Forum 8- Forums, more disabling/abling, and the brain as a circle ...

Name:  Miss Geneva E. Tolliferreo, M.
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Mixed Signals
Date:  2003-07-14 13:23:37
Message Id:  5962
Being able to spell is {and should be} the rule, not the exception. We are doing more harm than good allowing our students to submit work with spelling, grammer, and structure mistakes.

We are leaving them at a grave disadvantage for a successful professional/vocational life. I have no problem with allowing for brain storming and creation. However, those assignments/projects must be correct in final draft form and prior to grading, as grading is to be it should be.

As professionals, Educators no less, we have the responsibillity{!} of ensuring that our students are receiving a wholistic learning experience, inclusive of exploration, spelling, computation, creating,etc. There is a fundamental credibility to the importance of Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.

Furthermore, the irony here is that we have no societal grounds to complain about school systems graduating students from high school with a diploma, who cannot read; get a decent job; aspire to higher learning; refrain from a life less acceptable to 'our standards', namely a life of selling drugs, or worse...themselves; stealing; alcohol; alternative lifestyles; and the list continues...when we have not formally equipped them with tools for success. Now we are faced with the challenge of the mixed signals, which manifest themselves in a variety of ways. For example, remedial classes in college/training, which is money spent needlessly, instead of being spent for credit courses leading to a degree/certificate.

Literacy programs are predecated on our iliterate high school graduates/drop~outs. Billions of dollars are being spent to give essentially young adults the same education they should have gotten during the formative years...for free. Thus, more students than we realize are being thrust into the realm of debt, putting them at a further disadvantage. Often this cycle is due to fault, solely not their own.

If being held to task was one of several entities that enabled us to be professionals, therefore positive contributors to society, then why are we settling for less of our generational offspring? It is apparent to me that with the wealth of technology avaliable today more opportunity for success must be more, not less, prevelant. This includes, but is not limited to spell check {no offensive to anyone, as I realize the concerns are valid. However, {in my opinion} this is not, and cannot be, an excuse. Rather, we need to create an on~going means of enabling ourselves, our students, and anyone else we interact with to be wholistically successful.

The Universe is not pleased with our personal and professional complacency. Thus, many problems of today {both generational and new} continue to manifest in ways that are, and have yet to be, identified. Until we realize that life is a cycle of three strongholds, in priority, of Church, Home, and School...we will remain at a wholistic disadvantage as a global society.

Consider this...intellectual genocide.

Name:  Paul Grobstein
Subject:  writing, culture, language, and enabling/disenabling, and ...
Date:  2003-07-15 08:13:20
Message Id:  5964
Here (with Antoinette's permission) is the email exchange with led to yesterday's rich conversation about forums.

Hi Paul,

I am sending this to you off of the forum, because I just realized that the entire Forum is available from the web. Is there any way to link a spell check program to the forum????? PLEASE....I am sure I am not the only one who is spelling challenged and when I go to present some of the information to my colleagues, I do not want to hear "But, you spelled blah blah incorrectly.



Let's talk more, us and maybe the whole crew, about the concern about being "spelling challenged" and what we ought to do about it. There's a "culture as disability" issue here that's important for thinking about the web and more generally. It has to do with the fear of colleagues who attempt to disable one by saying "you spelled blah blah blah" incorrectly, with what the various ways of dealing with that are, and what the consequences of different ones are for our students and for education in general.


I like a lot the ideas that we came up with yesterday morning: that the forums are a new kind of writing/conversation space, somewhere between talking and formal writing, more like sharing thoughts in progress. And that one should NOT be "editing onself" in writing in them, since that demonstrably gets in the way of sharing one's thoughts (as it does for students). And that they should be labelled "spelling-free, punctuation-free, grammar-free, structure-free".

But what about the issues raised in Geneva's email above? How do we deal with those?

Lots of other interesting issues came up yesterday ... motor symphonies, organization without a conductor, the role of the genome, corollary discharge and its effects on perception, corollary discharge as a mechanism for generation of expectation, mismatches between expectation and input as a source of pain/discomfort ... and all this without the I-function.

Feel free to write about the writing/enabling/disabling issues and/or about anything else yesterday made you think about. If you want to write about both, how about doing two postings? That will make it easier for me to collect all our thoughts about enabling/disenabling in one place in the archive.

Name:  Paul Grobstein
Subject:  addendum
Date:  2003-07-15 09:13:04
Message Id:  5966
Some relevant stuff in NYTimes Science Times this morning:

Early Voices: The Leap to Language

Teaching Computers to Work in Unison

Name:  keith
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  7/15/03
Date:  2003-07-15 09:19:28
Message Id:  5967
I like the idea of the "circle" notion as apposed to the box. The discussion on how all the information is passed from one neuron to another and how output can affect input is a very interesting concept. I am looking forward to learning more on this concept.
Name:  Linda M
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  tues AM
Date:  2003-07-15 09:26:01
Message Id:  5968
If the forum is easily accessible on the web, then how safe an arena is it to write without a certain amount of inhibition?

If I want to use my Serendip web page for my students, then some of the more computer savvy ones might pop into the Forum and read my comments, some of which use sarcasm related to their foibles. If Antoinette, or anyone else, wanted to use it in a professional presentation, then my comments directed to a particular audience become grist for someone's unintended mill.

Name:  Angie
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  My thoughts
Date:  2003-07-15 09:30:06
Message Id:  5969
INHIBITIONS- That is a word that I have always heard about: such as shedding your inhibitions or being free or uninhibited, but I never thought much about it or really understood it. I always thought of it as unrestrained when doing something. That is true and I thank you for a clear understanding of what is going on with the generating of inputs/outputs. As a teacher, I do not like using the word lazy either. I used to say that he/she lacks initiative. Now I am going with the belief that this person may be inhibited.

Our bodies were created to work in sync (perfect harmony) with each other in order to establish patterns of coordination. That is wonderful and amazing! As they say that "God Don't Make No Junk."

Name:  carol
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  re;geneva's comment
Date:  2003-07-15 09:36:09
Message Id:  5970
I agree with Geneva in that it is indeed our responsibility to guide our students towards an acceptable "correctness" as it relates to "norms' in our society.Hence, it becomes neccessary to provide the example for them.
The district has implemented several writing approaches which should be applied across the curriculum.Step Up to Writing ,is one that instantly comes to mind.

If in fact we suffer from ,as Antoinette suggests ,a spelling deficiency,some "check" system must then be created within the classroom to guard against continuous errors during instuctional periods.We are,after all placed in positions for the children to emulate.

Our students will not "rise" if we do not create a "standard" of expectations!

Name:  carol
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  p.s.
Date:  2003-07-15 09:39:40
Message Id:  5971
I do think that the forums should be set aside as an area for free expression!
Name:  Lois
Subject:  More Questions???
Date:  2003-07-15 09:44:56
Message Id:  5972
Good morning! I am looking forward to today sessions.
I'm sold on the idea of "two minds". I would like to now know, what is the relationship of the "two mind" theory, in relation to the "multiple personalities" theory? Is there any ? If so, then what?
I am having fun in the summer institute learnig about a clinical subject such as the "Brain and Behavior". Wouldn't it be productive if we as educator could take our clinical type subjects, and make them fun learning in our perspective classrooms for our students?
Name:  Antoinette
Subject:  Two Minds
Date:  2003-07-15 09:45:39
Message Id:  5973
During the conversation yesterday, Paul said "pain is the mismatch between expected input and actual input." I am an insulin dependent diabetic and I give myself daily needles. Since I originally expected the needles to hurt, at first they did, now a year later they do not hurt anymore. Maaybe, my CNS now expects 'pain' and when it receives 'pain' it is satisfied and does not send a real pain sygnal to my I-function.

My internal clock is set for Kenya and Italy, whhile visiting these places, I did not need an alarm clock, I just got up att 5:45 each morning. At home to get up at that time, I would need to be cattle- prodded out of bed.

Name:  John Dalton
Subject:  enabling
Date:  2003-07-15 09:46:24
Message Id:  5974
First, I would like to commend Geneva's response to this forum, "Mixed Signals." I really appreciate that she has given voice to an idea that's counter to the prevailing hegemonistic educational philosophy of accommodation. I think that she has identified a trend in education wherein through the real desire to help students, to understand differences, to appreciate different learning styles and different kinds of intelligence, to be all things to all people, we have fostered a permissive culture in our schools that no longer adheres to standards, which is ultimately enabling and which ironically engenders "learned helplessness". My definition of "enabling" focuses upon the extent to which we condone the lack of basic standards in the 3R's because we recognize that individuals have different skills, and we want to avoid being critical.
Name:  shellie
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  tues
Date:  2003-07-15 09:46:46
Message Id:  5975
It is a good thing that I am learning about minds--because today I don't think I have one. My mind is full of discharges of all kinds. I can really understand what all the confusion is about. My two minds are both so full of discharge that nothing seems to be able to be accomplished. My I function is trying hard to make some sense but the other mind won't let it.


Name:  carol
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  expectation vs.pain
Date:  2003-07-15 09:47:22
Message Id:  5976
I realize now how "fire-walkers" are able to repeat this activity time and again. I suppose this also applies to relgious groups that self- inflict pain as some symbol of pennance.
Name:  Linda Slattery
Username:  Anonymous
Date:  2003-07-15 09:47:52
Message Id:  5977
As far a "spealling", I agree that we need to have standards for our students, and teach them to be mindful of the value of written material. However, there is also a place and time for free writing, perhaps like journals or forums, for less formal writing. We can teach our students how to use a dictionary, and when it's important to edit.

The ideas presented yesterday are a strain for me to understand, but I think Paul is doing a good job at slowly building at least a superficial understanding of this input/output model of neurons. I still waiting how this impacts what we as educators should do or think differently.

Name:  Angie
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Spelling
Date:  2003-07-15 09:47:54
Message Id:  5978
As a child I have been taught that you do not make any mistakes when spelling. As an educator, I let them know that in the beginning I am focusing on your writing style. After we go over the various areas such as focus, convention, organization,, etc... then I tell that their final piece should not have any mistakes. They are allowed to get their portfolios and make corrections. There are times in testing, that I will be asked if spelling counts, I tell that I am interested in what you know
Name:  Julie
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Disabling/Enabling
Date:  2003-07-15 09:48:48
Message Id:  5979
This is a tough issue for those of us held accountable for students' high standardsof performance. Often I have to force myself to look at the content of kids' work before jumping on the mechanical errors. I remember having a staff development by an English teacher from Central High. I try toemploy the technique of reading work first WITHOUT a pen in hand at all. It's hard but it works.
Name:  Joyce
Username:  jtheriot
Subject:  Nervous system control
Date:  2003-07-15 10:00:29
Message Id:  5980
First I must apologize for missing class today. When I came out to my car, I found one of the tires almost flat. My husband had left for work and although I could have changed the flat, because I have done it before and there were "experienced neurons" to accomplish the task. However the "I-Function" was not willing to initiate the sequence. My neighbor came over and filled the tire with his compressor and in the last hour it has not lost air but I still want to have it checked by my mechanic. Anyway I'm sure that I've lost the opportunity for a parking space.

I do agree with Keith that the interconnectivity of the nervous system is fascinating especially in its complexity. The more you find out about the biology, the more there is to know and understand. We think that researchers should be able to "fix" mental illness in the same way we are able to develop treatment for physical problems. Now I understand a little more how taking a pill and supplying just one chemical is not enough. Although it may kickstart some neurons to begin to communicate, its difficult to know what "concert" will be produced in the end.

So I will read over the forum today, look at the content notes and work on my web site. I this way my electronic presence will be with you.

Name:  Sheila
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  BRAIN
Date:  2003-07-15 10:26:40
Message Id:  5981
I am learning about the nervous system and enjoying the class more each day. I missed you all yesterday.
Name:  Joyce
Username:  jtheriot
Subject:  Spelling
Date:  2003-07-15 11:22:05
Message Id:  5982
I agree with John about the disability of accommodation and to some extent with Geneva as well. I think rather than intellectual genocide, I would say "cultural genocide" because our accommodation of a non-intellectual focus could contribute to the fall of America. Just as Rome and Greece occupied mankind's cultural pinnacle, there was a timeline and like life itself these too met their demise. American culture is very young relative to others but how we prioritize our societal values may contribute to our early downfall. If we are honest, we must admit that we do not value intellectualism. We call them the derogatory "geeks". We pay a small amount of our earnings toward education compared to entertainment, (concerts, sports, movies, vacations, etc.).

Compare to Asian or European cultures that put education first, they have made the choice and will sacrifice everything (at the basic family level) to be sure that the children receive the best education possible. This is not the norm for America. On the other hand, the essence of America is dynamic. Foreign engineers, doctors, and other professionals flood into our country daily. We need them. Philadelphia brought in 250 Indians to teach our children science. Perhaps in time their(and other immigrants) impact on their new country will change our focus.

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