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Gnamma #7 - The Teacher's Imposition
"The world is full of bad teaching. And somehow we all get on with it, of course.

Still, I have found it typical that people perk up when they think of their favorite, electrifying teachers. These are people we think about for the rest of our lives, largely because they inform our interests and ways of looking at the world (ontology, value systems, networked ideas, etc) at early ages. Let's talk about teachers, and I want to be clear: everyone directs teachable moments in life (especially guardians and managers). I'm referring to people in explicitly assigned roles to teach. (This thus puts these thoughts largely outside of the realm of unschooling [https://www.are.na/roberto-greco/unschooling ], I think, but I do not know enough to say—would love to understand more in this realm.)

"Why Education is so Difficult And Contentious" [https://www.sfu.ca/~egan/Difficult-article.html ]: TL;DR because when we say education we mean indoctrination, and everybody—teacher, parent, politician, etc—has different opinions on how people should be. It's touchy to talk about forced indoctrination because it both engenders fascism and is the founding idea behind of public education. There are obviously gradients of imposition on the student. Illich supports the need for the pedagogue to connect student to resources, but not much more—a fairly "hands-off" view of the teacher by today's standards. Still, the connective moments are going to reflect the ideology of the pedagogue.

Are teachers necessary for learning? No. Learning is between the student and the world. A quippish phrase I heard a couple times working at RenArts [https://www.renarts.org/ ] was "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it think." But education (structured learning with others) requires teachers, basically by definition. Teachers "lead to water" and apply social pressure to encourage partaking.

What makes for a good teacher? Well, I maintain the chief goals of structured learning are to build agency and cultivate awareness in the student (and maybe share specific skillsets). So, what kind of teacher builds agency in the student and cultivates awareness to the extent possible? Some modes of teaching quickly follow: I believe the teacher needs to support open-ended, coherent, and honest activities.

Without open-ended-ness, we lose exploratory and self-actualizing potential. Without coherence, students can get mired in lack of knowing where to start or end (but a little ambiguity isn't bad). Without honesty we lose touch with the world and how to work with our lived realities. By "honesty" here, I mean to be honest about application of material, about history of thought, and about context of the activity itself; as such, the best teaching acknowledges and works with its own context (/media) and the needs of the people in the room.

I am trying to recall where I heard the phrase that "teaching is making space." The teachers frames the room, the activities, the needs, the expectations, the discussions. In doing so, they embed indoctrination into the teaching. In the effort of honesty in the classroom, these framing decisions needs to be made explicit for the students. The effective teacher must constantly wrestle with their internalized epistemologies and ego in seeking to constantly be aware of and share their own framings of the world. (When I ran a workshop for the Free School of Architecture in Summer 2018 on alternative learning communities, I mostly brought with me a long list of questions to answer [https://www.are.na/block/2440950 ] in seeking to understand how one is framing a learning space.)

This need for constant "pariefracture" (a breaking of the frame, expanding the conceptual realm, or meta-level "zooming out"—my friend D.V.'s term) in teaching gave me quite a bit of anxiety, as a teacher, until reading Parker J. Palmer's book "The Courage to Teach," in which he outlines six paradoxes of teaching. [https://www.are.na/block/1685043 and OCRed below ] I like these paradoxes in themselves, but the larger concept that resonated with me was the ability to treat a paradox not as a dead end (as one does in mathematics, generally) but rather as a challenge that can be pulled out and embraced as the dynamo of an ongoing practice. Teaching never resolves: you just wake up tomorrow and give it another shot.

I think what I'm circling around, here, is how much of learning from a teacher involves inheriting their ways of looking, concurrent with the teacher's ways of looking being in constant, self-aware flux. We inherit snapshots of our teachers' worldviews, blend them together over our own substrate of grokking the world, and call it education."

[From Parker J Palmer’s “The Courage to Teach”:

“When I design a classroom session, I am aware of six paradoxical tensions that I want to build into the teaching and learning space. These six are neither prescriptive nor exhaustive. They are simply mine, offered to illustrate how the principle of paradox might contribute to pedagogical design:

1. The space should be bounded and open.
2. The space should be hospitable and "charged."
3. The space should invite the voice of the individual and the voice of the group.
4. The space should honor the "little" stories of the students and the "big" stories of the disciplines and tradition.
5. The space should support solitude and surround it with the resources of community.
6. The space should welcome both silence and speech.

I want to say a few words about what each of these paradoxes means. Then, to rescue the paradoxes and the reader from death by abstraction, I want to explore some practical ways for classroom teachers to bring these idea to life.“
lukaswinklerprins  teaching  howweteach  parkerpalmer  education  paradox  2019  indoctrination  ivanillich  exploration  boundaries  openness  hospitality  individualism  collectivism  community  silence  speech  support  solitude  disciplines  tradition  personalization  unschooling  deschooling  canon 
february 2019 by robertogreco
A response, and second Open Letter to the Hau Journal's Board of Trustees — Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa New Zealand
"In Māori communities, whanaungatanga - the process of building strong relationships - ideally comes before the pursuit of other goals. But before such relationships can be built with others, good intent and sound actions have to be well demonstrated."

[via: https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/1009545786206502912 ]

[See also:

https://maoridictionary.co.nz/word/10068

"1. (noun) relationship, kinship, sense of family connection - a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. It develops as a result of kinship rights and obligations, which also serve to strengthen each member of the kin group. It also extends to others to whom one develops a close familial, friendship or reciprocal relationship.

Kōrero ai ngā whakapapa mō te whanaungatanga i waenganui i te ira tangata me te ao (Te Ara 2011). / Whakapapa describe the relationships between humans and nature."

***

https://maoridictionary.co.nz/word/12711

"1. (noun) process of establishing relationships, relating well to others.

Kei te whakapapa ngā tātai, ngā kōrero rānei mō te ao katoa, nā reira ko ngā whakapapa he whakawhanaungatanga ki te ao, ki te iwi, ki te taiao anō hoki (Te Ara 2011). / Whakapapa is the recitation of genealogies or stories about the world, so whakapapa are ways by which people come into relationship with the world, with people, and with life."

***

http://www.imaginebetter.co.nz/good-life-kete/whanautanga-positive-and-meaningful-relationships-within-the-community/

"Whanaungatanga – positive and meaningful relationships within the community

We use the term whanaungatanga to highlight the importance of positive and meaningful relationships to the creation of the good life.
Whanaungatanga = Relationship, kinship, sense of family connection – a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. It develops as a result of kinship rights and obligations, which also serve to strengthen each member of the kin group. It also extends to others to whom one develops a close familial, friendship or reciprocal relationship (Te Aka Online Māori Dictionary)

Whanaungatanga values a wide range of relationships, like family and friendships, and points to feelings of belonging and inclusion. Whanaungatanga captures the belief that the more relationships people have in their lives the happier and healthier they are.

Relationships come in many shapes and forms: they may be a regular friendly chat with someone based on a shared interest or a long-term loving intimate relationship. Each relationship is unique, because every person is different. And, having a wide range of relationships is important. A diverse social network made up of relationships with a variety of people enriches people’s lives.

Relationships are the heart of the community. And a sense of being connected to the community through relationships is at the core of the good life. In fact, the community provides endless opportunities for the creation of relationships.

The community is a fantastic resource, rich with possibilities for developing and growing relationships through jobs, volunteering, and recreation. Relationships help us connect to the community, and this connection provides more opportunities to get to get to know a range of people and expand our social networks.We believe people with disability should have the same opportunities to be involved in their community, meet people and develop friendships as anyone else.

Natural and Formal Supports
Natural supports describe the naturally occurring or informal relationships experienced in the community, for example, between neighbours, within cultural groups, and through working lives. We believe natural supports are the most effective way forward in terms of support for people with disability to achieve a good life in the ordinary spaces of the community.

One of the great things about natural supports is that they aren’t associated with any financial cost! People are not paid to offer support, instead they do it because of a shared interest or connection. Natural support can come in many forms, for example, it may be a ride to the supermarket, assistance filling out a form, or help with meeting new friends.

Experience shows us that people with disability are more likely to be included in the community if natural supports are encouraged around their participation. This is because it is difficult to become part of a community from the outside. It is much easier if it happens from within the community. A good example of this is when someone has an interest in joining a particular club or group. It is better to have a member of that group introduce the person, because they will be known by the rest of the group already, and they will know how to introduce the person in a way that fits with the group.

In saying this, we also know that for many people with disability and their whānau, paid services and professionals, also known as formal supports, play an important role in their lives. Formal supports may usefully be part of people’s search for the good life, but care needs to be taken to make sure it does not over-ride the authority and power of the person and their whānau. Paid services and supports should complement, not take over or exclude the natural supports that already exist or could be developed."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMe_5ERYWzk ]
communities  maori  relationships  cv  sfsh  2018  whanaungatanga  words  priorities  via:anne  tcsnmy  community  support  interdependence 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Jonathan Mooney: "The Gift: LD/ADHD Reframed" - YouTube
"The University of Oregon Accessible Education Center and AccessABILITY Student Union present renowned speaker, neuro-diversity activist and author Jonathan Mooney.

Mooney vividly, humorously and passionately brings to life the world of neuro-diversity: the research behind it, the people who live in it and the lessons it has for all of us who care about the future of education. Jonathan explains the latest theories and provides concrete examples of how to prepare students and implement frameworks that best support their academic and professional pursuits. He blends research and human interest stories with concrete tips that parents, students, teachers and administrators can follow to transform learning environments and create a world that truly celebrates cognitive diversity."
neurodiversity  2012  jonathanmooney  adhd  cognition  cognitivediversity  sfsh  accessibility  learning  education  differences  howwelearn  disability  difference  specialeducation  highered  highereducation  dyslexia  droputs  literacy  intelligence  motivation  behavior  compliance  stillness  norms  shame  brain  success  reading  multiliteracies  genius  smartness  eq  emotions  relationships  tracking  maryannewolf  intrinsicmotivation  extrinsicmotivation  punishment  rewards  psychology  work  labor  kids  children  schools  agency  brokenness  fixingpeople  unschooling  deschooling  strengths  strengths-basedoutlook  assets  deficits  identity  learningdisabilities  schooling  generalists  specialists  howardgardner  howweteach  teams  technology  support  networks  inclusivity  diversity  accommodations  normal  average  standardization  standards  dsm  disabilities  bodies  body 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Dr. Nev Jones on Vimeo
[found after reading:

"The Tough of Madness: Culture profoundly shapes our ideas about mental illness, which is something psychologist Nev Jones knows all too well."
https://psmag.com/magazine/the-touch-of-madness-mental-health-schizophrenia ]
nevjones  academia  psychology  psychosis  schizophrenia  2017  mentalhealth  healthcare  health  ptsd  immigration  support  culture  society  risk 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Why there’s no such thing as a gifted child | Education | The Guardian
"Even Einstein was unexceptional in his youth. Now a new book questions our fixation with IQ and says adults can help almost any child become gifted"



"When Maryam Mirzakhani died at the tragically early age of 40 this month, the news stories talked of her as a genius. The only woman to win the Fields Medal – the mathematical equivalent of a Nobel prize – and a Stanford professor since the age of 31, this Iranian-born academic had been on a roll since she started winning gold medals at maths Olympiads in her teens.

It would be easy to assume that someone as special as Mirzakhani must have been one of those gifted children who excel from babyhood. The ones reading Harry Potter at five or admitted to Mensa not much later. The child that takes maths GCSE while still in single figures, or a rarity such as Ruth Lawrence, who was admitted to Oxford while her contemporaries were still in primary school.

But look closer and a different story emerges. Mirzakhani was born in Tehran, one of three siblings in a middle-class family whose father was an engineer. The only part of her childhood that was out of the ordinary was the Iran-Iraq war, which made life hard for the family in her early years. Thankfully it ended around the time she went to secondary school.

Mirzakhani, did go to a highly selective girls’ school but maths wasn’t her interest – reading was. She loved novels and would read anything she could lay her hands on; together with her best friend she would prowl the book stores on the way home from school for works to buy and consume.

As for maths, she did rather poorly at it for the first couple of years in her middle school, but became interested when her elder brother told her about what he’d learned. He shared a famous maths problem from a magazine that fascinated her – and she was hooked. The rest is mathematical history.

Is her background unusual? Apparently not. Most Nobel laureates were unexceptional in childhood. Einstein was slow to talk and was dubbed the dopey one by the family maid. He failed the general part of the entry test to Zurich Polytechnic – though they let him in because of high physics and maths scores. He struggled at work initially, failing to get academic post and being passed over for promotion at the Swiss Patent Office because he wasn’t good enough at machine technology. But he kept plugging away and eventually rewrote the laws of Newtonian mechanics with his theory of relativity.

Lewis Terman, a pioneering American educational psychologist, set up a study in 1921 following 1,470 Californians, who excelled in the newly available IQ tests, throughout their lives. None ended up as the great thinkers of their age that Terman expected they would. But he did miss two future Nobel prize winners – Luis Alvarez and William Shockley, both physicists – whom he dismissed from the study as their test scores were not high enough.

There is a canon of research on high performance, built over the last century, that suggests it goes way beyond tested intelligence. On top of that, research is clear that brains are malleable, new neural pathways can be forged, and IQ isn’t fixed. Just because you can read Harry Potter at five doesn’t mean you will still be ahead of your contemporaries in your teens.

According to my colleague, Prof Deborah Eyre, with whom I’ve collaborated on the book Great Minds and How to Grow Them, the latest neuroscience and psychological research suggests most people, unless they are cognitively impaired, can reach standards of performance associated in school with the gifted and talented. However, they must be taught the right attitudes and approaches to their learning and develop the attributes of high performers – curiosity, persistence and hard work, for example – an approach Eyre calls “high performance learning”. Critically, they need the right support in developing those approaches at home as well as at school.

So, is there even such a thing as a gifted child? It is a highly contested area. Prof Anders Ericsson, an eminent education psychologist at Florida State University, is the co-author of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. After research going back to 1980 into diverse achievements, from music to memory to sport, he doesn’t think unique and innate talents are at the heart of performance. Deliberate practice, that stretches you every step of the way, and around 10,000 hours of it, is what produces the expert. It’s not a magic number – the highest performers move on to doing a whole lot more, of course, and, like Mirzakhani, often find their own unique perspective along the way.

Ericsson’s memory research is particularly interesting because random students, trained in memory techniques for the study, went on to outperform others thought to have innately superior memories – those you might call gifted.

He got into the idea of researching the effects of deliberate practice because of an incident at school, in which he was beaten at chess by someone who used to lose to him. His opponent had clearly practised.

But it is perhaps the work of Benjamin Bloom, another distinguished American educationist working in the 1980s, that gives the most pause for thought and underscores the idea that family is intrinsically important to the concept of high performance.

Bloom’s team looked at a group of extraordinarily high achieving people in disciplines as varied as ballet, swimming, piano, tennis, maths, sculpture and neurology, and interviewed not only the individuals but their parents, too.

He found a pattern of parents encouraging and supporting their children, in particular in areas they enjoyed themselves. Bloom’s outstanding adults had worked very hard and consistently at something they had become hooked on young, and their parents all emerged as having strong work ethics themselves.

While the jury is out on giftedness being innate and other factors potentially making the difference, what is certain is that the behaviours associated with high levels of performance are replicable and most can be taught – even traits such as curiosity.

Eyre says we know how high performers learn. From that she has developed a high performing learning approach that brings together in one package what she calls the advanced cognitive characteristics, and the values, attitudes and attributes of high performance. She is working on the package with a group of pioneer schools, both in Britain and abroad.

But the system needs to be adopted by families, too, to ensure widespread success across classes and cultures. Research in Britain shows the difference parents make if they take part in simple activities pre-school in the home, supporting reading for example. That support shows through years later in better A-level results, according to the Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary study, conducted over 15 years by a team from Oxford and London universities.

Eye-opening spin-off research, which looked in detail at 24 of the 3,000 individuals being studied who were succeeding against the odds, found something remarkable about what was going in at home. Half were on free school meals because of poverty, more than half were living with a single parent, and four in five were living in deprived areas.

The interviews uncovered strong evidence of an adult or adults in the child’s life who valued and supported education, either in the immediate or extended family or in the child’s wider community. Children talked about the need to work hard at school and to listen in class and keep trying. They referenced key adults who had encouraged those attitudes.

Einstein, the epitome of a genius, clearly had curiosity, character and determination. He struggled against rejection in early life but was undeterred. Did he think he was a genius or even gifted? No. He once wrote: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.”

And what about Mirzakhani? Her published quotations show someone who was curious and excited by what she did and resilient. One comment sums it up. “Of course, the most rewarding part is the ‘Aha’ moment, the excitement of discovery and enjoyment of understanding something new – the feeling of being on top of a hill and having a clear view. But most of the time, doing mathematics for me is like being on a long hike with no trail and no end in sight.”

The trail took her to the heights of original research into mathematics in a cruelly short life. That sounds like unassailable character. Perhaps that was her gift."
sfsh  parenting  gifted  precocity  children  prodigies  2017  curiosity  rejection  resilience  maryammirzakhani  childhood  math  mathematics  reading  slowlearning  lewisterman  iq  iqtests  tests  testing  luisalvarez  williamshockley  learning  howwelearn  deboraheyre  wendyberliner  neuroscience  psychology  attitude  persistence  hardwork  workethic  andersericsson  performance  practice  benjaminbloom  education  ballet  swimming  piano  tennis  sculpture  neurology  encouragement  support  giftedness  behavior  mindset  genius  character  determination  alberteinstein 
july 2017 by robertogreco
On Being Broken, and the Kindness of Others – The Tattooed Professor
"We’re not sending graduates “out into the real world”–they’ve been there for their entire lives, and most of them know at least implicitly how the deck is stacked against people regardless of how hard they’re bootstrapping. We have given our students a wide array of tools, and tried to prepare them to use those tools well for themselves and for their communities. We teach in the hopes of a better, more compassionate, and more just world. But then we tell a graduation-day story that assumes our graduates will go out into a broken world riven by hate, fear, and inequality but also that it’s their fault if that world beats them down. I don’t think we do this on purpose, but the myth is no less insidious for being unintentional. Consider this: as the college student population increases, so to has the incidence and significance of mental health concerns for our students. Substance abuse among college students exhibits several worrisome trends. The scale and scope of the sexual assault epidemic on our campuses is horrifying. The uncertainty of the post-2008 job market and the increasingly contingent and precarious nature of work in our neoliberal world present a post-graduation outlook that is bleaker for this generation than it was for any of their predecessors (to say nothing of the victim-blaming from those very forebears).

These are interrelated and telling concerns; they describe a significant portion of our students’ reality. Yet we’re telling them that effort and pluckiness will suffice to change the world, just like that effort and pluckiness got them to graduation. But it wasn’t just effort and pluckiness. For many of our students, the path to graduation was strewn with detours, interruptions, even crises like the ones detailed above–perhaps the way forward for them will be littered with similar obstacles. We celebrate the triumph over adversity, as well we should, but I wish we would give ourselves permission to recognize that adversity as something more than the thing we get over and never speak of again. If we don’t sit with the rough edges of our journey, we forget how we made it. Our students make it through like we did: sometimes through individual effort, but more often from the support, compassion, and vital companionship and affirmation of those around us. I don’t think we pay nearly enough attention to that fact. Nobody does it all by themselves, but I worry that we’re telling our students they have to do exactly that, rather than giving them permission to fail, to fall short, to admit they need help. Because those lessons are hard ones to learn, all the more so if there aren’t examples or encouragement for us to follow. Believe me, I know."



"I was afraid of other people, and afraid of what I’d learn from them. I believed asking for help was an admission of defeat. I’m in a career field that places a high value upon the appearance of professionalism; I’m expected to have it together, to know what I’m doing. To admit that wasn’t the case was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I can see now that I wouldn’t have done it were it not for the people around me who helped me feel safe and supported when I was at my most raw and wounded. I didn’t want to talk about my past, what I’d done, or what had been done to me, but those around me helped me realize that if I didn’t, I would continue to carry it with me. Doctors, nurses, counselors, clergy, spouse, parents, siblings, co-workers, others in recovery, random strangers, Vin Scully, my pets–it was their voice, their connection, and their freely-given kindness that sustained me.

It was not the smoothest or easiest road from there to here; don’t cue the happy closing music yet. I still struggle. I still need lots of help. I still act like a jerk to the people who are helping. But I have learned this truth: there are times when life will break me. The problem isn’t being broken, it’s in not letting others help put me back together. When I graduated, I went out into the world, and the world beat me up while I sat and watched. I thought fighting back was a solo project, so I failed. Only when I gave others the chance to help me, and accepted that support and affirmation honestly and without begrudging it, did I stop getting beaten up.

That’s my advice, then, to you graduates. You will go forth and hopefully forge many successes for you and your loved ones. But you will also fall short. There will be failures. There will be wounds inflicted by yourself and by others. You will find yourself in places you did not plan to be. You may even find yourself broken. And when that happens, remember that you are neither the first nor the last to end up there. Others have, too, and they can help. It is no defeat to ask for others to help you, and to depend upon that assistance. It’s a victory over fear and anger, that’s what it is. As a society, we tell ourselves that the individual reigns supreme. But it does serious damage when we take that ethos too seriously. Not every problem can be solved by an individual. Not every success is the product of an individual. There is no shame in recognizing those facts as they operate in our lives."
via:audreywatters  kevingannon  2017  resilience  pluckiness  grit  education  realworld  highered  highereducation  adversity  mentalhealth  well-being  uncertainty  expectations  kindness  compassion  companionship  substanceabuse  academia  colleges  universities  brokenness  professionalism  help  helplessness  success  individualism  support  assistance 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Cheerful to a Fault: “Positive” Practices with Negative Implications - Alfie Kohn
"We live in a smiley-face, keep-your-chin-up, look-on-the-bright-side culture. At the risk of being labeled a professional party pooper, I’d like to suggest that accentuating the positive isn’t always a wise course of action where children are concerned. I say that not because I’ve joined the conservative chorus whose refrain is that kids today have it too damn easy and ought to be made to experience more failure (and show more “grit”).[1] Rather, my point is that some things that sound positive and upbeat turn out not to be particularly constructive.

1. Praise. The most salient feature of a positive judgment is not that it’s positive but that it’s a judgment. And in the long run, people rarely thrive as a result of being judged. Praise is the mirror image of criticism, not its opposite. Both are ways of doing things to kids as opposed to working with them. Verbal rewards are often more about manipulating than encouraging — a form of sugar-coated control. The main practical effect of offering a reward, whether it’s tangible, symbolic, or verbal, is to provide a source of extrinsic motivation (for example, trying to please the rewarder), and this, according to a considerable body of research, tends to undermine intrinsic motivation (a commitment to the activity or value itself).

While “Good job!” may seem like a supportive thing to say, that support is actually made conditional on the child’s doing what we ask or impressing us. What kids most need from adults, apart from nonjudgmental feedback and guidance, is unconditional support: the antithesis of a patronizing pat on the head for having jumped through our hoops. The solution, therefore, isn’t as simple as praising children’s effort instead of their ability, because the problem isn’t a function of what’s being praised — or, for that matter, how often praise is offered — but of praise itself.[2]

2. Automatic reassurance. Deborah Meier once remarked that if a child says one of her classmates doesn’t like her,
we need to resist reassuring her that it’s not true and getting the classmate to confirm it; then we must ask ourselves what has led to this idea. Probably there is truth to the cry for help, and our refusal to admit it may simply lead the child to hide her hurt more deeply. Do we do too much reassuring – ‘It doesn’t hurt,’ ‘It’ll be okay’ – and not enough exploring, joining with the child’s queries, fears, thoughts?[3]

A reflexive tendency to say soothing things to children in distress may simply communicate that we’re not really listening to them. Perhaps we’re offering reassurance more because that’s what we need to say than because it’s what they need to hear.

3. Happiness as the primary goal. How can we help children grow up to be happy? That’s an important question, but here’s another one: How can we help children grow up to be concerned about whether other people are happy? We don’t want our kids to end up as perpetually miserable social activists, but neither should we root for them to become so focused on their own well-being that they’re indifferent to other people’s suffering. Happiness isn’t a good thing if it’s purchased at the price of being unreflective, complacent, or self-absorbed.

Moreover, as the psychologist Ed Deci reminds us, anger and sadness are sometimes appropriate responses to things that happen to us (and around us). “When people want only happiness, they can actually undermine their own development,” he said, “because the quest for happiness can lead them to suppress other aspects of their experience. . . .The true meaning of being alive is not just to feel happy, but to experience the full range of human emotions.”[4]

*

And here are four specific cheerful-sounding utterances or slogans that I believe also merit our skepticism:

4. “High(er) expectations.” This phrase, typically heard in discussions about educating low-income or minority students, issues from policy makers with all the thoughtfulness of a sneeze. It derives most of its appeal from a simplistic contrast with low expectations, which obviously no one prefers. But we need to ask some basic questions: Are expectations being raised to the point that students are more demoralized than empowered? Are these expectations being imposed on students rather than developed with them? And most fundamentally: High expectations to do what, exactly? Produce impressive scores on unimpressive tests?

The school reform movement driven by slogans such as “tougher standards,” “accountability,” and “raising the bar” arguably lowers meaningful expectations insofar as it relies on dubious indicators of progress — thereby perpetuating a “bunch o’ facts” model of learning. Expecting poor children to fill in worksheets more accurately just causes them to fall farther behind affluent kids who are offered a more thoughtful curriculum. Indeed, as one study found, such traditional instruction may be associated with lower expectations on the part of their teachers.[5]

5. “Ooh, you’re so close!” (in response to a student’s incorrect answer). My objection here is not, as traditionalists might complain, that we’re failing to demand absolute accuracy. Quite the contrary. The problem is that we’re more focused on getting students to produce right answers than on their understanding of what they’re doing. Even in math, one student’s right answer may not signify the same thing as another’s. The same is true of two wrong answers. A student’s response may have been only one digit off from the correct one, but she may have gotten there by luck (in which case she wasn’t really “close” in a way that matters). Conversely, a student who’s off by an order of magnitude may grasp the underlying principle but have made a simple calculation error.

6. “If you work hard, I’m sure you’ll get a better grade next time.” Again, we may have intended to be encouraging, but the actual message is that what matters in this classroom isn’t learning but performance. It’s not about what kids are doing but how well they’re doing it. Decades’ worth of research has shown that these two emphases tend to pull in opposite directions. Thus, the relevant distinction isn’t between a good grade and a bad grade; it’s leading kids to focus on grades versus inviting them to engage with ideas.

Similarly, if we become preoccupied with effort as opposed to ability as the primary determinant of high marks, we miss the crucial fact that marks are inherently destructive. Like demands to “raise expectations,” a growth mindset isn’t a magic wand. In fact, it can distract us from the harmfulness of certain goals — and of certain ways of teaching and assessing — by suggesting that more effort, like more rigor, is all that’s really needed. Not only is it not sufficient; when the outcome is misconceived, it isn’t even always desirable.[6]

7. “Only Positive Attitudes Allowed Beyond This Point.” I’ve come across this poster slogan in a number of schools, and each time I see it, my heart sinks. Its effect isn’t to create a positive atmosphere but to serve notice that the expression of negative feelings is prohibited: “Have a nice day . . . or else.” It’s a sentiment that’s informative mostly for what it tells us about the needs of the person who put up the poster. It might as well say “My Mental Health Is So Precarious That I Need All of You to Pretend You’re Happy.”

Kids don’t require a classroom that’s relentlessly upbeat; they require a place where it’s safe to express whatever they’re feeling, even if at the moment that happens to be sadness or fear or anger. Bad feelings don’t vanish in an environment of mandatory cheer — they just get swept under the rug where people end up tripping over them, so to speak. Furthermore, students’ “negativity” may be an entirely apt response to an unfair rule, an authoritarian environment, or a series of tasks that seem pointless. To focus on students’ emotions in order to manufacture a positive climate (or in the name of promoting “self-regulation” skills) is to pretend that the problem lies exclusively with their responses rather than with what we may have done that elicited them.[7]"

[Also posted here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/07/14/things-we-say-to-kids-that-sound-positive-but-can-be-detrimental/ ]
alfiekohn  education  listening  howweteach  teaching  pedagogy  praise  reassurance  happiness  reflection  expectations  grades  grading  effort  attitudes  positivity  behavior  manipulation  criticism  judgement  feedback  constructivecriticism  support  schools  selflessness  kindness  tests  testing  standardizedtesting  accuracy  deborahmeier 
july 2015 by robertogreco
The Open Door Isn’t Always Open | Practical Theory
"“I have an open door policy.”

It sounds great, right? Who could argue with it? But you have to ask a very important question: who isn’t coming in?

As educators, we can convince ourselves that an open door policy is working because kids are coming in. I had a teacher say to me recently that her policy of working with kids who came for extra help was working because there were always kids coming to her for extra help. I asked her about a student who was struggling, and she told me that he never came for extra help. I asked her, “Do you ever ask him to come?”

“I tell all the kids about extra help every day,” was the answer.

Some students need to be invited to come for extra help. Some students need to be told that the teacher wants to see them. That individualized attention where a student feels the personal investment of a teacher is invaluable.

And more than the personal, there’s a sociopolitical aspect to this as well. Often times, children come to school with the ghosts of the experiences their parents had in school. So there are reasons beyond the obvious – sometimes – for why a child may not come for extra help. They may not trust the teacher. They may view that help as “punishment.” They may have been taught that they shouldn’t “need” help. They might just want to run around at recess. There are any number of reasons that might keep a child from walking through that blanket-policy open door.

So when we examine our policies – especially those that center around how we make sure that every student gets the support they need – we have to not be satisfied with inviting everyone in. We have to understand that caring for children means making the time to make the individual invitation as well – to make sure each and all children know that we are there for them."
accessibility  listening  availability  teaching  education  chrislehmann  2015  welcome  opendoorpolicy  helpfulness  presence  support  howweteach  patience  invitation 
june 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
What is it like to be poor at an Ivy League school? - Magazine - The Boston Globe
"She opted for a single her freshman year, because she felt self-conscious about sharing a room with someone from a more privileged background. “All you see are class markers everywhere, from the way you dress to the way you talk,” says Barros, now a junior sociology major, as she sits in a grand, high-ceilinged space off the dining room in her Harvard College dorm. During her freshman and sophomore years, Barros hesitated to speak in class because she often mispronounced words — she knew what they meant from her own reading, but she hadn’t said many aloud before, and if she had, there had been no one to correct her. Friends paired off quickly. “You’d get weeded out of friendships based on what you could afford. If someone said let’s go to the Square for dinner and see a movie, you’d move on,” she says. Barros quickly became close with two other low-income students with whom she seemed to have more in common. She couldn’t relate to her peers who talked about buying $200 shirts or planning exotic spring break vacations. “They weren’t always conscious of how these conversations can make other people feel,” she says. In a recent sociology class, Barros’s instructor asked students to state their social class to spark discussion. “Middle,” said one student. “Upper class,” said another. Although she’d become accustomed to sharing her story with faculty, Barros passed. It made her uncomfortable. “Admitting you’re poor to your peers is sometimes too painful,” she says. “Who wants to be that one student in class speaking for everyone?”"



"But receiving a full scholarship to an Ivy League school, while a transformative experience for the nation’s poorest students, is only the first hurdle. Once on campus, students report feelings of loneliness, alienation, and plummeting self-confidence. Having grant money for tuition and fees and holding down jobs, too, as virtually all of them do, doesn’t translate to having the pocket money to keep up with free-spending peers. And some disadvantaged students feel they don’t have a right to complain to peers or administrators about anything at all; they don’t want to be perceived as ungrateful.

“IT’S TOTAL CULTURE SHOCK,” says Ted White, a Harvard sophomore. White grew up working class in Jamaica Plain and graduated as valedictorian (he was one of the only white kids in his senior class) from New Mission High School in Hyde Park; his father is an MBTA bus driver. From the start, the Harvard campus didn’t seem built for a kid from a background like his, he says. Classmates came in freshman year having started businesses or nonprofits (usually with their parents’ resources, he says) that could make even a top student wonder if he belonged. “The starting place for all of us isn’t really the same,” he says. White appreciates, for example, that Harvard gives low-income students free tickets to the freshman formal, but they have to pick up the tickets in a different line from everyone else. “It’s clear who is getting free/reduced tickets and who isn’t,” he says — a situation a Harvard spokesperson says the school is working to remedy. At times, White wondered if he’d made the right choice going to Harvard, even if he saw his matriculation, like many low-income students do, as his one shot at leaving his family’s financial struggles behind for good."



"Now that he’s on campus, Claudio sees just how big a social gap exists between him and other students. It was easy to mistake other African-American and Latino students as coming from a similar socioeconomic background — but after striking up a conversation, Claudio was shocked to learn many were as moneyed as his white peers. At the first ice cream social, one student mentioned his dad was a lawyer and his mom a doctor, then asked Claudio what his parents did. When he told them his dad was a welder, the conversation ended awkwardly. Later in the semester, Claudio confided in a well-off friend that his mom was asking him for money to help pay bills. “I’m sorry,” the friend said, which made Claudio feel worse. He’s since stopped sharing his background so openly.

After parachuting into a culture where many kids seem to have a direct line to prestigious internships through their well-off parents and feel entitled to argue with a professor over a grade, poor kids sense their disadvantage. Even if they’re in the same school as some of the nation’s smartest and best-connected young people, students’ socioeconomic backgrounds seem to dictate how they navigate campus. Research shows, for example, that upper-middle-class kids are better at asking for help at college than low-income ones, in part because they know the resources available to them. Disadvantaged students are accustomed to doing everything on their own because they rarely have parents educated enough to help them with things like homework or college applications, so they may be less likely to go to a writing center or ask a professor for extra help."



"Anthony Jack, a resident tutor at Harvard alongside Jason Munster, is a PhD candidate in sociology studying low-income students at elite colleges. He says low-income students show up at his office every other week looking to vent about frustrations with campus life — or to ask a question they don’t know whom else to ask, like “How do I get a recommendation for a fellowship?” In his research, Jack looks at the experiences of both the “privileged poor,” low-income students who attend an elite, private high school before college, and the “doubly disadvantaged,” or students who aren’t familiar with the expectations and norms of elite colleges. His findings suggest that low-income students’ success on campus may be tied to the social and cultural capital they possess. For example, do they arrive with the same sense of entitlement as their more affluent peers, do they understand the importance of developing one-on-one relationships with professors to earn future recommendations?

Jack says that the privileged poor adjust more easily to the campus culture than the doubly disadvantaged. The latter see professors as distant authority figures and feel guarded in approaching them, whereas the privileged poor, like upper-middle-class students, find it easier to cultivate the relationship. “You’re worth a professor’s time,” Jack will tell many of the students he mentors."



"Poor students may feel out of place at an Ivy League school, but over time, they may feel as if they don’t belong at home, either. “Often, they come to college thinking that they want to return home to their communities,” says Rome, the Brown official. “But an Ivy League education puts them in a different place — their language is different, their appearance is different, and they don’t fit in at home anymore, either.”"
poverty  inequality  education  ivyleague  colleges  universities  highered  highereducation  support  culture  accessibility 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Chris Brecheen - Being an ally is a lot like being a fan...
"Being an ally is a lot like being a fan of a sports team. You’re there to support them, you spend money on their merchandise, you identify yourself as such so that your team feels the love and the world knows you're there, you cheer for them, you tell others about them, you gush about why your team rocks to anyone interested in sports (and maybe a few who aren't), and you jump in if someone's talking trash about your team or your sport. You bring a megaphone and a big foam #1 glove, and maybe if you're good at what you do, you lead the bleachers in a cheer or two and get a few seconds on the JumboTron.

But you're not part of the team. You don’t get your name on the roster. You don't hang out in the locker room. You don't sit in on the strategy sessions. And if someone from the team is doing a press conference, you fucking sit down and give them the microphone."

[via: https://twitter.com/LeslieMac/status/578259470863708160/photo/1 ]
allies  race  racism  sexism  activism  sports  analogies  support  howto  chrisbrecheen  2015 
march 2015 by robertogreco
How to Be a Friend in Deed - NYTimes.com
"Alain de Botton, the best-selling author of many books, including “Art as Therapy,” told me that he was once deeply worried about “a mess I was in with the media.” “A friend of mine did the best thing,” he said. “Rather than say everything would be O.K., he said quite simply: ‘I will like you if I’m the last person to do so. There’s nothing you can do to put me off you. You’re stuck with me for life. You may hate yourself, and the world may, too; but I won’t follow suit.’ ”

Mr. de Botton said he found the gesture comforting: “Friends should entertain the darkest scenarios and show you that these would, nevertheless, be survivable.” Instead of placating with false optimism, he said, “I need grim, grim realism, combined with stoic fortitude — colored by a touch of gallows humor.”

ENOUGH ABOUT YOU, LET’S TALK ABOUT ME Paradoxically, sometimes the best way to be a friend to someone in crisis is to change the subject. Ms. Jamison said that for a long time, she would try to meet a friend in whatever emotion the friend was inhabiting. “If she was sad, I came into the sadness with her,” she said. But over time, she realized that sometimes it’s better to distract the other person. “If a friend seems exhausted by the prospect of narrating something again,” she said, “then I do think it can be helpful to tell them something from my own life, to give them a chance to be useful in return. Reciprocity is an incredibly saving dynamic.”"



"If there is a common theme, it’s that while technology does offer support, many still crave the real thing. Crisis is a test of friendship, and success, in this case, is measured in intimacy. “We always imagine that those in trouble go into another zone,” Mr. de Botton said, ”that they are no longer human. But they remain who they always were. Stop being so darn strange just because Mom died or I have cancer. It’s the same old me.”"
via:mattthomas  2015  friendship  reciprocity  support  brucefeiler  relationships 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Ferguson: White Bodies Bearing Witness » Cyborgology
"The mobile phone camera has become an embedded tool of protest. It has given rise to the citizen journalist and is a key mechanism by which surveillance is countered with sousveillance. In a New Media & Society article earlier this year, Kari Andén-Papadopoulos names this phenomena citizen-camera witnessing. This is a ritual through which bodies in space authenticate their presence while proliferating images and truths that contest with the stories told by The State. The citizen camera-witness is not merely witnessing, but bearing witness, insisting upon articulating, through image, atrocities that seem unspeakable. Indeed, as W.J.T. Mitchell compellingly claims: Today’s wars and political conflicts are to an unparalleled extent being fought on behalf of, against and by means of radically different images of possible futures.

The failure to indict Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown and the protests that continue to follow, set the stage for drastically different futures. The way we tell this story will guide which future is most plausible, most logical, and most likely.

The key image makers include State representatives, mainstream media, Darren Wilson supporters, and those protesting against the Grand Jury decision. These voices vie for space in the construction of the Michael Brown/Darren Wilson story. The story told by those in the first two categories is largely one of violence and mayhem at the hands of an unruly crowd. The story told by Wilson supporters is similar, but with a clear reverse-racism twinge. The story of those in the last category is one of systemic oppression, a story in which black bodies—especially black male bodies—are in persistent danger of physical harm, inflicted by those charged with public protection.

I stand with this last category, and am committed to promulgating their version of the story. But in watching this story and in spreading it, I’m struck by the method of its telling. In particular, the citizen-camera witnesses not only point their camera phones at the crowds, at the police, and at the built environment, but also point the camera at themselves. They don’t merely imply their presence through video footage, but explicitly locate themselves—their own bodies—at the heart of the story.

I want to make the case for citizen-camera witnesses to be thoughtful in their use of this videographic tactic. In particular, I call for these witnesses to consider their own bodies, and what it means to have particular kinds of bodies within the imagescape. I argue that the role of protestors with white bodies, those antiracists who stand in solidarity, should be one of quiet support. White voices and faces already overpopulate public discourse. Absolutely turn your camera outward on injustice. Always do this. But think carefully before turning the camera on yourself.

The war for possible futures, fought in images, has far reaching consequences; for some, those consequences are literally life and death. The stakes are highest for those with bodies of color. These are the bodies in danger. These are the bodies that should be at the center of the story."
photography  videography  testimony  witness  bearingwitness  2014  jennydavis  citizenship  protest  ferguson  video  photographs  discourse  voice  cooption  ethics  solidarity  allies  listening  support  howto 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Metafoundry 15: Scribbled Leatherjackets
[Update 23 Jan 2015: a new version of this is now at The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/why-i-am-not-a-maker/384767/ ]

"HOMO FABBER: Every once in a while, I am asked what I ‘make’. When I attended the Brighton Maker Faire in September, a box for the answer was under my name on my ID badge. It was part of the XOXO Festival application for 2013; when I saw the question, I closed the browser tab, and only applied later (and eventually attended) because of the enthusiastic encouragement of friends. I’m always uncomfortable identifying myself as a maker. I'm uncomfortable with any culture that encourages you take on an entire identity, rather than to express a facet of your own identity (‘maker’, rather than ‘someone who makes things’). But I have much deeper concerns.

Walk through a museum. Look around a city. Almost all the artifacts that we value as a society were made by or at the the order of men. But behind every one is an invisible infrastructure of labour—primarily caregiving, in its various aspects—that is mostly performed by women. As a teenager, I read Ayn Rand on how any work that needed to be done day after day was meaningless, and that only creating new things was a worthwhile endeavour. My response to this was to stop making my bed every day, to the distress of my mother. (While I admit the possibility of a misinterpretation, as I haven’t read Rand’s writing since I was so young my mother oversaw my housekeeping, I have no plans to revisit it anytime soon.) The cultural primacy of making, especially in tech culture—that it is intrinsically superior to not-making, to repair, analysis, and especially caregiving—is informed by the gendered history of who made things, and in particular, who made things that were shared with the world, not merely for hearth and home.

Making is not a rebel movement, scrappy individuals going up against the system. While the shift might be from the corporate to the individual (supported, mind, by a different set of companies selling things), and from what Ursula Franklin describes as prescriptive technologies to ones that are more holistic, it mostly reinscribes familiar values, in slightly different form: that artifacts are important, and people are not.

In light of this history, it’s unsurprising that coding has been folded into ‘making’. Consider the instant gratification of seeing ‘hello, world’ on the screen; it’s nearly the easiest possible way to ‘make’ things, and certainly one where failure has a very low cost. Code is 'making' because we've figured out how to package it up into discrete units and sell it, and because it is widely perceived to be done by men. But you can also think about coding as eliciting a specific, desired set of behaviours from computing devices. It’s the Searle’s 'Chinese room' take on the deeper, richer, messier, less reproducible, immeasurably more difficult version of this that we do with people—change their cognition, abilities, and behaviours. We call the latter 'education', and it’s mostly done by underpaid, undervalued women.

When new products are made, we hear about exciting technological innovation, which are widely seen as worth paying (more) for. In contrast, policy and public discourse around caregiving—besides education, healthcare comes immediately to mind—are rarely about paying more to do better, and are instead mostly about figuring out ways to lower the cost. Consider the economics term ‘Baumol's cost disease’: it suggests that it is somehow pathological that the time and energy taken by a string quartet to prepare for a performance--and therefore the cost--has not fallen in the same way as goods, as if somehow people and what they do should get less valuable with time (to be fair, given the trajectory of wages in the US over the last few years in real terms, that seems to be exactly what is happening).

It's not, of course, that there's anything wrong with making (although it’s not all that clear that the world needs more stuff). It's that the alternative to making is usually not doing nothing—it's nearly always doing things for and with other people, from the barista to the Facebook community moderator to the social worker to the surgeon. Describing oneself as a maker—regardless of what one actually or mostly does—is a way of accruing to oneself the gendered, capitalist benefits of being a person who makes products.

I am not a maker. In a framing and value system that is about creating artifacts, specifically ones you can sell, I am a less valuable human. As an educator, the work I do is, at least superficially, the same year after year. That's because all of the actual change is at the interface between me, my students, and the learning experiences I design for them. People have happily informed me that I am a maker because I use phrases like 'design learning experiences', which is mistaking what I do for what I’m actually trying to elicit and support. The appropriate metaphor for education, as Ursula Franklin has pointed out, is a garden, not the production line.

My graduate work in materials engineering was all about analysing and characterizing biological tissues, mostly looking at disease states and interventions and how they altered the mechanical properties of bone, including addressing a public health question for my doctoral research. My current education research is mostly about understanding the experiences of undergraduate engineering students so we can do a better job of helping them learn. I think of my brilliant and skilled colleagues in the social sciences, like Nancy Baym at Microsoft Research, who does interview after interview followed by months of qualitative analysis to understand groups of people better. None of these activities are about ‘making’.

I educate. I analyse. I characterize. I critique. Almost everything I do these days is about communicating with others. To characterize what I do as 'making' is either to mistake the methods—the editorials, the workshops, the courses, even the materials science zine I made—for the purpose. Or, worse, to describe what I do as 'making' other people, diminishing their own agency and role in sensemaking, as if their learning is something I impose on them.

In a recent newsletter, Dan Hon wrote, "But even when there's this shift to Makers (and with all due deference to Getting Excited and Making Things), even when "making things" includes intangibles now like shipped-code, there's still this stigma that feels like it attaches to those-who-don't-make. Well, bullshit. I make stuff." I understand this response, but I'm not going to call myself a maker. Instead, I call bullshit on the stigma, and the culture and values behind it that reward making above everything else. Instead of calling myself a maker, I'm proud to stand with the caregivers, the educators, those that analyse and characterize and critique, everyone who fixes things and all the other people who do valuable work with and for others, that doesn't result in something you can put in a box and sell."

[My response on Twitter:

Storified version: https://storify.com/rogre/on-the-invisible-infrastructure-of-often-intangibl

and as a backup to that (but that doesn't fit the container of what Pinboard will show you)…

“Great way to start my day: @debcha on invisible infrastructure of (often intangible) labor, *not* making, & teaching.”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536601349756956672

“[pause to let you read and to give you a chance to sign up for @debcha’s Metafoundry newsletter http://tinyletter.com/metafoundry ]”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536601733791633408

““behind every…[maker] is an invisible infrastructure of labour—primarily caregiving, in…various aspects—…mostly performed by women” —@debcha”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536602125107605505

“See also Maciej Cegłowski on Thoreau. https://static.pinboard.in/xoxo_talk_thoreau.htm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eky5uKILXtM”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536602602431995904

““Thoreau had all these people, mostly women, who silently enabled the life he thought he was heroically living for himself.” —M. Cegłowski”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536602794786963458

“And this reminder from @anotherny [Frank Chimero] that we should acknowledge and provide that support: “Make donuts too.”” http://frankchimero.com/blog/the-inferno-of-independence/
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536603172244967424

“small collection of readings (best bottom up) on emotional labor, almost always underpaid, mostly performed by women https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/t:emotionallabor”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536603895087128576

““The appropriate metaphor for education, as Ursula Franklin has pointed out, is a garden, not the production line.” —@debcha”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536604452065513472

““to describe what I do as 'making' other people, diminish[es] their own agency & role in sensemaking” —@debcha”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536604828705648640

“That @debcha line gets at why Taylor Mali’s every-popular “What Teachers Make” has never sat well with me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxsOVK4syxU”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536605134185177088

““I call bullshit on the stigma, and the culture and values behind it that reward making above everything else.” —@debcha”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536605502805798912

“This all brings me back to Margaret Edson’s 2008 Commencement Address at Smith College. http://www.smith.edu/events/commencement_speech2008.php + https://vimeo.com/1085942”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536606045200588803

“Edson’s talk is about classroom teaching. I am forever grateful to @CaseyG for pointing me there (two years ago on Tuesday).”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536606488144248833

““Bringing nothing, producing nothing, expecting nothing, withholding … [more]
debchachra  2014  making  makers  makermovement  teaching  howweteach  emotionallabor  labor  danhon  scubadiving  support  ursulafranklin  coding  behavior  gender  cv  margaretedson  caseygollan  care  caretaking  smithcollege  sensemaking  agency  learning  howwelearn  notmaking  unproduct  frankchimero  maciejceglowski  metafoundry  independence  interdependence  canon  teachers  stigma  gratitude  thorough  infrastructure  individualism  invisibility  critique  criticism  fixing  mending  analysis  service  intangibles  caregiving  homemaking  maciejcegłowski 
november 2014 by robertogreco
She’s Leaving Home | MORNING, COMPUTER
"Ever since she’s been old enough to take herself to bed, her last stop of the night has been to come into the office for a cuddle and a little talk and to say goodnight.  We’re ten days from lift-off and now she feels like every little household routine and tradition is happening for close to the last time.  She’s eighteen now — she started toddling into this room at less than my seated shoulder height — and she’s holding on a little longer at night, taking things slower, making them last a little bit longer.  The woman I helped raise is leaving home.  Off to university in ten days.  She’s ready for it.  She’s excited.  But every now and then I see her feel the chill of sudden altitude in the pit of her stomach.  Off to live alone for the first time in a place she’s barely visited and doesn’t know anyone in.  Working without a net and hanging between handholds.

Never let them think you don’t feel the chill too.  Never let them think they’re alone.  Never hold them back.  Never let them think for a second that a handhold is out of reach."
warrenellis  parenting  2014  children  life  handholding  love  support  safety  independence 
september 2014 by robertogreco
How one college went from 10% female computer-science majors to 40% – Quartz
"Yes, we know there aren’t enough women in tech. Yes, we know we need to change the ratio.

One college has found the answer.

With a three-step method, Harvey Mudd College in California quadrupled its female computer science majors. The experiment started in 2006 when Maria Klawe, a computer scientist and mathematician herself, was appointed college president. That year only 10% of Harvey Mudd’s CS majors were women. The department’s professors devised a plan.

They no longer wanted to weed out the weakest students during the first week of the semester. The new goal was to lure in female students and make sure they actually enjoyed their computer science initiation in the hopes of converting them to majors. This is what they did, in three steps.

1. Semantics count

They renamed the course previously called “Introduction to programming in Java” to “Creative approaches to problem solving in science and engineering using Python.” Using words like “creative” and “problem solving” just sounded more approachable. Plus, as Klawe describes it, the coding language Python is more forgiving and practical.

As part of this first step, the professors divided the class into groups—Gold for those with no coding experience and Black, for those with some coding experience. Then they implemented Operation Eliminate the Macho Effect: guys who showed-off in class were taken aside in class and told, “You’re so passionate about the material and you’re so well prepared. I’d love to continue our conversations but let’s just do it one on one.”

Literally overnight, Harvey Mudd’s introductory CS course went from being the most despised required course to the absolute favorite, says Klawe.

But that was just the beginning.

2. Visualize success

After successfully completing the introductory class, how to ensure female students voluntarily signed up for another CS class? The female professors packed up the students and took them to the annual Grace Hopper Conference, which bills itself as a celebration of women in technology. Klawe says the conference is a place for students to visualize women in technology; humans who happened to be female who love computers. Not everyone looks like the dudes in the trailer for HBO’s Silicon Valley.

3. Make it matter

Finally, the college offered a summer of research between freshman and sophomore years so female students could apply their new skills and make something. “We had students working on things like educational games and a version of Dance Dance Revolution for the elderly. They could use computer technology to actually work on something that mattered,” says Klawe.

The three-step strategy resulted in a domino effect. Female students loved the CS introductory course. They loved going to the conference. So they took “just one more course” and they loved that.

Before they knew it, women were saying, “‘I could be a computer science major, I guess.’ And so they are!” says Klawe.

By the time the first four-year experiment was over the college had gone from 10% female computer science majors to 40% female. UC Berkeley, Duke, Northwestern have had some success with similar tactics."
education  gender  women  girls  programming  coding  compsci  computers  computerscience  harveymuddcollege  semantics  support  learning  mariaklawe  manoushzomorodi  2014  via:sha 
march 2014 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Grit Part 4: Abundance, Authenticity, and the Multi-Year Mentor
"A number of us in the school central office I work in share a common thread from childhood. Whatever the circumstances of our lives, whatever the challenges, we were afforded a key luxury: we had in our lives some adult who stuck with us for more than a single year. We had a multi-year mentor.

Industrial education has many destructive effects, but one rarely focused on is the refusal of our school design to allow adult support to stretch beyond a single school year. We have sixth grade teachers and tenth grade teachers. We have middle schools and high schools. We have programs, and thus teachers, who only work with certain age kids. We sometimes even have separate coaches for different age-defined sports. And this is disastrous. By doing this we create the ultimate scarcity of support."



"For me, it is essential that we first ask questions about our systems, that we first ask what we can do to stop damaging children. If we do not, as I've said in this series before, we create damaged children at a far faster rate than we can possibly help them. Whatever the merits of the interventions Tough's book champions, from poorly prepared principals and questionable chess coaches on one end of the spectrum to deeply caring, deeply involved support on the other, nothing he promotes will halt the damage going on daily. I think we must be better than that.

Focusing instead on those three essentials, abundance, authenticity, and adult long-term human support will change the damage equation. We know that. And since we know that, we need to do it."



"Laura Deisley wrote on Eric Juli's blog that kids, "are coming to us from different and very real contexts and yet equally yearning for relationship and purpose. What your kids learn outside of school, and we are associating with "grit," is driven by both relationships and purpose. It is not their choice, and God knows they should not have to be in that situation. And, you're right we cannot change their immediate condition. However, if we too narrowly define outcomes--academic "success" as you call it--then they aren't going to see a purpose that is worth expending any more effort."

Abundance offers opportunity. Authenticity offers that purpose. Relationship offers that support. And I do not care where we teach, or who we teach, I believe that we can alter our systems to provide more of those three things than we do today. And by doing that we can begin to change the equations which defeat our children."
2014  irasocol  grit  looping  tcsnmy  education  teaching  mentoring  systemsthinking  care  caring  abundance  authenticity  support  lcproject  scarcity  slack  relevance  relationships  trust  purpose  lauradeisley  ericjuli 
february 2014 by robertogreco
The Art of Presence - NYTimes.com
[via: https://twitter.com/ayjay/status/425658418657886210 + https://twitter.com/ayjay/status/425659290209116160 ]

"Her mother, Mary, talks about the deep organic grief that a parent feels when they have lost one child and seen another badly injured, a pain felt in bones and fiber.

But suffering is a teacher. And, among other things, the Woodiwisses drew a few lessons, which at least apply to their own experience, about how those of us outside the zone of trauma might better communicate with those inside the zone. There are no uniformly right responses, but their collective wisdom, some of it contained in Catherine’s Sojourners piece, is quite useful:

Do be there. Some people think that those who experience trauma need space to sort things through. Assume the opposite. Most people need presence. The Woodiwisses say they were awed after each tragedy by the number of people, many of whom had been mere acquaintances, who showed up and offered love, from across the nation and the continents. They were also disoriented by a number of close friends who simply weren’t there, who were afraid or too busy.

Anna and Catherine’s father, Ashley, says he could detect no pattern to help predict who would step up and provide the ministry of presence and who would fumble. Neither age, experience nor personal belief correlated with sensitivity and love.

Don’t compare, ever. Don’t say, “I understand what it’s like to lose a child. My dog died, and that was hard, too.” Even if the comparison seems more germane, don’t make it. Each trauma should be respected in its uniqueness. Each story should be heard attentively as its own thing. “From the inside,” Catherine writes, comparisons “sting as clueless, careless, or just plain false.”

Do bring soup. The non-verbal expressions of love are as healing as eloquence. When Mary was living with Catherine during her recovery, some young friend noticed she didn’t have a bathmat. He went to Target and got a bathmat. Mary says she will never forget that.

Do not say “you’ll get over it.” “There is no such thing as ‘getting over it,’ ” Catherine writes, “A major disruption leaves a new normal in its wake. There is no ‘back to the old me.’ ”

Do be a builder. The Woodiwisses distinguish between firefighters and builders. Firefighters drop everything and arrive at the moment of crisis. Builders are there for years and years, walking alongside as the victims live out in the world. Very few people are capable of performing both roles.

Don’t say it’s all for the best or try to make sense out of what has happened. Catherine and her parents speak with astonishing gentleness and quiet thoughtfulness, but it’s pretty obvious that these tragedies have stripped away their tolerance for pretense and unrooted optimism.

Ashley also warned against those who would overinterpret, and try to make sense of the inexplicable. Even devout Christians, as the Woodiwisses are, should worry about taking theology beyond its limits. Theology is a grounding in ultimate hope, not a formula book to explain away each individual event.

I’d say that what these experiences call for is a sort of passive activism. We have a tendency, especially in an achievement-oriented culture, to want to solve problems and repair brokenness — to propose, plan, fix, interpret, explain and solve. But what seems to be needed here is the art of presence — to perform tasks without trying to control or alter the elemental situation. Allow nature to take its course. Grant the sufferers the dignity of their own process. Let them define meaning. Sit simply through moments of pain and uncomfortable darkness. Be practical, mundane, simple and direct."
trauma  support  2014  howto  suffering  grief  injury  presence 
january 2014 by robertogreco
How to be less of a jerk to students with anxiety disorders | Critical Spontaneity
"This list is dedicated to all of the brilliant and emotional and scared students out there:

1.) The only way to get rid of anxiety is to stop procrastinating and just do it. Anxiety is a result of your guilt and procrastinating will only make your amount of anxiety grow!

Thanks, Nike. I’m pretty sure that Anxiety Disorders are a serious mental health issue that can’t be overcome by recognizing they’re not helpful. Those of us with anxiety issues don’t choose to have them because it seems like a reasonable choice for overcoming procrastination.

2.) Maybe you should just do what makes you happy and find an occupation or program that is easier for you.

So I understand that victim-blaming is easier than shifting the dominant elite framework that academia is founded upon, but struggling is not a sign that a student is less intelligent. It perhaps says that the institution itself is ableist and psychophobic. You know what would make me happier? Being able to stop kicking myself for having self-doubt and feeling overwhelming guilt when I don’t perform in an exceptional manner. You know what would make things easier for me? If people would realize that it’s not my fault for being afraid of authority, mistrusting counselors and administrators, or being afraid to ask for help. There is a lot of stigma out there for people with anxiety issues. It would be easier for me if that stigma was challenged, rather than me as an individual.

3.) We all went through it. We’re all tired and overworked.

Cool story bro, but I didn’t realize I was going through fraternity initiation. This is the most annoying answer. I’m super tired *yawn* of these one-upping competitions people engage in to dismiss mutual hardships. “I only slept 4 hours” and then the next person says “I only slept 3 hours and had an energy drink instead of breakfast!” doesn’t fix anyone’s problems. As a woman of color, I have heard “be less emotional” or “try harder to overcome” enough times.

4.) Have you been to the counseling center? A counselor would be a better person to talk to right now. …

5.) Have you considered taking medication? My friend Joe Smith takes medicine and he’s much better now. …

6.) You should just do yoga or start running. …

7.) Did you finish yet? How about now? How about now?

8.) You can’t prove that your dad is dying. If you have trouble coping, you should have filed your issue with Student Disability Services at the beginning of the semester.

9.) You should be less public about this. It might hurt your career.

Oh you mean like that one time I didn’t get a position because I talked about mental health advocacy as one of my most passionate topics? You mean like that one time I talked about my mental health issues and was magically seen as “crazy” whenever I had a legitimate critique of patriarchy at meetings? Pathologizing has always been a swift tool of dismissal. Guess what? It has hurt my career, but I don’t want to be a part of a space that can’t make room for mental health issues to be at the table. Even in “progressive” spaces I experience the same militancy and policing around emotions and mental health. We can’t dismantle systems of oppression by emulating them!

Furthermore, I’ve lost track of the amount of other students who message me about eating disorders, anxiety, and guilt because they don’t know who else to talk to. I do have to be public about it even if it alarms or annoys you because of all of these people who matter (just like me).

10.) You’ll get through it if you’re meant to get through it.

There are some very warm-hearted and lovely people I know that have quit graduate school because it felt more like The Hunger Games than a collaborative learning environment. We need to stop applying a “survival of the fittest” mentality to academic success, wherein intelligence is linked to ability to endure rigor. I think it’s a huge loss of the academy that people I know to be brilliant and life changing have quit due to a lack of support.

11.) Social media and your blog should be a marketing tool for you to boost your voice and platform, not a diary. …"
highered  highereducation  empathy  mentalhealth  health  hazing  2013  sueypark  anxiety  anxietydisorders  compassion  procrastination  guilt  work  life  careers  academia  gradschool  support 
december 2013 by robertogreco
▶ Christina Xu, Breadpig - XOXO Festival (2013) - YouTube
"In many industries, publishers can sometimes hurt unknown artists more than they help. But a new model for publishing is emerging, and Breadpig is paving the way—helping independent artists find a wider audience without losing control over their work. In addition to her work running Breadpig, Christina Xu is co-founder of ROFLCon, the conference on Internet culture, and founding director of the Institute on Higher Awesome Studies, the nonprofit wing of the Awesome Foundation."

[Transcript:
http://breadpig.tumblr.com/post/62171738926/welcome-to-the-new-breadpig-blog-this-is-the ]

See also Frank Chimero:
http://frankchimero.com/blog/2013/09/the-inferno-of-independence/

and Anil Dash:
http://dashes.com/anil/2013/09/xoxo-and-reckoning-with-nice.html ]
christinaxu  breadpig  crowdfunding  xoxo  2013  trailblazing  support  creativity  logistics  supportservices  bootstrapping  independence  interdependence  supportstructures  kickstarter  structure  structurelessness  obsatacles  systemsthinking  darkmatter  norms  communities  meangirls  cliques  meritocracy  gatekeepers  disintermediation 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Someone you know ill? Watch what you say, and to whom - Los Angeles Times
"When Susan had breast cancer, we heard a lot of lame remarks, but our favorite came from one of Susan's colleagues. She wanted, she needed, to visit Susan after the surgery, but Susan didn't feel like having visitors, and she said so. Her colleague's response? "This isn't just about you."

"It's not?" Susan wondered. "My breast cancer is not about me? It's about you?"

The same theme came up again when our friend Katie had a brain aneurysm. She was in intensive care for a long time and finally got out and into a step-down unit. She was no longer covered with tubes and lines and monitors, but she was still in rough shape. A friend came and saw her and then stepped into the hall with Katie's husband, Pat. "I wasn't prepared for this," she told him. "I don't know if I can handle it."

This woman loves Katie, and she said what she did because the sight of Katie in this condition moved her so deeply. But it was the wrong thing to say. And it was wrong in the same way Susan's colleague's remark was wrong.

Susan has since developed a simple technique to help people avoid this mistake. It works for all kinds of crises: medical, legal, financial, romantic, even existential. She calls it the Ring Theory.

Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. For Katie's aneurysm, that's Katie. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. In the case of Katie's aneurysm, that was Katie's husband, Pat. Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order. One of Susan's patients found it useful to tape it to her refrigerator.

Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, "Life is unfair" and "Why me?" That's the one payoff for being in the center ring.

Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.

When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you're going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn't, don't say it. Don't, for example, give advice. People who are suffering from trauma don't need advice. They need comfort and support. So say, "I'm sorry" or "This must really be hard for you" or "Can I bring you a pot roast?" Don't say, "You should hear what happened to me" or "Here's what I would do if I were you." And don't say, "This is really bringing me down."

If you want to scream or cry or complain, if you want to tell someone how shocked you are or how icky you feel, or whine about how it reminds you of all the terrible things that have happened to you lately, that's fine. It's a perfectly normal response. Just do it to someone in a bigger ring.

Comfort IN, dump OUT.

There was nothing wrong with Katie's friend saying she was not prepared for how horrible Katie looked, or even that she didn't think she could handle it. The mistake was that she said those things to Pat. She dumped IN.

Complaining to someone in a smaller ring than yours doesn't do either of you any good. On the other hand, being supportive to her principal caregiver may be the best thing you can do for the patient.

Most of us know this. Almost nobody would complain to the patient about how rotten she looks. Almost no one would say that looking at her makes them think of the fragility of life and their own closeness to death. In other words, we know enough not to dump into the center ring. Ring Theory merely expands that intuition and makes it more concrete: Don't just avoid dumping into the center ring, avoid dumping into any ring smaller than your own.

Remember, you can say whatever you want if you just wait until you're talking to someone in a larger ring than yours.

And don't worry. You'll get your turn in the center ring. You can count on that."
advice  communication  support  relationships  2013  susansilk  barrygoldman  illness  complaints  comfort  ringtheory  emotions  canon 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Tupperwolf - An History of the Cloudless Atlas
"I’m writing this in a single pass. If I went back I would think of people I’m obviously leaving out. Pretty much everyone I know had something kind or useful to say to me about this project. But I think you see my point here – this project worked out well not because of anything special I did, but because I was surrounded by supportive and brilliant people. I think that if more people were as lucky in their friends as I am, we would see a lot more cool work in the world.

So. I’ve seen people say some really flattering things about me in comments over the last week. They are kind, but they’re mostly based on misunderstandings of the facts. If you’re tempted to celebrate me personally for this highly collaborative work, may I ask that you direct your attention instead to noticing people around you who could use a hand on some little project."
charlieloyd  humility  collaboration  2013  mapbox  cloudlessatlas  ego  glvo  wdg  srg  noticing  support  help  friends  howwelearn  howwework  kindness 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Dan Harmon Poops, HEY, DID I MISS ANYTHING?
"When I was a kid, sometimes I’d run home to Mommy with a bloody nose and say, “Mom, my friends beat me up,” and my Mom would say “well then they’re not worth having as friends, are they?” At the time, I figured she was just trying to put a postive spin on having birthed an unpopular pussy. But this is, after all, the same lady that bought me my first typewriter. Then later, a Commodore 64. And later, a 300 baud modem for it. Through which I met new friends that did like me much, much more.

I’m 39, now. The friends my Mom warned me about are bigger now, and older, bloodying my nose with old world numbers, and old world tactics, like, oh, I don’t know, sending out press releases to TV Guide at 7pm on a Friday.

But my Commodore 64 is mobile now, like yours, and the modems are invisible, and the internet is the air all around us.  And the good friends, the real friends, are finding each other, and connecting with each other, and my Mom is turning out to be more right than ever."
web  online  support  frienship  technology  popularity  television  2012  internet  cv  creativity  power  bullies  community  danharmon 
may 2012 by robertogreco
The Auteur Myth | Wired Science | Wired.com
"…it’s also important to remember that nobody creates Vertigo or the iPad by themselves; even auteurs need the support of a vast system. When you look closely at auteurs, what you often find is that their real genius is for the the assembly of creative teams, trusting the right people with the right tasks at the right time. Sure, they make the final decisions, but they are choosing between alternatives created by others. When we frame auteurs as engaging in the opposite of collaboration, when we obsess over Hitchcock’s narrative flair but neglect Lehman’s script, or think about Jobs’ aesthetic but not Ive’s design (or the design of those working for Ives), we are indulging in a romantic vision of creativity that rarely exists. Even geniuses need a little help."
jonahlehrer  creativity  collaboration  alfredhitchcock  stevejobs  johngruber  design  film  decisionmaking  auteurs  howwework  constraints  support  making  business  teamwork  leadership  2011 
july 2011 by robertogreco
The Finland Phenomenon – a film about schools « Cooperative Catalyst [Great detail in the post, some valuable comments too]
"key takeaways…

1. Finland does not have high stakes tests

2. …worked to develop national consensus about public schools

3. Having made a commitment to public schools…few private schools.

4. …RE accountability, Finns point out they…don't have tests nor an inspectorate…find trusting people leads to them being accountable…

5. …don't have incredibly thick collections of national standards…have small collections of broadly defined standards, & allow local implementation.

6. Qualifying to become teacher is difficult

7. Teachers are well trained, supported, & given time to reflect…including during school day.

8. Finns start school later in life than we do

9. …little homework.

10. …meaningful technical education in Finnish Schools

[Also]…All students in primary & secondary schools get free meals…grow up learning Swedish & English as well as Finnish…health care in the schools…teaching force is 100% unionized. Administrators function in support of teachers, not in opposition."
education  schools  teaching  film  finland  2011  politics  policy  us  learning  standardizedtesting  testing  accountability  control  publicschools  standards  nationalstandards  trust  unions  professionalism  professionaldevelopment  reflection  poverty  healthcare  homework  training  support  technicalschools  vocational 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Declaration and Validation » The Kickstarter Blog — Kickstarter
"A successful Kickstarter project has, I think, two parts. First, there’s declaration, the part where you’re forced to say, out in public—there’s no such thing as a private Kickstarter project!—you’re forced to say very clearly: This is what I am, and this is what I want to do. Then, there’s validation, the part where it flips around and your posse replies, in unison, and again out in public: Yep, sounds about right.<br />
<br />
And that’s when you feel like a writer.<br />
<br />
So for me, it’s declaration and validation that constitute the connection between Kickstarter pages and bookstore shelves. Without them, I would at this moment still not feel like a writer"
kickstarter  declaration  validation  robinsloan  writing  posses  support  2011 
july 2011 by robertogreco
“There are some people who don’t wait.” Robert Krulwich on the future of journalism | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine
"So for this age, for your time, I want you to just think about this: Think about NOT waiting your turn.

Instead, think about getting together with friends that you admire, or envy. Think about entrepeneuring. Think about NOT waiting for a company to call you up. Think about not giving your heart to a bunch of adults you don’t know. Think about horizontal loyalty. Think about turning to people you already know, who are your friends, or friends of their friends and making something that makes sense to you together, that is as beautiful or as true as you can make it.

And when it comes to security, to protection, your friends may take better care of you than CBS took care of Charles Kuralt in the end. In every career, your job is to make and tell stories, of course. You will build a body of work, but you will also build a body of affection, with the people you’ve helped who’ve helped you back.

And maybe that’s your way into Troy."

[See also: http://snarkmarket.com/2011/6850 ]
education  technology  teaching  future  journalism  science  passion  doing  waiting  fear  risk  risktaking  entrepreneurship  robertkrulwich  making  notwaiting  unschooling  change  gamechanging  friendship  community  support  horizontal  horizontalloyalty  counterculture  hierarchy  2011 
may 2011 by robertogreco
“There are some people who don’t wait.” Robert Krulwich on the future of journalism | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine
"So for this age, for your time, I want you to just think about this: Think about NOT waiting your turn.

Instead, think about getting together with friends that you admire, or envy. Think about entrepeneuring. Think about NOT waiting for a company to call you up. Think about not giving your heart to a bunch of adults you don’t know. Think about horizontal loyalty. Think about turning to people you already know, who are your friends, or friends of their friends and making something that makes sense to you together, that is as beautiful or as true as you can make it.

And when it comes to security, to protection, your friends may take better care of you than CBS took care of Charles Kuralt in the end. In every career, your job is to make and tell stories, of course. You will build a body of work, but you will also build a body of affection, with the people you’ve helped who’ve helped you back.

And maybe that’s your way into Troy."

[See also: http://snarkmarket.com/2011/6850 ]
education  technology  teaching  future  journalism  science  passion  doing  waiting  fear  risk  risktaking  entrepreneurship  robertkrulwich  making  notwaiting  unschooling  change  gamechanging  friendship  community  support  horizontal  horizontalloyalty  counterculture  hierarchy  2011 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Notice of an Advisory Relationship (Ftrain.com)
"I'm 36 now, and I've been writing for the web since I was 21. I've written for other media, but this right here is my medium of choice and I love it the most, even if I've been pretty lousy at updating Ftrain over the last few years.

In those 15 years I've learned that the web has countless ways to say “no,” or to say “meh.” It has fewer ways to say “yes.” Readability looks like a way to say “yes” to people doing hard work—whether they're journalists, essay and fiction writers, publishers, editors, fact-checkers, illustrators, photographers, proofreaders, circulation specialists—or the people who write the checks. The web needs more “yes.” That is why I've thrown my hat into the ring."

[via: http://blog.frankchimero.com/post/3526362273/in-those-15-years-ive-learned-that-the-web-has ]
paulford  readability  kickstarter  postive  meh  yes  support  writing  creativity  instapaper  funding  micropayments  moneyforcontent  money  publishing 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Drill and Kill: Educating Zombies: The Talking Head(s)
"A friend and I are sharing a middle school classroom with sixteen kids creating a mini-documentary film based on nothing that matters. It doesn’t even matter how the films turn out, which will probably be what you would expect from a twelve year old armed with a Flip video and a YouTube file converter app. We have simply gotten out of the way of the learning. As the adults in charge, we have created the learning environment by providing technical support, a loose agenda, and a guiding hand when energies wane.

We talk about the “sage on the stage” or “the talking head” mentality that is rife in education. We talk about the teacher guilt that appears when one abandons direct instruction. We note the implicit judgment leveled by our colleagues that think that such an educational activity is not “real teaching”."
teaching  sageonthestage  guideontheside  pedagogy  filmmaking  process  processoverproduct  tcsnmy  learning  children  autodidacts  lectures  lecturing  tradition  cv  schools  unschooling  deschooling  unlearning  change  looseagendas  support  lcproject 
february 2011 by robertogreco
for the love of learning: Mistrust drives manipulation
"Superiors are there to support you not dictate you.

Seth Godin writes about turning the traditional top-down power structure up-side down:

"I always took the position that my boss (when I had a job) worked for me. My job was to do the thing I was hired to do, and my boss had assets that could help me do the job better. His job, then, was to figure out how best give me access to the people, systems and resources that would allow me to do my job the best possible way.

Of course, that also means that the people I hire are in charge as well. My job isn't to tell them what to do, my job is for them to tell me what to do to allow them to keep their promise of delivering great work.

If you go into work on Monday with a list of things for your boss to do for you (she works for you, remember?) what would it say? What happens if you say to the people you hired, "I work for you, what's next on my agenda to support you and help make your [learning] go up?""
teaching  education  deschooling  control  leadership  hierarchy  management  administration  tcsnmy  learning  work  support  freedom  autonomy  manipulation  deprofessionalization  democracy 
february 2011 by robertogreco
PhillySound: new poetry
"One of my favorite stories Rumaker told us was how Buckminster Fuller was trying SO HARD to get his geodesic dome to work, TO STAND, but it kept collapsing. And THIS is the real genius of Black Mountain according to both Rumaker and Jonathan Williams, that it was a place where you were ENCOURAGED to DO WHATEVER YOU NEEDED TO DO and to fail, to fall flat on your face, and to then get back up. You had ABSOLUTE support! And Fuller kept having the damned thing collapse on him. THEN, on the day he finally figured out how to get it up, EVERYONE gave him a standing ovation in the cafeteria."
failure  blackmountaincollege  buckminsterfuller  support  learning  education  community  tcsnmy  michaelrumaker  books  bmc 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Nonformality | The Learning Revolution
"We will learn in the future by

* following rhythms of inquiry and learning rather than rhythms of compartmentalised structures and times,
* moving away from memorising and teaching towards exploring and learning by doing,
* turning away from sitting and listening passively to constructing and collaborating actively,
* facilitating learning from failure instead of punishing every little mistake,
* accepting uncertainty as the only certainty there is within the complexity of learning,
* relating learning and living in ways that are fruitful and enriching both ways,
* not teaching what to learn and think, but by teaching how to learn and think,
* inventing and facilitating new and integrated learning formats, combining subjects and approaches,
* turning away from instruction and control towards facilitation and support,
* moving away from spaces controlled by educators towards spaces controlled by learners,
* providing encouragement and support instead of criticism and barriers.

Admittedly, this list is generic—quite possibly, too generic—but it’s a start. Wir fangen schon mal an."

[via: http://twitter.com/cervus/status/16081012365 ]
education  future  tcsnmy  lcproject  learning  teaching  schools  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  instruction  facilitators  facilitating  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  collaboration  complexity  uncertainty  adaptability  doing  making  exploration  memorization  control  support  hierarchy 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » Quote O’ the Day: Institutional Change
"The institutional changes ahead will be quite different. These changes will be driven by passionate individuals distributed throughout and even outside the institution, supported by institutional leaders who understand the need for change but who also realize that this wave of change cannot be imposed from the top down. The new institutional model will involve a complete refocusing: Rather than molding individuals to fit the needs of the institution, institutions will be shaped to provide platforms to help individuals achieve their full potential by connecting with others and better addressing challenging performance needs."
tcsnmy  hierarchy  bottom-up  support  schools  learning  lcproject  institutions  organizations  flexibility  johnseelybrown  leadership  change  gamechanging  unschooling  deschooling 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Formal vs informal education - Joi Ito's Web
"[My sister an I] were discussing formal learning vs informal learning & how I probably survived because I had the privilege of having access to smart people & mentors, support of an understanding mother, an interest driven obsessive personality & access to the Internet. I completely agree that improving formal education & lowering dropout rates is extremely important, but I wonder how many people have personalities or interests that aren't really that suited for formal education, at least in its current form.

I wonder how many people there are like me who can't engage well w/ formal education, but don't have mentors or access to Internet & end up dropping out despite having a good formal education available to them. Is there a way to support & acknowledge importance of informal learning & allow those of us who work better in interest & self-motivated learning to do so w/out the social stigma & lack of support that is currently associated w/ dropping out of formal education?"
joiito  mimiito  formal  informal  informallearning  informaleducation  networkedlearning  formaleducation  tcsnmy  support  lcproject  learning  unschooling  deschooling  mentorship  apprenticeships  learningstyles  learningnetworks 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Gmail: Tips
"Become a Gmail Ninja

Learn tips and tricks to save time, increase your productivity, and manage your email efficiently. Start with the tips that are right for you, based on how much email you get each day."
gmail  tips  howto  gtd  tutorial  productivity  tutorials  tricks  support  email  shortcuts 
june 2009 by robertogreco
The Meming of Life » Secular Homeschoolers — guest column by JJ Ross
"You could say I’m a “constituent” of homeschooling, but in a radically different picture from the evangelical right wing oogedy-boogedy branch. Heck, not just a different picture, a whole different story, written in another language."
homeschool  religion  education  parenting  community  identity  web  online  internet  support  blogs  dalemcgowan 
november 2008 by robertogreco
farnham maltings [has requested one of our sasquatch photos to promote their festival]
"collection of buildings set in heart of Farnham that provides place in which people can imagine, create & discover. We aspire to provide tools, encouragment & opportunities for all types & age of artists to develop their own work both here & across regio
art  arts  entertainment  film  music  photography  theater  comedy  organizations  uk  support  glvo 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Diary of a bug (and fix!) for the XO laptop | Tech news blog - CNET News.com
"<24 hours after submitting problem report, I had patch to fix problem...no time on phone...With this kind of transparency, kids learn what it takes to make computers work...see value of being involved with process, which is first step to true self-suffic
olpc  learning  opensource  transparency  software  support 
january 2008 by robertogreco
OLPC News Forum
"Your independent source for news, information, and discussion of One Laptop Per Child and the XO Laptop"
olpc  howto  support 
december 2007 by robertogreco

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