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Subject:

Re: How do i~we explain our educational influences in learning to improve our educational influences as practitioner-researchers within the social and other formations that dynamically include us?

From:

Lawrence Martin Olivier <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Practitioner-Researcher <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 31 Dec 2010 10:11:52 +0200

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Hi all and Angela

Angela's idea of conferencing / workshops is worth exploring.

On this theme / thread, references have been made to the work of Paulo Freire. You may find the work of Maocir Gadotti, Director of Paulo Freire Institute University of Sao Paulo interesting, see his paper "Reorienting Education Practices towards Sustainability", he writes, "Sustainability represents an opportunity for the renewal of old education systems founded on competetive principles and values and based on a predatory view of the world", and, elsewhere, "the key challenge is the need for a different pedagogy, an ecopedagogy, a holistic pedagogy that overcomes the anthropocentrism of classic pedagogies":

Journal of Education for Sustainable Development     http://jsd.sagepub.com/      or     http://jsd.sagepub.com/content/4/2/203

My own interest is in exploring developing a pedagogy, that integrates language use development (using Halliday's notion of Register), development of critical and creative thinking, and knowledge creation/production/ research.

Lawrence

[log in to unmask]





________________________________________
From: Practitioner-Researcher [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Angela James [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 30 December 2010 12:40 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: How do i~we explain our educational influences in learning to improve our educational influences as practitioner-researchers within the social and other formations that dynamically include us?

Dear Marian and all the practitioner researchers,

I am one of those who has been reading all the e-mails and am quite taken by the 'magic' that care, love and support, not forgetting commitment to the development (not the best term ever) let me say betterment of children, elderly...all people. What a fantastic group of people - the theories set up and worked with are amazing...and practical. The belief in children ...no matter their background is great...we cannot go wrong with this wealth of energy and action. Yes, action research is not just a theoretical or a methodological phenomenon it is an important living aspect. The time and energy that it takes is tiring but the rewards for the people involved is fantastic.

Could we host a conference/workshop where all these practices can be shared more widely...not just with academics but also community leaders/workers/people. It could be a travelling  one.....I am prepared to set up structures at our university....UKZN....some of you are familiar with the place.

All the best for a fantastic 2011.

Angela James PhD


>>> Marian Naidoo <[log in to unmask]> 2010/12/29 12:37 PM >>>
Hi All - Marian here - hope everyone has enjoyed the festive season
despite the challenges that the weather has been throwing at us.

I wanted to share an experience that I had a couple of years ago and
firstly I think it is important to point out that I am not a qualified
teacher but as a student of community theatre and theatre in education
I had the opportunity to study Freire and Boal (Theatre of the
Oppressed).  In my role as service improvement lead for mental health
services I worked with 2 colleagues - 1 a mental health service user
lead and the other a carer lead and both with many years of experience
of mental health services between them.  They offered me a challenge -
to develop and launch a university accredited course for long term
mental health service users and carers to become leaders in service
improvement.  I thought wow - what a challenge - could we create
something that would enable people who were the most oppressed group
to become leaders in transforming those same organisations (mental
health services).  We decided that we needed the help of those
individuals and asked for volunteers, we had many offers but as we
tried to work with the group we realised that they did not believe
that the course would ever be developed.  It took 2 years to gain
their trust and belief and launched the course on the back of a course
that already existed for health and social care professionals.  It had
been a challenge to get a university to take on a course of this
kind.  As part of the course each student had to develop their own
improvement project in a mental health service.  These projects ranged
from working with women in a secure forensic service to encouraging a
Board to work more closely with leaders of ethnic groups in its
community.  We had an idea of some of the things we would have to
offer as part of the curriculum but took a conscious decision to be
inclusional and responsive in how we worked together on a day to day
basis.  We started each session creatively, students were asked to
reflect on their experience in the field and we used these reflections
and their expressions of their lived experience to inform what we
would work on together over the next couple of days.  We used
improvisation, story, music, visual art to help us to make sense of
what was challenging us all.  We also recorded the process on DVD
throughout the course which enabled a really useful evaluation to also
emerge.  At the end of the course when it was time for assessments and
marks I was in for a bit of a shock.  the university were concerned
that perhaps I had got a bit carried away and to prepare myself for
the external examiner who would more than likely moderate the marks
downwards - in fact the opposite happened - she marked them higher!
My students graduated with higher marks than their professional
contemporaries on the course we had piggy-backed.  What happened next
though was not so exciting, the powers that be decided to merge the 2
courses and the course became a learning in partnership course - great
idea but it became systematised and lost what it was that made it
successful. The good thing is that the original students continue to
flourish, 1 student leads an initiative in Bristol supporting black
women with enduring mental health problems and 1 is a Board member in
a mental health trust.
On day 1 of the course I met a student in tears in the corridor, I was
concerned that perhaps we had bitten off more than we could chew.  I
approached her and she threw her arms around me and said "I can't
believe I am here, It is like a dream.  I am staying in a hotel for
the first time in my life and I have a university library card!" Their
personal journeys and stories of the struggles that each of them faced
just in getting themselves into class each day have left a lasting
legacy in terms of my practice.  I am not sure though if the
university ever really appreciated the power it had in the role it
played in their journey.

Happy New Year

Love

Marian

Dr Marian Naidoo FRSA
Naidoo & Associates

Visiting Research Fellow
University of Bath
Mob:   07810822820
Tel:     01666 840991
Fax:    01666 841463
[log in to unmask]








On 29 Dec 2010, at 02:38, Salyers, Sara M wrote:

> I think Alan has a point where my contributions are concerned. The
> truth is that I *do* condemn the system per se, though emphatically
> *not* the pioneers and visionaries, the amazing educators and
> planners who are working to bring about change.
>
> I certainly do not see the roller coaster as 'stuck'.  I see it as
> never having stopped. For every triumph and educational gain made in
> wonderful pockets of isolation, a system designed on the Prussian
> military model, informed by behaviorist theory and applied to serve
> the needs of the economy, (this is simple history not opinion), and
> resembling the prison system for very good reasons ('socialization'
> first), can stretch its arm even further with more and yet more test
> based and test/outcome based requirement of our schools. That has
> been and still is happening no matter what great initiatives are
> being pioneered. Yet more tests are introduced, based on the same
> class of measurements that bear no relation to real education, from
> a critical thinker's point of view. And the misery of teachers and
> the boredom of students is omnipresent. It appears that this same
> systemic mindset now demands that we overcome the difficulties of
> 'underprepared' college students by, for instance, tailoring college
> courses to the vocational requirements of local industry and
> business and bypassing the egregious demands of a liberal education
> altogether. It's happening in my area and how many others? (And the
> utter stupidity of this policy - now being touted by Obama himself -
> is vested in the fact that our economy is not even liable to hold
> onto many of the white collar jobs our students are aiming for, not
> for long anyway. Our last, best and only real hope lies in fostering
> inventive, fast response, independent and imaginative thinkers.
> Irony of ironies, what our economy really needs in the 21st century
> is what education was supposed to be about all along -and wasn't!)
>
> 60% of new community college intake is made up of 'underprepared
> students'.  The figures tell us and the students demonstrate what we
> have no right to ignore or deny. The industrialist model is embedded
> in our education system and rooted in the policies of successive
> governments and Education Boards. I spend the first six weeks of
> each semester remediating the test-taking, 'show me where to find
> the right answer', "learned helplessness" of which I speak. I do not
> remediate students. I remediate the learned helplessness, the non-
> executive, downshifted thinking that is the product of the vast
> majority of schools right now. I do so, among other things, by
> applying Knowles' principles of androgogy and *showing* not telling
> my students the difference between a liberal education and what
> grade school required of them. They are, every last one of them,
> grateful to finally understand why college has been so bewilderingly
> different and angry at the deception of which they have been victims
> - the promise that good school grades would automatically lead to
> college success. Studies show that some 60%+ of grade school
> teachers believe that promise to be true. About 70% of college
> teachers would disagree!
>
> We have a massive problem and it sits in our community college
> classrooms in higher and higher numbers. Initiatives such as those
> being pioneered by Alan and others here *are* the answer - but only
> when they are widespread enough, and widely enough understood and
> embraced to replace the outcome based, behaviorist, social
> engineering that is still the foundation and chief informant
> underpinning national or state educational policy. *And* only when
> they are accompanied by the determined exposure and dismantling of
> the kind of 'education' that is wholly incompatible with and wholly
> destructive of real education. I'm afraid that I will go on
> screaming about this with all my power until I no longer see in my
> classrooms that learned helplessness which I can *prove*, (because I
> can and do remediate it), is not the result of any deficiency in my
> students, but of something else - primarily the grade school induced
> (or heavily influenced), 'neurological lobotomy'.
>
> This I know to be true and I will not move from that truth, or the
> responsibility it confers, not by one part of a millimeter.
> love
> Sara
> ________________________________________
> From: Practitioner-Researcher [PRACTITIONER-
> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Pip and Bruce [[log in to unmask]
> ]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 5:56 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: How do i~we explain our educational influences in
> learning to improve our educational influences as practitioner-
> researchers within the social and other formations that dynamically
> include us?
>
> Hi Alan
>
> I haven't read the emails as damning 'the entire educational system'
> with an "Industrial Age" brush - but perhaps I am too much of a
> Pollyanna? What I have read is individual educators who are
> concerned to bring about better practice in their own environments,
> exactly what living educational theories promote.
>
> I don't know if you read the email that I sent to Jack recently,
> advocating the Te Kotahitanga project that a professor of education
> at my university has been very successful in implementing in schools
> (paid for by the NZ Government) but this, like the approaches that
> you suggest below, is one of the ways that people are working to
> ensure that the roller coaster is not still stuck.
>
> All the best
>
> Pip
>
> On 29/12/2010 11:46 a.m., Alan Markowitz wrote:
> Hi all,
> i've been reading the recent emails with increasing concern that the
> entire educational system is still being painted with the same
> "Industrial Age" brush that ahs been used for ages. Doesn't anyone
> out there recognize some of the changes that are being made to alter
> this model. Freire spoke of the need as did Dewey so many years ago.
> Today, movements such as "Understanding by Design", (Wiggins &
> McTighe), Co-constructivist learning plans, 21st century skill
> development and Professional Learniong Communities are just a
> smattering of the initiatives which are quickly taking hold. As a
> member of the higher ed. establishment, I take pride in some of our
> work to develop 21st century educational leaders who are now at the
> point of implementing and institutionalizing Servant Leadership,
> Action Research and co=constgructivist thinking in our schools.
> Perhaps we should stop thinking as if the roller coaster is still
> stuck. I look forward to future conversations.
> Alan
>
> Dr. Alan Markowitz
> Program Chair- Graduate Teacher Education
> College of St. Elizabeth
> (973)290-4328
> [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>
>
>
> On Tue, Dec 28, 2010 at 4:36 PM, Salyers, Sara M
> <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
> Hi Heather,
> Your job sounds truly formidable and very rewarding! I recognize
> exactly what you mean about the transition to self reliance in
> learning. (My students get fifteen weeks to make it and we are under
> pressure to reduce that!)
>
> There is a book I think you might like, if you have not already read
> it that describes the condition of the learner who has been
> 'processed' by being told what to do and when and taught to memorize
> the 'right answers'. The book is 'Making Connections: Teaching and
> the Human Brain' by Caine, Geoffrey and Caine, Renate N. (You can
> get it pretty cheaply second hand.) The Caines describe something
> they call 'learned helplessness' - a condition you will recognize
> immediately simply from the label! They argue that it has a
> neurological component in that forcing a habitual kind of thinking
> focuses the brain itself on particular set of activities carried out
> in a particular part of the brain. Executive thinking (creativity,
> imagination, originality, independent ideation, analysis and
> critical evaluation are executive function which occur in the
> frontal lobe. When we are focused on such activities the frontal
> lobe lights up. When we focus on different types of thinking, e.g.
> memorization, compliance, recitation and repetition the brain
> downshifts to a different area. When this is the primary area of
> 'exercise', it becomes more and more difficult for executive
> function to resume or the frontal lobe to to become the primary
> center of activity. Thus the model of traditional teaching that has
> been employed for the past century in America, the US and their
> spheres of influence has the effect of a partial, neurological
> lobotomy.
>
> I am coming to the view that changing the stories is key to
> everything.
> love
> Sara
> ________________________________________
> From: Practitioner-Researcher [PRACTITIONER-
> [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]
> >] On Behalf Of Heather Goode [[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]
> >]
> Sent: Monday, December 27, 2010 11:54 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]
> >
> Subject: Re: How do i~we explain our educational influences in
> learning to improve our educational influences as practitioner-
> researchers within the social and other formations that dynamically
> include us?
>
> Hi Sara
>
> Thank you for your comments and insights regarding your students. I
> am in South Africa and manage a foundation programme for "under-
> prepared" students which becomes an access path to higher education
> and degree studies. More than 95% of our students are second
> language students from approximately 12 to 15 languages and a
> proportion is also from other African Countries.  Due to the
> variations in previous school experiences and the language barrier,
> past performance is not the best predictor of success or
> intelligence. We are planning to explore different entry
> requirements in the next year as a result. For us significant
> factors relate to attitude, motivation, hard work and a transition
> into taking responsibility for learning. Enabling students to make
> the transition from being told what to do (in a fairly authoritarian
> education school systems) to doing what it takes to succeed in
> tertiary without someone checking your "homework" every day is a big
> challenge. Changing the stories is a part of that.
>
> In the last year we have included Paulo Coelho's the Alchemist in
> our English module and followed this with an oral on the student's
> dreams. These, with other strategies have enabled us to change the
> kinds of conversations lecturers have with students while still
> meeting academic criteria.
>
> To give these students a fair chance and equip them for higher
> education in two semester programme (after 12 years of mixed
> standards in schooling) is daunting.
>
> My thesis will be focusing on mentoring of my academic staff to
> enable them to better meet these challenges. My lecturers vary from
> brand new to experienced but few have an education background. For
> me, AR is then a much more adaptive strategy to meet
> These lecturers where they are and assist them to improve practice.
>
> This means I have two areas of research - foundation programmes and
> development of academic staff!
>
> Your news is encouraging and evocative of what we are also seeing.
> Thank you
> Heather
> Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom - let your email find you!
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From:         "Salyers, Sara M" <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]
> >>
> Sender:       Practitioner-Researcher <[log in to unmask]
> <mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
> Date:         Sun, 26 Dec 2010 15:43:35
> To: <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]
> >>
> Reply-To:     Practitioner-Researcher <[log in to unmask]
> <mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
> Subject: Re: How do i~we explain our educational influences in
> learning to improve our educational influences as practitioner-
> researchers within the social and other formations that dynamically
> include us?
>
> Dear all,
> I hope you have had, and are having, a miraculous Christmastide.
> And, as it is Christmas, I would like to say thank you.
>
> This is the most extraordinary gathering of hearts and minds to
> which, I think it, has ever been my privilege to be admitted. Thank
> you so much Jack, for allowing me to be present in this inspiring
> and moving community of real, living humans being.
>
> Final grades due by Dec 17th, and then simple exhaustion, have kept
> me from contributing to the most recent discussions - but the beauty
> and power of the dialog here has certainly needed nothing from me. I
> have loved most of what I have read and wanted to say thank you, in
> particular, to Brian for initiating the I/it/thou/ discussion, to
> Jack for the Buber quote (I am just reading 'Between Man and Man'),
> to Joan for:
> "I really do believe that this has to start with the individual and
> work up, rather than with the systems and structures and work down.
> Ideally, of course, the two work in a complementary way; so that if
> those responsible for creating and maintaining the systems and
> structures can be aware of and responsive to, issues that arise from
> the 'bottom up', then that is where the real transformational change
> will come... Traditional approaches have not worked, and if we are
> to achieve this paradigm shift, we do need to achieve new ways of
> thinking, being and doing." (Amen)
>
> To Pip for, "If we don't understand our own 'I' - who we are, what
> has influenced our development, what our own particular family/wider
> group/culture holds dear, then we are dangerous educators
> indeed." (What's wrong with our Prussian based education systems in
> a nutshell!)
>
> And to Jean for, "I am a firm believer in the power of theory, but I
> would also like to read the stories in which the theory is embedded
> and through which the theory is generated. I would like to read
> those stories, because I think it is through sharing our stories,
> and theorising our practices in a narrative form, that we can find
> strength from one another and learn better how to work together for
> everyone's benefit." (Amen, amen and amen.)
>
> For me AR and this list are priceless gifts. Without them, I am
> almost alone on a journey that seems as profound in its implications
> as it is challenging - to no one but myself. Because of them,
> because of you, I can profit and draw from many years of
> instructional wisdom and experience to offset the newness of my own,
> very recent teaching career. (I worked as a TV writer/producer
> before this.) Because of AR and all of you, I have somewhere to go
> with the urgency of what I am seeing and what is happening in my
> classrooms and of where, it seems to me, that it may be leading. AR
> gives a framework and structure to the only kind of practice I can
> imagine employing - or wanting to: the practice that is new every
> time I enter the classroom; the one that is continually challenged
> to define and refine itself by the dynamic interaction, dialog and
> energy which occur there; the one that, *because* it is informed by
> what happens, and so must run behind and ahead of that to
> distinguish what it sees, its context and implications, rewrites
> both myself and the world as I understand it. This for me is AR.
> Because of this list and all of you here, I have a place to bring my
> excitement and my, occasional!, desolation so that my voice has a
> place in a chorus of others and I feel myself collaborating and
> reaching for something much, much more and which I cannot yet define
> (perhaps I never will), with a community of others who seem to be
> grounded in, and constantly prodded and pushed by!, love.
>
> I'm behind on all my own research. I have not yet sent Jack my
> thesis outline; I have not uploaded the self-and-class films I took;
> I have not evaluated the results of my formal/universal English
> strategy. But I wanted to share this with you all, (and especially
> Jean!),  before I start trying to catch up. Here is my story about
> the stories *we* have, the stories that have been told about the
> students I teach.
>
> I wrote here a while ago about a class that is being dropped by my
> college. It is called the DSPW (Developmental Studies Program
> Writing) 0725 or 'Basic Language Arts'. Students who take this
> course are allowed to 'graduate' into developmental studies
> (Transitional Studies) proper. If they pass that, they can go on to
> English 1010 (or 101). That should give an idea of where they are on
> the academic scale. The college VP came to one of my classes (he was
> attending classes to stay grounded and in touch) and remarked to me
> at the end of class, "Of course you know the prognosis for these
> students? It's really pretty bleak!" And I think that was when I
> realized that my belief had become certainty, that what happened in
> my classroom depended not just on who and what I was being, but on
> the expectation *I* held for and about these students. On Dec 16th,
> 15 out of the original 20 students in that class had completed the
> course (75%). Three passed with an A (and one of those was
> accelerated to 101, the third in 25 years of the program), four
> passed with a B, four with a C and one had an E  grade (exemption
> from repeating). 60% retention and pass may not seem huge, but it
> *is* significant for this group, of whom 1 in 400 are expected to go
> on and graduate college. What it says is not something about my
> abilities, but something about these students. They are damned first
> by a colonizing, irrelevant and compulsory education system that is
> anathema to the human spirit, (the model in the UK, the USA and in
> many former British 'colonies'). Then they are damned by the story
> that is told to, about and, finally, by them and about themselves,
> to explain their 'failure'. We inherit that story in our community
> colleges and we tailor our programs accordingly. (Just as we 'dumbed
> down' our hideous school curricula to accommodate them in the 'no
> child left behind' program.) It is really hard not to buy into this
> story because they themselves project it so hard. But when you
> *don't* buy into it, when you look for the 'problem' as being
> something other than their intrinsic 'deficiency' you find the
> answer *in* that something other. You find the way to defeat their
> own story *and* to develop strategies that are meaningful and
> personal and non-colonizing! (I love that expression.)
>
> For me, it seems obvious how central my 'I' is in the classroom. It
> is, or it should be, frightening how important it is. Who I am
> being, how I am being and what *I* expect determines who my students
> will be and what they will allow themselves to become. That should
> make teachers tremble, I think. And I have more proof of this, if
> more were needed!
>
> I've been using very simple 'immersion' strategy to help my students
> 'acquire' academic English easily and naturally. This semester, I
> realized why the huge gains I see in writing ability often have a
> big impact on other instructors. I've seen people laugh, gasp and
> refuse to believe this wasn't 'cheating'! It's not because the
> strategy is so awesome. It's because there, in black and white, is
> the death of our story about developmental students; it is the
> absolute proof that these 'rejects' and 'failures' are as bright, as
> insightful and as capable as we will allow them to be. I'm so glad
> I've grasped this because I've been asked to make a short
> presentation at our next in-service (Jan) to help pilot the
> strategy. Now I can use that 'shock', and what it really comes from,
> to help change the story about our students for others. Finally, I'd
> like to share one of my favorite 'progressions' . I hope you enjoy
> it - *and* its implications for who these students really are.
>
> Class Blog: JT: Jan 26, 2010 6:14 PM
> The "alchemist," by Paolo Coelho, is a story of a young shepard. The
> shepard is learning about the meaning of life. He does this through
> his experiences along the way. He dreams of having a beautiful
> women, of seeing the worlld, and of finding treasure. He meets
> exiciting people along the way. Those people send him in new
> directions throughout his quest. The shepard soon becomes wise to
> the ways of the world.
>
> Class Blog: JT: Mar 2, 2010 6:52 PM
> I do find the audio book popping up in my head, voices if you will.
> People I interact with on a daily basis, have a very slow way of
> speaking english. I hear them drag-out and miss-pronounce words. I
> can't give them too much grief, since I do the same thing. However,
> at times like these, I think of "The Alchemist." The English used in
> the audio book is very precise. The narrator does not use
> unneccessary dialog. The experience makes me want to use more
> precise dialog. I feel that if my words get anymore snappy, I will
> lose my job. I look forward to the next audio book; so that I can
> get this one out of my head. It will be quiet again! Ahhhh!
>
> Class Blog: JT: Apr 20, 2010 5:45 PM
> I find that lack of time and energy keep me from doing activities I
> really enjoy. Sitting down and reading a book of any substance is a
> time consuming process. Therefore, reading often gets put off. The
> audio book was nice because I did not have to stop what I was doing
> to enjoy it! I could still eat and drink while listening. I could
> still drive and listen to it. I could still work and listen to it. I
> hope you see a theme. Because of their versatility, audio books get
> an approval from me. Another great facet is the rewind option. If I
> lost track or trailed off for a moment, I could simply rewind the
> book and listen again.
>
> love
> Sara
>
> ________________________________________
> From: Practitioner-Researcher [PRACTITIONER-
> [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]
> >] On Behalf Of Pip and Bruce [[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]
> >]
> Sent: Sunday, December 19, 2010 1:41 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]
> >
> Subject: Re: How do i~we explain our educational influences in
> learning to improve our educational influences as practitioner-
> researchers within the social and other formations that dynamically
> include us?
>
> Hi all
>
> What a wonderful dialogue to be engaging in at Christmas time. I do
> appreciate the words of those who have contributed so far.
>
> I have not read Buber (must track a copy of "I and Thou" down) but
> his emphasis, as cited by Jack in the reference below, does seem to
> move from the 'I' of ego to the 'I' of self-understanding, and
> that's where I totally agree with starting with 'I'. We teach who we
> are, as someone wrote, and if we don't understand who we are, what
> our own values are and how they might interact with the values of
> our students, then I think we are in danger of a particular form of
> imperialism that may well be quite unhelpful to our students.
>
> Bruce (my husband) and I co-wrote a paper for the ALARA Conference
> this year in which we both reflected on how our limited
> understandings of others' cultures can impede their learning, even
> when we think we're trying really hard (see http://wc2010.alara.net.au/Formatted%20Papers/1.3.2.EDU.2.pdf
>  if interested). If we don't understand our own 'I' - who we are,
> what has influenced our development, what our own particular family/
> wider group/culture holds dear, then we are dangerous educators
> indeed.
>
> That's why I really appreciate the living educational theory
> emphasis on accounting for our own values, and showing how we live
> them out in our practice. To me, it's a fine example of moving from
> the 'I' to our wider societies.
>
> Happy Christmas to all, especially you folk shivering in the snow in
> the northern hemisphere, while we have just had refreshing rains to
> break drought conditions in several places in New Zealand! Funny old
> world, isn't it!
>
> Love
>
> Pip Bruce Ferguson
>
> (In case you wonder why I'm just 'Ferguson' in the paper with Bruce,
> I drop my maiden name of Bruce when I co-write with him. It does
> people's heads in to have a Bruce Ferguson and a Pip Bruce Ferguson,
> or they think I'm terribly submissive - like hell!)
>
> On 20/12/2010 1:42 a.m., Jack Whitehead wrote:
>
> On 19 Dec 2010, at 12:24, Brian wakeman wrote:
>
> It's the balance issue here I suppose I'm alluding to...... Getting
> through the "I" stage..... not becoming bogged down in self-
> reflection without emerging to the action, intervention, and the
> working together with colleagues to improve, develop and change (for
> me now, not directly with students in school any longer but working
> with trainee teachers, overseas research scholars, and more
> mundanely with adults in a church watercolours group).
>
> Dear Brian and all - I first encountered the writings of the Jewish
> Theologian Martin Buber in I and Thou, on my initial postgraduate
> course, and here is the quotation that helped me through the purely
> egotistical 'I' stage in my humanistic journey, even though the
> language is gendered:
>
> "How much of a person a man is depends on how strong the I of the
> basic word I-You is in the human duality of his I.
>
> The way he says I - what he means when he says I - decides where a
> man belongs and where he goes. The word "I" is the true shibboleth
> of humanity.
>
> Listen to it!
>
> How dissonant the I of the ego sounds! When it issues from tragic
> lips, tense with some self-contradiction that they try to hold back,
> it can move us to great pity. When it issues from chaotic lips that
> savagely, heedlessly, unconsciously represent contradiction, it can
> make us shudder. When the lips are vain and smooth, it sounds
> embarrassing or disgusting.
>
> Those who pronounce the severed I, wallowing in the capital letter,
> uncover the shame of the world spirit that has been debased to mere
> spirituality.
>
> But how beautiful and legitimate the vivid and emphatic I of
> Socrates sounds! It is the I of infinite conversation, and the air
> of conversation is present on all its ways, even before his judges,
> even in the final hour in prison. This I lived in that relation to
> man which is embodied in conversation. It believed in the actuality
> of men and went out toward them. Thus it stood together with them in
> actuality and is never severed from it. Even solitude cannot spell
> forsakenness, and when the human world falls silent for him, he
> hears his daimonion say You.
>
> How beautiful and legitimate the full I of Goethe sounds! It is the
> I of pure intercourse with nature. Nature yields to it and speaks
> ceaselessly with it; she reveals here mysteries to it and yet does
> not betray her mystery. It believes in her and says to the rose: "So
> it is You" - and at once shares the same actuality with the rose.
> Hence, when it returns to itself, the spirit of actuality stays with
> it; the vision of the sun clings to the blessed eye that recalls its
> own likeness to the sun, and the friendship of the elements
> accompanies man into the calm of dying and rebirth.
>
> Thus the "adequate, true, and pure" I-saying of the representatives
> of association, the Socratic and the Goethean persons, resounds
> through the ages.
>
> And to anticipate and choose an image from the realm of
> unconditional relation: how powerful, even overpowering, is Jesus' I-
> saying, and how legitimate to the point of being a matter of course!
> For it is the I of the unconditional relation in which man calls his
> You "Father" in such a way that he himself becomes nothing but a
> son. Whenever he says I, he can only mean the I of the holy basic
> word that has become unconditional for him. If detachment ever
> touches him, it is surpassed by association, and it is from this
> that he speaks to others. In vain you seek to reduce this I to
> something that derives its power from itself, nor can you limit this
> You to anything that dwells in us. Both once again deactualize the
> actual, the present relation, I and You remain; everyone can speak
> the You and then becomes I; everyone can say Father and then becomes
> son; actuality abides.
>
> (Buber, p. 117, 1970)
>
> I think the reference is - Buber, M. (1970). I and Thou.  New York:
> Charles Scribners's Sons.
>
> Love Jack.
>


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