- Oct 2022
Rousseau’sheretical view was that anything which was outside children’s experience wouldbe meaningless to them, much as Plato, Comenius, and others had warned. Hisinsights had condensed principally out of the prevailing intellectual atmosphereat the time—empiricism, explicated by philosophers such as John Locke. We’lllook at Locke and Rousseau in more detail in Chapter 2.
Just as the ideas of liberty and freedom were gifted to us by Indigenous North Americans as is shown by Graeber and Wengrow in The Dawn of Everything, is it possible that the same sorts of ideas but within the educational sphere were being transmitted by Indigenous intellectuals to Europe in the same way? Is Rousseau's 18th century book Emile, or On Education of this sort?
What other sorts of philosophies invaded Western thought at this time?
‘Nothing should be taught to theyoung...unless it is not only permitted, but actually demanded by their age andmental strength.’
—Comenius (1592-1670) in Didactica magna
This is broadly similar to the spirit of much of Indigenous pedagogy, particularly in societies in which staged oral learning was a privilege.
- Jun 2022
For Jerome Bruner, the place to begin is clear: “One starts somewhere—where the learner is.”
One starts education with where the student is. But mustn't we also inventory what tools and attitudes the student brings? What tools beyond basic literacy do they have? (Usually we presume literacy, but rarely go beyond this and the lack of literacy is too often viewed as failure, particularly as students get older.) Do they have motion, orality, song, visualization, memory? How can we focus on also utilizing these tools and modalities for learning.
Link to the idea that Donald Trump, a person who managed to function as a business owner and president of the United States, was less than literate, yet still managed to function in modern life as an example. In fact, perhaps his focus on oral modes of communication, and the blurrable lines in oral communicative meaning (see [[technobabble]]) was a major strength in his communication style as a means of rising to power?
Just as the populace has lost non-literacy based learning and teaching techniques so that we now consider the illiterate dumb, stupid, or lesser than, Western culture has done this en masse for entire populations and cultures.
Even well-meaning educators in the edtech space that are trying to now center care and well-being are completely missing this piece of the picture. There are much older and specifically non-literate teaching methods that we have lost in our educational toolbelts that would seem wholly odd and out of place in a modern college classroom. How can we center these "missing tools" as educational technology in a modern age? How might we frame Indigenous pedagogical methods as part of the emerging third archive?
Link to: - educational article by Tyson Yunkaporta about medical school songlines - Scott Young article "You should pay for Tutors"
aside on serendipity
As I was writing this note I had a toaster pop up notification in my email client with the arrival of an email by Scott Young with the title "You should pay for Tutors" which prompted me to add a link to this note. It reminds me of a related idea that Indigenous cultures likely used information and knowledge transfer as a means of payment (Lynne Kelly, Knowledge and Power). I have commented previously on the serendipity of things like auto correct or sparks of ideas while reading as a means of interlinking knowledge, but I don't recall experiencing this sort of serendipity leading to combinatorial creativity as a means of linking ideas,
From the classroom, to the street, to the Internet, Eric’s voice carried, and carried within it the possibility of a kind of education–amplified with digital technologies– that enables other human beings to become conscious, to become responsible, to learn.
Sadly, we seem to have othered orality and cultural practices which don't fit into the Western literate cultural box. This prevents us from moving forward as a society and a diverse culture.
In the 90's rap was culturally appropriated by some because of its perception as "cool" within the culture. Can this coolness be leveraged as a reintroduction of oral methods in our culture without the baggage of the appropriation? Can it be added to enhance the evolving third archive? As a legitimate teaching tool?
listen deeply to Eric’s story
Beyond Eric's words here, I'm struck by the fact that he's able to do this "feat" orally in a way that I certainly cannot. Perhaps he spent ages slowly building it up and writing it down in a literal fashion, but I suspect that part of it is not and that it is raw oral poetry in a way which requires culture and oral practice that I wholly lack, but wish I had.
How can we better teach this?! Center this.
Link to: - Eminem's stacking ammo
Maxine Greene for example, begins by writing that “We are convinced that the movement towards educational technology is irreversible and that our obligation as educators is to learn how to deal with it,” but then she turns that resignation into resistance by adding, “how, if you like, to live with it as fully conscious human beings working to enable other human beings to become conscious, to become responsible, to learn.”
If it's true that the movement toward technology is inevitable, how might we deal with it?
Compare this with the solution(s) that nomadic hunter-gatherers had to face when changing from a lifestyle built on movement to one of settling down to a life of agriculture. Instead of attaching their knowledge and memories to their landscape as before, they built structures (like Stonehenge) to form these functions.
Part of moving forward may involve moving back historically to better understand these ideas and methods and regaining them so that we might then reattach them to a digital substrate. How can we leverage the modalities of the digital for art, song, dance, music, and even the voice into digital spaces (if we must?). All digital or only digital certainly isn't the encompassing answer, but if we're going to do it, why not leverage the ability to do this?
As an example, Hypothes.is allows for annotating text to insert photos, emoji, audio (for music and voice), and even video. Videos might include dance and movement related cues that students might recreate physically. These could all be parts of creating digital songlines through digital spaces that students can more easily retrace to store their learnings for easier recall and to build upon in the future.
Groups in arts education rail against the loss of music, dance, and art in schools and indicate that it's important to a balanced education.
Why has no one embedded these learning tools, for yes they can be just that, into other spaces within classrooms? Indigenous educators over the millennia have done just this in passing on their societal and cultural knowledge. Why have we lost these teaching methods? Why don't we reintroduce them? How can classrooms and the tools within them become mnemonic media to assist both teachers and learners?
Perhaps we need to bring back examples of how to do these things at the higher levels? I've seen excercises in my daughter's grade school classrooms that bring art and manipulatives into the classroom as a base level, but are they being done specifically for these mnemonic reasons?
Michael Nielsen and Andy Matuschak have been working at creating a mnemonic medium for areas like quantum mechanics relying in part on spaced repetition. Why don't they go further and add in dance, movement, art, and music to aid in the process. This can be particularly useful for creating better neurodiverse outcomes as well. Education should be more multi-modal, more oral, and cease it's unending reliance on only literacy as it's sole tool.
How and where can we create a set of example exercises at various grade levels (similar to rites of knowledge initiation in Indigenous cultures, for lack of specific Western language) that embed all of these methods
Link to: - Ideas in The Extended Brain about movement, space, etc. - Nielsen/Matuschak mnemonic media work
- arts in education
- Andy Matuschak
- Tyson Yunkaporta
- modality shifts
- idea links
- method of loci
- third archive
- indigenous knowledge
- stacking ammo
- orality vs. literacy
- educational tools
- information as currency
- battle rap
- spoken word poetry
- educational substrates
- Michael Nielsen
- Indigenous pedagogy
- toaster notifications
- cultural appropriation
- Jerome Bruner
- mnemonic media
- combinatorial creativity
- Indigenous knowledge as educational technology
- Donald J. Trump
- literacy isn't everything
- Apr 2022
In studies comparing European American children withMayan children from Guatemala, psychologists Maricela Correa-Chávez andBarbara Rogoff asked children from each culture to wait while an adultperformed a demonstration—folding an origami shape—for another childnearby. The Mayan youth paid far more sustained attention to the demonstration—and therefore learned more—than the American kids, who were oftendistracted or inattentive. Correa-Chávez and Rogoff note that in Mayan homes,children are encouraged to carefully observe older family members so that theycan learn how to carry out the tasks of the household, even at very young ages.
American children aren't encouraged to as attentive imitators as their foreign counterparts and this can effect their learning processes.
- Mar 2022
These ways of knowinghave inherent value and are leading Western scientists to betterunderstand celestial phenomena and the history and heritage thisconstitutes for all people.
The phrase "ways of knowing" is fascinating and seems to have a particular meaning across multiple contexts.
I'd like to collect examples of its use and come up with a more concrete definition for Western audiences.
How close is it to the idea of ways (or methods) of learning and understanding? How is it bound up in the idea of pedagogy? How does it relate to orality and memory contrasted with literacy? Though it may not subsume the idea of scientific method, the use, evolution, and refinement of these methods over time may generally equate it with the scientific method.
Could such an oral package be considered a learning management system? How might we compare and contrast these for drawing potential equivalencies of these systems to put them on more equal footing from a variety of cultural perspectives? One is not necessarily better than another, but we should be able to better appreciate what each brings to the table of world knowledge.
- Sep 2021
We have piles of good research from the last few decades into how brains actually work. Or, if not how brains work (much remains mysterious!), what they like and don’t like.
We're also dramatically missing thousands of years of indigenous experience as well.
- May 2021
A fourth theme to emerge from the analysis of the data, is the highly relevant ‘cultural’ aspect to this memorization technique which students greatly appreciated. As one student notes: “I like the idea of connecting Indigenous culture with science learning…”. The theme of culture overlays learning and demonstrates the importance of conceptualising Australian Aboriginal ways of knowing or learning with or from rather than about Australian Aboriginal people and their knowledge systems. As Yunkaporta [2, p. 15] states, it is important not to examine Australian Aboriginal knowledge systems, but to explore the external systems “from an Indigenous knowledge perspective”.
This is so heartwarming to me.
- Oct 2020
It looks to me like Andy and Michael are grasping at recreating with modern technology and tools what many (most? all?) indigenous cultures around the world used to ritually learn and memorize their culture's knowledge. Mnemonics, spaced repetition, graded initiation, orality, dance, and song were all used as a cohesive whole to do this.
The best introduction to many of these methods and their pedagogic uses is best described by Lynne Kelly's book Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory, and the Transmission of Culture.
If they take her ideas as a basis and then layer on their own thinking, I think they'll get much further much quicker. Based on my reading of their work thus far, they're limiting themselves.
- Mar 2017
Conversely, western pedagogy continues to deal with content predominantly in the abstract form, in spite of attempts to contextualise subject matter.
This jumps out at me as a major difference between the two systems of learning. Indigenous: highly contextualised with a strong sense of place versus Western: pedagogy deals with content in the abstract in spite of attempts to contextualise. What do you think?