Take coddle out of your mouth. Looking at you educators and techbros, who I’ve heard it from enough.
Thorndike won, and Dewey lost. You can’t understand the history of education unless you realize this. I don’t think you can understand the history of education technology without realizing this either. And I’d go one step further: you cannot understand the history of education technology in the United States during the twentieth century – and on into the twenty-first – unless you realize that Seymour Papert lost and B. F. Skinner won.
Skinner won; Papert lost. Thorndike won; Dewey lost. Behaviorism won.
It seems to really bother folks when I say this. It’s not aspirational enough or something. Or it implies maybe that we’ve surrendered. Folks will point to things like maker-spaces to argue that progressive education is thriving. But I maintain, even in the face of all the learn-to-code brouhaha, that multiple choice tests have triumphed over democratically-oriented inquiry. Indeed, when we hear technologists champion “personalized learning,” it’s far more likely that what they envision draws on Skinner’s ideas, not Dewey’s.
Source: Behaviorism Won
Opposition to behaviorism is common ground in neurodiversity, disability, education, ed-tech, and tech ethics advocacy.
Human cognitive diversity exists for a reason; our differences are the genius – and the conscience – of our species.
Dyslexic children often have better imaginations than non-dyslexics, after all, but nobody labels the “normal” children as having an “imagination disability.”
These children’s brains are organizing themselves differently, and it should go without saying that their developmental arc may therefore be different. When we interfere in the process of this organization, when we stigmatize it and test it and remediate it prematurely — when we try to teach dyslexics to think like other children by aggressively drilling them in phonics — Cooper says we are robbing these children of the opportunity to build organically on their many strengths rather than being treated as something broken that needs fixing.
Some simply have a different learning strategy; one that absorbs, considers, consolidates, integrates, and then suddenly blossoms fully formed.
If your learning style doesn’t fit this year’s theory, you will be humiliated, remediated, scrutinized, stigmatized, tested, and ultimately diagnosed and labelled as having a mild defect in your brain.
People all over the world know these things about children and learning, and interestingly, they are as workable for learning how to design software or conduct a scientific experiment or write an elegant essay as they are for learning to hunt caribou or identify medicinal plants in a rainforest.
But we don’t know them any more.
“What Trump calls “patriotic education” is racist education.”
—Ibram X. Kendi
“Shout out to the teachers who have their students read the declarations of Confederate secession, the narratives of enslaved ppl, & the letters written by our founding fathers. Teaching a history of slavery isn’t indoctrination, the primary sources tell the story for themselves.”
“Patriotic education” is Stephen Miller’s fascism + Mike Pence’s fundamentalism. Some years ago, I took a course in “patriotic education” for my book THE FAMILY. I spent a season reading its textbooks & talking to its teachers. Here’s what to expect…
I read the textbooks of evangelical academies & Christian nationalist homeschoolers to write a chapter of my book THE FAMILY. Trump’s “patriotic history” is straight out of that world, where the textbooks extolling American “heroes” like Stonewall Jackson are already written.
“Patriotic education” is a fundamentalist concept. Just as fundamentalist religion supposes that divine truths are literal & determined by (white male) authority, so fundamentalist history discards the ongoing work of knowing the past.
“Patriotic education” proposes, as did the White House conference, that the Constitution is divine, “god-breathed,” as some say, & thus impervious to expanding ideas of rights. That’s the religion behind Clarence Thomas’ constitutional “originalism.” It’s false.
“Heritage studies,” or “patriotic education,” is a cult of personality. History matters not for its progression of “fact, fact, fact,” Michael McHugh, a pioneer of modern Christian nationalist ed, told me, but for “key personalities.” It’s the strongman view of the past.
“The 1619 Project curriculum is available. What we’re exposing is a true fear of our children learning a more accurate history of the United States.”
“These are hard days we’re in but I take great satisfaction from knowing that now even Trump’s supporters know the date 1619 and mark it as the beginning American slavery. 1619 is part of the national lexicon. That cannot be undone, no matter how hard they try.”
Since ideas and ideologies played an especially important role in the Civil War era, American history textbooks give a singularly inchoate view of that struggle. Just as textbooks treat slavery without racism, they treat abolitionism without much idealism. Consider the most radical white abolitionist of them all, John Brown.
The treatment of Brown, like the treatment of slavery and Reconstruction, has changed in American history textbooks. From 1890 to about 1970, John Brown was insane. Before 1890 he was perfectly sane, and after 1970 he has slowly been regaining his sanity. Before reviewing six more textbooks in 2006-07, I had imagined that they would maintain this trend, portraying Brown’s actions so as to render them at least intelligible if not intelligent. In their treatment of Brown, however, the new textbooks don’t differ much from those of the 1980s, so I shall discuss them all together. Since Brown himself did not change after his death-except to molder more-his mental health in our textbooks provides an inadvertent index of the level of white racism in our society. Perhaps our new textbooks suggest that race relations circa 2007 are not much better than circa 1987.
…synchronous teaching should be the ketchup and asynchronous the burger.
…forcing students to turn on their cameras is a really bad idea from a trauma-awareness and equity perspective.
Source: Making Shapes in Zoom
In distributed work cultures, asyncronous is the burger.
Ms. Morin herself has neurodivergent children, for whom virtual learning has been “a relief in a lot of ways,” removing the social pressure and sensory overload of an average day. “They’ve been so much calmer about school,” she said.
As nondisabled people rush to return to face-to-face interactions, accessibility threatens to narrow back to pre-pandemic levels. But the window is still open to make accessibility permanent, ideally under the guidance of people with disabilities, who used online tools out of necessity well before they became universal.
My kids also prefer the sensory and social calmness of schooling at home.
Telemedicine and distributed education are accommodations our disabled and neurodivergent family had to fight for, usually unsuccessfully, that are now no longer accommodations because they have suddenly normalized. I’m cynical enough to expect to go back to fighting as soon as some sense of the old normal is reclaimed.
Before we build, we need to dismantle the surveillance ed-tech that already permeates our schools. And we need to dismantle the surveillance culture that it’s emerged from. I think this is one of our most important challenges in the months and years ahead. We must abolish “cop shit,” recognizing that almost all of ed-tech is precisely that.
Learning about neurodiversity at school has potential to support a positive autistic identity. The deficit perspective Maia and Ninja had can lead to negative effects on well-being. Ernie’s autistic identity was more positive and informed by other autistic people. Curricular materials developed from the perspectives of autistic people on how to teach autistic students about neurodiversity and autistic culture need to be available to educators.
Multiplicities are an intention: We build the best collaboration, the deepest learning, when we expand the opportunities for complex vision.