Nice blog post by Heather Wolpert-Gawron over at the new Education section of Huffington Post (caveat: I've had very hot and cold reactions to the stuff in this new Huffington Education section; some of it has been great - but some has been mind-numbing - I'm curious what you all think about it, but that's a separate discussion...)
Ok, here's mine. Haven't checked out the article yet, just read your answer, Laura.
Thank you for starting this forum!
Enable students to be strong learners with solid and growing repertoires of skills in communication, reflection, and analysis. Help students to develop and contribute to positive and diverse learning communities.
Now I've read Ian's too, and the whole article by Heather Wolpert-Gawron. Inspiring stuff. I love the way Heather tells about having a summit over a sundae--a dining debate! That's one of my favorite things to do. There's nothing so nice as food, drink, and debate with people you care about. I think she's brought up a very good question.
Those are interesting categories she ended up developing to summarize the 300 responses to the question she and her friend were pondering.
Connie, I really like this trinity of communication, reflection and analysis. Argh: how am I going to find room to squeeze that into mine...???! I think I'm going to have to start creating sneaky compound words or something: analytico-reflecto-communication or something, ha ha!
It's interesting to me how overwhelmingly and parochially "academic" is the perspective and thinking in the answers you Fireside Learning professionals have given to the question. I haven't worked out a thirty word answer of my own yet--and may not--but it would take the shape of a plea for societal sanity that comes from the exercise of innate intelligence well developed via cultural practices that are imitable.
I vote for reading and writing as imitable cultural practices to learn in school. Luckily we do NOT need school to learn how to speak: babies just do that, thank goodness, on their own!
Just imagine what a disaster it would be if we were depending on the school system not just to teach us to read and write (which it does such a botched job of anyway), but simply to speak at all. Eegad, what a nightmare. I think I might try to write a science fiction story about such a nightmare, if only to exorcise the nightmare from my mind!
I'm envisioning ways of educating in and out of schools whose aim is to reduce the effects of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stupidity. Laura, your ambitious task of teaching writing and reading to college students who have little experience with those practices culturally is Herculean. As much as you rail against the stupidity of academics who are actually very fine writers and readers, I wonder if somehow addressing the causes and social implications of modern stupidity, especially of the professionalized class, isn't more valuable.
Questions, problems, comments? Here is the "Fireside Council" of folks who help Connie with the administration of this site: Anna, Ian, Or-Tal , Ed and Barry. Click on their names to visit their Profile Pages and leave comments for them with your inquiries and ideas! Meanwhile, if you have technical questions or suggestions, Laura will be glad to help.
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