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[Xmca-l] Re: The ideal head

Michael -

How will Temple decide whom to admit? First come, first served? Anyone who graduates from a Philly high school?


Helena Worthen

On Jul 24, 2014, at 2:38 PM, MICHAEL W SMITH wrote:

> 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 <smago@uga.edu> 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.
>> http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar12/vol69/num06/Got-Grit%C2%A2.aspx
>> -----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 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
>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
>> 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 <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/#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
> -- 
> Michael W. Smith
> Associate Dean for Faculty Development
>     and Academic Affairs
> Temple University
> College of Education
> 237  Ritter Hall
> 1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue
> Philadelphia, PA 19122
> 215.204.2296