|Watching the River (M.A. Reilly, 2010)|
This simply is not a truth.
|A Bend in the River (M.A. Reilly, 5/2011)|
We live in river time.
During the last couple of weeks, I have lost track of the number of times I have heard others reference the importance of The Basics or Core Subjects. These phrases are used interchangeably and I want to kindly suggest that both phrases are paradoxically empty and full--as they represent whatever is longed for/remembered, politicized, and ideologized. The Basics and Core Subjects are placeholders very much like the green light at the end of Daisy's dock insomuch as each represents a mythical sense of stability. Gatsby longed for the green light, of an imagined time where the world held still. A dream state. Consider Nick Carraway, narrator in The Great Gatsby who concludes:
I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out Daisy's light at the end of his dock. He had come such a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close he could hardly fail to grasp it. But what he did not know was that it was already behind him, somewhere in the vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. (Fitzgerald, chapter 9, Gatsby).
|Forgetfulness (M.A. Reilly, 5/2010)|
John Seely Brown (JSB) in the closing keynote to the 2010 New Media Consortium Conference said that "We're at a moment in time where many of the ideas that made us successful in the 20th century are actually going to work against our ability to perform in the 21st century." JSB's speech focused on defining and explicating the shift from a predictable world of equilibrium to an exponential world of constant flux and disequilibrium and how the shift influences and (in)forms learning.
This game is one of constant, constant change. And I want to argue that in fact the big claim is that civilization has never seen a game like we're now entering where there is no termination that we see ahead in terms of these rapid flux, rapid changes...If this world of constant and accelerating flux is true, guess what? The half life of any particular skill is shrinking, shrinking, shrinking and in fact today as we teach our kids most of the skills we teach them may have a half life of around five years. Perhaps more importantly virtually every strategic architecture in our corporate world is based on how to preserve the current value of stocks. I want to argue that, in fact, we're now in a big shift where we're moving in taking our eye of the view of just preserving, safeguarding, protecting stocks, keeping things as they where, to now how do we really move to embracing change in terms of learning how to participate on the edge of interesting flows. The shift from stocks to flows. The shift from saving the old and protecting it to actually moving into a new kind of participation of things on the edge. (JSB)
|Hudson. (M.A. Reilly, 1/2011)|
The river is not a building.
There is tension between what we have historically named as important learning (lists of objectives) and what are important ways of knowing in these times. Lists of knowable and testable objectives do not include what JSB says is most critical.
Basically learning has a lot more to do with creating the new, rather than just learning the old. But if you're constantly creating the new, much of what you're creating has a very strong tacit component. We are used to saving, passing around, delivering, teaching the explicit, not the tacit. It takes time to codify what can be codified from an experience in order to pass it around in terms of the explicit. If we're living in a world where more and more of the things that need to shared are the tacit, how does this change the very notions of how we want to build systems? How does it change how we want to think about immersive learning and so on so forth... If we have a world of constant flux, of constant change we shouldn't overlook something. Maybe the most important thing we have to worry about in our students, etc. is how do we afford curiosity? Because basically if you're not curious you're screwed in a world of constant flux. In fact many of our kids start out in the world incredibly curious. How do we honor that curiosity in the way we run our own school systems? (JSB)If curiosity is another basic, how does the structure of schools support learner curiosity? How can one be seriously curious if the entire school year is not only mapped and determined, but via institutional imperatives such as standards, the educational experience is mapped? Where is the room to occasion, to create, to wander and wonder?
As a beginning teacher with a few years of experience, I remember thinking that when the course structures I began with failed often about 5 weeks into the school year, that my thinking had not been sufficient. I later realized that the structures failed out of necessity as I made room for students' voices, curiosities, interests: I could not name these ahead and had at the time no adequate language to place hold the tacit--the experiential when I planned. I grappled with how to occasion learning at a time when belief in causality reigned supreme. I grappled with both content and context. It is rarely, if ever, a singular matter of content.
JSB suggest that a blended epistemology of knowing, making, and playing of both content and context represent a new culture of learning.
|Soar (M.A. Reilly, 1/2009)|
So 2 questions I know I am pondering:
- How is curiosity engendered where I/you work and who gets to do the engendering?
- If new (not the) basics include: knowing, making, and playing--how am I/you how are these represented to learners? Parents? Teachers? Administrators? Local and State Board of Education members? Secretary of Education?