or something like that...
I must admit that I struggled with the Deschooling reading for today. Something deep and, seemingly, primal screamed out in slo-mo, "NOOOO!!!!" when the author appeared to belittle the hierarchical order and engagement with knowledge.
"Of course one needs to find and engage with knowledge in order. It's obvious." Or, additionally, the "reorganization" of schools in a deschooled environment, a web of learning, would resulted in further divisions between the haves and have-nots.
But I Spent So Many Nights Thinking How You Did Me Wrong...
Then, however, I began to think as I encountered different examples about how resources were used in ways similar to the author's descriptions, like the tape recorders and mechanical donkeys, that mirrored my experiences in teaching. I teach about half of my day at a relatively lower privileged high school where money seems prevalent for football and computers that remain locked in closets. I see textbooks that cost hundreds of dollars that cost only that much for the reason that they control the flow of information and are driven by the profit motive.
I was also angry about the article's assertion that it was the teachers who held onto this structure. I would love nothing more than to let students be self-directed. In fact, I've structured my final paper in my freshmen writing class to be inspired by a reading of their choice and tried to serve more as guide than a "TEACHER". I encourage them to ask questions that they are interested in and follow the directions that their research sends them. However, they have been so strictly trained against inquiry that these appears to cause the same anguish as ordering them to kill their pet rabbit.
Clearly something is NOT right.
I Grew Strong. I Learned How to Carry On.
The problem that I see in this debate, and the reading itself, is that educators and policy-makers seek answers rather than a dialectic. Just as Ms. Gaynor states in her totemic song, the strength comes from struggle, not the solution. It comes in the realization that the narrator has about what they should have done in the distant and recent past AND in their practical response to what they should do now.
The error of complete reconstructionalists is that they can imagine the world and relationships in that world in any way that they want. They have the luxury of a known fantasy. Gloria Gaynor, along with the vast majority of educators today, knows that the what-if's are as self-interested as the no-good-nic attempting to return.
Perhaps, just maybe, the solution to the education/tech debate rests in the song as she sings to not just focus on
all the strength I had not to fall apart kept trying hard to mend the pieces of my broken heart and I spent oh so many nights just feeling sorry for myself
But rather on the direction provided by the example...
Now I hold my head up high and you see me somebody new. I'm not that chained up little person still in love with you
Yes, we could completely recreate ourselves to meet the expectations of one constituency or another, but then we succeed only in demonstrating something of the lack of value of the very thing that we offer to provide.
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