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Progressive Labels for Regressive Practices: How Key Terms in Education Have Been Co-opted - Alfie Kohn
[via: https://twitter.com/cblack__/status/1052629222089359361

"So here's the cycle:

1. Educators create valid term for needed reform.
2. Corporate/political forces co-opt term to sell bullshit to schools.
3. Regressive educators equate needed reform with bullshit "reform."
4. Needed reform is defeated & forgotten.

Example:

1. Educators advocate for differentiated/personalized learning as humane, relationship-based alternative to standardization.
2. Corporations co-opt term to sell algorithm-based-ed-tech bullshit.
3. Popular bloggers equate 'personalized learning' with edtech bullshit.
4. Public impression is created that 'personalized learning' is a negative, corporate-driven, bullshit concept.
5. Standardization prevails."

[my reply]

"“a dark commentary on how capitalism absorbs its critiques”" (quoting https://twitter.com/amandahess/status/1052689514039250945 ) ]

"“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

— Lewis Caroll, Through the Looking Glass

“Whole language” (WL), a collaborative, meaning-based approach to helping children learn to read and write, emerged a few decades ago as a grassroots movement. Until it was brought down by furious attacks from social conservatives, academic behaviorists, and others, many teachers were intrigued by this alternative to the phonics fetish and basal boom that defined the field. More than just an instructional technique, WL amounted to a declaration of independence from packaged reading programs. So how did the publishers of those programs respond? Some “absorbed the surface [features] of WL and sold them back to teachers.” Others just claimed that whatever was already in their commercial materials — bite-size chunks of literature and prefabricated lesson plans — was whole language.[1]

Until you can beat them, pretend to join them: WL is literally a textbook illustration of that strategy. But it’s hardly the only one. For example, experts talk about the importance of having kids do science rather than just learning about it, so many companies now sell kits for easy experimenting. It’s branded as “discovery learning,” except that much of the discovery has been done ahead of time.

A teacher-educator friend of mine, a leading student of constructivism, was once treated to dinner by a textbook publisher who sought his counsel about how kids can play an active role in the classroom and create meaning around scientific ideas. The publisher listened avidly, taking careful notes, which my friend found enormously gratifying until he suddenly realized that the publisher’s objective was just to appropriate key phrases that could be used in the company’s marketing materials and as chapter headings in its existing textbook.

Or consider cooperative learning. Having students spend much of their classroom time in pairs or small groups is a radical notion: Learning becomes a process of exchanging and reflecting on ideas with peers and planning projects together. When we learn with and from one another, schooling is about us, not just about me. But no sooner had the idea begun to catch on (in the 1980s) than it was diluted, reduced to a gimmick for enlivening a comfortably traditional curriculum. Teachers were told, in effect, that they didn’t have to question their underlying model of learning; students would memorize facts and practice skills more efficiently if they did it in groups. Some writers even recommended using grades, certificates, and elaborate point systems to reinforce students for cooperating appropriately.[2]

In short, the practice of “co-opting” potentially transformative movements in education[3] is nothing new. Neither, however, is it just a historical artifact. A number of labels that originally signified progressive ideas continue to be (mis)appropriated, their radical potential drained away, with the result that they’re now invoked by supporters of “bunch o’ facts” teaching or a corporate-styled, standards-and-testing model of school reform.[4]

A sample:

* Engaging doesn’t denote a specific pedagogical approach; it’s used as a general honorific, signifying a curriculum that the students themselves experience as worthwhile. But these days the word is often applied to tasks that may not be particularly interesting to most kids and that they had no role in choosing. In fact, the value of the tasks may simply be ignored, so we hear about student “engagement,” which seems to mean nothing more than prompt or sustained compliance. Such children have internalized the adults’ agenda and are (extrinsically) motivated to complete the assignment, whatever it is. If the point is to get them to stay “on task,” we’re spared having to think about what the task is — or who gets to decide — even as we talk earnestly about the value of having engaged students.[5]

* Developmental originally meant taking our cue from what children of a given age are capable of doing. But for some time now, the word has come to imply something rather different: letting children move at their own pace . . . up an adult-constructed ladder. Kids may have nothing to say about what, whether, or why — only about when. (This is similar to the idea of “mastery learning” — a phrase that hasn’t really been co-opted because it was never particularly progressive to begin with. Oddly, though, it’s still brandished proudly by people who seem to think it represents a forward-thinking approach to education.[6])

* Differentiated, individualized, or personalized learning all emerge from what would seem a perfectly reasonable premise: Kids have very different needs and interests, so we should think twice about making all of them do the same thing, let alone do it in the same way. But there’s a big difference between working with each student to create projects that reflect his or her preferences and strengths, on the one hand, and merely adjusting the difficulty level of skills-based exercises based on students’ test scores, on the other. The latter version has become more popular in recent years, driven in part by troubling programs such as “mass customized learning”[7] and by technology companies that peddle “individualized digital learning” products. (I have more to say about the differences between authentic personal learning and what might be called Personalized Learning, Inc. in this blog post.)

* Formative assessment was supposed to be the good kind — gauging students’ success while they’re still learning rather than evaluating them for the purpose of rating or ranking when it’s too late to make changes. But the concept “has been taken over — hijacked — by commercial test publishers and is used instead to refer to formal testing systems,” says assessment expert Lorrie Shepard.[8] Basically, an endless succession of crappy “benchmark” standardized tests — intended to refine preparation for the high-stakes tests that follow — are euphemistically described as “formative assessment.” Too often, in other words, the goal is just to see how well students will do on another test, not to provide feedback that will help them think deeply about questions that intrigue them. (The same is true of the phrase “assessment for learning,” which sounds nice but means little until we’ve asked “Learning what?”) The odds of an intellectually valuable outcome are slim to begin with if we’re relying on a test rather than on authentic forms of assessment.[9]

* A reminder to focus on the learning, not just the teaching seems refreshing and enlightened. After all, our actions as educators don’t matter nearly as much as how kids experience those actions. The best teachers (and parents) continually try to see what they do through the eyes of those to whom it’s done. But at some point I had the queasy realization that lots of consultants and administrators who insist that learning is more important than teaching actually have adopted a behaviorist version of learning, with an emphasis on discrete skills measured by test scores.

You see the pattern here. We need to ask what kids are being given to do, and to what end, and within what broader model of learning, and as decided by whom. If we allow ourselves to be distracted from those questions, then even labels with a proud progressive history can be co-opted to the point that they no longer provide reassurance about the practice to which the label refers."
alfiekohn  2015  progressive  education  schools  schooling  schooliness  lesicarroll  humptydumpty  wholelanguage  cooption  language  words  buzzwords  pedagogy  differentiation  teaching  business  capitalism  formativeassessment  assessment  learning  howweetach  howwelearn  development  engagement  grassroots 
5 days ago by robertogreco
GRADA KILOMBA: DECOLONIZING KNOWLEDGE - Voice Republic
"In this lecture performance Grada Kilomba explores forms of Decolonizing Knowledge using printed work, writing exercises, performative narrative, and visual art, as forms of alternative knowledge production. Kilomba raises questions concerning the concepts of knowledge, race and gender: “What is acknowledged as knowledge? Whose knowledge is this? Who is acknowledged to produce knowledge?” This project exposes not only the violence of classic knowledge production, but also how this violence is performed in academic, cultural and artistic spaces, which determine both who can speak and what we can speak about.To touch this colonial wound, she creates a hybrid space where the boundaries between the academic and the artistic languages confine, transforming the configurations of knowledge and power. Using a collage of her literary and visual work, Grada Kilomba initiates a dialogue of multiple narratives who speak, interrupt, and appropriate the ‘normal’ and continuous coloniality in which we reside. The audience is invited to participate, and to re-imagine the concept of knowledge anew, by opening new spaces for decolonial thinking."

[See also: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grada_Kilomba ]
gradakilomba  performance  decolonization  speaking  listening  2015  knowledge  narrative  art  knowledgeproduction  unschooling  deschooling  colonialism  academia  highered  highereducation  storytelling  bellhooks  participation  participatory  theory  thinking  howwethink  africa  slavery  frantzfanon  audrelorde  knowing  portugal 
5 days ago by robertogreco
Just to See You Again - MellytheHun - Teen Wolf (TV) [Archive of Our Own]
A sterek college!AU where writing student Stiles specializes in love letters, runs a blog about it and can be commissioned to write love letters on behalf of lovers who are at a loss for words.

He makes some cash, he’s good at what he does (especially when he gets to be a little more explicit in his letters), it pays for his textbooks and that’s all he’s really looking for and life is fine. That is, until someone anonymously commissions him to write a love letter to mathematics student, Derek Hale.
4*  r:explicit  wc:under20k  pov:stiles  w:au  au:human  p:college  rs:penpals  nt:loveletters  nt:letters  rs:secretidentity  tone:fluff  tone:humor  rs:gettingtogether  rs:firsttime  tone:angst  mademecry  multichapter  2015  k:blowjobs 
6 days ago by faeriecourt
If You Can Hear Me - StupidGenius - Teen Wolf (TV) [Archive of Our Own]
‘Okay, okay, um. If there’s a telepath in the room, cough.’

Well. He does love messing with people…

He coughs.

‘Holy god.’ The boy three seats away from Derek jumps
5*  r:general  wc:under5k  pov:derek  w:au  au:highschool  »read  d:werewolf!derek  tone:humor  d:telepath!derek  ss:telepathy  rs:preslash  op:alivehalefamily  ss:superpowers  ws:mates  d:oblivious!derek  s:oblivious!stiles  oneshot  series  2015 
6 days ago by faeriecourt
How to Mostly Fail at Wooing Your Grumpy Next Door Werewolf: a comprehensive guide by Stiles Stilinski - crossroadswrite - Teen Wolf (TV) [Archive of Our Own]
(307): My new roommate is one of my Tinder matches... It is so on.
(631): U know this is gone far when im in the bathroom trying to take a pic of my asshole

Stiles peers down at the next profile sees a picture of a man glaring at the camera, ears red and big frames slipping off the bridge of his nose.

Derek ‘bunbuns’ Hale. 25. College student. Likes to take long walks on the beach, shirtless and on a horse and to be a buzzkill that should just get laid.
4*  r:teen  wc:under5k  pov:stiles  w:au  d:werewolf!derek  au:werewolvesareknown  rs:meetonline  p:datingapp  tinder  tone:humor  tone:crack  rs:ust  p:college  rs:roommates  rs:banter  rs:flirting  rs:mutualpining  d:insecure!derek  d:derekwearsglasses  rs:gettingtogether  rs:firstkiss  tone:hurtcomfort  dickpics  oneshot  2015  bh:recreationaldruguse  s:hurt!stiles  d:polyglot!derek  d:multilingual!derek  d:shy!derek  »read 
6 days ago by faeriecourt
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Stiles? - LadyMerlin - Teen Wolf (TV) [Archive of Our Own]
The problem with Stiles is that he absolutely totally 100% thinks he's hilarious.

It's not so much a problem as it is... No, it's a problem.

Because he really isn't, except maybe when he snorts milk out of his nose, or when he mimics Coach Finstock perfectly, or when he goes to Deaton's to play in the puppy pens and ends up with the same grumpy Pomeranian chewing his hair each time. But that's entirely besides the point.

Nothing about the way Stiles is fellating that Popsicle is funny. Nothing.
4*  r:teen  wc:under5k  pov:derek  w:au  d:werewolf!derek  op:alivehalefamily  tone:humor  rs:ust  rs:agedifference  rs:flirting  rs:preslash  oneshot  2015  »read 
6 days ago by faeriecourt
Here's to You, Kiddo - MellytheHun - Teen Wolf (TV) [Archive of Our Own]
My beautiful Silvana sent me this prompt on tumblr; "A high school Sterek au with basketball star Derek and artist Stiles! And if you can incorporate Stiles having a tattoo related to his mom that'd be great but if not I love you anyways!!"
5*  r:explicit  wc:under10k  pov:stiles  w:au  au:highschool  d:werewolf!derek  c:artist!stiles  d:jock!derek  tone:hurtcomfort  rs:firstkiss  rs:gettingtogether  k:blowjobs  k:publicsex  bh:bullying  homophobia  sp:basketball  op:dick!jackson  oneshot  2015  »read 
6 days ago by faeriecourt
The Self-Help Myth by Erica Kohl-Arenas - Paperback - University of California Press
[See also: https://www.ericakohlarenas.com/book-the-self-help-myth ]

"Can philanthropy alleviate inequality? Do antipoverty programs work on the ground? In this eye-opening analysis, Erica Kohl-Arenas bores deeply into how these issues play out in California’s Central Valley, which is one of the wealthiest agricultural production regions in the world and also home to the poorest people in the United States.

Through the lens of a provocative set of case studies, The Self-Help Myth reveals how philanthropy maintains systems of inequality by attracting attention to the behavior of poor people while shifting the focus away from structural inequities and relationships of power that produce poverty. In Fresno County, for example, which has a $5.6 billion-plus agricultural industry, migrant farm workers depend heavily on food banks, religious organizations, and family networks to feed and clothe their families. Foundation professionals espouse well-intentioned, hopeful strategies to improve the lives of the poor. These strategies contain specific ideas—in philanthropy terminology, “theories of change”— that rely on traditional American ideals of individualism and hard work, such as self-help, civic participation, and mutual prosperity. But when used in partnership with well-defined limits around what foundations will and will not fund, these ideals become fuzzy concepts promoting professional and institutional behaviors that leave relationships of poverty and inequality untouched."
philanthropicindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  charitableindustrialcomplex  charity  via:javierarbona  ericakohl-arenas  inequality  economics  poverty  capitalism  power  control  2015 
9 days ago by robertogreco
Hyphenation Dos and Don'ts
“Hyphenation is a common occurrence in typography, especially in narrow columns of type. This ‘necessary evil’ is used to create better looking, tighter rags in non-aligned margins, as well as to help achieve more even spacing in justified text. Hyphenation also allows more words to fit in a line. Today’s design software has the ability to control hyphenation in great detail. Although this feature is turned on by default with preset parameters, these settings can be altered, or turned off entirely, for anything from a paragraph to an entire article.

“The default settings usually allow two-letter hyphenations, as well as anywhere from three to unlimited consecutive hyphenations. This is an overly generous setting for most text, and one that can reduce readability. It is generally considered acceptable to have two consecutive hyphenated lines, but no more. In addition, be careful not to have too many hyphenations in a paragraph, even if they are not in successive rows.

[…]

“For the best looking typography, always customize these settings. My preference – and recommendation – is to change the default settings to allow a minimum of three-letter hyphenations, and no more than two in a row.”
hyphenation  typography  canonical  2015 
14 days ago by handcoding

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