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Alice Lesnick's picture


My sense is the the lens of achievement tends to take lived experience (whether or learning or of other things) out of time, out of the flow, and usually in distorting ways, so that it becomes a matter of isolation. Maybe here a medical metaphor is (surprisingly) useful: We don't speak of "achieving" health, but rather we work at it, enjoy it when it can, worry about it, repair it, define and redefine it, in an ongoing way -- the main achievement seeming to be the opportunity to stay in the game, and, within the game, more specific things, such as lowering cholesterol, say, or gaining stamina or an easier mood. In relation to learning, I think people can learn to know it when they see it -- when they have experienced it or been in its presence -- and that disarming more traditional, summative modes of assessment is part of this learning.

In a sense, this connects with the issue of how to help students feel comfortable and confident participating in open-ended, collaborative inquiries such as wikis. We assess our safety in relation to our beliefs about the risks we run and pleasures we court in venturing out.


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