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To everyone who joined these forums at some point, and got discouraged by the negativity and left after a while (or even got literally scared off): I'm sorry.

I wasn't good enough at encouraging people to be kinder, and removing people who refuse to be kind. Encouraging people is hard, and removing people creates conflict, and I hate conflict... so that's why I wasn't better at it.

I was a very, very sensitive teen. The atmosphere of this forum as it is now, if it had existed in 1996, would probably have upset me far more than it would have helped.

I can handle quite a lot of negativity and even abuse now, but that isn't the point. I want to help people. I want to help the people who need it the most, and I want to help people like the 1996 version of me.

I'm still figuring out the best way to do that, but as it is now, these forums are doing more harm than good, and I can't keep running them.

Thank you to the few people who have tried to understand my point of view so far. I really, really appreciate you guys. You are beautiful people.

Everyone else: If after everything I've said so far, you still don't understand my motivations, I think it's unlikely that you will. We're just too different. Maybe someday in the future it might make sense, but until then, there's no point in arguing about it. I don't have the time or the energy for arguing anymore. I will focus my time and energy on people who support me, and those who need help.

-SoulRiser

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a potentially cool book
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SoulRiser Offline
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a potentially cool book

anyone here read "Walking on Water: Reading Writing and Revolution" by Derrick Jensen? someone recommended it to me. description:

Remember the days of longing for the hands on the classroom clock to move faster? Most of us would say we love to learn, but we hated school. Why is that? What happens to creativity and individuality as we pass through the educational system?

Walking on Water is a startling and provocative look at teaching, writing, creativity, and life by a writer increasingly recognized for his passionate and articulate critique of modern civilization. This time Derrick Jensen brings us into his classroom -- whether University or maximum security prison -- where he teaches writing. He reveals how schools are central to perpetuating the great illusion of our culture, that happiness lies outside of ourselves and that learning to please and submit to those in power makes us all into life-long clock-watchers. As a writing teacher Jensen guides his students out of the confines of traditional education to find their own voices, freedom, and creativity.

more here.

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11-19-2005 09:35 AM
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SoulRiser Offline
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that guy's written a lot of articles too. here's one relating to that book:

----------

We hear, more or less constantly, that schools are failing in their mandate. Nothing could be more wrong. Schools are succeeding all too well, accomplishing precisely their purpose. And what is their primary purpose? To answer this, ask yourself first what society values most. We don’t talk about it much, but the truth is that our society values money above all else. We live in a culture that is based on the illusion that happiness is outside of us—and schooling is central to the creation and perpetuation of that illusion.

Pretend you wish to procure for your nation’s commercial interests a steady supply of workers, and a population pacified enough to not resist the expropriation of its resources. The crudest and probably most common means of facilitating such production is to capture the workers and haul them to your factories and fields in chains. Or dispossess them at gunpoint, then give them the choice of starvation or wage slavery. Alternately, you can force them to pay taxes or purchase your products, thereby guaranteeing they’ll enter the cash economy, meaning, ultimately, that they’ve got to work in your factories or fields to gain cash.

Throughout our lives, it is expected that we will be good citizens, good boys and girls all. We won’t question country, God, capitalism, science, economics, history, the rule of the law, but in all those areas we will defer to experts, just as we were taught. And the experts themselves? It is expected that they will always know what or whom to question, and what questions to leave unexamined. And none of us, if all goes well, will ever question how these areas—religion, capitalism, science, history, law—trick out in our own lives.

Here are some questions I’ve been asking lately: What are the effects of schooling on creativity? How well does schooling foster the uniqueness of each child? Does schooling make children happier? What does each child receive in exchange for the so many hours for years on end that she or he gives to the school system?

As midwives attending to the births of their students, teachers carry an awesome responsibility, with correspondingly awesome possibilities. Education, if it is to be worthy of its true meaning, can, should, and must be at the forefront of resistance to the routine dehumanization of our whole industrialized mass culture. This is possible. But it is rare. Too many teachers, like too many students, too many workers at too many war manufacturing plants, too many writers, too many politicians, too many people who could be human beings but who have been trained by their schooling and by their work and by their pursuit of money and their pursuit of acceptance and by their very real fear of being who they are, step away from this responsibility. In so doing they lead themselves and those around them ever further from their hearts, and lead us all ever closer to the personal and planetary annihilation that is the looming end point of industrial civilization.

If one of the most unforgivable sins is to lead people away from themselves, we must not forgive the processes of industrialized education. There is, however, an alternative. Or rather, there are as many alternatives as there are people.

I’ve heard it said that within our deathly culture, the most revolutionary thing anyone can do is follow one’s heart. I would add that once you’ve begun to do that, the most moral and revolutionary thing you can do is help others find their hearts. Time is short. It’s short for our planet, and it is even shorter for all of those students whose lives are slipping away from them with every awful tick of the clock on the classroom wall. There is much work to be done. What are we waiting for?

original here

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11-19-2005 10:00 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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article Wrote:Here are some questions I’ve been asking lately: What are the effects of schooling on creativity? How well does schooling foster the uniqueness of each child? Does schooling make children happier? What does each child receive in exchange for the so many hours for years on end that she or he gives to the school system?
These are great questions, and the clock-on-the-wall example is right on. I remember in about second grade, that exact situation. And that sort of experience taught my brain to just disengage.

I think the idea that society's interest in money is the problem is off the mark, though. The fact is, particularly in the information economy, actively thinking individuals are far more helpful to the economy than drones. This is perhaps the most prevalent error of thought present in education critics. I understand the claim in the context of producing factory workers, but the problem is the way people look at economies, rather than their interest in economic improvement. And again, in the information economy, there's not even a shred of doubt that bringing up students who are independent thinkers is of vital importance to the economy.

Instead, I think the problem lies in what schools have inherited historically, and the fact that so many people simply rely on (not-so-recently invented) tradition and the trash theories they get in education classes.

In short, perhaps the best simplistic explanation for the present situation is that too many people are afraid of, or otherwise averse to, change. And that's on top of the historical background, in which people's thinking apparently was based on using schools to more or less prepare drones. I very much think that isn't the main thinking today, or even recently. But the structure of school remains, and this must be dealt with.

On top of this, is the somewhat legitimate excuse that I've heard almost universally from educators: that a teacher simply doesn't have enough time to deal with students individually. Fixing the system, or establishing options for some people, requires addressing this issue first and foremost.

My proposed solution is that now, or in the very near future, much of teachers' traditional responsibilities (especially in higher grades) can be replaced by technological solutions. Software, or pre-recorded lectures, for example. Software is increasingly able to adapt to individual users, and it's capable of, for example, administering tests that figure out what students are failing to learn or understand or why, and providing appropriate instruction to remedy it, instead of simply handing out a low grade. (Rather crazy most individual teachers have a problem with that. But their semi-legitimate excuse is that they might be able to do that with one or a few students, but not with all.)

It's absolutely insane to hire teachers to grade computer-gradeable exams and spoon-feed information to students that can be presented to indivdiual students at their own pace via software. But this is a rather new option, that still requires improvement.

Something to think about, anyway. Smile

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Interesting article, there, SoulRiser. I'll look for the book next time I'm at the library.

The 'not enough time to teach each student individually' excuse always seemed slightly flimsy to me, even in eight grade. I had seen my intelligent sister bored in grades above me, and I could recognize what was busy work, and what I was actually learning new things from. A lot of it was and still is, busy work. Sure, it wouldn't be customized for me, but it would be easier for both me and the teacher. All it would require would be, well, a book. (I realize that not everyone learns in the same way. I happen to learn extremely well from reading material. But still, it would mean one less student stirring up revolution from boredom, and during the time gained, the teacher could help those who learn otherwise.)

I know that I would be a more obediant, compliant student if only school were arranged so I could put my hand up and ask for something new, please, since I understood the topic at hand and no longer needed it beaten into my head.

What I'm trying to say: yes, there isn't enough time to teach each student individually, but it would be fairly simple to customize education at least a little bit.

xcriteria: My school's slowly doing that, it seems. Most of our standardized test preparation is done with computers, and they offer a large list of Virtual High School classrooms, which have a teacher behind them, but don't require physical participation. (Hiss, spit, rawr-- they're only offering these to seniors at the moment, and I want to take psychology so badly.) It's exciting to be part of, but I'm a little sad that I'll have graduated once this system is more prominent.

All I can say is, if I ever do have kids of my own, they're getting homeschooled.
11-22-2005 06:24 AM
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Doc Johnson Offline
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SoulRiser Wrote:He reveals how schools are central to perpetuating the great illusion of our culture, that happiness lies outside of ourselves and that learning to please and submit to those in power makes us all into life-long clock-watchers. As a writing teacher Jensen guides his students out of the confines of traditional education to find their own voices, freedom, and creativity.

OMFG. SoulRiser, I must be channelling you. Right before I read this, I was posting something on my blog, trying to explain where my work on my book was maybe going to go next. Cooking With Children

I think I may be onto something. My metaphor for self-making is incription--and I mean to indicate that we "write" ourselves, as selves, and "write" ourselves into the world. I'll check this out. Thanks for the resource.

I got nothin'.
11-22-2005 07:21 AM
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Oops. I mean "inscription" not "incription." I guess that's when you become a gang member?Laugh

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11-22-2005 07:24 AM
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SoulRiser Offline
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Doc Johnson Wrote:OMFG. SoulRiser, I must be channelling you. Right before I read this, I was posting something on my blog, trying to explain where my work on my book was maybe going to go next. Cooking With Children

I think I may be onto something. My metaphor for self-making is incription--and I mean to indicate that we "write" ourselves, as selves, and "write" ourselves into the world. I'll check this out. Thanks for the resource.

Laugh

cool Biggrin

yours sounds like "a potentially cool book" as well Cool

man i really should collect a list of all good books relating to school and stuff and make a section for it... hmmm

"If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them." - Dalai Lama
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11-23-2005 09:30 AM
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SoulRiser Wrote:man i really should collect a list of all good books relating to school and stuff and make a section for it... hmmm

I can offer a few suggestions.

Anything by Henry Giroux. I'm reading "Stealing Innocence" right now.

Donna Gaines "Teenage Wasteland"

"Tales of a Punk Rock Nothing" (cool book, not really about school, but relevant to it)

I'll try to think of some more. I'll post them later.

What kinds of things would you be interested in? Biography? History? Theory? Political? All?

Also, check Misled Youth. They posted a cool list a while back. Can't remember what the name of the thread is though.

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11-23-2005 10:54 AM
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SoulRiser Offline
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aha, nice list... i'll research those Biggrin

"If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them." - Dalai Lama
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"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it." - André Paul Guillaume Gide
"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination." - Albert Einstein
"I'm pretty sure there's a lot of beauty that can only be found in the mind of a lunatic." - TheCancer
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11-24-2005 09:27 AM
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Asder Miller The Second Offline
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a potentially cool book

THE FIRST EVER SS POST

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Ky Offline
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a potentially cool book

^ No, I've seen one from 2004 at least once, but it has been bumped. You just happened to come across the earliest unbumped thread, so...try harder next time.

(Also, apparently there were posts in 2002, but I've never seen any.)

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