JOHN EDWARDS THE THINGS WE STEAL FROM CHILDREN IDEC 2006 Edwards Explorations Post Office Box 1934 Brisbane 4001 AUSTRALIA The Things We Steal From Children - Sandra Russell and John Edwards If I am always the one to think of where to go next. If where we go is always the decision of the curriculum or my curiosity and not theirs. If motivation is mine. If I always decide on the topic to be studied, the title of the story, the problem to be worked on. If I am always the one who has reviewed their work and decided what they need. HOW WILL THEY EVER KNOW HOW TO BEGIN? If I am the one who is always monitoring progress. If I always look ahead, foresee problems and endeavour to eliminate them. If I swoop in and save them from cognitive conflict. If I never allow them to feel and use the energy from confusion and frustration. If bells and I are always in control of the pace and flow of work HOW WILL THEY LEARN TO CONTINUE THEIR OWN WORK? If all the marking and editing is done by me. If the selection of which work is to be published or evaluated is made by me. If what is valued and valuable is always decided by external sources or by me. If there is no forum to discuss what delights them in their task, what is working, what is not working, what they plan to do about it. If they do not have a language of self-assessment. HOW WILL THEY FIND OWNERSHIP, DIRECTION AND DELIGHT IN WHAT THEY DO? If I speak of individuals but present learning as if they are all the same. If I am never seen to reflect and reflection time is never provided. If we never develop language to discuss thinking and reflection. If I signify that there are always right and wrong answers. If I never let them persevere with the difficult and complex. If there is no time to explore. HOW WILL THEY GET TO KNOW THEMSELVES AS A THINKER? If they never get to help anyone else. If we force them to always work and play with children of the same age. If I do not teach them the skills of working cooperatively. If collaboration can be seen as cheating. If all classroom activities are based in competitiveness. If everything is seen to be for marks. HOW WILL THEY LEARN TO WORK WITH OTHERS? For if they: -have had all of their creative thoughts explained away. -have never followed something they are passionate about to a satisfying conclusion. -have not clarified the way they sabotage their own learning. -are afraid to seek help and do not know who or how to ask. -have never got bogged down. -have never failed. -have always played it safe. HOW WILL THEY EVER KNOW WHO THEY ARE? “75% of all tasks across the curriculum allowed students no choice in any aspect of the task. A total of 1% of tasks allowed students choice in purpose, audience or form” (WRAP Final Report, volume 1, 1992, page 35) WRAP findings appear to support Lankshear (1989) in his contention that schools promote a naïve (superficial or simplistic) literacy which is at variance with social reality and the expectations regarding literacy requirements beyond school. The WRAP survey revealed that aspects of literacy deemed to be important by curriculum guidelines and policies were absent from much of the school curriculum. WRAP Study, Final Report, Vol.1, p.211 TIZZARD AND HUGHES “… we became increasingly aware of how rich this environment (the home) was for all the children. The conversations between the children and their mothers ranged freely over a variety of topics. The idea that children’s interests were restricted to play and TV was clearly untenable. At home the children discussed topics like work, the family, birth, growing up, and death; … they puzzled over such diverse topics as the shape of roofs and chairs, the nature of Father Christmas, and whether the Queen wears curlers in bed ... A large number of the more fruitful conversations simply cropped up...” “... The children were certainly happy at school ... However, their conversations with their teachers made a sharp contrast to those with their mothers. The richness, depth and variety which characterised the home conversations was sadly missing. So too was the sense of intellectual struggle, and of the real attempts to communicate being made by both sides. The questioning, puzzling child which we were so taken with at home was gone: in her place was a child who ... seemed subdued, mainly restricted to answering questions rather than asking …” ALICE MILLER “In analysis the small and lonely child that is hidden behind his achievements wakes up: ‘What would have happened if I had appeared before you, bad, ugly, angry, jealous, lazy, dirty, smelly? Where would your love have been then? Does this mean that it was not really me you loved, but only what I pretended to be? The wellbehaved, reliable, understanding, empathic, and convenient child, who in fact was never a child at all? What became of my childhood? I can never return to it. From the beginning I have been a little adult. My abilities – were they misused?” (Miller) “For the majority of sensitive people, the true self remains deeply and thoroughly hidden. But how can you love something you do not know, something that has never been loved? So it is that many a gifted person lives without any notion of his or her true self. Such people are enamoured of an idealized, conforming, false self. They will shun their hidden and lost true self….” (Miller, “Drama of the Gifted Child” p.14) “Probably everybody has a more or less concealed inner chamber that he hides even from himself and in which the props of his childhood drama are to be found. These props may be his secret delusion, a secret perversion, or quite simply the unmastered aspects of his childhood suffering, the only ones who will certainly gain entrance to this hidden chamber are his children. With them new life comes into it, and the drama is continued.” “..what do exist are children like this: intelligent, alert, attentive, extremely sensitive, and (because they are completely attuned to her well-being) entirely at mother’s disposal and ready for her use. Above all, they are transparent, clear, reliable and easy to manipulate… sometimes until puberty or until they came to analysis, and very often until they have become parents themselves.” (Miller,” Drama of the Gifted Child’ p.45) D.H.LAWRENCE “Our business, at the present, is to prevent the young mind from shooting. The ideal mind, the brain, has become the vampire of modern life, sucking up the blood and the life. There is hardly an original thought or original utterance possible to us. All is sickly repetition of stale, stale ideas. Let all schools be closed at once. Keep only a few technical training establishments, nothing more. Let humanity lie fallow, for two generations at least.” “We talk about education – leading forth the natural intelligence of a child. But ours is just the opposite of leading forth. It is a ramming of brain facts through the head, and a consequent distortion, suffocation, and starvation of the primary centres of consciousness. A nice day of reckoning we’ve got in front of us. Let us lead forth by all means. But let us not have mental knowledge before us as the goal of the leading. “By the age of twenty-one our young people are helpless, selfless, floundering mental entities, because they have been starved from the roots systematically, and fed through the head. They have had all their mental excitements, sex and everything, all through the head, and when it comes to the actual thing, why, there’s nothing in it. Blasé. Before the age of fourteen, children should be taught only to move, to act, to do. Adults do not know childish intelligence. Adults always interfere.They force the adult mental mode.” (Lawrence) “The final aim is not to know but to be. There never was a more risky motto than that: Know thyself. You’ve got to know yourself as far as possible. But not for the sake of knowing. You’ve got to know yourself so that you can at least be yourself. “be yourself” is the last motto.” D.H.Lawrence, “Fantasia of the Unconscious” (p.64) BUTLER MODEL OUTSIDE SELF INSIDE SELF PERSONAL PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE PUBLIC INFORMATION REFLECTION & GENERATION CURRENT PRACTICE MENTAL MODELS PERSONAL PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE ❚ The knowledge from which you drive performance ❚ Comes from your actions and your reflections ❚ Must switch on reflection ❚ Unique to you ❚ Has a character recognisably different from knowing “about” things GEMMA SIM “We all have the mindset that we are dependent on people who are above us.” TRANSMISSION MODEL The single greatest determiner of what a person is able to learn is my ability to skilfully craft the message, transmit it, and lodge it in the learner. MENTAL MODEL CONSTRUCTIVISM MENTAL MODELS M F I L T E R M’ MEANING MAKER M” WHAT I ALREADY KNOW VYGOTSKY SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIVISM SOCIAL PERSONAL r R ACTION LEARNING ACT ACT DESIGN REFLECT ACT GATHER DATA GATHER DATA DESIGN REFLECT TRANSFORMATIONAL LEARNING L+ clear understood flows time confusion frustration angst L- THE PIT BUTLER MODEL OUTSIDE SELF INSIDE SELF PERSONAL PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE PUBLIC INFORMATION REFLECTION & GENERATION CURRENT PRACTICE MENTAL MODELS JOHN EDWARDS EVERY CHILD HAS A RIGHT TO LEAVE SCHOOL WITH A RICH, CONSCIOUS REPERTOIRE OF REFLECTION AND GENERATION STRATEGIES, AND THE DISPOSITIONS TO USE THEM SKILFULLY. MENTAL MODELS ❚ ❚ ❚ ❚ ❚ MENTAL MODELS ARE MADE UP OF OUR BELIEFS, VALUES AND ASSUMPTIONS. THEY DRIVE OUR PERFORMANCE. THEY ARE VERY RESISTANT TO CHANGE. WE CANNOT SEE THEM CLEARLY BY OURSELVES. WE NEED RICH, SKILFUL, DAILY FEEDBACK TO HELP US REFLECT ON OUR MENTAL MODELS. WHAT FEEDBACK ARE YOU GETTING? DREYFUS MODEL Rule Governed Behaviour PPK Basis For Action Read the Context Novice Beginner Competent Proficient Expert KRISHNAMURTI I think you should put these questions to yourself, not occasionally, but every day. Find out. Listen to everything, to the birds, to that cow calling. Learn about everything in yourself, because if you learn from yourself about yourself, then you will not be a second-hand human being. So you should, if I may suggest, from now on, find out how to live entirely differently and that is going to be difficult, for I am afraid most of us like to find an easier way of living. We like to repeat and follow what other people say, what other people do, because it is the easiest way to live - to conform to the old pattern or to a new pattern. KRISHNAMURTI We have to find out what it means never to conform and what it means to live without fear. This is your life, and nobody is going to teach you, no book, no guru. You have to learn from yourself, not from books. There is a great deal to learn about yourself. It is an endless thing, it is a fascinating thing, and when you learn about yourself from yourself, out of that learning wisdom comes. Then you can live a most extraordinary, happy, beautiful life.
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