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RE: [xmca] The national context for education funding in the US

Jay, Peter, Eugene...
I'm picking up on this thread - I am looking for information on e-service. I am going to try to add e-service into two online courses this fall and am hoping for ideas. I understand how the reflection work could be done via technologies, but I am concerned about quality, the partner, etc and am hoping someone out there has some experience to share?

Emily Duvall, PhD
Assistant Professor Curriculum & Instruction
University of Idaho, Coeur d'Alene
1000 W. Hubbard Suite 242 | Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814 
T 208 292 2512 | F 208 667 5275 emily@uidaho.edu | www.cda.uidaho.edu 

He only earns his freedom and his life, who takes them every day by storm. 
-- Johann Wolfgang Goethe 

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Jay Lemke
Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2009 6:39 AM
To: mcole@weber.ucsd.edu; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] The national context for education funding in the US

Happy to see all the discussion that came from posing the question of  
how else to do higher ed better.

Mike is quite right, I think, that a key issue is how academics define  
what's academic, which means what gets academic credits approved by  
the faculty senate. Of course as we also heard there are differences  
between universities in terms of how narrowly (valued specialist  
knowledge and canon classics only) or broadly (also university service  
to the community) definitions go.

But it's no secret I think that university notions of what is  
intellectually valuable have moved from the avant garde of some  
centuries ago (when perhaps they were the only game in town,  
institutionally) to what seems pretty conservative and frankly  
"academic" in the pejorative sense today -- i.e. tradition for  
tradition's sake, knowledge without critique or with only standardized  
forms of pseudo-critique, specializations whose use-value (even in a  
broad sense) seems only to be self-serving within academic status  
communities, etc.

And with a lot excluded by ideological contrast: no such thing as  
learning from real-world experience (except perhaps ethnography), no  
relationship between intellectual value and human or community value,  
no such thing as emotional learning (neither emotion as essential to  
significant learning or learning to refine and extend one's capacities  
to feel), no spiritual or aesthetic dimension to learning. The  
exclusion of the arts as such from the academic, admitting only their  
histories and criticisms as academic. All these contrastive exclusions  
have their own particular histories, of course, but it's odd to still  
be stuck with them.

On "service&learning" (with a small alteration of the punctuation and  
semantic connotation), I too have argued a lot in recent years that in- 
school education, of whatever kind, can never be sufficient or  
satisfactory (for lots of reasons, see for example http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jaylemke/papers/Re-engineering_Education.htm 
  ; a slightly different version was published), and that a key  
element of what we need is a back-and-forth between experience in the  
non-school world and critical reflection and theoretical examination  
of that experience in something more like the classroom seminar. I was  
writing mostly about secondary education, but many of the arguments  
apply to higher ed as well. I was not thinking just of learning- 
through-service-to-others, but also of internships and  
apprenticeships, and exploratory experiences across a wide range of  
social institutions and settings.

There are just a very limited range of things you can learn about  
while sitting in an otherwise empty room, talking to people and  
reading books. That range is I think exactly what has come to define  
the "academic" dimensions of life/knowledge. Philosophy, mathematics,  
abstract theory of any sort, historical accounts, literature. Natural  
sciences added a very small dose of "the laboratory", meaning in  
effect another room containing only as much of the World as needed to  
replicate simplified, idealized versions of the canonical evidence for  
some bits of the standard theories. (Not enough certainly to challenge  
those theories or to make new discoveries.) Around the edges of this  
Academicized World are some oddities: geological and ecological  
fieldtrips, the rare bus to the zoo or museum (also, note, these  
latter are idealized, simplified facsimiles of the world which are  
designed to reinforce dominant theories/conceptualizations).

How bizarre that all the rest of life, which cannot be learned about  
while sitting in a classroom, becomes ipso facto defined as knowledge/ 
experience of no intellectual value.

In the higher education context, of course, we know that by and large  
in major research universities our colleagues across departments don't  
really care all that much about teaching and education anyway. So it's  
interesting to consider the limitations of the Academic also as they  
apply to our research practices. To what extent is it true that highly  
valued academic research is by definition research that can be done in  
a room with nothing but books and documents (literary studies,  
historical studies, law, theology), or nothing but the equipment  
needed to test a specific hypothesis (physical and biological-medical  
sciences)? And what of the human/social sciences? The experimental  
tradition certainly fits the Keep-the-World-Out paradigm of academic  
research/education. The survey tradition was genuinely innovative, but  
still gains its intellectual respectability exactly by not letting  
people tell us anything we haven't asked them, and converting all our  
interactions with the social world into minimalist documents (SPSS  
printouts). Even field-based studies gain respectability exactly to  
the extent that they "focus" only on answering some set of narrow, pre- 
defined questions. Once again we are pretty much only left with  
ethnography as a more open-ended research tradition, and frankly, its  
academic respectability is marginal at best compared to the other  
traditions (if still better than Education, Comm Studies, and few  
other stepchildren).

I preach here to the choir, I know. But my point is that it really is  
necessary to continue to challenge the equation of the traditionally  
academic with the total domain of intellectually valuable knowledge  
and intellectually useful practices (quite apart of course from the  
socially useful ones, about which universities mainly don't care  
anyway). I'll put it as blunty as I can. Universities are in danger of  
becoming intellectually irrelevant if we don't critique and broaden  
our definition of what is intellectually valuable. That applies to  
both research and teaching, to both content and methods.

Dinosaurs got bigger, too.


Jay Lemke
Educational Studies
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

On Mar 30, 2009, at 4:49 AM, Mike Cole wrote:

> Yes. Here we see the fusion of cognition and emotion, and as I wrote
> earlier,
> I am  CERTAIN that Emily, Peter, Eugene and others organize activity  
> that
> evokes the same effects. REAL education. Great stuff, when it can be
> squeezed out of the iron cage.
> mike
> On Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 5:57 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>  
> wrote:
>> I think I cried at the same point in "Cultural Psychology" too.  :~
>> andy
>> Mike Cole wrote:
>>> *I.** You think you have much to offer the kids, pearls of wisdom,
>>> insight,
>>> morals, etc., but you end up learning and growing more than them! I
>>> thought
>>> their world view and perspective was limited, sometimes  
>>> stereotypical (all
>>> their Chinese jokes made me laugh though), but I discovered mine  
>>> was just
>>> as
>>> limited in the ideas and judgments I carried into the center with  
>>> me.
>>> Looking
>>> back, I think it's sad that I was surprised to find that some of  
>>> these
>>> kids
>>> were brilliantly intelligent, and ridiculously talented in so many  
>>> other
>>> ways.  Too often I feel that kids, especially in lower SES areas,  
>>> who are
>>> surrounded by teachers, parents, other authority figures who have  
>>> low
>>> expectations for them, end up having low expectations for  
>>> themselves.  Yet
>>> there I was, with my own sorts of expectations.  ..I really came to
>>> appreciate the whole "structure" or maybe it's more accurate to say
>>> "structured chaos" of the learning center.  I don't know how  
>>> exactly it
>>> works the way it does, but all I know is that it created an  
>>> atmosphere and
>>> place that allowed kids to feel safe and comfortable enough to be
>>> creative,
>>> explore, learn, grow.  It allowed for the relationship between the  
>>> buddies
>>> and the kids to grow and flourish on its own, without having to  
>>> follow
>>> predetermined rules or guidelines (other than Ms. V's that is), and
>>> because
>>> of this, I think that's what allowed for such great relationships  
>>> to be
>>> built within the short timeline of 10 weeks! It's amazing how  
>>> attached the
>>> buddies and kids can get to one another, and I'm not quite sure  
>>> how it
>>> happens, but I think it's more than enough evidence to show that  
>>> we must
>>> be
>>> doing something right at the learning center.  *
>>> *I can't express how much the kids at the learning center have  
>>> brought so
>>> much joy to me this quarter, but it has moved something in me that  
>>> I've
>>> been
>>> on the edge about for a long time now.  I've always considered  
>>> teaching to
>>> be something I was interested in and wanted to pursue, but I  
>>> wasn't sure
>>> it
>>> was something I was really that passionate about. I do love  
>>> working with
>>> all
>>> sorts of kids, and teaching them, building that relationship with  
>>> them,
>>> learning from them.  But there was truly something different and  
>>> special
>>> about my experience at the learning center that made me look back  
>>> on it
>>> all
>>> and say, "This is what makes me want to teach - to be able to  
>>> interact
>>> with
>>> kids like these, to love these kids, and to have them love you  
>>> back..."  I
>>> want to see these kids do well, I want to be there to help them  
>>> learn and
>>> grow into strong, independent individuals, I want to help them in  
>>> any
>>> little
>>> way I can.  I most certainly was not expecting this class to give  
>>> me that
>>> extra little bit of inspiration, but it did, and it's undeniable.   
>>> It's
>>> not
>>> just that these kids in and of themselves are inspiring, but it's  
>>> also so
>>> much intertwined with what you do with the kids, the relationships  
>>> you
>>> make,
>>> how you get involved with them that makes the difference for them,  
>>> and for
>>> you.  ( 3/19/09)*
>>> * *
>>> * *
>>> *II:  **I do not think anything would have prepared me for what I
>>> emotionally and mentally went through this quarter. This course  
>>> truly has
>>> been a humbling experience and it amazes me to look back to  
>>> measure my
>>> growth, not only as a student, but a person as well..... I  
>>> challenged myself
>>> and worked with people that I never worked with before. And the  
>>> fact that
>>> I
>>> survived and everything worked out shows that I can do anything I  
>>> put my
>>> mind to. If anything, I surprised myself because I was so scared and
>>> intimidated sometimes by the adults and even the middle school  
>>> girls, but
>>> looking at the way I handle those situations, it almost came  
>>> natural to
>>> me.
>>> I never knew I had it in me* (3/19/09).
>>> On Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 4:44 PM, Duvall, Emily <emily@uidaho.edu>  
>>> wrote:
>>> In my reflection work with my students I tend towards the critical,
>>>> challenging institutionalized positionings of teachers and  
>>>> learners, of
>>>> parents and children, etc. Assumptions are challenged in the work  
>>>> we do..
>>>> Including assumptions about and rigid notions of a more  
>>>> 'knowledgeable'
>>>> other.
>>>> It opens up opportunities to mess with understandings of the zpd  
>>>> and to
>>>> engage in conversations about scaffolding versus mediation.
>>>> In some of the product oriented work, like the assessment  
>>>> project, it
>>>> allows my students not only to engage in interesting  
>>>> conversations about
>>>> policy, politics, accountability measures, etc and how it impacts  
>>>> on our
>>>> understandings of children learning to read. In this project,  
>>>> requested
>>>> by the Title teacher of a school, I hope my students will come to  
>>>> see
>>>> how our grassroots efforts can address the inadequacies of the  
>>>> 'system'..
>>>> Revealing the limitations of accountability with regard to its  
>>>> impact on
>>>> teaching, as well, is what I see emerging in our Readers Theatre  
>>>> Club.
>>>> Many of my students believe they live in a homogenous world where
>>>> everyone has equal opportunity and that such things as the Aryan  
>>>> Nations
>>>> are in the past and best ignored or slavery is in the past and
>>>> irrelevant to Idaho.  Learning to break through the veneer of
>>>> appearances, developing a critical lens on multiple
>>>> levels...incorporating theory in a meaningful and practical way  
>>>> rather
>>>> than a text book understanding... these are some of my goals.
>>>> ~em
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu 
>>>> ]
>>>> On Behalf Of Peter Smagorinsky
>>>> Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2009 2:08 PM
>>>> To: 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'
>>>> Subject: RE: [xmca] The national context for education funding in  
>>>> the US
>>>> I realize that service-learning has gotten a bad rap, which  
>>>> doesn't mean
>>>> that it can't be carried out with intellectual rigor. My sense from
>>>> being in
>>>> a Fellows group on my campus is that serious s-l education is  
>>>> designed
>>>> both
>>>> to serve the community and to challenge students intellectually,  
>>>> and
>>>> ideally
>>>> to promote conceptual change regarding issues such as poverty,
>>>> immigration,
>>>> etc. If it's a research site (like 5D and ultimately, I hope,  
>>>> like my
>>>> course), it could also provide a Hawthorne effect that could  
>>>> enhance the
>>>> experience.
>>>> I'm fairly comfortable with the term service-learning. The hyphen,
>>>> incidentally, is less a grammatical touch than a sign of the  
>>>> connection
>>>> between the two terms and constructs. And so while service comes  
>>>> first,
>>>> and
>>>> while courses no doubt don't eradicate poverty etc., s-l courses  
>>>> can
>>>> help
>>>> feed hungry people (my colleague's course does this) and help kids
>>>> graduate
>>>> (my course does this), and so they help chip away at larger  
>>>> problems. In
>>>> my
>>>> case, I developed the course because most students who enter our  
>>>> teacher
>>>> ed
>>>> program come from the honors/AP track of their high school and  
>>>> never met
>>>> the
>>>> kinds of kids they mentor/tutor in the alternative school; and  
>>>> yet their
>>>> careers will undoubtedly begin with assignments to teach middle  
>>>> and low
>>>> track students. So it was set up as a learning experience for my
>>>> students in
>>>> which, in conjunction with book club readings and discussions in  
>>>> class,
>>>> they
>>>> learn about populations with whom they have had little contact and
>>>> develop a
>>>> personal relationship with one kid from such a background, then  
>>>> put the
>>>> experience and the readings/discussions in dialogue in order to  
>>>> write a
>>>> case
>>>> study. The book clubs are also designed to model a pedagogy that  
>>>> lies
>>>> outside the repertoires of most of my students, who have been  
>>>> lectured
>>>> to
>>>> for most of their education, and suggest to them that  
>>>> alternatives are
>>>> available.
>>>> I was supposed to present something on this site at AERA but have  
>>>> no
>>>> travel
>>>> money left, and so have had to cancel my trip. This is the first  
>>>> year
>>>> I've
>>>> offered the course and so the syllabus will get revised in light  
>>>> of some
>>>> realities that have come into play this semester (e.g., what to  
>>>> do when
>>>> a
>>>> mentoring relationship is undermined by the student's unannounced
>>>> absences).
>>>> But I think it's going well.....only the course evaluations know  
>>>> for
>>>> sure. p
>>>> Peter Smagorinsky
>>>> Professor of English Education and Program Chair
>>>> The University of Georgia
>>>> 125 Aderhold Hall
>>>> Athens, GA 30602
>>>> smago@uga.edu/phone:706-542-4507
>>>> http://www.coe.uga.edu/lle/faculty/smagorinsky/index.html
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu 
>>>> ]
>>>> On
>>>> Behalf Of Mike Cole
>>>> Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2009 2:19 PM
>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] The national context for education funding in  
>>>> the US
>>>> What bothers me about the term, service learning, Peter, is that it
>>>> implies
>>>> no serious
>>>> intellectual engagement related to the critical, scholarly  
>>>> activities at
>>>> the
>>>> university.
>>>> While we still run a 5thD course of the kind described, it is by no
>>>> means
>>>> restricted to education
>>>> or psych majors. Majors from all over the map participate.
>>>> And we also are engaged in an entirely different sort   
>>>> collaboration
>>>> with a
>>>> learning center at a HUD housing
>>>> project. The range of joint activities is vast, as are the  
>>>> serious life
>>>> problems facing all residents, so it provides
>>>> a marvelous canvas upon which students can explore the relationship
>>>> between
>>>> their own life paths and the
>>>> conditions of life of people in very different circumstances.
>>>> I gather, Peter, that your experience is like mine: There is a  
>>>> serious,
>>>> positive, improvement of a generalized sort
>>>> in the further education of the undergrads. There are also some  
>>>> nice
>>>> outcomes, sometimes, for people in the
>>>> community, but it is a little difficult to erase poverty, sexism,  
>>>> and
>>>> rascism by this means. But since the question
>>>> Jay posed was about improving higher ed, and since these kinds of
>>>> efforts
>>>> are in perfect allignment with the
>>>> policies of the present administration in Washington (for the  
>>>> moment)
>>>> this
>>>> line of action seems timely.
>>>> Thanks for the links.
>>>> mike
>>>> On Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 10:44 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu>
>>>> wrote:
>>>> Hmmmm, this sounds remarkably like the way the 5th Dimension
>>>> experience at
>>>>> UCSD works.
>>>>> I know that others attempt similar ways to integrate student  
>>>>> work into
>>>>> communities, a.k.a. "service-learning" in US contexts. I'm  
>>>>> teaching
>>>> such a
>>>>> course this semester (see
>>>> http://www.coe.uga.edu/~smago/SL/SLSyllabus.htm<http://www.coe.uga.edu/%7Esmago/SL/SLSyllabus.htm 
>>>> >
>>>> <http://www.coe.uga.edu/%7Esmago/SL/SLSyllabus.htm>
>>>> <http://www.coe.uga.edu/%
>>>> 7Esm <http://www.coe.uga.edu/%%0A7Esm>
>>>> ago/SL/SLSyllabus.htm>
>>>>> for the syllabus), which I developed through a grant from UGA's  
>>>>> Office
>>>> of
>>>>> Service-Learning. One of my friends from the Fellows has a great
>>>> project
>>>>> described at http://www.uga.edu/columns/070910/news- 
>>>>> urbanfood.html.
>>>> These
>>>>> efforts can also serve as great research sites and thus combine
>>>> teaching,
>>>>> research, and service into one project. They also provide students
>>>> with
>>>>> important experiences and close the town/gown gap by serving  
>>>>> community
>>>>> members in need. p
>>>>> Peter Smagorinsky
>>>>> Professor of English Education and Program Chair
>>>>> The University of Georgia
>>>>> 125 Aderhold Hall
>>>>> Athens, GA 30602
>>>>> smago@uga.edu/phone:706-542-4507
>>>>> http://www.coe.uga.edu/lle/faculty/smagorinsky/index.html
>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu 
>>>>> ]
>>>> On
>>>>> Behalf Of Mike Cole
>>>>> Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2009 12:02 PM
>>>>> To: Jay Lemke
>>>>> Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] The national context for education funding  
>>>>> in the
>>>> US
>>>>> My answer to your last question, Jay.
>>>>> Make participation in real world settings, linked to relevant  
>>>>> academic
>>>> work
>>>>> including reading and writing, mandatory for all students  
>>>>> attending
>>>> any
>>>>> college or
>>>>> university. Use money to do this mainly to support grad student
>>>> supervisors
>>>>> who themselves are gathered into groups supervised by senior
>>>> professors as
>>>>> one
>>>>> of their courses.
>>>>> All evidence is that such practices improve student commitment  
>>>>> to more
>>>>> serious study at the university, increase the intellectual and  
>>>>> social
>>>>> capital of those with whom
>>>>> they work, and increase understanding of social justice issues  
>>>>> among
>>>> more
>>>>> privileged students, e.g., those who can afford to attend a
>>>> university.
>>>>> mike
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>>> _______________________________________________
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>> --
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/ 
>> >
>> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
>> From Erythrós Press and Media <http://www.erythrospress.com/>.
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