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LEARNING WITH IMAGINATION Enquiry, Communities, and Power in the Mantle of the Expert System.

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Presentation on theme: "LEARNING WITH IMAGINATION Enquiry, Communities, and Power in the Mantle of the Expert System."— Presentation transcript:

1 LEARNING WITH IMAGINATION Enquiry, Communities, and Power in the Mantle of the Expert System

2 Dr. Brian Edmiston Professor of Teaching and Learning Ohio State University

3 ‘What children ask for is … an experience of school that is engaging and meaningful, that supports the learning the children need for their adult lives in a manner that also acknowledges their priorities as children.’ (150) Devine, Dympha. (2003). Children, power and schooling: How childhood is structured in the primary school. Trentham Books

4 ‘ … the knowledge that our students really want, and that is the knowledge we owe them [is] not merely the facts, not merely the theories, but a deep knowing of what it means to kindle the gift of life in ourselves, in others, and in the world’ Parker Palmer (1998) p. x

5 Deep learning about life … … you learn from people … you can think quite a lot when you’re actually having fun at the same time … you have to keep up with things that you don’t want to do … [when] your imagination runs wild you can design [ideas] …you can think of ways to make [life] better and ways that would make it worse

6 … and about using the mantle of the expert system … you think like an adult and how their life is … you can feel what it’s like to work … learn things you didn’t know before … it makes your mind unwind … you get to know things you would like to learn and things you wouldn’t like to learn

7 3 BIG IDEAS ‘Deep knowledge’ of life comes from ENQUIRY Enquiry happens in relationships between people in different COMMUNITIES The type of community people create depends on how they POSITION each other and share POWER

8 People create deep knowledge of life through ENQUIRY e.g. in a hobby People choose to engage in collaborative social practices through which they explore questions of interest to them make meaning and over time acquire the expertise (knowledge, skills, understanding) they need to become more competent and (ideally) ethically responsible human beings In doing so they join and create communities of enquiry

9 ‘Enquiry can take people beyond their current understanding of the world through collaborative explorations of the lives we want to live and the people we want to be’ Jerome Harste (2001) p. 1

10 Leaving pupils’ learning a deep knowledge of life (along with related facts and theories) to everyday life means leaving learning to chance … We can use the mantle of the expert system to create opportunities for learning by design

11 An example … ‘Living with Wolves’ Y2 (Grade 1 in the U.S.) Imaginative Enquiry (or Dramatic Enquiry) in the Mantle of the Expert system

12 Learning by design through enquiry in imagined communities The pupils gradually take on ethical responsibility for running an enterprise in an imagined community The pupils care enough about the long-term goals of a fictional client that they choose to engage in collaborative social practices and explore questions In doing so the pupils (and adults) begin to imagine the world of a professional community and over time acquire expertise

13 however … children and adults are still interacting in the everyday classroom communities

14 EVERYDAY CLASSROOM COMMUNITIES IMAGINED COMMUNITIES

15 The imagined expert communities become more complex and extensive over time

16 EVERYDAY CLASSROOM COMMUNITIES IMAGINED COMMUNITIES

17 EVERYDAY CLASSROOM COMMUNITIES IMAGINED COMMUNITIES

18 Adults’ (and children’s) use of POWER … is not necessarily controlling, domineering, or oppressive (though it can be) People use power, in relation to other people

19 People in classrooms have more or less power in relation to each other In your classroom, how are you (and children) able to use power? the power to move (physical power) the power to interact (social power) the power to interpret and evaluate (power of ideas) Which adults and children tend to have the most/least power?

20 Physical power -- the power to move Social power -- the power to interact

21 The power of ideas -- the power to interpret/evaluate

22 When you begin to use the mantle of the expert system … As children begin to use power differently: to move, to interact, to interpret/evaluate How do you respond? You (and other adults) can also use power differently: to move, to interact, to interpret/evaluate What are you comfortable trying?

23 … children must be able to use power Children must be able to use power (to move, to interact, and to interpret/evaluate) in order to make meaning and acquire expertise

24 Using power to make meaning and acquire expertise

25 Power circulates, accumulates, and disperses … Power circulates among everyone in a group in relation to everyone else Some people always have more power than others

26 Some people become dominant (sometimes domineering) and others can become excluded

27 Children (and adults) use, give, take (and resist) POWER by how they POSITION other people Power over others Power for others Power with others

28 How power is used over time creates different types of COMMUNITIES Power over others authoritative communities like factories, prisons, military, etc. Power for others nurturing communities like families, hospices, animal care facilities etc. Power with others collaborative communities like explorative laboratories, choirs, creative groups, investigative teams etc.

29 What sort of community do you want in the classroom? more authoritative -- like a factory? more nurturing -- like a family? more collaborative -- like an explorative team?

30 Whose classroom is it? Is it … ‘my’ classroom? ‘their’ classroom? ‘our’ classroom?

31 As adults … … how we use our power (and react to how children use their power) creates different types of community

32 The mantle of the expert system provides us with opportunities to use power differently than people usually do in the classroom

33 Everyone uses power differently in different situations with different people People shift back and forth among using power with … or for … or over other people

34 Which uses of power are more dominant in classroom practices? The dominant uses of power create an overall classroom ‘tone’ Creating a tone of cooperation, collaboration, attentive listening, sharing ideas, negotiation, making meaning together i.e. sharing power with others as ‘colleagues’ is at the heart of good teaching

35 … and is essential in successfully using the mantle of the expert system

36 Overall we share power with children and help children share power with one another I can do this as ‘me’ or by positioning children as if I am someone else, like a colleague in an animal care enterprise,or as a Park Ranger, a Bank Manager, or even a wolf

37 This doesn’t mean we don’t use power over children, or for them Ideally uses of power over children, and using power for them, are ‘nested’ within using power with them

38 Power over others Power for others Power with others Nesting power relationships in a COMMUNITY of ENQUIRY

39 We can shift back and forth between handing over more power and holding on to or taking back more power

40 Handing over more power Taking back more power

41 Power over others Power for others Power with others Adult sharing power with children to create liberating constraints Hand over more power Take more power

42 Using power with others Children (and/or adults) position one another with broadly equal power Colleagues share knowledge and abilities … invite cooperation … collaborate in activities In order to negotiate meaning

43 Using power with others Use the language of ‘we’ … and make decisions together … including important life decisions ‘How would we be able to …?’ ‘We were wondering why …’ ‘How might we …?’

44 EVERYDAY CLASSROOM COMMUNITIES ‘Has anyone not had a chance to speak?’ IMAGINED COMMUNITIES ‘How will we be able to work together to capture the wolves without hurting them? Does the Ranger have any ideas? USING POWER WITH OTHERS: the language of ‘WE …’

45 within which is nested …

46 Using power for others Children (and/or adults) position themselves (and/or are positioned by others) with less power colleagues help one another and lend a hand amplify ideas bring ideas from the edge to the centre

47 Colleagues use power for others … Lending a hand Bringing ideas from the edge to the centre

48 Using power for others Use the language of ‘you’ … and make decisions with attention to minority as well as majority views ‘What do you need right now?’ ‘Would you like to …?’

49 EVERYDAY CLASSROOM COMMUNITIES ‘Would you like me to hold your drawing so everyone can see it?’ IMAGINED COMMUNITIES ‘Did you all hear what she just said about using tranquilizer darts?’ USING POWER FOR OTHERS: the language of ‘YOU…’

50 within which is nested

51 Using power over others Children (and/or adults) position themselves (and/or are positioned by others) with more power Some colleagues are ‘servant leaders’ … but colleagues don’t exclude others’ ideas

52 Colleagues use power over others … as ‘servant leaders’ … but don’t exclude

53 Using power over others The language of ‘I …’ ‘I want to … ‘I would like you to …’ ‘I thought we had agreed to …’

54 EVERYDAY CLASSROOM COMMUNITIES ‘I thought we’d agreed to decide together what we’d do?’ IMAGINED COMMUNITIES ‘Wait a minute, I’m worried about how the wolves might feel if you use your hypodermic needle like that!’ USING POWER OVER OTHERS: the language of ‘I …’

55 Power over others Power for others Power with others Adult sharing power with children to create liberating constraints Hand over more power Take more power

56 ‘ … the knowledge that our students really want, and that is the knowledge we owe them [is] not merely the facts, not merely the theories, but a deep knowing of what it means to kindle the gift of life in ourselves, in others, and in the world’ Parker Palmer (1998) p. x


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