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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.

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"Mature" people and simpleton life-styles
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James Comey Away
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"Mature" people and simpleton life-styles

Does it tend to get under anyone's skin when a pro-school person proclaims that they are "mature" even though they are more or less hypocrites? Here's an example from an anti-school video on YouTube (comments section, bleh).

"This is such a complete asinine video. A curriculum covers many goals that help children in development. The bell to have people go to another class is not herding...it's called an efficient way to indicate a break in the classroom. The only mono in the culture is the speaking in this video. I went to school, I've graduated, I have a job. School is not always fun and not perfect but give up the foolishness. Put the Doritos down and do something constructive."

First off, a curriculum is a policy in what is required to be taught in school, and not all of it will be helpful to development. School doesn't teach driving, cooking, metacognition, etc. But I don't want to go back to that topic.

Second, the "efficient way" is something from what we call the factory-model. It's efficient, in a wrong way. It helps keep everything in order and everything separate. I mean, never mind there are better ways of making a school.

The last 3 sentences tick me off. "I've graduated, I have a job" is something that I hope I'll never be saying to myself. What I mean by that is that I want to avoid a simpleton life style. Working a job I hate, and not being able to think what I desire in life, what's the point in living life when you hate everything?

And school can't be fun? Who said school can't be fun? What law of the earth states that education must be boring? When you say that, it puts people off from learning! And "Put the Doritos down"? Congrats for assuming things about people you don't know. That definitely seems more like a sign of immaturity.

Sorry, this comment got on my nerves. It signifies everything I hate about school, or more specifically, the conformity part of it. I don't want a simpleton life-style. I want to take a risk, something that will actually satisfy me later in life.

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01-01-2014 06:14 PM
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RE: "Mature" people and simpleton life-styles

That brings a number of key points together. I can see the outline of a speech there, as in a story progression of some kind.

(As we continue to discuss all these things on here (and elsewhere), I'm looking for what might be adapted into a more distilled output that people who haven't spent all the time we have can quickly learn about the recurrent themes we're observing.)

I can think of point-by-point responses, but that'd make a long post. (Maybe later.)

But, the last part in particular caught my attention, the question of wanting to take risks.

The reality is, life consists of risk and uncertainty no matter what path you take. But, it's also possible to choose to step outside of a more certain path, and embrace risk in an intelligent way, and that can lead to a much different kind of life than clinging to the apparently safe path.

(Also, I think some people are just temperamentally inclined in different directions, and school-as-usual doesn't tend to acknowledge or support that.)

That reminded me of this talk by Michael Ellsberg, author of The Education of Millionaires: It's Not What You Think, and it's Not Too Late. The talk is long, but I think it's worth watching. Ellsberg is talking to students at Dartmouth college about thinking about their future, and the difference between going through tracks and other options.



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01-02-2014 01:52 AM
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RE: "Mature" people and simpleton life-styles

Hah, I can't help but respond point-by-point.

(01-01-2014 06:14 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  Does it tend to get under anyone's skin when a pro-school person proclaims that they are "mature" even though they are more or less hypocrites? Here's an example from an anti-school video on YouTube (comments section, bleh).

A.k.a., when people take a stance of superiority and "talk down" to others with a condescending tone...

Yeah, that's unsettling. One way to deal with it, psychologically, is try to understand where it's coming from within them. Try to look at the world through their eyes, and their possible backstory and situation, and consider where it's all coming from.

One way to do that is to re-word what they're saying, or even ask them to do so. Often, when people lecture others, they're actually projecting their own fears or deficits onto the other person.

In the case of the above comment, you can see it's all coming from a basic place of "stop complaining, and do something productive." Well, maybe analyzing the comment is a form of productivity!

The comment is also an example of invalidation, where a person responds in a way that implies another person's experience (pain, boredom, problems) is meaningless and that it's wrong to discuss any of that. Stevehein has a whole PDF ebook on that topic: Invalidation.

"Invalidation is to reject, ignore, mock, tease, judge, or diminish someone's feelings. It is an attempt to control how they feel and how long they feel it.'

Very often, one of the techniques people use for that is to invoke shame, which the commenter does in that comment by implying creating or watching anything that questions school is a waste of time done by lazy slackers.

Understanding shame and how it functions in exchanges like this is one of those things "not usually covered in school." And yet, shame is a common feature of many school environments.

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And that leads to a post-within-a-post. A while back, Brene Brown did an interview with Oprah where she said shame is present in all kinds of schools.

Dr. Brene Brown: Shame Is The 'Number One Classroom-Management Tool' In Our Schools (VIDEO)

I think we can all relate to that, but that interview clip offended a number of teachers, including the BATs.

Brene Brown then wrote this blog post in response:

Teachers, Shame, and Worthiness: A Lesson Learned

That's a whole conversation in itself... but needless to say, when people invoke shame in each other, feathers tend to get ruffled.)

(01-01-2014 06:14 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  "This is such a complete asinine video. A curriculum covers many goals that help children in development. The bell to have people go to another class is not herding...it's called an efficient way to indicate a break in the classroom. The only mono in the culture is the speaking in this video. I went to school, I've graduated, I have a job. School is not always fun and not perfect but give up the foolishness. Put the Doritos down and do something constructive."

I can see why this comment got under your skin. The question is, how can we facilitate dialogue with parents, educators, or people in general who have this kind of reaction?

Obviously, YouTube comments aren't the best place for constructive dialogue (though, with G+ integration, that might open up some options, like writing at more length, plussing people in, and the like.)

But, figuring out how to respond to these kind of comments could go a long way in helping change things. I think one starting point is to analyze the interests, beliefs, and experiences of the person in question.

Another is to validate the points they're making that might be valid. That's a painful exercise to undertake with a comment like that... but maybe one simple response is to ask, "what do you consider constructive?" -- and see if they have a different reaction to other videos that discuss education from different angles.

(01-01-2014 06:14 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  First off, a curriculum is a policy in what is required to be taught in school, and not all of it will be helpful to development. School doesn't teach driving, cooking, metacognition, etc. But I don't want to go back to that topic.

It's possible for "a school" or "a curriculum" to cover all those things. But, of course, many don't.

Most school curriculum is set up around a set of core subjects, rather than the many other things necessary or helpful in "preparing people for life" in the short or long term. But, it's entirely possible to build a curriculum that works differently.

The problem with those who think "school isn't perfect but it's good enough to get me my job, so you better do it, too" angle is that there's little room for discussing the massive gaps and non-"constructive" uses of time in school... not to mention the painful and destructive aspects of the factory model structure.

The question is, how to introduce those sides of things to people who have never thought to question school. It's worth noting that for many people, questioning school implicitly means maybe something was missing in the education of the person you're talking to... which could be a harsh revelation.

(01-01-2014 06:14 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  Second, the "efficient way" is something from what we call the factory-model. It's efficient, in a wrong way. It helps keep everything in order and everything separate. I mean, never mind there are better ways of making a school.

Exactly.

(01-01-2014 06:14 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  The last 3 sentences tick me off. "I've graduated, I have a job" is something that I hope I'll never be saying to myself. What I mean by that is that I want to avoid a simpleton life style. Working a job I hate, and not being able to think what I desire in life, what's the point in living life when you hate everything?

Obviously, a lot of people who haven't graduated "have a job," and perhaps not-so-obviously, many people who have graduated don't.

(What kind of job it is, and how good a fit it is for the person in question, gets into a more complex discussion.)

The person in question doesn't necessarily hate their job. My brother (who graduated from high school and college) has two jobs that don't require any education whatsoever (beyond the ability to drive a car and count.) Then again, he's not telling anyone to follow that same path.

(01-01-2014 06:14 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  And school can't be fun? Who said school can't be fun? What law of the earth states that education must be boring? When you say that, it puts people off from learning!

Exactly. And, this is one of several common patterns I notice in these school conversations. Citing this idea "sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do" and to "suck it up" and "do what you have to do, because life sucks. And quit complaining about it!

(01-01-2014 06:14 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  And "Put the Doritos down"? Congrats for assuming things about people you don't know. That definitely seems more like a sign of immaturity.

Yeah, that really highlights the underlying attitude of the whole comment.

(01-01-2014 06:14 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  Sorry, this comment got on my nerves. It signifies everything I hate about school, or more specifically, the conformity part of it.

This is the challenging piece in this edu-puzzle. Apparently, the video got on that commenter's nerves, and their comment got on your nerves, and while you can find support here, if we try to talk to others, questioning school might get on their nerves.

It's like dismantling a bomb to try to figure out how to actually change things.

In the meantime, check out Anger Tropes for ideas on how to translate these feelings into compelling scenes.

(01-01-2014 06:14 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  I don't want a simpleton life-style. I want to take a risk, something that will actually satisfy me later in life.

I know the feeling. The whole concept of risk is one to analyze, that should really be part of a curriculum that's actually relevant to life. So often, there's the idea of "at-risk" students, or people engaging in risky behavior in a bad way, but then there's also the positive ideal of tasking risks as a good thing, that's a key ingredient in success.

One bit of wisdom to consider is that "it takes all kinds" and there's room in the world for a range of people. Some prefer to take chances and some lean more toward wanting to play it safe, probably at a temperamental level. So, for each person, figuring out their preferences is part of the process of figuring out life.

That's something the factory-model tends not to support, but it's an important factor in all this talk about education. A lot of people assume that everyone should be the same, be like them, or the world will fall apart.

Peter Gray & allies launching the Alliance for Self-directed Education

ASDE Newsletters: #1 Announcement | #2 History of ASDE | #6 Education Liberation


School Survival & Catalyst Learning Network featured on AlternativestoSchool's blog
“Mom, Dad, can I stop going to school?”

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High

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01-02-2014 03:07 AM
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