Curriculum growing out of the community #Change11

Curriculum growing out of the community. In one of earlier blogposts Irene Gold wrote a comment. Her comment made me think. In this way she put this subject on my curriculum.  (Want not try to write a definition of curriculum because that definition will not fit with what we intent to say. So sorry for definitions)
Irene Gould in a comment:

“… Because autonomy is about you and starts from within you, it cannot be forced upon you. You, and you alone, can make the decision to start this journey. But just as good travelers listen to others and learn from their experiences, good learners are not islands. They rely on others to offer insights, and occasionally, show them the way (see …”

Autonomy and independence is not appreciated in school. Autonomous children do receive bad marks for conduct. They are marked as low in social competences. They are a pain in the ass of teachers. They often do not  like school and try to avoid school.  Kreativity and autonomy are linked in some way. And school is not the place to be for autonomous or creative people:

Essence of creativity Essence of schooling Essence of MOOC
Many possible answers One correct answer Many possible questions
Safety to take risks and get it wrong Unsafe to take risks (punishment, sarcasm) Risk is appreciated
Mistakes are crucial feedback Mistakes are punished
(lower grades)
Mistakes are chances for learning
Rules may need to be broken Following rules is rewarded Rules emerge, autonomy rules
Suspended judgement Constant judgement Be your own judge
New ideas count Perfected skills count Set your own aims
Ambiguity is welcome Clarity and order are expected Rhizomatic chaos
Playfulness and freedom Seriousness and organisation Freedom and discussion
Lateral thinking Logical thinking Meet differences
‘Slow mind’ at work ‘Fast brain’ at work ‘Multiple velocities’
Relaxed environment (time available) Stressful environment
(correctness required
in limited time)
Own environment
Individuality truly valued Conformity and team effort
Joining is valued

School does not encourage autonomy, school stimulates conformity. Autonomy (Jenny Mackness) is one of the four principles of a MOOC. (Stephen Downes0)

“… because no Aim is so exalted that it be worth a heartbeat more than Decency of Means. Because, when all is said and done, Decency of Means is the Aim of alms …”  (Stefan Themerson Huizingalezing 1981)

Stephan Themerson inspires.  It is interesting to know how people learn. It is good to investigate this. But it is infinitely more important that those people become good people.


4 thoughts on “Curriculum growing out of the community #Change11

  1. Start the year with Autonomy! Good idea Jaap.
    Creativity and autonomy are related and I read (and lost the source) they originate from the same region of the brain. School is autonomous too, but in a distorted, unhappy way.

    Autonomy is freedom of self, strength of self, active, outgoing, questing. Confident but not fixed. Vulnerable and resilient. School “autonomy” is fixed, figured out, closed on itself, inflexible, self-referential, presumes to the role of judge, jury and hangman.

    How ironic is it that though “truth shall set you free” schools are bounded by walls. Life out of context and smelling like an old dusty sofa. Schools are supposed to arm us with the tools of autonomy needed to lead a complete and self-directed life, but first they need us to strip and form perfectly straight lines to learn their dance, not ours.

    A poem by Wallace Stevens sort of on this subject:

    >Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock

    >The houses are haunted
    >By white night-gowns.
    >None are green,
    >Or purple with green rings,
    >Or green with yellow rings,
    >Or yellow with blue rings.
    >None of them are strange,
    >With socks of lace
    >And beaded ceintures.
    >People are not going
    >To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
    >Only, here and there, an old sailor,
    >Drunk and asleep in his boots,
    >Catches tigers
    >In red weather.

    from “Break Blow Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Fourty-Three of the World’s Best Poems” Vintage Books

    To a year of catching tigers!


  2. Hi Jaap:

    Found an article (below) on MRI studies of Jazz musicians that was referenced sometime in a previous MOOC. Improvisation, creativity and self are all related. It is a great generalization about school to declare it unable to abide open displays of self – expression or individuality, but I think it is the nature of the system to regard improvisation as heresy beyond even misunderstanding.

    >This is your brain on Jazz:

    The researchers also saw increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, which sits in the center of the brain’s frontal lobe. This area has been linked with self-expression and activities that convey individuality, such as telling a story about yourself.<

  3. Scott, thanks for these comments. The poem is beautiful, a fine start of the year of the Dragon. The real masters, like Rembrand or Picasso or Mozart, did not what their teachers told them to do. They did their own thinking. It was their students who did what the masters told them to do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s