Monday, August 13, 2007

Paradigm Shift? Where?

“I believe
we are in the
middle of a
paradigm shift.”

(Margo Flood, Environmental Leadership Center,
at the May Sustainability Symposium, WWC)

Environ Mentalism

caged birds singing

I’m more interested in the increasing number of
ADD and hyper students trailing diagnosed
learning disabilities: dyslectic & anorectic,
bulimic & dys--morphic, anxious & depressed,
cutters, addictive joggers still smoking despite our
scolding & banishment & how that supplies my
local food for thought—than I am in Al Gore/Bono
collaborations for raising awareness in Arizona
& other points of our global village.
( “Or What’s A College For”)

As far as I can tell, I’m the only one here interested in the
primordial environmental influence of


Some in the Education Department, I’m sure: but they usually
have assessment and certification issues to comply with and
it’s hard to get out of those boxes. (That would be liberal art,
right there: pop goes the weasel.)

The rest of us: content-driven rigorous methodological hard-balls
& mallet disciplinarians. We love our subject-matter.

How I Got an Education

You give me money & I’ll tell you stuff. I’ll tell you what to read.
I’ll tell you what to think about it. I’ll tell you what’s important:
power- point it. I’ll tell you sort-of what’s on the exam.

Write me some papers: I’ll improve your words & terms &
what to change. “Nice Thought,” I’ll sometimes write in the
margin. OR “Yes, but…” Sometimes we’ll watch a video.
Take a field trip.

A Course is A Course is A Course. Bare bones reduction.
Fundamentalism for the sake of argument: all courses are alike.
Tokens (subject-object matter) differ but the structure & the
game remain the same.

In FACT: media is the message. Context is the text.
How we do our bright college years, rather than what,
structures our experience. Basically: we learn how to take a course.
We can call it “critical thinking.”

But think about it —critically.

Who can mess around in The Course? How much margin-for-error/
room-for-play? How much tolerance to make some sense of one’s
own when the dominant pair of dimes is: please a pair o’ docs &
Make Good Grades. Do I over state?

IT’s embarrassing.

Is IT sustainable? IT guarantees complicity: a virtue called continuity
& not to be tossed out with the babbling but it’s also inertial —just
another word for “sustainability.” What we do. Feels like “the given.”

(our transparent pedagogical practice:
“transparent” because invisible like
any environment, like all-wet to Joe Fish,
until IT becomes less than immaculate &
begins to signal itself, lose its translucence
& the caged birds begin to sing.)

I’m asking all the powers, dominions and principalities:
is IT (what-we-do-&-how) possibly a sustainability that’s
sustaining what’s unsustainable at a time when our
sustainabilities look more and more unsustainable
as a whole and that’s why there’s so much
SUSTAINABILITY talk going on & on?

I’m just wondering.
Trying to snuffle-up
half-hidden assumptions
& concealed operating
metaphors: local truffles
for the sake of fundamental
critical thinking & self

I don’t know how to do IT any better—expressing my
sustainability issues and concerns. I would say IT pretty
if I could. Dance IT if I knew how. I was blathering about
PEDAGOGY in one of my courses a few years back and
a student threatened to call the police.

“That’s disgusting, Sam.
Hit on someone your own age.
There are laws against pedants & pedagogues”

Someone else at another time: “Sam, if classroom
education were meant to be different: then it would be.
Things are always State of the Art.”

It’s true. But Homeschoolers & the M.F.A-ists might could
give us faint clues and indirections if not perspectives on
supplementing our basic bed-rock staples re how to
learn institutionally: their expertise with domestic
local food-for-thought practices...

Caged birds of a feather
both sides of the desk
mixed meta-force
not with standing.

xxxooo, Sam

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