Thursday, June 16, 2011



The guy who is quoted second in the beginning of the first chapter, Paolo Freire, a Brazilian democratic humanist, is one of my earliest inspirations for Harrington. My success teaching in print, wood, auto, and metal shop classes as a long –term sub often depended on what the students knew about the machines and the material; we had to combine what they brought to the shop, with my “adultness” which often was the only thing I had to contribute. This dynamic of mutualism was reinforced during my 7 years of Harriton Theatre Company faculty producer time — the kids knew more about what was going on than I did, so they had to explain to me, and convince me that what they were going to do was worth my contribution of just “being there”. This is so essential in these times of the "screenager", when the adult in the room is no longer the gatekeeper of knowledge. Actualization by a 17-,18-,19-year old gets lost in the high stakes testing that is perpetrated by the deep thinkers who have already actualized themselves, and who need to justify their own actualization. Where is the craft in that?

" makes sense because women and men learn that through learning they can make and remake themselves, because women and men are able to take responsibility for themselves as beings capable of knowing — of knowing that they know and knowing that they don't."
--P. Freire

“Education must begin with the solution of the teacher-student contradiction, by reconciling the poles of the contradiction so that both are simultaneously students and teachers.” -- P. Freire

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I had a conversation with a student who was rejected by school and who rejected school:

"I showed it to my teacher, and he didn't like it. He said I couldn't do it because I had already done it. I guess I'll have to figure out something else to do. I really thought I could do this."

Ok, I realize, out of context, this teenager's comment seems more cryptic than, well, some of the stuff a teenager says. But even out of context, the tone of it speaks gigabytes: as with many new experiences of the Information Age, we fail to recognize, fail to capitalize on, fail to understand how the schema of the place of learning has changed, and heck, I'm not sure I have words to describe this thing that has happened! I'll have to start over...

See? Since information technology can alter the time spent on task, I have to wonder why the teacher was uncomfortable with revisiting a student's solution to a problem -- revisiting it over and over, as the context shifts with each new revisit. I guess the teacher's intention was to have the student start all over from scratch -- a valid decision for any educator with a curricular agenda to follow.

But I feel a complacency at work here, a negative, regressive energy that stems from the tedium of living too long inside one's comfort zone. Maybe it's me. Helen Keller:

" Life is nothing, if not a great adventure."

I say, how much can you discover in a single grain of sand?