Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Almost All A's (tales of transformative learning)

A is for Academik

What do you suppose IT would
take to be in a position to award,
grant, proffer, post all A’s?
Flat line the Bell Curve?

Good scholarly behavior?
Docile Compliance? My
excellent teaching? Clarity
of delivery: transmitting
textual harassment while
sustaining currency in my
field? Determining aims &
goals in ways only idiots
could screw up, leaving
no child behind even ones
who can’t take a joke or
juggler? Cry hammock &
let slip the cogs of yore?

Rigor, of course, would be counter
productive: at least as far as All-A’s
is concerned. Rigor & All A’s: a
logical impossibility; consummation
beyond fulfillment however desired.

Got to choose:

Rigor or all-A’s— a foe dichotomy
seeing as they don’t exist on the
same level of logical type. It’d
be like opposing hot &
temperature, or pro-
choice and LIFE.

All A’s vs. Not All A’s: sure.
Rigor vs. Not Rigor: yes.
Comparable & commensurate

But crisscross All A’s & Rigor
and I generate a species mix and
miscegenation. A logical abomination,
against nature if not nurture.

Got to choose.
Rigor on the one hand
All -A’s on the other.


Can I imagine reading student
papers, journals, as if they were
Faulkner? Hawthorne? Tea
leaves & I Ching? No, seriously.
Bible? Dip in anywhere & expect
insight: getting what I ask for.
A sacra-mentalism. A frame
of minding.

Barbara McClintock leaned in to
listen to her corn shoots. “The
secret to my Nobel Prize,”
she said.


I can imagine—barely.
It goes against the grain.

Ask students to grade themselves
in a course and watch the agony—
split between what they think
they“deserve” and what they

It's not fair.

Cruel and revealing.
Their dance of cleverness
and rationalization. Confession
of guilt and yet need for redemption.

Torn between 2 lovers—our
internal affairs and external.
agonizing like we do just
the same but different.


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