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[Xmca-l] Re: decolonising science/maths



Mary,
Thanks for posting this thought provoking article on learning and being solicited into becoming an *expert*. 

I want to share a view on expertise through a Merleau-Pontian lens as portrayed in an article written by Kym Maclaren.

Actions (gestures in M-P frames) intend meanings in the world. Equally the intended meanings also develop meaningful *places* of the selves involved in generating these intended meanings.
For example:

The action (gestures) of someone who takes himself to be a specialist or *expert* and prides himself on being able to do things that others are not capable of doing.  Let us say an expert sailor demonstrates his expertise at tying special knots swiftly and efficiently – he MARKS HIMSELF OUT as an expert through his gestures. Tying the knot so quickly, so deftly, that we, the onlookers are left out of the process and experience only the beginning rope and the end product. The experts gestures seem to us, then, to be marvelous, magic, and beyond our ken.  He is thereby *set out* as the *solitary expert* with an *in* on this other world, and we onlookers are correlatively *set out* as the excluded, the non-participants.

Our experience is very different on the other hand,  when this expert *takes it upon himself* to teach us to tie these special knots. All of a sudden this mysterious, magical process is opened up to us.

The moves (gestures) – though still the same in their basic outline – are slowed down and exaggerated, presented on a larger scale, and we find ourselves drawn into the actions (gestures). As beginners to be sure, clumsy, awkward, and unsure of what we are doing – but as participants nonetheless.

By virtue of slowing down his gestures and opening the gestures up to us the expert *communicates* in his gestures a place for us as learners AND he attributes to himself the identity (the place) of being a teacher. He *makes room* for us in THIS world and treats us as people who could, in principle (in potential) have an *in* on this mutual world while simultaneously treating himself as someone *who shares a world* with us and can on the BASIS OF THIS SHARING, help us to find our way into this *particular* reality.

I could add commentary but will let this presentation from Kym Maclaren speak for itself. 
Mary,
This presentation creates a felt-imaginative experience of *expertise* to juxtapose with  the article you posted.




Sent from my Windows 10 phone

From: Mary van der Riet
Sent: October 16, 2016 7:42 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity (xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu)
Subject: [Xmca-l] decolonising science/maths


South African education is in a really difficult place it the moment. Its difficult to know where the tensions and disruptions will end, and how, if at all one can play a constructive role.
One of the debates is about the need to 'decolonise' education, including science/maths. This call by students has been met with derision and disrespect.
One of the few bits of sense about this decolonising has drawn on some cultural-historical philosophy
see

http://theconversation.com/yes-mathematics-can-be-decolonised-heres-how-to-begin-65963?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The%20Weekend%20Conversation%20-%205808&utm_content=The%20Weekend%20Conversation%20-%205808+CID_4eb3c8c0d6199c16245de6a1ef60f7cb&utm_source=campaign_monitor_africa&utm_term=Yes%20mathematics%20can%20be%20decolonised%20Heres%20how%20to%20begin