This page is for my attempts at truth, explorations into what I think I believe and understand.
Wanderings... I'll try to keep those somewhere else, probably in LIES.
Arguments for arguments against and arguments against arguments for. Essays. Reports. Analyses and applications. Letters to. Responses.
Stuff like that
as in the forces of nature and of the world constructed by humans.
Forces of the universe. Historical forces. Artistic forces. Social forces. Natural forces. Gravity. Electromagnetism. A unified field.
So I write about them.
Trust Learning, Please
Imagine an incarnation of schooling, as broadly as you can think of it. Imagine all your schooling and everyone else’s coalesced among us as a human being. Schooling turned into a person. Imagine what this person would be like.
Take as much time as you want.
When you have it… him… her… them…. Once you have this person in your mind… Good. Now imagine that person contracted COVID-19 and died.
I am terrified we will continue life support for far too long. He is gone. Yes, I see schooling as a man. A dead man, now. We need to let him rest in peace.
But we will not. We will go on believing he is still alive. We will keep his body connected to tubes and wires and WiFi. We will administer drugs, monitor his flat EKG, even attempt defibrillation over and over again.
It won’t work. No matter how long we try, nothing will bring him back. At some point, maybe soon, his rotting corpse begins to cause problems, right? We have to let him go.
Do an autopsy. Have a wake, a funeral, a memorial. Bring his body to New Orleans for a jazz funeral procession. I think that’s in his will. Someday people can erect monuments to him, or at least a plaque or two somewhere. Whatever you need to do to come to peace with his passing.
COVID-19 has dealt him a lethal blow. It is good to let him go.
He makes room for something new. No more schooling.
Who will fill his place? Who will do what he used to do? What did he used to do that we can let go with him? What did he do that we still need done?
Who will do it? Who can? Who wants to?
Could we imagine a new person? Instead of Schooling, we can imagine Learning. Learning personified. We can trust a person like that. Trust Learning.
Let’s do it. Let’s trust learning, please
Learning is a lot different from Schooling in many ways. They are similar too, but not in any important ways.
Let’s face it. Schooling had some old-fashioned misconceptions about children. On one hand, I don’t want to blame Schooling. He was a product of his time - 1890, or so. He believed kids have to be forced to learn “important stuff.” He also believed he knew for sure what that stuff was.
He believed some crazy things, right? Like every kid could learn the same amount of stuff in different “classes” in the same amount of time every day for exactly 180 days a year. Every kid learns the same amount of math, the same amount of science, the same amount of history, and the same works of literature in class periods that all lasted exactly 52 minutes (or whatever) for exactly 180 days.
That’s kind of crazy.
He didn’t trust kids, really. He believed they were incomplete, empty vessels, or that they were lazy cheaters who would do anything to avoid going to him. He believed he had to motivate young people to learn stuff.
Learning isn’t perfect, by the way. I’m not saying Learning can replace Schooling. I’m just asking do we really want them to?
Yep, I envision Learning as them. Not he or she. They.
They are quiet but they have a lot of questions. Learning takes a while to warm up to people, but once they do, you have a friend for life.
Learning struggles a lot. Learning doesn’t make a lot of the stuff easier than Schooling. They do make things a lot less stressful, though. Learning challenges us to figure out who we are, what we believe, how we know things… Learning doesn’t judge us.
We all know how judgmental Schooling was. It’s not nice to speak ill of the dead, but come on. He was a real jerk sometimes. Always thought he knew better than everyone else. Always correcting people. Always saying, “Raise your hand. No you can’t go to the bathroom. You got this 80%, not like Starchild Sally who always gets 100% all the time on everything… not like those… um… other “people” who failed. But I can’t give them a ZERO anymore. I have to give them a 55% now… We’re really coddling kids these days...”
He wouldn’t shut up about that stuff sometimes.
Learning doesn’t judge. Not even a little bit. Learning knows who they are.
Learning is usually calm. Learning can be frustrating at times, for sure, but who isn’t? Learning is authentic. Sometimes they are shy or unsure, and confused… Learning has become comfortable with confusion, actually. They understand who they are, and they find life confusing sometimes. Because it is.
Learning is always Learning, and they do what they do best when they don’t even know they are Learning. Sometimes Learning works hard and other times Learning takes little effort at all.
They work alone sometimes and they work with others sometimes. Learning is curious all the time.
The most amazing thing about Learning? They never stop.
We can trust them. Let’s do it. Let Schooling go. It’s time to trust Learning. Please.
Once again, I have written myself back to a blank page. Its beauty and perfection. It's beauty and perfection.
My plan, titled "Trust Learning," so far filled 22 pages. Still unfinished, still becoming. Then becoming unwieldy, unrealistic, much more a document establishing my own delusions of grandeur and privilege than any viable program within the schools.
I started writing it as a fantasy, a way of saying, "This is what I dream of," so that I could indulge my own arrogance that someone would magically appear with the influence and resources to make my dream come true. So I don't have to do it myself.
Writing is the most painful of art forms, it seems to me. It leaves us with only words. Words are esoteric, amorphous, abstract. Nothing is possible without them but they require actors or architects or agents. Painters' failures at least produce paintings. Dancers move through space and time. Sculptors leave us stone to see. Singers sing with us our loneliness set free.
Writers know a secret we can not keep. Writers are bound by a rule we break by being writers.
I have been struggling with the idea for a new piece on education. That’s all it was no matter how I tried to form sounds into syllables into words into phrases into clauses, dependent and independent. An idea.
Then I started where I always have to start: three steps back and somewhat to the left, spiralled back to zero. I always have to start with the why and the how before I can get to the what. So I spent the half-hour I had before I knew the dog would need to go out for a walk writing about why I wanted to write about education. Ridiculous.
I wrote myself out of writing it. I concluded my motivations were mostly ego. Privilege. Delusions of grandeur. Lazy whining, and a fantasy that some rich, powerful patron who wants to fund a real revolution in education would read my genius and come to my rescue, granting me all the time and money I need to create a viable self-directed learning environment for kids…
A place where the 5-paragraph essay fades into oblivion.
So I stopped writing it.
Sculptors are vane and they should be, have to be. Dancers gaze upon their beauty and curse in mirrors their entire lives. Singers are worthy of vanity. Actors. Comics. To stand in front of people and sing. Yes.
Painters, photographers, digital creators... We all believe we have or make things the world should see.
Writers though have nothing but thoughts. Words. Against "Bird in Space" or "Field of Mars" or "Revelations..." What are words in space and time? What vanity it is to assume anything I can say stands within a million light years of any other artist.
Yet I write.
I choose to write about myself in this first essay on my website. I suspect it will not be a long one.
Beneath the layers of the skin of my face lie the ruins of my vanity and I tilt my head back. Just enough to indicate my own satisfaction with what used to be to my fictional audience in the stage performance of my boring do this now do that.
As I go deeper, to the meat and the sinew and the nerves, I marvel.
Not for long. I begin everything I write with a diatribe on why and how I am writing what I am about to write and then I delete it all. I'm left with what I have written. I can not seem to create a different process for writing things.
I am writing this as a kind of disclaimer. I am unsure that what I have to say is important. That is a weak opening statement, a bad move some might say in an introduction. Like posting on a dating website, "I'm in debt over my head and I rarely bathe." Turns people away. Except maybe someone curious about someone else opening with the ugly truth about himself.
So I am not writing because I believe I have anything to say that others have not already said, or because what I have to share will change anything for the better. I am writing because I am a writer.
I write because I feel most like myself when I do it. I write because it is often the only way I can test what I think I know and believe to be true. I can do all of that in a journal I keep private or share with those who love me enough to read even if they don't quite understand what it is I'm getting at.
So why this website? I created this website to post (publish?) what I write because I want to be on the record. If at some point, any point in the future, someone comes across my insignificant existence and wants to know, "Where did he stand on everything that happened back then?" I want to leave something as unequivocal and unambiguous as I possibly can.
So I am leaving this explanation here this time. The rest I hope will make those things clear.
Thank you for reading. More to come.