Tag Archives: self-education

What Is Your Personal Culture?

culture-contextOne view of the reduction to practice, or to application.

In the fall of 1968 I entered ninth grade. I was, up to ninth grade, a lackadaisical student. What was at the time termed social studies, and english, were my favorite subjects. However, I was dreamy and had not internalized the point of it all. At the same time I had spent a good chunk of 1964-1966 reading/skimming through my family’s 1962 World Book Encyclopedia. All sorts of stuff fascinated me and I was a voracious reader.

Here I am describing experience that began to gather together the elements of my personal culture.  (This was happening in the First Order of my self-constitution, because at the time I knew nothing about culture or intentionality!)

Late in September 1968, the head of the experimental program that had been implemented for ninth graders at Roxboro Junior High, a chain-smoking professorial type named Jim McGuinness–teachers smoked in the classroom in this era–asked me into his office, where also sat an english teacher, Ron Palladino.

The shorter version of this meeting was that Mr. McGuinness requested Mr. Palladino

“Take Stephen under his wing and support in any way Stephen’s quest for knowledge while also helping Stephen organize particular presentations which will verify his learning.”

(His directive to his colleague was something like this.)

Oh, I went to classes too. Yet, the eventual upshot was: ninth grade was my single all-star year in the sweep of my formal education. I aced everything and, moreover, I learned a lot and learned I love learning.

One year later my parents had managed to leverage this stellar performance into my admission to Hawken School, a college preparatory day school. I did well in everything but the two subjects that came to thrash my transcript, spanish and math.

But, with the exception of an art teacher and a cross country coach, I was subject to educative mechanics which neither served: my narcissism, or my intrinsic motivation, or my developing culture. I learned mountains more from reading my way independently through a variety of subjects, until, I came onto my social personality in the counter-culture milieu devised by the affluent sons of the professional class, constituting a hippie tribe at prep school. Mainly, I was bored and turned off by the first institutional fault, no teacher cared to massage my narcissism by taking my wide-ranging fascinations seriously.

I loved learning on my own,  loved learning with customized support, but, I didn’t get school. And I surely didn’t understand that the purpose of schooling is potentially fulfilled when the student gets school. Nor did the fear factor over school performance and adult outcomes introduced into the mix by my professional parents take hold. Nor did either ever ask about or cared to understand my motivations. I arrested my development in one direction yet liberated it in another dimension.

All of these elements are crucial aspects of what is today, at sixty, my own personal culture. In turn, my personal culture reflects how it came to be, and, what are its main and side and untravelled roads.

My own culture soon evoked the independent, wandering, perennial student, and this in turn is the ocean underneath the present-day experimenter, theorist, artist, and, colleague.

As a practitioner, and taking my lead from Jim McGuinness, it is required groundwork, when possible, to learn what are some of the cultural features of the learner. Practitioners carry their own unique culture into the situation of practice, and, every such situation also instantiates the culture of its subjects, those who are the unique individuals come to find themselves in the specific situation.

Where the tips of educator and learner intersect is the point at where the twined reduction of the total genetic systems of experience, learning, knowledge, and personal culture of both persons comes together and, out of these now entangled wellsprings, there is newly constituted a co-creative unique cultural production–so-to-speak.

Slides from my recent presentation at the quarterly EL-COP session.

No matter how complicated the background of practice may be, at the point of application there is a reduction to application-in-situ in the ad-mixture of the now entangled unque cultures of practitioner/client.

In the example of one-on-one practice there would be the point of contact constituting the reduction, and, underneath this contact, are two vast generative oceans of prior experience and learning.

The key question able to excavate personal culture, echoing the pragmatic turn of William James and John Dewey, is: What interests you?

Three schema purloined via google image search that suggest to me vectors for investigating personal culture, and this includes the kind of auto-ethnography a person can do for themselves, about their self.

de-reconstruct-learning

Bell's quadrants

Bell’s quadrants

8 Ways of Aboriginal Learning

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Object Lesson in Public Lunacy

One of the interesting features of our contemporary media culture is that groups of (what may be called) very serious people are convened to publicize their willful and shameless individual effort to pretend absolutely no one in the audience can figure out when something amazingly ignorant; or misinformed; archly absurd; or divorced from reality, wanders from his or her brain to all the way out of their mouths.

Paul Krugman is clearly the academic and social scientist and person with a good connection to reality in this unintentionally ridiculous and horrifying confab from Sunday. Here is his post today:

We’re Doomed

Update: So you see what I mean. We have a terrible failure of demand — and Carly Fiorina thinks the key problem is excessive taxes on corporations (our effective rate is actually fairly low). Hey, if only we had low rates like Ireland, we could have 14.7 percent unemployment … oh well, never mind.

As it often happens, practiced ideologues re-version the ‘little boy with the hammer’ by suggesting their favorite clever trick would have just the right positive effect. Such august people do this with a straight face. I am not smarter than Carly Fiorina, yet, I would be smarter than she was on Sunday in my refusal to spout my most ludicrous hunches on a coast-to-coast television show.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Something anyone may do if they choose to do so, would be to investigate a subject matter of our current events. If you possess a modest set of researcher’s chops, it is possible to investigate a subject without either encumbering or over-determining findings by dumbly using an ideological lens, or, otherwise employing the means for doing solely ideologically-flavored investigation.

I did this when I realized it was necessary to do so if I wanted to understand how the real estate and derivatives crisis came about. My investigation required me to sort through numerous ideologically inflected accounts and to offset these eventually with actual academic research; the kind that eventually followed on the heals of the crisis. My understanding ended up being both superficial and weakened by my lack of mastery of technical subjects, yet, it also ends being more secured to the facts of the events than 99% of the pseudo-analysis the public was subject to at the surface of the media’s informational onslaught.

To do this act of investigation is to intelligently inform yourself about a subject matter. The payoff is you might find that you end knowing more about this subject of research than all but the actual experts and the small number of people who have taken the same trouble.

One could do the same were one to want to know more about why we’re subjected to so much public, pseudo-intellectual blather and idiocy, and, let’s face it, also subjected to very very smart and upper echelon elite successful people saying incredibly stupid things.

One of the research vectors could be: why does this happen when, in the equivalent of the emperor having no clothes, there would be any number of persons in the audience who see right through the ‘presentations.’

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The Library Is Open

featuring 24,014,408 books
(including 1,251,822 with full-text)

[as of April 27, 2010]

One web page for every book ever published. It’s a lofty, but achievable, goal.

To build it, we need hundreds of millions of book records, a wiki interface, and people who are willing to contribute their time, effort to building the catalog.

To date, we have gathered over 20 million records from a variety of large catalogs as well as single contributions, with more on the way.

We have a small team of fantastic programmers who have accomplished a lot, but we can’t do it alone! This is an Open project – the software is open, the data is open, the documentation is open, and we welcome your knowledge and effort. If you see a typo, or want to write a widget, that would be super.

Open Library is a project of the non-profit Internet Archive, and has been funded in part by a grant from the California State Library and the Kahle/Austin Foundation. About Us

Terrific blog too.

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TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING IN THE LIBRARY

I’m presenting an ambitious series at The Lakewood Public Library,

EXPERIENCE & THE LIBRARY Personal Development & Transformative Learning in the Library

Part 1 Sat 3/4@3pm TRANSFORMATIONAL BEING AND EXPERIENCE
Part 2 Sat 3/25@3pm DYNAMIC PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Part 3 Sat 4/15@3pm NOVEL PATHWAYS THROUGH THE LIBRARY
Part 4 Sat 5/6@3pm SERENDIPITOUS SEARCH-INTERNET APPLICATIONS
Part 5 Sat 5/27@3pm COLLABORATIVE APPLICATIONS-DATA DUETS
Part 6 Sat 6/17@3pm HUNTING AND GATHERING
Part 7 Sat 7/8@3pm THE NEW LIBRARY -PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Lakewood Public Library
15425 Detroit Rd.
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

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MAKING REASONS FOR THE THINGS TO HAPPEN TO

Whereas my evil twin the philosopher likes it complex and confusing, his counterpart, well, she comes from the Keep It Simple Stupid school of spiritual development. The following article reminds me of letting loose students in a bookstore, or library, on a treasure hunt for one galvanizing sentence.

Ken Kassman gets this truism about basics. A Few Eternal Truths for a Better Life

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