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Topic: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
Replies: 19   Last Post: Oct 4, 2013 9:29 PM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 7,057
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
Posted: Sep 30, 2013 7:08 PM
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Kirby Urner posted Sep 29, 2013 11:15 (http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=9286830):
>
> On Sat, Sep 28, 2013 at 11:39 PM, GS Chandy
> <gs_chandy@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>

> >
> > Indeed you have. But I believe (though I have not

> done any modeling on
> > them) that most - ALL! - of your postings, here as
> well as at your blogs,
> > etc, reflect a position that ENCOURAGEMENT is
> crucil, that students would
> > learn to PUSH themselves when ENCOURAGEMENT is done
> effectively (by
> > teachers; by the system as a whole: in fact, I
> believe this is confirmed
> > right here in this very post of yours).
>
> Does OPMS come with any pre-defined axes or
> spectra? By which I mean "pairs of opposites"?
> When you get into "assessments" versus "goal
> setting" you find the gurus have their axes, and
> series of questions designed to pinpoint you against
> a backdrop of known personality types, or at least
> get you in a ballpark, somewhat pigeon-holed.
>

The 'primary guru' in OPMS is the individual him-/herself or the group (treated as a single mind). OPMS derives from the observation that we all - individuals and groups - start from 'whatever we may be at any single point of time' and helps us build from there. This is, in fact, exactly what we all do in real life - OPMS only provides some simple tools to help us represent our mental models graphically as they develop. These representations that OPMS enables just helps us see things (actually 'things in systems') somewhat more clearly than is permitted by our conventional prose and our understanding of the systems in which we are embedded. That enhanced clarity could - and, I have found wherever I've applied it, DOES - help us 'better understand'. A modification of a quite profound observation made by Churchill in the House of Commons is useful:

"First, we shape our buildings; and then our buildings shape us".

(Just substitute the word "systems" for "buildings" and you have an excellent guide to help us modify our systems, to prevent us from getting bamboozled by 'the systems that are in place').
>
> As you know, Jungian psychology -- a topic in my
> blogs a lot, along with psychology in general -- may
> be reduced to primitive archetypes which define
> the phase space for any given ego. The ego is
> cast as a "hero" (foreground protagonist) and
> is faced with challenges or barriers to achieving
> some objective, often rescuing a member of the
> opposite sex, but that's just in the general case.
>

I do believe - without my having adequately studied psychology to critique it - that we all do indeed need to understand human minds a lot better than our current systems permit us to do. Freudian and Jungian psychology are both beginnings to help us understand how the 'mind' and 'ego' may work: we have a long, LONG way to go to reach where any of the 'hard sciences' have reached today (in those disciplines).
>
> In the foreground, all nuances are accommodated,
> including same-sex affiliations (the Jungians talk
> about "eros, philia, and agape" with some adding
> "storge").
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Loves
>

I have glanced at this Wikipedia reference - shall try to study it in due course.
>
> (I don't claim C.S. Lewis was a Jungian but his
> work e.g. Narnia stuff, is oft cited by Jungians)
>
> As you well know, Bucky Fuller is one of my heroes
> (along with Isaac Asimov, Ludwig Wittgenstein,
> Dora Marsden and some others (many others --
> I admire many people)). Bucky thought a great
> axis was Fear versus Longing, and the spectrum
> in between.
>

Dora Marsden's work I do not know: shall try and understand that.
>
> If you consider the history of Great Migrations, it's
> sometimes a combination, but weighted towards
> one end. Like the Irish fleeing famine conditions
> when potato crops failed. Fear of starvation, of
> apocalyptic conditions, drove many to the New
> World who'd had no previous strong longing to
> go there.
>
> They were prodded more than were following
> some projection of a longed-for lifestyle. Had it
> not been for Fear (well justified, not baseless) they
> would have stayed put, many of them.
>
> I would encourage you and I to take up the "Fear
> versus Longing" spectrum as a backdrop against
> which to discuss both pedagogy and andragogy.
>

Let me try - in due course - to frame some deeper understanding of this 'Fear versus Longing axis'. Broadly, I agree with this as a description of the long and ongoing human journey. How to proceed on that journey? Well that is where I claim the OPMS can help quite significantly.

(And hopefully we shall refrain from wiping ourselves out before we arrive at a better understanding of ourselves and society by reasons of the lack of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics in the social systems we humans create. The 'systems' of other animals are all 'strongly constrained' by that Law; human technology has enabled us [or 'our' systems] to put aside the Law - but I believe this can be only a very temporary reprieve [though most of us have failed to realise this).
>
> To what extent do we enable students to long for
> a deeper understanding and competence in
> matters mathematical, and to what extent do
> they shiver in a fear-driven panic that failure on
> the next test means disgrace to the family and
> to themselves.
>

I strongly believe in *enabling* people to learn whatever it is that they show a desire/willingness to learn: of course, this demands/implies a pretty sizable prior restructuring of practically all our educational systems; I believe that more or less the only person who has adequately gained a workable 'system understanding' of the *process of human learning* is the mother with her own infant child - but that motherly understanding alas does not last long given the ineffective systems in which she's embedded (see the 'Churchillian' saying above).
>
> Let me also say I've been thinking a lot about my
> critique of the classroom, which is currently
> dissipating in some areas where it was once the
> only model.
>
> It's a complicated topic, lets agree.
>

Indeed. I do claim that the OPMS process has helped me to learn at least a small bit of that complicated topic.
>
> Group dynamics *and* the "fear versus longing"
> spectrum: lets employ OPMS to explore that
> more deeply, if you think it provides the tools.
>

It does: all that one (individual or group) needs to do is to choose any 'Mission' and ask oneself the '1st Trigger Question':

"What, in your (/my) opinion, are the THINGS TO DO to accomplish the Mission?"

The modeling of the answers to that leads to wholesale restructuring of practically all one has learned through conventional means. Of course, this does demand that one understands the significant differences between the transitive relationships "PRECEDES" (much beloved by 'management science') and "CONTRIBUTES TO" (which could enable a productive understanding of systems). Check out the attachments to my post heading the thread "Democracy: how to achieve it?" - see http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=2419536 .
>
> Consider, for example, how effective it is to punish
> the group for the failings of individuals within the
> group. All bear the consequences and so the group
> dynamic is to gang up as peers against those not
> pulling their own weight or whatever.
>

True enough - but that is based on the group understanding (or, rather, lack of understanding!) of the systems the group is already embedded in. And, as our human history should have amply demonstrated by now, this is not the most progressive 'way to go' (in the long term). In the short term, yes, most individuals will fall in line. Others will become Maoists.

It's my belief that both ('most individuals' as well as 'Maoists' are wrong - the reactions of both are predicated on some fundamental and quite profound non-understandings of 'systems').
>
> A million movies take us through boot camp X
> exploring this theme.
>
> Why does a military use this cruel / unfair approach?
> Because military units have to accomplish their
> assigned duties as a team with assigned roles.
> An individual's mistakes may derail the whole
> mission, and so no matter how professionally you
> performed, if your teammate was not up to par,
> you get to be a loser.
>

Yes. I would consider that to be working for the 'short-term success'. The military is in fact an excellent example of a 'system' specifically designed for short-term success.
>
> Movie-making has a lot of these dynamics. You're
> a young star, up and coming you hope and think,
> but then you get trapped into this movie that stinks,
> and you feel the director, the producer, have let you
> down, in releasing work that drags down the
> reputation
> of all those starring within it, a sinking ship.
>
> Politics: same way. You don't want to be stuck on
> a team with losers, lest they judge you a loser like
> them. And so it goes.
>

Well, we (most of us, unless we are in the movie business) can easily afford to not worry too much about the successes or failures of movie stars and movie directors and in fact of the whole movie business.

We simply cannot learn to ignore the failures of our politicians - in fact, practically all of human society thus far has been an example of a system whose 'success' is determined by the failures of those who lead it (i.e. our politicians). That is, broadly, my claim. Probably needs to be articulated a lot better than I have managed to do thus far.
>
> It has long been my feeling that students learn quite
> as much from their

> > interactions with peers as they do from
> interactions with their teachers.
> > Rather, it is mainly through their peer-group
> interactions that the
> > teacher's lessons take hold in the students' minds.
> >

>
> That's quite valid and a true observation and
> causes me to rethink what's going on in the
> "workspace teacher lessons" triangle.
>

Well, once I learned to understand that it is not 'teaching' alone that is the determinant of a student's success - it is the 'learning+teaching' dyad. To 'work with' this dyad, I believe what I call 'prose + structural graphics' (p+sg) is needed. (CS Peirce did a lot with dyads and triads in general (and perhaps with this dyad in particular) - but all his work is done in 'pure prose'; is thus rather difficult to understand and apply. I believe that I was able to understand several of Peirce's insights after I put 'p+sg' to work.
>
> I was exulting in how Cyberia now offers you
> private lessons from qualified teachers in the
> comfort of your own nook or cranny, no need
> to venture into the rough and tumble world and
> find some "classroom" in some far corner of
> some campus. The campus is on-line.
>

Indeed. I am trying to get this 'p+sg' into Cyberia - hopefully will be able to do that soon.
>
> Caveat, right away: this doesn't work for all
> subjects. I need to say that a lot. Not every
> subject is as conducive to learning in a darkened
> cave.
>

I believe that OPMS can help help with all subjects: at least, I have never found it to fail, except with people whose minds are hermetically sealed to the ingress of a different way of thinking. (Haim; Professor Wayne Bishop; Robert Hansen come to mind as instances of such minds).
>
> But Pymath, with illuminated text, curtains
> pulled, is a great pass time for women who are
> stereotypically expected to stay at home to take
> care of things. Being a "homemaker" and a
> Global U student: these go together if you've
> got bandwidth (Internet access).
>

I really do need to put 'Python into OPMS'!!! That will probably help with Pymath as well.
>
> How many veiled women in Iran or Saudi Arabia
> are studying HTML / CSS and/or programming by
> satellite from the privacy of their own apartments?
> How many already have their own websites, for
> eCommerce or eDiplomacy or whatever?
>
> You might be surprised, and/or I might be, but I
> think
> we're safe in assuming that no one really has these
> numbers, not the UN, not the government of Iran,
> not 007's boss, not anyone. Humanity is not
> infinitely transparent to itself and much is only
> revealed in retrospect, years if not decades later.
>

I believe it is our existing systems that create much 'opacity' in the societies that humans create - and thereby render much of humanity less than adequately transparent to other sections of humanity.
>
> So yes, that's all true, a lot of private lessons are
> going on, as we speak, with teacher-lesson-workspace
> the primary triangle, but there's still a sense of a
> peer
> group even in this simple picture.
>

Yes.
>
> You have alums from the same school (others who
> did what you did), you have a sense of shared events,
> such as Pycons and User Groups -- this is when
> learning Pymath from me, or whatever we call it.
>
> You just don't know who signed up when or who
> will finish when you do, at least not in the general
> case. You don't sit in a room full of other people,
> not even as avatars.
>
> Or don't you?
>
> Can't a bevy of home schoolers all take the same
> on-line class, and work through it together in
> some parents' living room?
>
> We ask them to give proper credit if working with
> peers, but otherwise don't say they shouldn't.
> These are programmers in the making. They're
> *supposed* to work in groups, and well. Talk
> about tightly coordinated group dynamics:
> developers use version control and everything.
>
> I need to remember that, in the special case, five
> people who all know each other might sign up for
> my course.
>
> They could boast around the water cooler who was
> up to what project. Some might feel further behind
> and strive to catch up.
>
> Those dynamics are real and I was wrong to not
> consider them when contrasting my model to the
> classroom model. In fact, they're not as mutually
> exclusive as I may have implied.
>
> Finally, I should remember to remark that this
> "Fear versus Longing" that Bucky Fuller thought
> central to individual and group dynamics, was
> not a thought original with him. He in fact learned
> it from Albert Einstein and some essay the latter
> had written in the New York Times. In the early
> days, Einstein was getting a lot of focus as a
> philosopher, not just a physicist, and he wrote
> about non-anthropomorphic cosmic intelligence
> and such things, quite inspiring to young readers
> at the time.
>
> Fuller really looked up to Einstein and finally got
> to meet him in person at Princeton. Einstein had
> been notified of a book, 'Nine Chains to the Moon'
> that purported to contain explanations of Einstein's
> ideas. Publishers were skeptical and mailed Einstein
> the manuscript. Einstein was intrigued by it, and
> wanted to meet the young man behind it, our hero,
> Bucky Fuller. The moment of their meeting is well
> dramatized in D.W. Jacob's play on Fuller called
> 'The History and Mystery of Universe'. Einstein
> gave Fuller his blessings to go ahead with
> publication.
> This was all pre-atom bomb and people were a lot
> more upbeat about nuclear energy then, not yet
> knowing about the long-lasting radio-toxins that
> are its byproducts.
>
> Kirby
>

I broadly agree with much of your argument above - I do need to study much more about Bucky Fuller, of course. I shall try and get hold of that 'Nine Chains to the Moon' (if it's available) - AND D.W. Jacob's play (which I had not known about till now).

GSC


Date Subject Author
9/24/13
Read Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
Richard Hake
9/25/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
Wayne Bishop
9/25/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
Jonathan Crabtree
9/25/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
Louis Talman
9/26/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
Wayne Bishop
9/25/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
GS Chandy
9/26/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
kirby urner
9/27/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
GS Chandy
9/27/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
kirby urner
9/29/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
GS Chandy
9/29/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
kirby urner
9/30/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
GS Chandy
9/30/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
kirby urner
9/30/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
GS Chandy
10/1/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
kirby urner
10/1/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
GS Chandy
10/1/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
kirby urner
10/2/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
GS Chandy
10/3/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
kirby urner
10/4/13
Read Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
GS Chandy

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