Monday, December 26, 2011

Possible opening?

What do you think of the text below, or some revision of it, as a possible opener for the book? For sure I plan on using something like as opener for a keynote I am giving in the UK in July 2012.

"Imagine if it were different. Imagine if we started with equality and saw all people as valuable and worthy. Imagine if everybody counted and that by everybody, we mean everybody. Imagine if teachers and students were all learners in robust communities of learners where we all worked together to build knowledge and meaning. Imagine.
Imagine children and youth (and community members, teachers, administrators) drawing from a range of institutions (schools, museums, business, social service agencies) to solve local problems/issues all while produsing knowledge in the service of a public good that they themselves have constructed? Imagine a space where learners develop metaawareness and metadiscourse about their learning, the social problems at play, the potential solutions, and their consequences. Imagine that outdated autonomous school knowledges are transformed to be relevant in real communities and for the public good? Imagine"

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sense of urgency

Children and youth are already doing what we need to do in schools outside of school so the kind of change I am writing about won’t be unfamiliar to them. Getting teachers to buy in is tricky, but we know a ton about teacher education and development that we have not tried systematically. The same goes for reform and what we know about how to make it work. Sometimes I feel like I want to show pictures of kids in schools now that are like the ones for the ASPCA and have sappy music going on so that people will get the idea that there is real damage going on and we have to do something about it now.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Figured out the starting point

After much tribulation, I figured out where to "start" with the book. At the beginning. I know this seems pretty uninspired but it got me unstuck. By the beginning I mean ontologically. I've reread Ranciere's The Ignorant Schoolmaster and am in the middle of a reread of de Alba et al's. Curriculum in the Postmodern Condition. I'm still feeling intimidated, but I feel like I do actually have something to say.

I need to make a clear argument, building on Ranciere, that schooling is based on an ontological flaw - inequality. That is, schooling assumes inequality between humans - those who know and those who do not. Ranciere's argument is that we must begin with equality. What I have to do is talk about what follows from this assumption given the contemporary context of schooling.

Ranciere goes so far as to say that, given an assumption of equality, teachers do not have to know that which they are teaching. He claims that the myth of pedagogy is that knowledge needs to be explicated (explained) so that the learner can learn. I can see that, but I can also see that this could be read as devaluing teachers (in fact some teachers have said as much when I talked with them about these ideas). I do think that depth of content knowledge leads to maximum pedagogical freedom. Seems to me that Freire's problem posing education accounts for both expert knowledge and equality by focusing on the problem, a problem for which no one knows the "answer". This way, everyone's knowledge comes to bear on the issue (goes to Bruns's equipotentiality).

Now to say all this in the book!