Saturday, June 21, 2014

Being (Other)Wise: If Not Now, Then When?

I knew of MACOS as I have read some of the history of the course's development and a bit of the response.  After watching the 55-minute film, I too am sad like Roberto. We never seem to move pass our fear of other and this is to our detriment and because of our immense military power and or willingness to use it, it is often to the detriment of others, too.

I hope you will make 55 minutes to watch the film below. 
It is so relevant.

One only has to think of Maxine Greene who stated so clearly:

“To be sunk in habitual routines, to be merely passive is…to miss an opportunity for awakening. But we as teachers take the chances the young do when we try to enable them to defamiliarize their familiar situation…to reflect on things as if they could be otherwise” (p. 98).

An American elementary school program from the 1970s, Man: A Course of Study (MACOS), looked to the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic to help students see their own society in a new way. At its core was The Netsilik Film Series, an acclaimed benchmark of visual anthropology from the National Film Board that captured a year in the life of an Inuit family, reconstructing an ancient culture on the cusp of contact with the outside world. But the graphic images of the Netsilik people created a clash of values that tore rifts in communities across the U.S. and revealed a fragile relationship between politics and education. A fiery national debate ensued between academic and conservative forces. 

Through These Eyes looks back at the high stakes of this controversial curriculum. Decades later, as American influence continues to affect cultures worldwide, the story of MACOS resonates strongly.

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