That provocative title based on an urgent concern we should all be pondering comes from this quote from an Education Professor credentialling who can teach or be the boss. All at taxpayer expense based on an unappreciated definition of Literacy being imposed everywhere now on classrooms under the Common Core ruse.
“My sense is that all learners need their belief structures to be routinely threatened in ways that move them to interrogate those beliefs. To do otherwise is to deny the opportunity for my students, my colleagues, and myself to teeter on that fulcrum of threat and, using our collective weight, to defy the gravity of our circumstances.
Now, this acknowledges these methods constitute threats to a student’s sense of self that will be painful for some students and teachers. And it acknowledges trying to create mental approaches that students will remain in as they journey through life that may well repudiate the Mindset brought from homes with educated, involved parents and lots of books and conversation from birth. And it acknowledges that the desired classroom is about encouraging teachers and students to be theorizers–“creating theories about how the world operated, testing those theories, and reassessing” without regard to facts or history or reality. If this is the school and classroom experience you advocate Educators impose, should you immediately write a Op-Ed after the Newtown tragedy complaining that there is something wrong with Upper Middle Class White Students and the US needs gun control?
http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2012/12/21/fearing-young-black-men-in-hoodies-while-ignoring-while-young-white-men-with-glocks/ is the editorial before Christmas that really struck me as propaganda for the paper that published it. I have chronicled all the social and emotional targeting of students and the repeated rational, abstract mind attacks. Those are not well-known to the public at large but they seem well-known in the Colleges of Education. That’s where they get created and a willingness to be a blind and deaf advocate for them earns Masters and Doctorate degrees now in too many places.
The fact is that these largely White Middle Class communities and schools that have been the location of school tragedies also are places that all seem to be piloting the Affective, Change the Student Approaches instead of the historic Transmitting of Knowledge. This fact is quite well-known among the education professorate. It’s the public that fails to see the connection among Flow experiences, Transformational Outcomes Based Education (both are described in the previous post), Systems Thinking, or the Best Practice/Standards for Teaching and Learning that I described here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/didnt-the-president-just-admit-ccssi-was-a-ruse-to-change-classroom-interactions/ .
This paragraph is an aside to this post but it may well be enlightening to some of you on how this gets in place. Plus I try to be fair here. We are dealing with troubling or bad ideas on this blog and not people themselves. I would classify Professor Fecho’s work as well as his UGA colleague Peter Smagorinsky as being part of that Standards for Teaching and Learning approach. Their theories of pedagogy and Literacy suggest that UGA was not just interested in constructivist math when it took a huge NSF grant of $10.3 million in 2002 to set up a Center for Learning and Teaching. Lucky Georgians were getting the Whole Language/Psycholinguistics approach to reading and writing as well as part of Georgia’s piloting of the Performance Standards that would in turn become the basis for the actual Common Core implementation now going national. And really catching up to the international initiative being pushed globally through UNESCO.
This matters to me and maybe you too, for example, because it explains why the description of Common Core sent out at the beginning of this school year by high school English teachers did not match what I know about the Common Core and those teachers. They had a new Department head with a UGA Masters in Reading who would have been influenced by Fecho and Smagorinsky’s politically inspired approaches to teaching. She is now an Assistant Principal about a year after joining the school as a teacher. See how advocating certain theories creates a fast track to lucrative promotions? See how all this can affect your child’s classroom or just your community school out of site? In the nicest neighborhoods? Which is the whole idea. No islands of academic knowledge and minds burgeoning with accurate facts and logic are to be allowed. Anywhere.
Back to this post’s concern over what has really been transpiring in many classrooms. It is now to be a national mandate in the name of the Common Core with requirements imposed for schools to remain accredited. Professor Fecho himself advocates a classroom approach for adult and younger students he calls creating “an atmosphere where wobble takes place.” http://www.cocostudio.com/pubs/Fecho-July10_EE.pdf is the 2010 article from English Education that explains the wobble process and the desired “shift in balance” in a student’s belief system. Later (page 429) the article cites Soviet philosopher Bakhtin and politically radical educator Paulo Freire for this theoretical view of Self. It is not a factual view of Self but a political aspiration for accomplishing what everyone involved admits is a radical economic, political, and social Transformation.
In other words, this is not about how to teach subjects but how to transform enough students from the inside-out to use the majority electoral process to impose a New Vision for the future. On all of us. Key to that is treating the student’s identity as not settled. So that the classroom curriculum and activities become a means of creating continuous “centripetal and centrifugal tension” on a student’s personality. That seems to be a fancy way of saying pulling it apart from every direction.
The stronger the personality and mind that walks in the door of one of these soon to be increasingly prevalent classrooms, the harder this type of classroom experience will be. For a sharp mind this highly psychological emphasis makes the school anything but a safe zone. If it was me as a teenager, I would see the process described above in the opening paragraph or the wobble push as turning school into a torture chamber. Forcing teachers to go along is a huge part of of these Effective Teacher Evals you are hearing so much about. See http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/coercing-teachers-to-be-social-and-political-saboteurs-what-can-be-done/ for more on the Eval Coercion and why.
I delayed posting a few days on this so I could read Professor Fecho’s book “Is This English?” Race, Language, and the Culture in the Classroom to make sure I was being fair. The title and opening quote comes from that book (page 146 to be exact). I am not going to second guess the Professors belief that this was a good approach in an urban Philadelphia classroom with minority children that seemed disengaged from school.
I am saying that the insistence on Equity and Levelling and eliminating the Axemaker Mind anywhere it appears means that school in some of our suburbs became and is becoming a place where teachers are being forced to push theories and psychological practices that already have a tragic history. They may be unfamiliar with the background of these theories and practices but we are not any longer. The creators of these theories and practices want Change in students mentally and emotionally and what they value and believe in going forward. They want those changes to gain a Collectivist oriented political and economic future. This time it is supposed to be “humane” socialism with politically connected amenable Big Business allowed as Collaborators with this Government Led and Enforced Vision.
I don’t think it will work well. Most people will be looking at a much lower standard of living in the future with less differences among us. That’s a high price to pay for Equity. No more widespread prosperity.
I genuinely believe that the “inexplicable” school shootings of the last 20 or so years in the US are too consistently tied to places that are cutting edge in pushing these transformative theories in the classroom for it to be coincidental. School ceases to be a place of safety when the intention is to create something akin to wobble. Deliberately trying to break the mind brought from home. Intentionally using education to mount a political coup by stealth may avoid the Gulags that were necessary elsewhere. But this education theory approach has not been without victims.
If these theories and practices become nationalized as planned, I fear these tragedies may become more common. The answer is to first stop this psychologized, mentally abusive and emotionally intrusive political classroom.
Not to insist that everyone must be disarmed so that guns and rational minds are both being deliberately taken away by what amounts to government fiat.