Thursday, June 26, 2008

Points of Viewing Children's Thinking, Ricki Goldman

I recommend this book to all who used camcorders in their class for doing action research or ethnographic inquiries, and to all those who have read my last post on Jacques Duez, the Belgian teacher who used the video camera in his ethics lessons to record the discussions that took place in his classroom and to share it with other classes, the local community or teachers in his school.

Some quotes from this marvelous and inspiring book:

"I sense a crisis looming in front of us, a crisis of technological illiteracy that I believe we can overcome as a society if we simply listen carefully to the stories that young people tell us about their understanding. Although we introduce innovative programs in an attempt to reach students, we do little to find out about how they view their own thinking. Instead, we apply more and more antidotes and theoretical solutions from above. How many more "educational experiments" will we impose on our schools without listening to how children view their learning."

"How can we think that schools are natural settings in which to observe young people? Not only are they social constructions whose purpose is to manage and enculturate the next generation, they are places where performances of gender, class, race, and economic status are played out at every turn of the head."

"Working with analog and digital video data can shift the nature of ethnographic inquiry, redefining its boundaries by blurring the distinctions that previously separated those who are the subjects of inquiry (informants and participants), those who do the recording and interpreting (ethnographers), and those who read the texts (audiences)."

"(…) will teachers ever be able to know what children really knwo in these mediated cultures? And what happens to standards and testing when each child's learning is encouraged to be intrinsically unique? My answer to the first questions is "no". The second question I answer wiht a better question, "What else do you think could replace uniformity and conformity as the measure of learning?"

"The changing role of teachers is not to become the school technologist; it is to enter into the discours with children about what it is to know something in any given culture, even a computer culture. It is to become part epistemologist, part ethnographer, and, always, to become a learner."

"We can look at the school not only as a place that disseminates culture to those who have no choice but to partake in its rituals, but also as a place where cultures emerge and are created, layer upon layer. The school is its own culture, and it contains many subcultures, each with its own past, present, and future. The young people and adults who share the same physical and psychological space for 8 to 10 hours a day are the makers of that culture, not merely its recipients."

Today Ricki Goldman works at the New York University Steinhardt School of culture, Education, and Human Development

MERLin, the Multimedia Ethnographic Research Lab at the University of British Columbia where Ricki Goldman used to work

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Some Reading Milestones

  • Towards reflexive method in archaeology : the example at Çatalhöyük (edited by Ian Hodder) 2000

  • The Book of Learning and Forgetting (Frank Smith) 1998

  • Points of Viewing Children's Thinking: A Digital Ethnographer's Journey (Ricki Goldman-Segall) 1997

  • Verstehen lehren (Martin Wagenschein) 1997

  • Computer im Schreibatelier (Gérard Gretsch) 1992

  • The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter. Uses of Storytelling in the Classroom (Vivian Gussin Paley) 1991

  • La cause des adolescents (Françoise Dolto) 1988

  • Scuola di Barbiana. Die Schülerschule. Brief an eine Lehrerin. (Edition of 1980) / read in German 1982
    Letter to Teacher by the Schoolboys of Barbiana (1970)
    Lettre à une maîtresse de'école, par les enfants de Barbiana (1968)
    Lettera à una professoressa (Original Edition) 1967

  • Vers une pédagogie institutionnelle (Aïda Vasquez, Fernand Oury) 1967

Documentary Films on Education

  • Eine Schule, die gelingt (by Reinhard Kahl) 2008

  • Les temps des enfants (Jacques Duez) 2007

  • Klassenleben (by Bernd Friedmann und Hubertus Siegert) 2006

  • Lernen - Die Entdeckung des Selbstverständlichen
    (Ein Vortrag von Manfred Spitzer) 2006

  • Die Entdeckung der frühen Jahre
    Die Initiative "McKinsey bildet" zur frühkindlichen Bildung (by Reinhard Kahl) 2006

  • Treibhäuser der Zukunft - Wie in Deutschland Schulen gelingen (by Reinhard Kahl) 2004

  • Treibhäuser der Zukunft / Incubators of the future / Les serres de l'avenir; International Edition (by Reinhard Kahl) 2004

  • Journal de classe, 1ères audaces (1), Les échappés (2), Sexe, amour et vidéo (3), L'enfant nomade (4), Remue-méninges (5) (by Wilbur Leguebe, Jacques Duez, Agnès Lejeune) 2004

  • Spitze - Schulen am Wendekreis der Pädagogik (by Reinhard Kahl) 2003

  • Journal de classe, (by Wilbur Leguebe and Agnès Lejeune; Jacques Duez) 2002

  • Etre et Avoir (by Nicolas Philibert) 2002

  • The Stolen Eye (by Jane Elliott) 2002

  • The Angry Eye (by Jane Elliott) 2001

  • A l'école de la providence (by Gérard Preszow) 2000

  • Blue-Eyed (by Jane Elliott) 1996

  • A Class Divided (by Jane Elliott) 1984

  • Eye of The Storm (with Jane Elliott) 1970

Past quotes of the day

For every problem, there is one solution which is simple, neat and wrong. Henry Louis Mencken

Traveler, there is no path. Paths are made by walking.
Antonio Machado

The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Immanuel Kant

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. Albert Einstein

To paraphrase a famous quotation, all that is necessary for the triumph of damaging educational policies is that good educators keep silent. Alfie Kohn

We used to have lots of questions to which there were no answers. Now, with the computer, there are lots of answers to which we haven't thought up the questions. Peter Ustinov

I had a terrible education. I attended a school for emotionally disturbed teachers. Woody Allen

A professor is someone who talks in someone else's sleep. W. H. Auden

When I was an inspector of schools I visited one classroom and looked at a boys book. He'd written, 'Yesterday, Yesterday, Yesterday, Sorrow, Sorrow, Sorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Love, Love, Love.' I said, 'That's a lovely poem.' He said, 'Those are my spelling corrections.' Gervase Phinn

Real thinking never starts until the learner fails. Roger Schank

If what is wanted is a reexamination of schooling in terms of purpose, structure and process, then testing programmes are the wrong vehicle (...) Caroline V. Gipps

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. Albert Einstein

Act always so as to increase the number of choices. Heinz von Foerster

Another way of avoiding teaching is by relying exclusively on a textbook, workbooks, and other commercially packaged learning materials. Teaching is reduced to administering a set curriculum without giving any thought to the substance of what the students area learning or to their particular needs. H. Kohl

The right to ignore anything that doesn't make sense is a crucial element of any child's learning - and the first right children are likely to lose when they get to the controlled learning environment of school. F. Smith

Learning is the human activity which least needs manipulation by others. Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful activity. - Ivan Illich

Too often we give our children answers to remember rather than problems to solve. - Roger Lewin

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain