From the book: He pays attention when he has to, to get by and stay out of trouble. There are many he thinks to be like him, bored, and he knows of many who are not as calm about their boredom as he is, kids who do not get by and do get in trouble. While he and the others are spending their days in classrooms where they would rather not be, those who run the school, his parents too, tell him why he should be there and why he should try harder to do what he is asked to do, why he should do what he gets no satisfaction for doing. School, he is told, is good for him, will do well by him, if he tries, when he is older. He sometimes believes this to be true, knows it is on occasion, but just cannot get himself to get excited enough about what goes on to get into it. He stays on. He will stay on until the end because he is Smitty. There are others who are not Smitty who will not stay on until the end. Love, Eienstein is quoted as having said, is a far better motivator than duty.
Time to push real hard against anti-vaxers and blame them loudly for the fact that we are on the verge of a new epidemic and shut-downs to deal with it. I am for accepting people for who they are. Those who will not and advocate against vaccinations are assholes and deserve to be so treated.I am going to have to mask up again because it is very much obvious that very few without vaccination are following the police yourself ethic that says wear a mask if you have not had your shots.I will suffer for the idiots who are so abundant in our great American culture. Who were their teachers?
Defenders of teachers for the reason that they are downtrodden must remember that it is the obligation of teachers to insure that the downtrodden rise.
Accused of being a grumpy old man I accept the accusation. There is reason abundant to be grumpy after these six plus decades of existence as, yes, an idealist, one with ideals never met by self or the society or in the work done to make society more sane and humane. So I grump along, not really a depressive, but certainly one constantly made angry by what the humans around me do to ruin both planet and humanity.
I cannot even now ignore those idealist goals and so I continue to the a grumpy critic of society and an academic still on the path for finding real solutions to problems that continue to plague and do profound damage to earth and the beings who inhabit it,
I have to be critical of that I understand to contribute to the problem and to try to offer critique and instruction, always of my mind, that might have potential to move us in the direction of that sane and humane society that I understand to be the sensible goal of all who are sane and humane.
Schools, I believe, should exists for the sake of making society more humane by graduating students who are sane in their thinking and guided by their good thinking to do what is sensible and humane.
So, those who take offense or disagree, speak up and do refer to sensible and humane goals as the basis for critique. We might then get to somewhere better than where we are now.
Progressive education has to do with educating for effective and responsible participation of individuals who can think effectively for themselves growing in their capacities to make well informed and well reasoned decisions concerning personal affairs and the affairs of society in the forum that is the democratic process. Knowing how to think about all of the two plus twos that come up in living life is more important than knowing that two plus two is four because with the former one is able to figure out reasonably well any kind of two plus two issue that might arise and, too, have a good sense of when looking for four as an answer will provide the information needed to work through the meaningful problems of life such as for whom to vote and whether or not to obey or disobey authority.
The kind of progressive education described briefly in the last post necessitates a teacher who can listen and do the work necessary to make sense of what a student is saying, even when what a student is saying seems to make no sense. Learning is a path to understanding and not necessarily an immediate correct answer to a question. Much of what stands for teaching has nothing to do with working out of solutions to problems amongst thoughtful human beings but, rather is about getting as quickly as possible to correct answers that are of little intrinsic meaning to students. As one sensible scholar once said, teachers are forced to focus on “coverage” and to cover means, in one sense of the word, to hide. The real meaning of things and the meaning of real learning are intentionally hidden in schools where surface meanings (if they can be called that) are what is important, depth of understanding hardly at all a consideration.
Continuing my intended to annoy (to provoke a conversation that should but likely will not happen) thread here, I want to begin drawing a picture of what progressive education entails, not to teach a course for college students, but to try to arouse interest in truly viable, though difficult to enact, approaches to education for an American public capable of, through the decisions it makes, moving this society toward the sane and humane. So, first, progressive education is student-centered, the focus on individual intelligence of students as the primary teaching force in the school, what students think and do and say about the things they encounter in school ad their world of experience outside the school the critical subject matter. That two and two might equal four is discussed so that student understanding of the concept is a main consideration is basic to progressive education. That two and two equals four has considerable amounts of meaning beyond four when properly understood, conceptual understanding a change in mentality rather than memory of a sanctioned fact. That four is gotten by combining two twos of something is of relevance to both mathematics and the universe and, in a progressive classroom, repeating the answer to the question of what does two plus two equal might be a beginning as would an answer of three or five, the beginning of conversation as to how the answers were gotten, through what kinds of mental processes, internal logics. Consider how this might work for the study of science concepts, grammar, history, cooking, etc.!
Critical race theory and critical economic theory and critical world history theory and critical theory of everything human beings have ever been taught would cause for there to be human beings capable of dealing with a critical requirement of sane and humane governance by the people, it being the ability to develop critical understanding of the world and its meaning to apply in making critical decisions that affect people’s lives, one’s own and others. Schools have not taught for the growth of critical abilities. If they had, if they would, schools would be very different places for the criticism and society different because of what the schools taught.
So this constant (career long) critical view of American education should be evident. I believe, a studied belief, that education is essential to sane and humane democracy, the only kind I can understand to be acceptable, and sane and humane democracy is something I have never seen in my lifetime. My goal was to discover and teach for methods that I could understand to contribute to the development of such society, one that would necessitate considerable and radical change in America if it were to be realized, an America of vast inequalities and considerable inhumanity in the form of lack of affordable medical care, high quality education for all, racism, sexism, and an economic system that prevented good to allow relative few great wealth and the power to exploit others to get it.How many loved what I had to teach? Few. How many made clear their disdain for it? Many. I just finished a book that attempts to reteach that of what I taught before that so roundly rejected by so many who now seem uncomfortable with this future they helped to create.
Educators do work under considerable constraints. But have educators done what effective citizens of democracies do when unreasonably constrained? Have they revolted in ways to model what good citizens of democracies do when confronted with tyranny? Or have they consistently adjusted to the constraints to avoid confrontation with they tyrants so as to not have disturbed the relatively comfortable lives they have been allowed for conforming. Have they not taught students that such is what student should do if they want to get along in school and in life? Do what those in authority tell you to do and teach others to do what you tell them to do as a representative of those in authority?