Author Message

(And whispers to himself, the following general all-purpose lament: That
Western duality is a demon, a Mister Hyde, an interior Axis of Evil in the
Mines of Moria, as it were, which advarsarializes rather than promotes
dialogue between the creative and the analytical processes necessary for,
active in creative endeavor, and abundantly evidenced in every act of
authoring, whether spawning software, haiku, true scientific enterprise or
Shakespearean drama, it matters not. A Second-Age demon lurking within, and
through his dragon-breath most warlord-like we have all come to witness,
more than we ever hoped for, how an emerging contemporary
military-industrial focus whose technological wizardry, functioning in the
conspicuous absence of credible philosophy or vision of destiny,
substitutes for culture, and encourages the development of a topographic
wizardry oblivious to deeper human needs; ...........and,  bereft of
subtlty, views and regards the existence and use of any language which
speaks of elements of imagination, inspiration and intuition as an
embarassment to the promulgation of accuracy, and empirical literalness.
White Lab coats everywhere......

As a result of the artificial boundries which have developed as a karmic
result of polarizing subjective and objective, church and state,
improvisatory and linear thinking, invisible, unprovable dimensions of
consciousness accessed and echoed in the germination of art are swept under
the carpet, and our educational and professional circles have fallen prey
to complete capture in empirical modalities of experience, and, "frozen in
carbonite", have come to view manifestations of spiritual reality as merely
cosmetic qualities, trivial spice,, Robin-Hoods, blackballed ideological
outlaws, bereft of any compelling scope, voice or magnitude in the
'legitimate' discussion of factors in the emergence of learning, not to
mention the development of genius. True learning develops genius rather
than knowledge, and so genius, truth to tell, seems to us the obvious next
rung, a worthy and robust heir-apparant of human evolution, next to which,
  the imprisoning nuts and bolts of linear intelligence, fear-based economic
reflex which considers itself equatable to "thinking" and whole digital
interlock it rides in on, together with all its henchman concepts can be
doubtless unmasked as being but ghostlike and abstract foreshadowing of
what will be an up and coming advance in human nobility and wisdom.

Purple prose, over and out! All this having been suggested, our
Choir-Sermon's Revels are now ended and on to our regularly improvised
programming..........:-)) ),

Constructivism, one of the few mysterious theaters of educational endeavor
which  promises to reveal learning as the weave between imagination,
inspiration and intuition  and problem-solving, constructionism, which, in
the name of authentic experience,  - quest and discovery, if those terms
are not too steroid-jousty for you - constructivism is the philosophy and
attitude which exists to and delights to reinvent the wheel at every turn,
  and by defying, if not completely overcoming the pedagogies born of rote
and habit and routine and recipe and all such Hand-Me-Down, abandons
credit-hours, and defines, celebrating a new paradigm, another chapter of
Turnaround in the advance and triumph of human civilization over the
sterility of mechanistic brilliance.  One cannot measure a child's smile by
endorphines alone.

Gary, I like your remarks that concepts are a sort of "mush in the hands of
educators", and this observation is a telltale two-edged sword which ought
to be of interest to many of us who teach and feel that our creativity is
impacted, downsized from letterbox scope, de-peripheralized, shrinkwrapped,
  reformatted, lobotomized to fit the Educational TV. So what's left out? I'
ll suggest that America has come to regard as a workable operating
assumption negotiable in most schools public and private, that mystery is
regarded as an impediment to a perfectly mechanical model of the universe,
  a model which continues to groundlessly persist in presuming that
questions have value only insofar as they force convergent thinking into
the service of rendering answers. When life-long learning is no longer
intrinsic to educational infrastructures, all you have left is
adventureless reruns of Clint Eastwoods "few dollars more", saddlebagged,
paper or plastic with endless sky and flutes and hollow wandering.

And, therefore, educators who, for whetever reason refuse to buy into that
paradigm are lucky and blessed, for they secretly, as I hope growing
numbers of constructivist prophets in King Arthur's Court will continue to
embrace, secretly choose consciously or unconsciously to cherish and
embrace a belief that imagination is the energy, inspiration the soul and
intuition the spirit which drive and define what it means to perform, to
reveal so-called "Higher-Order-Thinking", so much in evidence in Logo labs.
  And that prediction, prophecy, inference, the sine-qua-nons of higher
order thinking dare to imply, though never can prove, that human beings
possess and rejoice to manifest a host of, - what shall we call them? -
"Crystal-Ball-Talents", that human beings in the act of authoring and
discovery, the twin Yang-Yin wings, the breath, the complementary systole
and diastole of all constructivist activity, manifest their own genii,
develop and celebrate their own genius', bringing into their works and into
the community around them something as subtle, ethereal and elusive as
dream or love or enchantment and which is, for all time, completely
unentrustable to a machine. And that these qualities, meshed integrally
into their work, define and vindicate the Greek maxim "The Whole is greater
than the sum of its parts", or, to translate into constructivist terms, the
act of scaffolding, of sourcing, of 'sorcerer-ing' one's own knowledge is
greater than the vocabulary of the knowledge itself.

This having been said, the role of the constructivist teacher is to create
the ambience, the receptivity to influences of imagination, inspiration and
intuition, within his or her students, and this is like creating a
protective greenhouse in which creative powers in addition to the
analytical talents can survive outside the oft-times inclement weather of
'military-industrial' agenda which has so gray-scaled the American
mentality, clouding its tomorrows with deranged visions of ecstatic
ransacking and New-Age Off-Shore Lions Den's, and all such Nintendo-triumph
which in a nutshell, threatens to continue to corrode the integrity and
effectiveness of our schools. If you feel imperiled by all this, courage is
just around the corner.

Warm regards to all,
Harvey Bornfield


>      In my experience, educators tend to not use language too precisely.  
> Maybe it is just that so much of learning (and therefore teaching) has
> been a little vague as to what actually happens in the brain.  But very
> few teachers that I have talked to have much of a clear concept of
> constructivism.  Of course, those outside of education usually have an
> even less clear concept.  I am not even sure if my concept is the "right"
>  one.
>      But as I understand it, constructivism simply means that each person
> must come to their own understanding of the world.  This does not mean
> that every understanding is valid.  The world is a real place and there
> are rules and realities.  But each person must more or less construct that
> for themselves.  A good tutor can sometimes help a student arrive at the
> interpretations that the leaders in the field agree on.  Of course,
> sometimes someone does not arrive at that point because the world is
> actually different than the leaders of the field agree on (Einstein).
>      Last night I discovered my report cards from the 9th through the 12th
> grades.  I barely passed many class, didn't pass a few, and seldom (never?
> ) had stellar marks.  But during that time frame I had 8 or 9 part time
> jobs, read literally more than a thousand of books, did most of the
> projects in the Boy Scout Handbook (even though I didn't belong to a troop,
>  I wasn't into social things too much), learned to play a musical
> instrument, sang in a number of groups and performed in two major play
> productions, etc.  School simply wasn't relavent to me.
>      My wife is always the first to point out that I was not (am not)
> "normal".  And I suppose most students aren't like me.  But I went on and
> scored extremely well on the ACT, was placed in advance placement courses
> in college, and have completed a Ph.D. and a long career in science.  
> Looking back, I believe all these other activities were more important to
> my understanding the world than all my public schooling.  Higher education
> was a different matter, although again, I didn't enjoy it until I got to
> graduate school which was much more constructivist.
>      I don't suppose my experience should be forced on all children.  But
> the role of Logo, manipulatives, robotics, building, drawing, playing a
> musical instrument, and other such activities is certainly not appreciated
> fully in the public schools, at least after the fifth grade or so.  I
> believe it is a shame that so much of a childs life today is narrow and
> limited, often to just school and maybe sports or computer games.

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"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge
which comprehends mankind, but mankind cannot comprehend."
Ludwig van Beethoven

Tue, 28 Jun 2005 13:13:28 GMT  
 [ 1 post ] 

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