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[Xmca-l] Re: The ideal head
The progressive flip-side of that argument is to recognize that kids in
poverty have manifested the grit they need to succeed in other contexts.
At Temple we're moving to a no-test admissions option to acknowledge that
kids from the comprehensive high schools in Philadelphia have personal
resources that SATs can't measure.
On Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 2:28 PM, Peter Smagorinsky <email@example.com> wrote:
> And yet "grit" is now the vogue term used by US policymakers to indicate
> that kids in poverty's main problem is not trying hard enough.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:
> email@example.com] On Behalf Of Helena Worthen
> Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 1:46 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The ideal head
> But my point is that the "fictional" idea has power -- enough power to
> make people think that if a kid tries, and tries, and tries, they can
> overcome the lack of special resources that are symbolized by "English
> nobility," or, in the real world, a rich cultural environment in childhood,
> good food, safe place to sleep, attentive educated parents, nice schools,
> etc etc...
> Sometimes the "people" who believe that trying hard is enough are the
> parents. Sometimes they are the overseers of the school systems, who ought
> to know better.
> Helena Worthen
> On Jul 24, 2014, at 1:34 PM, Carol Macdonald wrote:
> > Peter
> > 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.
> > Carol
> > On 24 July 2014 17:53, Peter Smagorinsky <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> >> I'd say that working harder worked for Tarzan because he was fictional.
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: email@example.com [mailto:
> >> firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Helena Worthen
> >> Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 12:40 PM
> >> To: email@example.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
> >> 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
> >> firstname.lastname@example.org
> >> 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 <email@example.com>
> >> wrote:
> >>>> http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/07/the-ideal-head
> >>>> -b
> >>>> izarre-racial-teachings-from-a-100-year-old-textbook/374693/#commen
> >>>> ts
> >>>> 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
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