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The eye sees as many perspectives as the mind can take in.
This image, hastily drawn, includes a hint of the Egyptian eye, of the Christian fish, (ICHTHUS), and of the random wandering of threads, all of which represent different visual perspectives of what matters. The thread and word overlay represent our emphasis on creating a visual context which includes all at all skill levels, and establishes a community of learning based on shared and collaborative learning through projects we can relate to the issues that matter.
RESOURCES: Community-Building - Visual Sociology - Message-Building
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FACULTY ASSISTANCE: Susan - jeanne - Pat
UWP Criminal Justice Dept. - CSUDH Dept. of Sociology
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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: September 5, 2007
Latest Update: September 6, 2007
Topic of the Week:
Using the Visual
to Embed Learning in the Apperceptive Mass
Hi! I'm jeanne, the tech for our website, Dear Habermas. I'm also an emeritus faculty member at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Susan and I have worked collaboratively for many years to ensure that our students would have a meaningful and lasting educational experience. To that end, we start the semester off with a little essential learning theory: how do we learn? how do we know?
Explanation of Herbartian apperceptive mass.
Herbart was a learning theorist, one whose work I studied in graduate school. His explanation of how our experiences shape us struck me as extraordinarily useful. I'm going to explain it in my own words, so don't hold him responsible for any misconceptions I might have retained over the thirty years since I first studied him.
What I particularly liked, as I recall it, was his description of what I envisioned as a stew pot, the kind that used to sit on the stove in a "family kitchen" (I never had a family like that, so this was pure fantasy on my part, but it worked for me. jeanne) According to my memory, that stew pot was always on the stove, and into it went everything that was left over from interim meals. That meant its taste was ever changing according to the day's left overs, and according to what had gone into it before. Now strangely enough, if you consult Brenda Mergel's update of learning theory, that's a constructivist image. One that says the context of what has gone before in that kitchen in that family home is reflected in the way that stew tastes. But its taste is also affected by the contents of what is poured in from today's left overs. There is, nor can there be, one pre-ordained taste, or recipe for that matter. That's because each family and each stew pot are so reflective of the uniqueness of that family and its experiences.
There's one more piece of that image I find impressive enough to pass on. In terms of explaining the mind as that stew pot that gathers and holds in memory all our experiences, however brief, however painful, however out-of-awareness, whatever goes in the pot stays in the pot. Forever. We can't take things back out of our minds. We can't take horrible scenes, like the Holocaust, like Rwanda, like Darfur, back out of our minds. Like Rabelais' frozen words, once there, they are there forever, even though we may not be actively conscious of them and can repress them for long periods of time. This is becoming even more clear as research on older people, suffering from Alzheimer's, is showing that as they lose their short-term memories and go back to earlier long-term memory, they are reliving experiences they went through during their youth. Some Holocaust victims have been found to re-experience the Holocaust. The unbearable fear returns. This complicates caring for these people, as in their fear, they may become panicked, aggressive, hostile. To the extent that they are unable to form current short-term memory, how do we get them to understand that what is frightening them is from long ago, in the past? (Reference New York Times and?or Los Angeles Times reporting in Summer 2007.Medical news.)
The context and the content are ever changing,
and so is the interpretation of our world and who we are in it.
Although we can't remove experience and learning from the stew pot Herbart saw as our mind (my image, not his), we continuously add new experiences and new interpretations of old experiences, based on new knowledge. Still, when we are alone and frightened, old fears, old happenings simply pop up, unexplained, inconsistent with our current identities, our current knowledge, and seem to show as different from who we believe ourselves to be. Frozen words, frozen experiences. Again, this is a constructivist approach to understanding how our mind works. But I suspect that Herbart wouldn't mind my reinterpreting him at all, even though his major work precedes the postmodern constructivism. It's postmodern, for me, because it recognizes that there is no single valid story or narrative that is "true" in every context for every sentient being. Context and content are interdependent with any interpretation, and therefore must be ever changing.
Pantagruel and Panurge in Rabelais' Storm of Frozen Words
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But words return to haunt me.
Rabelais, A Monk, A Doctor, A Satirist in Search of Liberty
Rabelais' Story of the Frozen Words
Forgiveness and Frozen Words
Tomorrow I will try to put up Issue No. 2 for the Week of September 9, 2007. These are some of the concepts we'll deal with, the better to involve our communities in governance discourse on concerns of social and criminal justice we all share for our future:
- Explanation of Dewey's concept of "learning by doing." Why that means constructive learning theory.
- Explanation of "embedding learning in our apperceptive mass for future recall, evaluation, and application. Why in depth higher learning can't avoid the schema of our earlier learning.
- Explanation of "plastic intimacy," "surface learning and banked education," and "creative learning." The dangers of "formulaic" training in place of searching for the many alternative understandings and building new and meaningful alternatives.
- Explanation of what knitting, crochet, and art have to do with all this. So that's what Dewey meant. Is that why he never did it himself in his teaching of higher learning?
- Explanation of how constructive learning theory fits with free form, and maybe why it fits with those through whom we seek to build a global and meaningful future.
love and peace, jeanne
- Instructional Design & Learning Theory Brenda Mergel, Graduate Student, Educational Communications and Technology, University of Saskatchewan. Backup. Ms. Mergel compares behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism in an easily understandable and coherent way. She has an excellent bibliography that should serve well any of you who would like to explore further. jeanne
- Martin Ryder's Instructional Design Models. Will give you the major resources for study in these different approaches to learning. Susan and Jeanne are constructivists. Which might help to explain the way we teach and what we dislike about standardized tests for the upper division education of future professionals.
- School Is Starting
- School starts after Labor Day, so I'm trying to revise the site. But I'm also trying to make a submission for an art exhibition. So patience, please. jeanne, your Dear Habermas tech.
- Class Projects
- Child's Necklace:
So I'm holding it a little crooked here. Sorry. But you can see its size compared to my fingers. It's crocheted. No lead, guaranteed. And if you look carefully, you can see that there's a little bead holding the top closed, with a quarter peeping through. Such importance for a little one. Her own quarter. Now all we need is a similar little purse that could hook onto a little boy's belt, so his quarter would be protected, too. After all, we still believe in gender equality.
- Theoretical Significance:
Well, in thinking about criminal and social justice, there's a lot to be said here for wondering just when the need to make a few extra bucks off the consuming public becomes actually criminal. Newspapers reported that one of the men responsible for one of the factories that substituted lead for harmless metal committed suicide. Australia to my knowledge, leads the rest of the world in considering this issue of criminal charges for short-changing safety in the interest of profit in our global corporate world. Make one of these necklaces or belt clips for your older kids, even for yourself. They're fun and cute, and will offer a great stimulus for your friends, even strangers, to ask about the necklace or belt clip, and for you to share your learning on issues of safety and profit. Such conversations are a re-introduction of governance discourse into our social world. That means it's time for people to start talking to people about issues that really matter to every one of us, AND OUR KIDS.
- Project Alternatives:
- Instructions on how to crochet and/or knit these little purses to replace children's imported jewelry will go up as soon as I can manage it. Like later this week. jeanne
- But what if you don't crochet or knit? See the little necklace purse I put up in the last issue. I used a croceheted coaster so I wouldn't have to crochet one. Felt an old sweater from a thrift store. Then cut and stitch the little purse together. Or search Michael's and JoAnn's or a dollar store for other items you can cut up and put together easily. The creativity will stretch the corners of your mind, (hopefully helping to steel you against early Alzheimer's), and your child, friend, relative will register that you cared enough to think of them. It's important to let others in our lives know that we think of them. Don't assume that in this world of fast lanes that we "know" it. Humans are social creatures. We need attention and recognition. Witness graffiti.
- Making one for a boy? Try squares or triangles or patches you could find in Michael's or JoAnn's. Stitch or glue them together. There are such things as fabric glitter. Just add a little to make it look like it came from Star Wars, and sparkle will fascinate males as well as females.
Want to make it funky for a middle schooler? Dangle safety pins as decoration. Or check out the local hardware store for all sorts of little doodads the kids will love. Better still, take them with you to choose their own decorations. Make s space on the purse where they can paste a sticker. One they can choose. Or take a little tag (You can find them in Michael's or JoAnn's.) on which they can paste the sticker and dangle it from their necklace of belt purse. Share with them. That's how families develop governance discourse and talk about things that matter.
- Up soon.
- The Individual and the Community.
- The temptation to increase profit often wins over community values, especially if the cost for being caught short-changing safety is a fine that amounts to less than the cost of ensuring safety. This is one of the Catch 22s of corporate self-regulation. That is how Mattel fell into the trap of not fully inspecting the work of "trusted" manufacturers. (Reference: New York Times reporting of the import problem.) How do we balance the individual temptation to increase profit with the community need for safety, infrastructure, and social justice concerns? What about the child who is irrevocably harmed for the sake of some corporate profit?
- Child's Necklace
See the little button at the top, holding the quarter in?
Kids like dangles. It would be easy to let them change the dangles and decorations with ones of their own choosing. Remember the more we share with young people the greater the chance to talk to them about things that matter to them and to us. It's their world, too.
- John Brinegar's Avant-Garde Knits Yes, male designers are using knits, too. Check out the funky use of safety pins and seams sewn inside out. Clue: I had some trouble understanding how the hat was made, and I watched his show twice. (I'm a skilled knitter!) So feel free to ask Vicky Howell for extra help if you decide to make that funky hat. It looked a little strange on Vicky, when she tried it on for the show, but some of you may be able to carry it off! jeanne
John Brinegar's Sculptural Hat
Notice the chains, safety pins, hardware bits, etc.
Resources For Governance Discourse:
Local and Global
UNDER CONSTRUCTION - jeanne
- Finding Issues that Matter and Reliable Access to Information on Those Issues:
- A Range of Scholarly Sources
on Issues that Matter from Many Perspectives, Left, Right, and Other
Left/Right Perspectives - Cursor - The National Review
Arts and Letters Daily - The Economist - The Sierra Club - The Guardian
Wall Street Journal - The Weekly Standard - The Nation
The Cato Institute (Libertarian) - The Open Society
BBC NEWS | Americas - truthout - Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles
- La Opinion - The Washington Post
Cursor's Al Jazeera Archive - Ha'aretz - Palestine Monitor - Palestine Report
- Web Sources Linked from Dear Habermas
Concept Index - T.R. Young and the Red Feather Institute
The World Wide School - Free access to important works
The Slought Foundation: New Futures for Contemporary Life
The Church and Postmodern Culture: A Conversation
California Connected -
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