Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Sabbaticalization of the Academy

Strawberry/Briar Patch
Resource Fullness

If at least in some part of the curriculum
we might peal the black plastic off the
strawberry patch

the syllabi driven
get-R-done NBS:
nothing but
strawberry content
constraining what
we say we’re going
to do, doing it &
eureka: saying what
we did: finished
product saluting,
consumer orientating
1 course-structure
almost fits all class
room protocol across
the curriculum

and let the plot thicken.

Call it the Sabbaticalization of the Academy
& encourage fallow-ship: pick a local garden
plot field-force to work its own revitalization
after plow & mono-culture seeding are curtailed
& it’s allowed to grow wild for a year: briar
patch inquiry & discovery and all the
diversity that entails.

I once read an article by an English teacher in a
college program where teachers were invited
to “teach” a semester totally outside their box.
The writer “headed up” inquiry into Euclid. A
chemistry teacher might could have "taught"
literature. A sociologist: lead an expedition
into religion.

This was the idea:

To see what skills and abilities are actually
“carried” from one discipline to the next—
once the content is changed, becomes
"token." Focusing on the Figuring Out &
Coming to Terms. Meta-disciplinary.
Life-Long X-treme Sport.
Liberal Art, say.

When they got stuck on a theorem, the
English Teacher said, “We’d invite a
math person in to straighten us out; but
often we were so far down some other
garden path, it was hopeless, the help;
& we’d just have to keep going our
own way. And see.”

No student enrolling in these courses
expected the usual.

They all knew : the "course" surely wasn’t
going to be covering the Ground Covered
in the Regular Course Offerings. This was
something else. Outre.

This happened a long long time ago.
We had no Zoomerang then, to
assess the damage done.

“How can he remember well his ignorance
which his growth requires, who has so
often to use his knowledge?” (H. Thoreau)


Why do you “teach,” Sam?
Why do you “teach” here?

It’s a sickness unto depth, damnit.
I can't stop yearning; I’ve heard it said:
if a fool persists in his folly, he becomes
wise; & the road of excess, I’ve been told,
leads to the palace of Wisdom.


It would take me a long

long time to learn how to

play with this. I’d have to

start up from old scratch. .

Some one would have to

translate it into English


Never mind.

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