Today I got this email...
For this class, I have to create a website for an assignment, and am struggling with how to do this and not just be reinventing the wheel since we already do Moodle, Quia, Posterous... I want it to be useful, and I've been wanting to do on-line journals for some time now. Can I pick your brains for ideas? I'd like to do something interactive and get them writing a lot more in Spanish. It would be my dream to have students keep on-line journals where they'd have to write 1x or 2x/week in Spanish responding to in-class topics and discussions. It would be great if the students could decide if each entry would be private or public (but obviously I'd like to read them all). I'm not sure if a blogger site would be the best option for this. Do you know of any site where I could, as a teacher, manage their journals? It would be sort of a mix between a forum and a blog. I'd like for them to be able to log in and have all their journals on one page so they could see their progress, like a blog. It would be great for me as a teacher to be able to see each student's entry to a particular discussion all on one page as well so I don't have to click on 70 different blogs to give them a grade.
Here is my response, what would you have said?
God uniquely creates all humans each day.
All humans live in brokenness each day.
God requires us to carry each other through the brokenness each day.
Kalyanpur and Harry's describe a "posture of cultural reciprocity" (pp. 118-119) as a solution to communication problems with parents of special education students. It described treating all people like they bear the image of God. I thought of God creating me through being a reflective person. "In other words, first ask yourself, 'Why?'" (p. 118) When they tell me to find out about the culture of the person I am trying to help, I know I am asked to help. When they ask me to give of myself to aid the understanding of others, I know that is required of me. When through this process a good solution is found, a solution that will carry us all through the brokenness, I should not be surprised. As God uses us to create each other, we find a way to carry each other."If we seek to understand ourselves and the families who we serve at every intersection, however small, then the task will seem less onerous." (pp. 130 - 131) Carrying each other and allowing ourselves to be created is an everyday occurrence. Like having a posture of cultural reciprocity, it cannot just be used when needed. Each of us is unique, therefore it requires a lot of work to understand everyone we serve. We cannot ever be the same as anyone else, "but that we have the willingness to learn about and understand their experiences, that we are willing to understand how our own experiences have shaped us, and that we respect and accept these differences in our various experiences" (p.131) helps us carry and create each other every day.
"Objectivity is highly valued in the low-context culture of Western professionalism, the assumption being that professionals are likely to diagnose and remediate more effectively when they are not emotionally involved with their clients and when the process is informed by a scientifically based and, therefore, objective body of knowledge that yields universal solutions. Indeed, the concept of objectivity itself is essentially Western." (p. 51)I am struggling with what role objectivity plays in the life of an educator. The more I practice the more I think it does not belong. There is no way to do something so human as educate a child, really to find truth together with a child, and do it without putting your own heart in the game. All that objectivity serves to do is distance me from the subject and from the learner, and in my experience, increased distance does not help learning. This quote hit me hard because I have been deeply struggling with what true objectivity is, and this has been a core struggle. Then to think that the idea of objectivity might just be a cultural artifact from the scientific revolution shakes me up even more.Here is why the struggle to define objectivity is important to a technology coordinator. We are asked to evaluate the one to one laptop program all the time. Currently numbers define educational success, but numbers do not tell the story. In some sense numbers are not objective. You have to come and visit. You have to talk with our teachers about the impact of technology on learning. You have to hear the stories of students creating their learning. Objectivity is a, "judgment based on observable phenomena and uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices" and as such seeks truth. We should make observations. We should allow those observation to shape us, in fact we have to because they become part of our experience. If we learn something from an observation we will not remain uninfluenced. It will be personal because learning is personal.What I strive for in helping people understand the impact of technology on teaching and learning is understanding. I want them to learn from me and my wonderful colleagues. I do not really want them to have an objective opinion. I want them to to be impacted by experience and put their own imprint on me. Just like I want my students to explore their worlds and show me the great new things that they find.
I did not originally underline the quote above as I read. However, it was one of my classmates favorite quotes. I am very thankful to her for pointing it out. It fits my test for a good future read, except it is a test for something that is true. The education blogs love quotes like the one above because of the call for changing school to be more individual and student centered. They love it because it talks about needing to nurture each learner or like Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (KJV) The point of the proverb is that each child has a way. Each child has a unique, creative, Kingdom-building way to go.Therefore, it is good to hear the same news in a different arena. And to think, if it were not for a colleague I would have read right past it.