robertogreco + sloweducation   7

We need a "slow food" movement for higher education — Quartz
"The academy has moved to the fast lane. Corporatization has sped up the clock, compromising teaching, scholarship, and collegiality. The “slow movement”—originating in slow food—challenges the frantic pace and homogenization of contemporary culture. We believe that adopting the principles of “slow” into the professional practice of academia is an effective way to alleviate time poverty, preserve humanistic education, and resist the destructive effects of the corporate university.

“Slow,” Carlo Petrini makes clear in Slow Food Nation (2007), is not really about speed. It’s about the difference “between attention and distraction; slowness, in fact, is not so much a question of duration as of an ability to distinguish and evaluate, with the propensity to cultivate pleasure, knowledge, and quality.”

Being a professor is a privilege. We are not advocating slacking off, letting junior faculty do the heavy lifting, taking the summers off, missing deadlines, or doing less in class. Our view, advocated in our book The Slow Professor (2016), is rather about protecting the work that matters. Due to expanding workloads, the casualization of labor, the rise of technology, the consumer model of education, and increasing managerialism, the nature of the academy has changed dramatically in the past generation. Universities are now businesses. Teaching and learning are increasingly standardized, emphasizing the transfer of skills and time to completion. Both are now assessed in quantitative rather than qualitative terms. Research now is about winning grants and generating output—all as quickly as possible. Collegiality now is about useful networking.

Distractedness and fragmentation characterize contemporary life. In order to protect the intellectual and pedagogic life of the university, we need to create opportunities to think and to shift our sense of time. This might mean getting away from having everything scheduled down to the minute. We can’t do our best work if we are frantic.

It is also crucial to be aware of the structural changes in the university so we don’t blame ourselves for not keeping up. And we should not forget the joy that is possible in teaching and scholarship. We are drawn to the slow movement because its critique of contemporary culture insists on the importance of pleasure and conviviality. Talking about individual stress and trying to find ways to foster wellbeing have political implications. If we are stressed, we feel powerless to change the larger context. In the corporate university, aggressive individualism and the familiar bottom line dominate at the expense of community and social critique.

Slow teaching is not about lowering standards. Rather, it is about reducing our distractedness so that we can focus on our students and our subjects. We need to be able to concentrate on creating a convivial classroom in which our students can meet the challenges—and we can foster the joys—of learning a discipline.

Slow scholarship is about resisting the pressure to reduce thinking to the imperative of immediate usefulness, marketability, and grant generation. It’s about preserving the idea of scholarship as open-ended enquiry. It will improve the quality of teaching and learning.

In the current climate, most of us simply don’t have time for genuine collegiality. As academics become more isolated from each other, we are also becoming more compliant—more likely to see structural problems, including those of general working conditions, as individual failings. When that happens, resistance to corporatization seems futile. Collegiality, properly understood as a community practice, is about mutual support rather than works-in-progress, about sharing our failures as well as our successes, and about collaboration as well as competition. It offers solidarity.

We acknowledge the systemic inequities in the university, but we believe that a slow approach is potentially relevant across the spectrum of academic positions. Slow time is inimical to the corporate university. Scholars in tenured positions, given the protection that we enjoy, have an obligation to try to improve in the working climate for all of us. We are concerned that the bar is being continually raised for faculty and for graduate students. We need to reflect on what we are modeling for each other and the next generation of academics."
slow  sloweducation  highered  highereducation  barbaraseeber  maggieberg  2017  collegiality  time  carlopetrini  slowness  pleasure  knowledge  quality  attention  distraction 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Slow education in Spain: Taking time to learn (Learning World: S5E38, 1/3) - YouTube
""Slow education" is a concept put into practise at this school in Spain. It takes into account that each pupil has a different learning speed and rhythm - a fact neglected by conventional teaching methods. It also focuses on individual strenghts, so that pupils do not feel weak. They spend less time being taught and more time learning. How do these kids get on in secondary education? Take a look!

Is slow education also a concept known outside Europe? We explore in China: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_ukxlUlGyI and Japan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdpgNvNE208 "
sloweducation  slow  education  spain  españa  2015  japan  china  pace  learning  howwelearn  efficiency 
august 2015 by robertogreco
More Educator Luddites Please
"The educator luddites I have in mind are people who have always understood school to be more than test prep and who see themselves as far more than the agents of a standardized testing industry. I see them leading the way to create inquiry driven schools where students and teachers are not too busy to think. Schools where the technology serves the learning rather than drives the teaching and where the demand for original work is a collaborate effort to solve compelling problems to which no one present knows the answer. In such a school, the curriculum is not driven by the textbook, the flow of information is not unidirectional, learning is networked and students and teachers work together across the boundaries of age and experience as active seekers, users and creators of knowledge. In this rosy picture, individual schools form a kind of globally aware and networked cottage industry of creative learning.

In order to start that journey we need a collective effort to figure out how to negotiate the changing world and make sense of it. Here, in a small collection of nutshells, are some observations about the context for the work:

1. The web is changing (us). For the most part we are oblivious to the bigger picture as we take each new gadget, or shift, or industry upheaval for granted. For the cultural anthropologist Michael Wesch, the machine is us and the machine is using us. In his prescient and chilling short story written in 1906 “The Machine Stops”, E. M, Forster imagined a world dependent on an all-powerful, all-knowing machine where humans became shrunken, feeble underground creatures alienated from nature and the natural landscape. In Forster’s story, the machine falters and fails. In our world, it does not look as if the machine is going to stop anytime soon. And that, according to Professor Wesch, means we are going to need to rethink a few things, including: copyright, authorship, identity, ethics, aesthetics, rhetoric, governance, privacy, commerce, love, family and ourselves.

2. In the networked world of ubiquitous and mobile access, boundaries are fluid and hierarchies broken. The ownership of knowledge is changed and the flow multidirectional. Students come to school wired and ready to join the knowledge stream. Learning needs to be organized around these networks and not contained in the traditional one way flow of teacher to student.

3. We have to think off the world of the web and interactive technology as a new ecosystem – one in which any person, in any place, at any time can participate, contribute, communicate, produce, share, curate and organize. It’s an ecosystem that has the potential to make prosumers of us all. That is, producers and not just consumers of information and media content. Anyone with a connection can generate content and the tools of social media mean it can be Stumbled, tagged in Delicious, uploaded to YouTube, sampled in Moviemaker, voted on at Digg, pushed in an RSS feed, shared on Facebook and Tweeted to the world. And then someone can create an interactive commentary, put it to music and turn it upside down, again. This interactivity blurs boundaries. As the New Yorker cartoon put it: “On the net, no one knows you are a dog”. Expertise and value may be perceived without the limiting filters of age, status, nationality or appearance.

4. We have both an explosion of creativity and an incessant need for problem solving and ethical thinking. Information, misinformation and disinformation are fast moving and in fluid abundance. In Teaching as a Subversive Activity Postman and Weingarten wrote of the need to develop “crap detectors” to filter the disinformation, propaganda and hype. To some www means a world wild web of mayhem, mischief and malice. But with a sense of purpose, and the skills of filtering and information navigation, it also holds great promise and potential.

5. Reading and writing are becoming less of a solitary and silent activity characteristic of the print era and more of a social activity. E-reading enables readers to interact with each other as well as the text and digital text is always on the move.

6. We are headed toward ubiquitous access and ever more speed. As quotidian objects such as umbrellas and shopping carts become digitized we are being linked with products just as we are linked with each other. Building community and creating relationships are what people, and social media, do well.

This then is the sea in which schools can swim, or – if they allow themselves to become irrelevant – sink. Professor Wesch had his list and here is my list of some of the things that schools may need to begin to rethink:

Classroom and school design; the school day and the schedule; segregation of learners by age and rather than by interest, passion and commitment; the segregation of knowledge into subjects; grading and assessment; social relationships, adult learning, the role of teacher, peer-to-peer learning and the isolation of the learner; textbooks, curriculum development and the sources of information; the nature of literacy; the nature of learning, creativity and the place of technology; citizenship and community; teamwork, collaboration, plagiarism and cheating; digital footprints, transparency and privacy; partnership with parents other adult learners; learning in the world and learning in school; what counts and what gets counted and how and by whom; and the dress code. (I added the last item because sometimes it’s useful to have a topic that gets everyone thoroughly engaged and busily distracted from important work.)

Above all it means a definition of education as going beyond the acquisition of knowledge. Critical thinking and digital literacy are essential but they don’t go far enough. We need to educate children for active and ethical participation. They need to be contributors and creators of knowledge and that means engaging in solving real problems from the very start.

Change is always hard. Socrates feared the effects of literacy on memory. He argued against it as harmful to young minds, short circuiting the arduous intellectual work of examining life. The scholar Elizabeth Eisenstein, who has written extensively on the effect on the world of the Gutenberg and the print revolution, has said it may be too soon to assess the full impact of that centuries old shift. If it’s too soon to gauge the effect of printing then we can only dimly imagine the effects of social media and the digital age.

Media has transformed our society before, but never at this dizzying rate. The unforeseen and unintended consequences of this revolution that sweeps all before it loom for many as dark clouds threatening the very roots of civilization. And here we are – smack in the epicenter. Unless we want to take ourselves right off the grid we had better start trying to make sense of it.

Educator luddites will be those who can learn with others, in and out of school, against the grain of narrowing definitions and toward what it means to be an educated citizen in a networked world.
I think it is our collective task to engage in the work of social imagination and envision our schools as we want, and need, them to be.

For schools it means some hard work and we are going to need all the help we can get."

[See also: http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/journal/toward-luddite-pedagogy/
via: https://twitter.com/JosieHolford/status/504761003876179968 ]

[Previously bookmarked here: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:726a0951079b ]
josieholford  2010  technology  luddism  michaelwesch  luddites  education  schools  schooling  change  media  internet  web  online  progressive  knowledge  learning  howwelearn  unschooling  deschooling  civilization  slow  sloweducation  slowpedagogy  criticalthinking  digitalliteracy  curriculum  howweteach  teaching  literacy  literacies  multiliteracies  cheating  plagiarism  creativity  purpose  values  grading  assessment  grades  isaacludlam  maxinegreene  socialimagination  civics  citizenship  writing  reading  networkedlearning  community  relationships  tcsnmy  neilpostman  charlesweingartner  crapdetection  social  socialmedia 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Teachers: How Slowing Down Can Lead to Great Change | Edutopia
Not necessarily a new idea, but worth repeating:

"A Slow Schools Movement would offer a parallel paradigm shift -- an approach where we'd intentionally, mindfully work on one project at a time, one goal, or one initiative. We could work hard and focused, with urgency and intentionality, for eight hours a day, and then we could go home to our families, to our out-side-of-work lives, and home to ourselves. And we'd nurture and sustain many communities.

I'd love to lead a team or school or initiative where we could try this approach for a year or two where we'd slow way down, work no more than eight hours a day (a revolutionary concept!) and then we'd explore the impact of having tried this approach. The current systems at school have teachers doing this: burning out by burning both ends of the candle (what telling metaphors). It's not working; just look at the turnover data.

I absolutely believe that we could still accomplish great things, we could transform education, and we could even close the achievement gap if we slowed way down. We'd enjoy our work more and enjoy each other's company. We can start by transforming the way we think about "slowness." Slow is wonderful. Slow is thoughtful. Slow is sustainable and human and transformational. Won't you join Jenn and I in the Slow Schools Movement?"
slow  sloweducation  educaton  teaching  learning  singletasking  ratrace  2013  elenaaguilar  slowschools  monotasking 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Slow IT | The Fifth Conference
"Slow doesn’t necessarily mean being slow in the literal sense of the word. Slow is about doing things with the right timing, the right concentration, the right approach...using good quality materials or resources, & if necessary, taking your time. & it also refers to the way we consume, or eat: slow eaters take their time to savor the meal, to experience the flavors...Consider the difference in eating culture between US & Italy. Dinner in US is one-hour business. Therefore when Americans spend time in Italy they really suffer. First they have to wait until about 9:00 for dinner & then they have to stay put at the table for hours...highlights a cultural clash between Anglo Saxon world, which is all about speed & a ‘just do it’ attitude, versus Rhineland model which is more contemplative & reflective. Not that the one is better than the other of course. Anglo Saxon approach tends to be more dynamic & innovative while in the Rhineland model we can get stuck in endless discussions."

[via: http://liftlab.com/think/laurent/2010/05/21/slow-it-did-we-actually-even-%E2%80%98think%E2%80%99-today/ ]
slow  slowfood  education  learning  slowit  rontolido  schools  schooling  deschooling  unschooling  food  culture  society  reflection  realtime  technology  time  slowness  sloweducation  attention  discussion  conversation 
may 2010 by robertogreco
The Way We Live Now - Kindergarten Cram - NYTimes.com
"Jean Piaget famously referred to “the American question,” which arose when he lectured in this country: how, his audiences wanted to know, could a child’s development be sped up? The better question may be: Why are we so hellbent on doing so? Maybe the current economic retrenchment will trigger a new perspective on early education, something similar to the movement toward local, sustainable, organic food. Call it Slow Schools." There it is. I'm not the only one using the 'slow schools' phrase.
sloweducation  slow  slowschools  learning  kindergarten  children  schooling  us  society  excess  speed  academics  tcsnmy  homeschool  unschooling  deschooling  competition  wisdom  lcproject  homework 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Japan for Sustainability - Kakegawa Declares Itself a "Slow Life City"
"SLOW PACE: We value the culture of walking, to be fit & to reduce traffic accidents. SLOW WEAR: ...beautiful traditional costumes... SLOW FOOD: ...Japanese food culture...dishes & tea ceremony & safe local ingredients. SLOW HOUSE: We respect houses built with wood, bamboo & paper, lasting over 100 or 200 years & are careful to make things durably...to conserve our environment. SLOW INDUSTRY: We take care of our forests, through our agriculture & forestry, conduct sustainable farming with human labor & ultimately spread urban farms & green tourism.
slow  sustainability  slowlife  japan  education  sloweducation  slowlearning  meaning  community  aging  industry  happiness  environment  life  local  simplicity  2002  slowfood  homes  housing  walking 
november 2008 by robertogreco

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