I sometimes comfort myself about students' missing mass with the thought that all knowledge is collective, which works as long as you are operating in a community where, through others, you can get at what you need.
Senior seminars last a lifetime! :-) JAY. Jay Lemke Professor (Adjunct) Educational Studies University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109 www.umich.edu/~jaylemke On Oct 1, 2009, at 4:47 PM, mike cole wrote:
PS-- One of the poems was by Langston Hughes. NONE of the students except the student who brought in that poem because she had written a report onLangston Hughes in middle school could identify anything about him. Been a tough day, education-wise. m On Thu, Oct 1, 2009 at 4:46 PM, mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:Not to discourage this line of discussion at all, but a couple of notesfrom several hours of teaching today.One class I am teaching is an "integrative senior seminar" to communication majors who are graduating this year. One of the activities they engage in is reading a text that they have, in principle, encountered in earlier class, another is bringing in a poem and explaining why it is important to them.Two issues. Reading the intro to berger and luckman on social constructivism they encountered the term "virtigo of relativity" inconnection with issues of cross-national differences. One student of the 24 could work up to saying what virtigo was.... and we linked it to the movie by Hitchcock. For relativity, e=mc**2 and Einstein. NO ONE admitted to every hearing the phrase, cultural relativity before. One remembered hearing aboutcultural capital. None could interpret that part of the text.They have been educated in a university by a department that takes greatpride in its educational achievements and commitment to diversity. Write that up in the NY Times? mikeOn Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 9:58 PM, Jay Lemke <email@example.com> wrote:Perhaps a second, more serious response.Critical thinking, I believe, is a "habit of mind". That is, it's not something one turns on and off, or something that we can stimulate in asingle class or around a single issue or text. It inhabits a longertimescale, it is more of an acquired disposition, and once you acquire itit's there with you in relation to pretty much everything. How we acquire it is a big, important question. I think we know,epidemiologically, that those who are marginalized in society are more likely to acquire it spontaneously. I always found Freire a useful text with Brooklyn College pre-service and new teachers, initially to talk about howto stimulate critical thinking in others who were already living inconditions that limited their human potential. But it always wound up beingabout how these students/teachers themselves were being limited byinstitutions, biases, power inequalities, etc. (even those in our own college classroom). They, too, were living in conditions that made them ready to discover critical stances. It took a while, and I don't know for sure how long the active critical disposition lasted in the face of the pain of seeing the pain around us, and the ease of easing off from a criticalstance in life. One critical breakthrough can catalyze a more generalized criticaldisposition, but "transfer" is often as much a learned capacity in regard to critical thinking as in regard to any other higher intellectual function. But the deeper, the wider, and the longer it sinks its teeth into us, the more likely we will be looking and feeling critically for the rest of ourlives. I know that you and your students will keep at it! JAY. Jay Lemke Professor (Adjunct) Educational Studies University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109 www.umich.edu/~jaylemke <http://www.umich.edu/%7Ejaylemke> On Sep 30, 2009, at 7:23 PM, Beth Ferholt wrote:An interesting twist as I used this paper in a class of student teachershere at Brooklyn College:I was excited to bring in Bodrova from the NewYork Times. I thought I could encourage critical thinking about the troublesome'frame' in which the article presented this exciting work with play. I overestimated my abilities to encourage critical thinking about the piece ... but comments from the students after class made me think that theseteachers-to-be may included more dramatic play in their classrooms because they read these ideas in the Times. BethOn Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 7:23 PM, Jay Lemke <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:David and all,Briefly, the dynamic, in the sense of the mechanisms at work, may bemuchthe same, but the degree of residual choice, or freedom-in- practice,remainsconsiderably greater. Call is power-within-the-system as opposed topower-over-the-system, which, I agree, individuals in general, regardless of social class lack. That's why collectives are more formidable in resisting or changing the system. A deep question I think is whether the marginalizedor the middle class in fact play this role. The former, I think, find it harder to organize and participate in collective action over longer time spans, but if they do are more likely to initiate major changes. Thelatteraggregate in search of their interests more often and easily, but arelesslikely to do more than negotiate relative advantage within the existing system. Here too one sees, I think, the implied powers of burgher andpauper. (Genuine princes are in a much more paradoxical position!) JAY. Jay Lemke Professor (Adjunct) Educational Studies University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109 www.umich.edu/~jaylemke <http://www.umich.edu/%7Ejaylemke> On Sep 27, 2009, at 10:36 PM, David H Kirshner wrote: But there is a world of political difference among controllingyourself, carrying out commands, and controlling others.Jay,Not to dispute the critical stance of your concerns re self- regulation, I wonder to what extent the politicization of the issue obscures its dynamics. Even the wealthy scion inheriting position and power has to learn to navigate in an existing system "he" (most likely, he) hasn't created. The rewards for self-control undoubtedly are much greater and much more readily forthcoming for the prince than the pauper. But isn'tthe dynamic the same? David -----Original Message-----From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org ]On Behalf Of Jay Lemke Sent: Sunday, September 27, 2009 11:26 PM To: email@example.com; eXtended Mind, Culture, ActivitySubject: Re: [xmca] Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self- Control?As a footnote to my worries about the politics of teaching "self-control", and in response to Mike's note about re-framing in cognitivepsych discourse, a thought or two about "executive function".There is a value connotation in this term, from "executive" in its sense of high-status individual in a managerial role (cf. "ExecutiveMBA program" or "Executive Summary" not to mention "Executive Washroom"!). And it's not so semantically distant from the putative denotativemeaning of the term: the function of executing decisions. The history comes, I believe, from computer programming and computer processor design, where the executive function carries out the commands of theprogram.So there is a sort of root cultural meaning-message here: "it's good to be in charge" conflated with "self-control is good". But there is a world of political difference among controlling yourself, carrying out commands, and controlling others. Or as I argued in my other post, learning how to control yourself to act your part in someone else'sdrama.It may be obvious but perhaps still worth noting that there's also a difference between the meaning of "self-control" or "self- regulation" as the basic and necessary ability to focus your own attention and action in order to get something done beyond the single instant vs. their meaning as conforming to the norms of behavior set by others. Infree cooperative or collaborative activity, where group norms areagreed and remain subject to challenge by all and to revision, this latter difference fades. But how often does that happen in schools? orany late capitalist institution? JAY. Jay Lemke Professor (Adjunct) Educational Studies University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109 www.umich.edu/~jaylemke <http://www.umich.edu/%7Ejaylemke> On Sep 27, 2009, at 9:22 AM, mike cole wrote: I am pushed to get ready for classes monday, Ageliki.I would be glad to discuss the issue I referred to as re-framing within thecontext of the discussion of learning sciences and vygotsky just tokeep itin the bounds of time constraints-- have you read that discussion?Otherwise my comments will make no sense.Within that context, I might start with executive functioning as a "neuroscience term," the discourse on 0-3 and ways to make babiesbrains develop more quickly (see xmca discussion of brain and education),and thelinkages to no-child-left behind. Seems a long way from Kharkov inthe late 1930's, or 1990's, or the recent (to the NYTimes) discovery of Vygotsky. mikeSun, Sep 27, 2009 at 9:15 AM, Ageliki Nicolopoulou <firstname.lastname@example.org >wrote: Hi Mike,Can you explain a bit what you mean by re-framing and why you seeit as an issue of re-framing? Thanks, Ageliki -- ********************************************** Ageliki Nicolopoulou Professor Department of Psychology, Lehigh University 17 Memorial Drive East Bethlehem, PA 18015-3068 Personal Webpage:http://www.lehigh.edu/~agn3/index.htm<http://www.lehigh.edu/%7Eagn3/index.htm ><http://www.lehigh.edu/%7Eagn3/index.htmDepartmental Webpage: http://www.lehigh.edu/~inpsy/<http://www.lehigh.edu/%7Einpsy/ >nicolopoulou.html<http://www.lehigh.edu/%7Einpsy/nicolopoulou.html >********************************************** mike cole wrote:Thanks Peter-- I was just about to forward this story. Apart fromitsconsiderable intrinsic interest to members of this group, it seemsrelevantto the prior discussion the origins of learning sciences and theways in which re-framing can operate to change the terms of discourse. mikeOn Sun, Sep 27, 2009 at 7:36 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <email@example.com >wrote: September 27, 2009 The NY Times Magazine SectionThe School Issue: Preschool Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self-Control? 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