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[Xmca-l] Re: Interpreting videos
Good morning --
After reading some comments I went back and looked at the video again.
The video appears to be responding to a problem, the problem of the
reputation of Lincoln High School. Students are refuting that reputation
and describing their own experience at Lincoln.
The reputation of a school can be a powerful social marker of a young
person, not much different than the way "Harvard grad" follows someone all
the rest of his life. "She goes to Lincoln" may be the kind of label that
would make other kids literally back away from someone at, say, camp or
church or even in a public place. Imagine three girls walking in a
shopping mall wearing Lincoln High School sweatshirts, and how other kids
their age might look at them -- giggles and snickers, raised shoulders,
turning away, that sort of thing.
As these kids say, the name of the school means drugs, fighting and gangs
-- which were apparently broadcast on the KPBS show that is referred to
several times (and included by clips). So this is a speak-back to the
world, via the Communications Department at UCSD, to challenge that
shadow. The students acknowledge the shadow but push beyond it. The
controlled anger in their voices is an indicator of how deeply the
reputation of the school is woven into their personal identities.
It's a public school, part of the UCSD school district -- it doesn't say
whether it's a charter school or not. Not all academies are charter
I wonder how the idea for this video came up. It seems possible to me that
someone knew a student at Lincoln and overheard them say, "I hate to tell
people where I go to school because everyone assumes I'm a gangbanger."
Then the person who is listening might have noted the passion in his voice
and might have said, "What would you really like to tell people about your
school?" And so the project got going.
On 9/16/13 10:06 AM, "White, Phillip" <Phillip.White@ucdenver.edu> wrote:
>i agree, David, that the change evident in the video is a result of not
>just multiple individuals, but also change over time - and we don't know
>what the time frame has been thus far. there appears to be a connection
>between the present activities of practice, and the construction of a new
>facility. but perhaps the change began before the construction - perhaps
>even in anticipation of it.
>and how are the other academies doing?
>i don't believe that what was _done_ at Lincoln can be transported - but
>certainly the questions regarding problems of practice as well as
>theoretical/conceptual frameworks can be taken up in other locations.
>[email@example.com] On Behalf Of
>David H Kirshner [firstname.lastname@example.org]
>Sent: Sunday, September 15, 2013 10:23 PM
>To: email@example.com; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Interpreting videos
>There's not much context given, but one assumes this change in the
>culture at Lincoln High is a result of a concerted effort by one or more
>The changes seem to include some pretty dramatic reorientations in
>identity structure of some students.
>These changes seem to have to do with a social analysis of some sort,
>reminiscent of Freire's work.
>The kids who have changed have come to see themselves as authors of
>The question I'd like to take up concerns scale-up. Can whatever was done
>at Lincoln be transported to other locations?
>If one puts on blinders (which sociohistorical theory warns us against),
>it seems possible to think in terms of the demographic at Lincoln,
>perhaps the management structure at Lincoln, and other internal factors.
>Perhaps the prospects for replication are good if change agents of
>similar perspective and talent are available.
>However, taking off the blinders, the success at Lincoln probably has a
>lot to do with the fact that the school is a singleton. I'm thinking not
>just of the energy and enthusiasm this produces for the initiators of
>change, but to the possibility that students' identity projects also have
>been marshaled by the uniqueness of the situation. In this respect, the
>conditions that are required for replication may never again exist.
>It seems to me, the only way in which this process of transformation can
>scale up is if it becomes part of a broad social movement (in the spirit
>of the U.S. Civil Rights era of the 1960). Approached at the level of the
>individual school this is likely to sputter and fade.