The Evolution of Our Stories About Places
The Evolution of Our Stories About Places:
Local, Not Parochial
Historical, Not Unchanging
Spacial, Not Bounded....?
They shouldn't overrun the countryside."
(from Save our Land, Save Our Towns:
A Plan for Pennsylvania
By Thomas Hylton, via Diane...)
"Limitations are good...they let you know where you are."
"Like many...children, I grew up believing that my teachers existed only at school. I was always surprised to meet a teacher on the street....As a teacher myself, I am now on the other side of that surprise...It's a moment I can intellectualize as a species of alienation, a moment that has parallels in all the encounters that diminish human contact to mere functionality. But it is also a moment of opportunity, a glimpse of the life that exists outside the confines of a place, a time, and a role...a moment in which speculation and curiosity can come to life..."
"The practice of teaching fundamentally concerns the buildiing of relationships...nothing is harder for a teacher...refocusing attention, not on sklll sets and facts, but on hearts and bodies and minds....Teaching is a humbling profession...we learn never to assume, but always to observe...to reframe the question [from] 'What can I do here as teacher?' to ask, 'What is going on here in the minds of my students?'"
Editor's Introduction. Schools: Studies in Education.
A Journal for Inquiry into the Subjective
Experience of School Life 4, 1 (Spring 2007)
That's what we'll be doing today; going exploring into those minds (and our own...)
So: maybe you've been wondering why an English professor is
co-directing an Institute on "Science and a Sense of Place"?
My own awful science-schooling experiences: a useful test case for science-phobic-students!
My interest in getting beyond the boundaries of discipline-specific education ("the big picture")
Science as Story Telling and Story Revising
Paul Grobstein, Journal of Research Practice, 2005, 1, 1, M 1)
Storytelling as Inquiry
(College Seminar with Anne Dalke and Paul Grobstein,
Bryn Mawr College, Fall 2001-Fall 2007)
Anne Dalke and Paul Grobstein (2007). "Story-Telling
in (At Least) Three Dimensions: An Exploration of Teaching Reading, Writing,
and Beyond." Journal of Teaching Writing 23(1): 91-114.
(earlier draft available on Serendip).
Not all stories work this way/are told to be revised.
Some are place-keeping:
- The Frenches of Woodstock, Virginia An Account of Six Generations: Our Relatives, Our Enterprises, and Our Memories. Ed. Anne French Dalke, Christopher Edward French and Carolyn French Long. Fredericksburg, Virginia: Self Published, 1997.
My mother is movement
deep folds of bilowing dresses, dangling clanging earrings
like the smell of the sea, announce her arrival
Omnipresent, far-reaching, ever-expanding
emotions vibrate within her
waves of enthusiasm, compassion, grief, hope roll forth
she is restless
neither neath the changing moon which guildes her does she lay still
shifting, sorming, soothing
my mother is the ocean
My father is the stream
contained by the sloped banks on either side
slipping away, skirting around the bend, sliding over settled stones
he erodes this bank, collecting sediment as he passes
humming to himself, making his way down the path
branches bend low in greeting
insects dart upon his surface, salamander duck in crevices
he keeps on, wishing them well
simply, subtley, humbly
my father is stillness
We, we are the estuary
union of salt and sweet, ocean and stream
cradled among the reed and rushes
nourished by these live waters.
here, restless waves are gentle
here, smooth ripples are stirred
this, the meeting place
where both fluids flow
rise up, waters, rejoice!
Literature's Stories: Revising the Ones We Tell
An Exercise in Change...pair up, make 5, then 10, then 10 more changes...
what was this experience like for you??
Science's Stories: Collecting New Observations...
- Philadelphia Mural Project: re-making the neighborhood
- Kim Cassidy on adolescent development
- Jeff Cohen on the palimpsests of neighborhoods: what does an observant mole see, over the years?
- Liz McCormack on the evolution of the universe: looking back into time
- Catherine Riihimaki on changing watersheds
- Wendy Sternberg on the evolution of the brain
- Wil Franklin on evolving biomes and homologies
- The "Little Monk's" dilemma, Scene 8 from Bertold Brecht's play, Life of Galileo (1952)
- Photos of Us Evolving...
How might they be revised?
* Open the doors and windows
* Provide assistance to people who want to come in but lack preparation
* Let people know we want them in not despite but BECAUSE of their individual differences
* Teach science as it is, where people are
* Allow everyone to have a role in furnishing the house
* specific benefits of exchange between minority-rich and minority-poor institutions:
* need to develop course/support materials which appropriately/correctly
* acknowledge where students are when we encounter them
* move ALL students along in their personal process of discovering how to think for themselves