not attractive…

All this is to say that the idea that many teachers hold today, that one of the purposes of education is to teach students to love reading—or at least to appreciate & enjoy whole books—is largely alien to the history of education."
teaching  reading  learning  attention  alanjacobs  nicholascarr  books  academia  extremereaders  autodidacts  concentration  joyofreading  unschooling  deschooling  allsorts  allkindsofminds  2011  clayshirky  stevenpinker  staugustine  virgil  cicero  georgesteiner  annblair  studying  children  sirfrancisbacon  francisbacon  infooverload  filterfailure  text  texts  mariccasaubon  peternorvig  jonathanrose  homer  dante  shakespeare  attentiveness  kindle  hyperattention 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Rush the Iceberg » Rigid Inconsistency
"I thought these teachers are for creativity, diversity, and tolerance. I thought they were for students to be able to create their own meaning through assimilating new experiences into their bank of previous experiences.

Why do these teachers tell others what they should be doing in their classrooms? Their students’ reality is not my students’ reality.

There is variety in nature – some for good, some for bad. There is nuance in nature. Is their nuance in their classroom? Is their nuance in their tweets? Is their nuance in their blog posts?

I admire and learn from humble teachers that readily admit they do not have the magic unicorn glitter that will bring true learning to their students. What they do have, however, is creativity, diversity, and tolerance that transcends issues of grading, pedagogy, and technology."
stephendavis  ego  cv  teaching  nuance  diversity  certainty  uncertainty  inconsistency  rigidity  mywayorthehighway  humility  ambiguity  purpose  twitter  blogs  blogging  pontificating  technology  platitudes  thereisroomforall  allsorts  2011 
april 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: On KIPP, and the question, does philosophy matter? [links to comment, quoted below, from 'htb']
"very idea of 'behind'-ness is what's under attack…When you standardize what it means to be an educated child, you create a line in sand that defines some kids as 'ahead' & some as 'behind.' As anyone w/ learning disability knows, these sorts of lines are increasingly arbitrary the more you examine them. They shut you out for all manner of reason. They create a situation where those who are 'ahead' get a free bonus happy career, & those who are 'behind' get either short stick or sanctimony. Or both.

If I had been in a class that demanded…eye contact at all times, I would have become discipline problem, because I am autistic. There is no room for me in a 'SLANT' classroom…teacher would then be allowed to humiliate me for non-compliance, or send me off to 'special ed.' Either way, it's amply demonstrated that I'm valueless to the class or school. …

Defining some people as 'behind' is what allows the school to abuse them in this way, & really that's what it is."
kipp  autism  standards  standardization  policy  us  education  learningdisabilities  learning  sorting  ranking  arbitrary  tcsnmy  schools  discipline  onesizefitsall  allsorts  arneduncan  rttt 
september 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: not playful
"don't like...these new social, interacting-w/-real-people games...[they're not] bad, just not for me. & I'm not that special, so I bet they don't appeal to some other people...might be worth thinking about. Because...seems to be some consensus that more social = better & I'm not sure that's true...I don't like meeting people I don't [know]. That's why web has been such joy, I've been able to 'meet' people & get to know something of them before I really meet them...Which means I find many of efforts of social & pervasive gamers scary. Werewolf seems to be codification & enforcement of all horrible about dinner party...lots of my favorite games are only slightly social...why I'm drawn towards idea of 'pretending apps' - not about imposing rules, [but] suggesting context...you can play them in your own head...[they're] Social Toys...toys because they're for playing w/, not in...social because they're connected & you can play in a shared context. But it's your play, in your head."
russelldavies  play  pretending  immersion  gamedesign  cv  shyness  web  online  social  socialsoftware  games  toys  2010  allsorts  playful  gaming  interactive  contemplative  imagination  creativity 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Notional Slurry » There are exactly two ways: one, and many
[link rot, so try this: https://archive.li/rKOiX ]

"In what way am I delayed by paying attention to more, different, inarguably interesting stuff? Gratifying stuff?"..."Called a flighty dreamer all too often, I think increasingly that I stand on the side of realism. I will be finished when I’m dead."
attention  collaboration  ideas  learning  cv  creativity  creative  generalists  failure  future  society  expectations  howwework  method  work  careers  via:hrheingold  gamechanging  culture  specialists  specialization  life  education  academia  schools  schooling  unschooling  freedom  allsorts  canon  williamtozier 
march 2008 by robertogreco

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