From My Feed

Two items from my feed this morning, appearing back-to-back.

From Dave Pollard, at How to Save the World:

“They know that the best way for them to learn
is by making their own choices, trial and error,
not by being told or coerced or even shown what to do.
That includes learning how to relate to you.”

From Sandra Dodd, at Just Add Light & Stir:

They don’t live to grow up. They’re living in the present. They don’t relate to questions about what they will do later or be when they’re grown. They’re doing and being now.

~ ~ ~

At the poetry reading last night I sat with two professional educators, both employed by a local university. We were talking about poetry, and the communication of emotional content. The word “pedagogy” came up. I was asked my thoughts on education. It was late. I was tired, and we all had to go to work the next day. “That’s another conversation,” I said.

Really, I just wanted to enjoy the last of my glass of wine in the afterglow of poetic space. Not every opportunity to speak my mind requires me to speak my mind.

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Slightly Unhinged and Depressingly Apocalyptic

I guess it’s time to make my way, at last, through Moby Dick.

Melville’s description of Ahab is a description of the bankers, corporate boards, politicians, television personalities and generals who through the power of propaganda fill our heads with seductive images of glory and lust for wealth and power. We are consumed with self-induced obsessions that spur us toward self-annihilation.

“All my means are sane,” Ahab says, “my motive and my object mad.”

Chris Hedges,The Myth of Human Progress”

It’s a Big Internet, Part I

In terms of journalism, of expression, of voice, of fine reporting and superb writing, of a range of news, thoughts, views, perspectives, and opinions about places, worlds, and phenomena that I wouldn’t otherwise have known about, there has never been an experimental moment like this. I’m in awe. Despite everything, despite every malign purpose to which the Internet is being put, I consider it a wonder of our age.

Tom Engelhardt, via TomDispatch.com

A Useful Skill in a Tangible Situation

“Giulietta, you don’t have enough money to eat tonight,” Glen said, bringing her down to Earth. Then he asked her a question that has since appeared in her writing again and again: “What is your useful skill in a tangible situation?”

The answer was easy: she was good at making coffee and good with people.

from “A Toast Story” by John Gravois

Learning Without School

Kio Stark , on gaining a sense of competence and assessing your personal progress by showing others what you’ve learned and focusing on projects. She’s talking (mostly) about alternatives to college & grad school, but her point applies to learning of all kinds, at any age.

You need to create a feedback loop that confirms your work is worth it and keeps you moving forward. In school this is provided by advancing through the steps of the linear path within an individual class or a set curriculum, as well as from feedback in the form of grades and praise.

Outside of school, people I talked to got their sense of competence from many sources. Many reported to me that they often turn around and teach what they’ve learned to others as soon as they’ve learned it. This gives them a sense of mastery and deepens their understanding.

When their learning is structured around a specific project, successful completion and functioning of the project proves their progress. Projects can include making a computer program, constructing a book, making a film, writing about an unfamiliar topic, starting a business, or learning a skill.

Projects give you a goal for learning skills and abstract information alike, and contribute to gaining a sense of mastery and competence as you complete them.

~Kio Stark, Don’t Go Back to School

Against the Grain

Penelope Trunk writes about going against the (school) grain and getting a great job:

(H)ere’s the big takeaway. A fundamental shift is taking place, where the path to getting a job is massively circumventing college credentials. And, at the same time, the American public is fed up with the insane debt that college are expecting new grads to take on in order to graduate. (…)

The biggest barrier to accepting the radical new nature of the job hunt is the reverberations throughout the rest of life. If you don’t need school for work, and you don’t need school for learning, then all you need school for is so parents can go to work and not worry about taking care of their kids.

Read the entire post here.