stoner

“He found his release and fulfilment in the classes in which he himself was a student. There he was able to recapture the sense of discovery he had felt that first day, when Archer Sloane had spoken to him in class and he had, in an instant, become someone other than who he had been. As his mind engaged itself with its subject, as it grappled with the power of the literature he studied and tried to understand its nature, he was aware of a constant change within himself; and as he was aware of that, he moved outward from himself into the world which contained him, so that he knew that the poem of Milton’s that he read or the essay of Bacon’s or the drama of Ben Jonson’s changed the world which was its subject, and changed it because of its dependence upon it.”

‘Stoner’ by John Williams

observing oneself…

splat-image

I wanted to do a ‘piece of research’ in which I attempted to ‘observe myself doing it.’ I have been interested in patterns in nature for many a year and thought I would drop ink droplets onto paper to see what patterns might emerge, if any. The following are 3 grabbed images of this research. I have used images here because it is necessary to maintain the complex formatting: read the first section, upper left. This shows how the original tape recording was transcribed and then thought about and re-thought about so to speak…

splat-1

a further piece some way in:

splat2

When I had finished the whole experiment I made a series of knowledge claims which were quite extensive. Here’s a small example:

splat-3

Well, that’s what I did…

challenge: observe yourself making a cup of tea

(or similar)

gattegno buddhism and critical theory..ah well…

Gattegno maintained there were 4 stages in learning:

1. there is something to be explored

2. the exploration of this ‘field’

3. practice in this field leading to mastery

4. transfer of this knowledge to wider fields

The Four Noble Truths of Gotama Buddha, the cattari ariyasaccani are:

1. an unsatisfactory state exists

2. how this ‘suffering’ arises

3. how to end this ‘suffering’

4. the means by which this ‘suffering’ can be eliminated

In his book ‘The Idea of a Critical Theory’, Raymond Geuss describes a typical critical theory as being ‘ a transition from an initial state of bondage, delusion and frustration to a final state of freedom, knowledge and satisfaction.’ Further, he defines a typical critical theory as consisting of three parts:

1. the belief that a transition from the initial state to the final state is in fact possible

2. the demonstration that this is in fact necessary

3. this transition can come about if one follows the particular tenets of that critical theory.

Well, at least, Gattegno, the Buddha and Raymond Geuss have in common the idea that…

‘EMANCIPATION IS POSSIBLE’

but it is clearly not going to be a push-over

huatou: is it possible to change?

assessment as it is…

I-reckon-he's-hooked

 The ultimate zen assessment:

You cannot know another you do not know yourself

…it is not possible. You cannot ‘know’ another in the fullest sense. I cannot know you. I ‘see’ your outer coverings, your skin, your body, your clothes. When I speak to you we discover more about each other. All the time we are making judgments and attempting to interpret each others’ responses and so on. Clearly we can get somewhere, but…

‘I’ can ‘know’ ‘you’, up to a point, but that is all. Ultimately I do not know myself, never mind you.

We are always assessing people in general though, through automatic responses, automatic generalisations. ‘I like the look of him.’ ‘People who have their trousers hanging low are stupid.’ ‘I hate people who smoke.’ and so on… These ‘automatisms’ are deeply ingrained. If we are unaware of them, well…what do you think?

As teachers we are required to assess others in more specific ways

For example if its my job to teach you addition it would be very useful for me to know what you already know. At least, that seems a reasonable supposition. How do I do it?

I can only attempt it by spending time and focusing attention on the specific areas I am interested in.

To start with I need to look at myself. Do I know what I am looking for? Do I actually know what I am talking about when I say ‘I want to teach addition?’ Most people don’t apply too much attention in these areas. It’s dark in here and the ground is hard for digging. Read this Sufi story.

Basically, if you know what you are doing and you look and listen openly whilst asking suitable probing questions that’s a start

You will have to spend time and effort and you should work on each child at a time

You may have noticed that this is very hard to achieve in a large class and when you are burdened with too many other demands

to create order, energy is required

in physics, to increase order is to decrease a measure known as entropy

(I like entropy that’s why I’ve put it in….it’s closely related to the most fundamental law of physics, the Second Law of Thermodynamics…)

Entropy tends to increase throughout the whole universe…

Your desk becomes dis-ordered in the course of a day

iron rusts

you age

if you wish to tidy (order) your desk you will have to expend energy

If you wish to assess another, to increase your ordered knowledge of them, you will have to

EXPEND ENERGY

to expend energy in this sense you will need TIME…

ps For those interested in our most accurate representation of matter: There is no unique universal relation in quantum theory that could stand on equal footing with the position-momentum uncertainty relation. The energy operator is called H the Hamiltonian. There is no dual relationship between H and T.

Not yet, anyhow…

see sister post

some important people…

Caleb Gattegno

Most of his works are available to read on line for free here:

calebgattegno.org

Roslyn Young – a modern exponent of Gattegno’s ideas

try this: On awareness and awarenesses

Read this book, co-authored with Piers Messum,

‘How We Learn and How We Should be Taught’,

Vol 1: Duo Flumina Ltd, 2011, ISBN 978 0 9568755 0 1

Caroline Ainsworth

An example of a ‘research process in all its complexity’

a case study of one teacher’s professional development journey

Madeleine Goutard

the wonderful exponent of STL*

Talks for Primary School Teachers

Educational Explorers Company, 1963

Mathematics and Children – a reappraisal of our attitude

Same series.

*The Subordination of Teaching to Learning – begin here

the ultimate zen assessment – pseudo object oriented reality…

Warning – the analogy to object oriented programming is FALSE

(if you want to see the point of this post go here)

Everything you and I perceive takes place in the mind. Your senses provide information to your mind. Your mind becomes aware of what you call reality due to information supplied by your senses which is then subsequently processed according to your established interpretative neural networks. These networks are evolved through awareness and analysis of these perceived conditions during your evolution as a perceiving, conceiving being… i.e. whatever you have experienced and then ‘made of’ these experiences.

Clearly, this involves your total historical and psychic environment. It is then clear that ‘this certain something’ that ‘you’ perceived was an interpretation of an interpretation, and was only an image of ‘the real thing’ whatever that was. This certain ‘real thing’ cannot be known absolutely. That is why great masters such as HUANG PO pointed out the ‘error’ of conceptual thought processes:

“There is no  “self”, no “other”. There is no “wrong desire,” no “anger,” no “love,” no “victory,” no “failure.” Only renounce the error of conceptual thought processes and your nature will exhibit its pristine purity-for this alone is the way to enlightenment.” HUANG PO, Wan Ling Record 24, p.86.

This ‘error’, is merely the knowing that what is perceived as ‘the truth, the Absolute Real Reality,’ even in its brute external form, as Searle would describe it, is NOT IT ITSELF. It is only ‘one interpretation of it’, and this is all we CAN KNOW. We cannot know ‘IT ITSELF’, because for us there is no ‘it itself.’ All we can know is what we perceive and then conceive through interpretation. This is relative reality and is different for all beings. This is ‘our world’… This is ‘my world’, this is ‘your world.’ This is why it is said that we ‘create the world.’ This is why there are as many cities you live in as there are perceivers of the city. There is not ‘a city’. There are no unique events.

Clearly there are ‘events’ at some level. There are earthquakes, there are floods. There are divorces. There is love. You will be hurt by the master’s stick. Yet you are the perceiver. You ‘create’ your specific take.  You create ‘your’ world. The external, the unknowable, is the CLASS which is knowable to us only as a fragment or ‘taste’. The specific, our individual  realities, are the INSTANCES.

Welcome to OBJECT ORIENTED REALITY…

huatou: I am the world

48

 

 

48 6x8 2x3x2x2x2

 

The LHS shows 6×8

The RHS shows 2x3X2X2X2  dust ( the 8 is 2x2x2 and the 6 is 2×3 )

As far as the number 48  is concerned the order of rods in the tower is irrelevant, but this needs ‘proving’. Take my word for it at the moment.

48 6x8 2x2x2x2x3

 

So long as the tower is constructed using the rods on the right, the order is irrelevant.

So, as 2x2x2x2x3 is the dust, this means we combine these a pair at a time in any order:

try it yourself..that’s best…but

here’s my mind at work for example:

start with 2, double it double it double it, that’s 16, times 3 is 48 (2 4 8 16 48)

2 threes are six, double it, double it, double it, that’s 48  (6 12 24 48)

2 twos are 4, two fours are 8, three of them is 24, double it, 48

and so on…..

IF YOU HAVE THE TIME AND THE SPACE IN SCHOOL TO DO THIS TILL THE COWS COME HOME AND YOU ARE LITTLE, AND YOU START SLOWLY WITH THE NUMBERS UP TO 10 AT FIRST, STUDYING THE NUMBERS ONE BY ONE FOR A DAY OR TWO EACH FOR EXAMPLE WITHOUT STRESS, YOU WILL ‘GET A FEEL’ FOR THE NUMBER YOU ARE STUDYING WHICH WILL BE VERY POWERFUL IN YOUR FUTURE STUDIES OF THE NUMBER SYSTEM AND OPERATIONS YOU WILL NO DOUBT BE REQUESTED TO CARRY OUT…

(In general, the present school arrangements almost totally inhibit this…)

ps 6×8 is one piece of your ‘tables’, using the dust you see and get the ‘feel’ for 6×8, 8×6, 3×16, 16×3, 2×24, 24×2, 4×12, 12×4, never mind ‘half of 48 is 24’, ‘half of 12 is 6’, ‘half of 48 multiplied by 2 is 48’, ‘a quarter or fourth of 48 is 12’, ‘an eighth of 48 is a half of 12’…and so on till the cows come home…

yap yap yap…

TRY IT

 

 

 

 

there are no ‘objective’ events…

If you agree with the above then the consequences are the acceptance of diversity and complexity as grounding assumptions of any learning space you can devise or operate within…

There are no ‘objective events’. (See Poppy Pilgrim below). This is an illusion just as absolute space, absolute time are illusions of common sense and Newtonian physics. The illusions ‘work’ as a general rule and in the normal course of life up to a point, but the concepts are non subtle and simplistic. Listen to Einstein:

‘Considered logically, they (space, time and event) are free creations of the human intelligence, tools of thought, which are to serve the purpose of bringing experiences into relation with each other, so that in this way they can be better surveyed. The attempt to become conscious of the empirical sources of these fundamental concepts should show to what extent we are actually bound to these concepts. In this way we become aware of our freedom, of which, in case of necessity, it is always a difficult matter to make sensible use.’

Appendix V, Relativity and the Problem of Space, Relativity, the Special and General Theory, 1920. Appendix added 1952 My parentheses.

Bringing this through into the domain of teaching events, which are more complex than the domain of inanimate matter we could postulate that though it appears ‘obvious’ that for example a ‘teaching session’ (event) is taking place, the event as an absolute object is located nowhere but in the minds of the participants. Furthermore, all will perceive ‘it’ differently, according to their perspectives, capabilities and state. Hence it is clear that:

we must give up the idea that unique events exist

i.e. in our case, we must give up the idea that it is even possible to design and construct a teaching space that objectively exists separate from all participants and their perceptions, and that by following certain procedures, definite outcomes predicted beforehand will occur. The real situation is far more subtle and complex.

Hence a more subtle and illuminating relativistic concept, similar to the new conceptualisation of space, time, matter and event in Einstein’s general relativity is that:

there exists an event field which is potentially infinite, out of which diverse, multiple and unpredictable consequences will inevitably ensue

Events are located nowhere but the minds of the participants and, far from assuming uniformity and homogeneity (and striving pointlessly to achieve them by partitioning of various kinds).

we should assume diversity and complexity

This should be the grounding basis for proceeding with the enhancement of teaching, learning, planning, assessment and reflective and reflexive practices. All problems which then may proceed as consequences should be taken as food for thought for the analysis and transformation of current practices so that labelling, specialisation and marginalisation are inhibited and so that diversity and richness may flourish in their place in holonomic classroom worlds.

We must give up the generality still quite common in teaching and amongst the general population including politicians of all parties that the teacher teaches and the children learn unique objects, and that further more, if they do not learn these unique objects it is somehow the fault of the child.

By giving up the generality this does not preclude us from saying that in clearly obvious and simplistic learning situations, the ancient and limited view expounded above pertaining to the ‘objective’ illusory world of common sense, may in fact ‘work’, just as Newtonian mechanics is quite adequate to describe the motion of planets in their orbits of our central star, the regular predictable appearance of comets, the precession of the equinoxes and the ebb and flow of tides. Planets and comets are simple objects in comparison to the interpretive nets of human consciousness. Sir Isaac Newton was, as Descartes remarked, probably the smartest guy who ever walked the surface of this planet. His achievements marked the beginning of the last three and a half centuries of human scientific endeavor. However to quote Albert Einstein again:

‘Newton himself and his most critical contemporaries felt it to be disturbing that one had to ascribe physical reality both to space itself as well as to its state of motion; but there was at that time no other alternative, if one wished to ascribe to mechanics a clear meaning.’

Same source, p135

who am I?

I know my name. Information is easy. Documentation is too.  I am a father and a son, fairly useful at times, English, born in the first half of the last century, I eat well, like a drink but not too much, am happy most of the time, about 6 feet tall, like polyester black collarless shirts……love my kids, grandkids and partner. Quite like the dog.  I love the sun and the snow, grow lots of vegetables, this year concentrating on chillies…………you get the picture.

These things are kind of truish. They are qualified ‘knowns’. Known in relation to something but the huatou refers to the ‘I am’ prior to all qualification, not the knowledge accumulated through experience of the life journey.

‘Who am I?’ is a huatou, a short but powerful zen gongan or koan. The most powerful question you can ever ask.

In examining this huatou in a meditative environment, mental constructions drop away and one is confronted by a realisation that one does not know the nature of existence and one’s fundamental assumptions of life are groundless.

Such is an aspect of zen.

‘I am’ cannot be found in experiences or secondhand ‘knowledge’.

In ‘Letting go’ of our learnt responses to ‘Who am I?’ we open up to a new realm of multi-dimensional attention and non-directed awareness. This is the hunting ground, the silence behind thought, the openness that is beyond the constructed story of self.

Beauty and the Beast live here.