we are in the
middle of a
(Margo Flood, Environmental
at the May Sustainability Symposium, WWC)
Caged birds of a feather
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
& 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?
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
& 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...
both sides of the desk
not with standing.
Caged birds of a feather