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Discussion Forum

alesnick's picture

Please use this space to raise questions, probe possible meanings, and share relevant knowledge, experience, or resources.  


Van Le's picture

Why "there's no why"

"Few things are accomplished in human affairs except under the entrancement that can be associated with dream experience. The great cultures of the world emerge not out of rational processes but out of revelatory experiences that have many of the qualities of dream experience." (Sullivan, 1999)

Reasons are grounded in ideas which in turn are grounded in symbolic realities. Thus symbolic realities, or dreams, while in Freudian terms may be a vessel of hidden psychological messages, are the ultimate motivations that drive human actions. Philip Petite's performance is a realization of a magnetic vision, and because of its dream-like quality it justifies itself.

O'Sullivan, E. V., & Berry, T. (1999). Transformative learning: Educational vision for the 21st century. London ; New York: Zed Books.

alesnick's picture

dreaming walking dancing

Thank you, Van, for these very thoughtful quotations -- for tracking them down -- and for honing in on the question of why there's no why.  I am really intrigued by the idea that dreams motivate culture and action . . . to discuss!  To me, there seems to be a connection, to, to the way Petit's vision places him in relation to others.

pamela gassman's picture

The Act

The light at the top of the north tower swivels methodically

As he walks delicately at the end, he is uniquely a man on a wire.

Ticking away the minutes

He walks alone

Before he danced and his army marched behind him

Now does he walk to remember?

 Or to forget?

A beacon illuminating the mystic heist of normalcy.

-Pam and Medoza  

SMarrie's picture

new comment

If too much correction impedes the students' unconscious assimilation into a new dialect, then the teacher shold not grade that aspect of their performance.

mmacdougall's picture

I absolutely think there is a

I absolutely think there is a good thought in this statement. If it is easier for a student to learn a dialect without being constantly corrected and judged on their use of it, then there should absolutely be a space for them to learn the dialect without the harsh judgement of grading making them anxious.

the Rebeccas (Thayil and Lee)'s picture

Delpit Musings

Is choosing a mode of expression effectively the same as choosing your identity?

Van Le's picture

Your mode of expression

Your mode of expression allows you to feel/ see/ hear that an identity exist. Because identities are formed by how we perceive ourselves, there is no identity that lies beyond our mode of expression.

Both our modes of expression and our identities are developed during interactions with another human being and thus are bound together (with one another and with the other person) and activated when we meet that person again, not just physically but also when we maintain an inner conversation with that person as our imagined partner.

Because our identities are inherently multi-faceted and situationally grounded, "choosing an identity" by speaking in a particular way implies a fluid process of identity negotiation in which we opens ourselves to numerous possibilities of selves, instead of an affirmative gesture confirming that we are a certain kind of person.

Karunya Venugopal's picture

Education in America is an

Education in America is an equalizing agent, but can also function as promoter of inequality in so far as without assistance from upper middle class dominant group, poor citizens who belong to a lower class can't thrive in our status quo.

SMarrie's picture

new comment

The expression of authoritative, direct, and explicit power is or can be characterized as "fascist."

Van Le's picture

This provocative prompt

This provocative prompt reminds me of the controversy that arose after the publication of "Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother", which revolves around the conflict between rigid parental discipline and creative growth. This "Fascist" method of raising is deeply rooted in Confucian teachings, which grant the elders profound, almost unquestioned authority, over the children, who are considered naive, helpless and in desperate need of guidance. Certainly such teachings will strike any Westerners as outrageous, encouraging not growth but unbridled suppression, but Confucius did warn that judicious power goes with responsibility (i.e tirelessly cultivate, question and refine one's ethical behavior), and if the power is not morally warranted, the people would not follow. 

I've had the opportunity to meet both the Fascist and the sage during my high school career. Both exerted tremendous power over their students explicitly, but one was detested, the other revered. One ruled out fear that his power will be threatened, and a sullen silence would reign over the class whenever he entered. We obeyed him on the surface (becausehe wielded lots of power in the school and could wreck your gpa in a blink of an eye), but most of us disregarded or ridiculed what he said. The other would also have been labeled "a dictator" in Western sense ( although until i got here it was the only righteous way of teaching I knew, and even now i'd still call him "a sage"), but his punishment was just. How do i know it? Because it always took him some time to reach such a decision, and I respect it because he did think over it, and not react reflexively out of the fear that if no punishment was issued his students would consider him weak.

How can we tell a sage from a Fascist, albeit that they are using the same method? I think it depends on our ability to sense the degree of consideration that lies beneath their exertion of power, something that we feel intuitively during our interaction with the teacher. I agree that even those with our best interests at heart may not always give sound advice, but education is an issue of trust and thus risks are inevitable. Your life is always put in the hand of the others before you're capable of taking hold of it. There are phases in life when you have to trust others more than yourself. And of course teachers are not gods. They struggle to define and redefine truths and virtues themselves. The only thing we can ask of them is that they think about what they're doing.

pamela gassman's picture

Delpit Barometer Questions

  1. Diversity in a college setting correlates to the success of students in the real world because they are able to adapt to different cultures.
  2. Students should have the autonomy to choose their own educational track regardless of the opinions of the culture of power.


Caroline and Rachel 

1. If you acknowledge different dialects in the classroom that would get rid of insecurities of the students to help them learn better. 

2. we should define academic language in the classroom to make it explicit to students how to use the language properly for academic purposes. 

alesnick's picture

"breaking" givens in a piece of art or school of thought

JB: An important way to think about art is that a work assumes certain things and is explicit about certain things. 

This makes me think, in relation to breaking, about how to tamper with the borders between tacit and explicit is an important source of innovation, and, Steph suggested during our session, of uncovering un-noticed/submerged traditions.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Forgiveness as Breaking

Hello Class:

Thanks for reading my piece _Been a Long Time Leaving_. (I also recommend the Waylon Jennings song of the same title by the way as a way of understanding where my head was at.)

I just thought I could introduce the idea of _forgiveness_ as a form of breaking. Letting go of my bitterness and letting bad memories go the past were growth strategies -- a huge help to me, and a break from how I had thought about most things up to that point.

I also recommend _No More Looking Back_ by the Kinks, my favorite song.


Rob Goldberg

alesnick's picture

it's a joy to start seeing posts

dear breaking esem class, i'm glad some of you are going ahead and posting believing and doubting statements following grobstein's text.  everyone is invited to do so and also to respond to one another's posts with extensions, questions, constructive challenges, and specific affirmations.

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