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[Xmca-l] Re: The ideal head


Or perhaps that the writer of The Tarzan stories had no idea about what it
takes to become literate.  He had no-one to show him the arbitrariness of
language and reading.

If you remember, the primers for reading had multisyllable words in them.

Peter is right - only in fiction is this possible.

And trying harder isn't necessarily the way to move forward. Trying
something *else *might do it.  Tell that mum.


On 24 July 2014 17:53, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu> wrote:

> I'd say that working harder worked for Tarzan because he was fictional.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Helena Worthen
> Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 12:40 PM
> To: lchcmike@gmail.com; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The ideal head
> These views are persuasively bound up in the story of Tarzan, an
> incredibly popular book published in 1913 and still being sold. Tarzan,
> abandoned in infancy in the African jungle, comes upon his dead parents'
> cabin and their library and, without ever hearing human speech much less
> English spoken, manages to teach himself to read. Why? Well, 1) he tries
> hard and 2) he's English nobility. The generations of kids and their
> parents who read the Tarzan story (or see the movies) never question this
> train wreck of ideas -- on the contrary, it provides support for the idea
> that learning is the result of trying hard and being born smart (except
> that that's a code word for upper class).
> I had a heart-wrenching experience the other day that illustrates how this
> works in real life. We're spending the summer in a small town in Vermont --
> working class, very dependent on big ski area tourism. A friend of mine, a
> working class woman, is paying big bucks to send her 12 year old daughter
> to an academic summer camp at a very high-level hotshot prep school nearby.
> The hope is that, with this extra boost, the girl will be able to speed
> past the pitfalls of the local high school (which has a 30% dropout rate,
> drug problems, etc.). The other students at the summer camp are prep school
> kids repeating classes they didnt' ace plus rich kids from all over the
> world, especially Asia. My friend's daughter did fine the first week, then
> seemed to just freeze. Now daughter wants to quit and is refusing to eat,
> etc. Her mom's idea is that the girl just needs to try harder, try harder,
> try harder.Mother has moved down there and is starting to attend classes
> with her.  Mother and daughter are about ready to hit each other.
> My opinion: trying harder worked for Tarzan because he was English
> nobility, and someone forgot to make sure my friend and her daughter were
> English nobility (meaning, someone forgot to prepare her daughter with all
> the class advantages, including self confidence, that the other kids
> brought with them, along with their iPhones and designer swimsuits).
> Where do you start, in a situation like this?
> Helena Worthen
> helenaworthen@gmail.com
> On Jul 19, 2014, at 6:38 PM, mike cole wrote:
> > Hi Peter. I had a similar experience regarding the accidental
> > discovery of literature containing those colonialist-era books. My
> > example was written for high level scholars over a century ago, but
> > it, like this piece, expresses views that have not by any means
> > disappeared in the intervening century.
> >
> > Nor has the resulting violence seemed to have eased.
> >
> > Attached.
> > mike
> >
> >
> > On Sat, Jul 19, 2014 at 12:03 PM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu>
> wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/07/the-ideal-head-b
> >> izarre-racial-teachings-from-a-100-year-old-textbook/374693/#comments
> >>
> >> I wrote this very short essay that some might find interesting, and
> >> have linked to the page that includes reader comments, which are
> >> prolific and edifying for those who believe in the progress of human
> >> thinking. p
> >>
> > <Drummond- Ascent O fMan.doc>

Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
Developmental psycholinguist
Academic, Researcher,  and Editor
Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa