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"Beyond Silenced Voices": Notes Towards Day 5 (Tues, Sept. 15):

Anne Dalke's picture

I. [2:25-2:35] gather @ adirondack chairs in front of English House; open with Walking Meditation

You spend a good part of your life moving. Walking meditation is a way to practice mindfulness while you’re moving. During walking meditation you put your attention on your feet rather than your breath. When you notice you are thinking or distracted, simply bring your attention back to your feet and their movement—
up and down.

You don’t need to look at your feet—just simply be aware of how your feet feel one step at a time as they lift and move through the air. Heel, sole, toe, heel, sole, toe. In particular, pay attention to the point the foot touches the ground, and the sensations of contacting the earth. Remember to feel each step, not just think about it or visualize it. Keep your posture upright, alert, and relaxed. You can hold your hands at your sides, or clasped in front or behind. Keep your eyes open, cast down, and slightly ahead. Experiment with how fast you walk, perhaps slowly or at a more regular speed. Find the pace where you feel most present and aware.

You are here, walking on the earth. It’s good to be alive.

Try walking in silence for a few minutes now.

[2:35-2:50] return to classroom or stay outside??

II. coursekeeping
* put on board or on sheet of paper:
who read Kim and Markus on "Speech and Silence:
An Analysis of the Cultural Practice of Talking"?
and who read Dimitriadis on
"Popular Culture, Pedagogy, and Urban Youth"?

* sign up to take turns in leading our exercises in silence
on first pass: select a time to do it alone; on second pass, select a time to do it together;
(15 minutes total/tops, could be split between beginning and ending of class,
as long as I have a heads up...

* Your first paper for me was scheduled tomorrow, but since your
research proposal is due then--and also since we took some time
to talk w/ Sheila last week, and so still have some more reading-
-and-talking about classroom silence to work through--
I've shifted it til Friday @ 5. I'm assuming this will be a Thursday night
project for most of you; if you need to leave for the prison @ midday Friday,
haven't quite finished, and have to take an extension, fine: JUST WRITE AND
TELL ME WHAT YOUR PLAN IS; I can deal if I know what's happening
(but not if I don't!). I want to review all these over the weekend,
so that I can meet w/ each of you next week to talk about revisions,
so there's some flexibility...but not a whole lot!

This is the assignment: use at least one of the texts we've read
as your theoretical frame, to reflect on
your own experiences of
silencing and being silenced. When, where and why do you think
has this happened? Open the paper by "quoting" one of the
visualizations of silence that we looked @ during the first week
of classes (could be your own, or a classmate's, or another
visualization or vocalization that you've since discovered and
want to work with).
Post these reflections in our on-line
class conversation and BE SURE TO TAG THEM both
"Web Paper or Special Event" and "English."

Because you have a paper due this week, you do not need to
do a Wednesday night posting
[unless you still owe one from
the last two weeks]; also always welcome to put up thoughts
whenever/asever they arise...don't have to be 'assigned'! and
they can count! so if you say something when you have to
say it, then you don't have to say it when I say so!...think of
Serendip as spillover/generative space...will also ask for
some short reporting out from today's class...


* To prepare for Thursday's class discussion
3-page essay, "Talking in Class," by Jane Tompkins, the
most famous graduate of BMC English Dept, a hero of mine
because of the work she did in the '70s in revising
the canon of American Lit--brought in Uncle Tom's Cabin,
19th century sentimental women's writing generally;
also married to the infamous Stanley Fish.
the text I've put in our protected reading file begins with
"Talking in Class," but also includes two later chapters
from her book, A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned.
Chapter 7, "Higher Education," begins in the Denbigh back smoker !!
and  Chapter 8, "The Cloister and the Heart," struggles with
the concept of college as a cloister, a site of seclusion;
you might well find yourself reading on..
but all that's required is Chapter 6, "Talking in Class."

Your second assignment is something Abby, Rhett, Sula
already read as part of "Identity Matters" last fall
(price you pay for sticking w/ the same prof!): it's
the first chapter from Margaret Price's Mad at School:
Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life;
30 pp. about "Listening to the Subject of Mental Disability:
Intersections of Academic and Medical Discourses."

Margaret's focus is on the "silencing" of those w/
"mental disabilities"/differences, and she really
got me re-thinking some of my expectations/
classroom practices
(too fluid, w/out enough
structure for neuroatypical brains....). She visited
the bi-co a few years ago, hid out in my office
during her down times; I hosted her in one of
my classes as well as in a faculty group on
Assessment that Jody and I were part of
(so I have stories!)

I also know Angela Carter, whose essay on
"Teaching with Trauma: Trigger Warnings,
Feminism, and Disability Pedagogy" is your
third assignment; I heard this presented @
a very crowded and charged session of SDS
in Atlanta this summer...and have been following
the debate this summer about trigger warnings;
so more stories there, too!

II. [2:50-3:05] as promised, today we pick up on the issues Rosa was raising
@ the end of last Tuesday's class, and some of Farida's follow-up questions:
everybody read (again?!--who read this already?)
Lisa Delpit's 1988 essay, "The Silenced Dialogue:
Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children"?

and, from the 2005 follow-up collection, Beyond Silenced Voices:
Class, Race, and Gender in United States Schools --

who read Kim and Markus on "Speech and Silence"? and who
read Dimitriadis on "Popular Culture, Pedagogy and Urban Youth"?

a week ago, we were reading ED's poems, writing some of our own;
I was urging you to consider the value of the inexplicit, allusive, inexact;
I heard Rosa questioning that, as leaving some folks out, not making
the material accessible...? and I heard Farida questioning Rosa's questions...

let's go on with this, first in small groups:
organize into three groups of 5 each, each to focus on a text:
1's in charge of Delpit,
2's Kim & Marcus (Asian students),
3's Dimitriadis (urban kids)

[or 4 groups, 2 each on Kim&Marcus and on Dimitriadis?]

summarize the argument for one another,
prepare to explain it to others [this exercise
is called ....?]; need a note-taker for each group,
who will post the summary sentence...

[3:05-3:25] re-form into 5 clusters, 3 each with 1 person
responsible for each essay, in order to put them
into conversation w/ each other:
how do they push/pull against one another?
[need another note-taker for each group, also to post...]

what new questions arise for you,
re: being silenced/chosing silence in class?

[3:25-3:45] return to large group:
what are our questions going forward?
[and who will post what??]

Anne's reading notes
Delpit, "The Silenced Dialogue":
debate over process- vs. skills-oriented writing instruction a starting-off point
to examine the "culture of power," and concludes that we need to teach all students
explicit and implicit rules of power as step toward more just society
challenges assumption that making rules explicit limits fredom, autonomy,
that indirectness lessens the power differential and discomfort
reasonable for those w/in the culture to want their children to be autonomous,
but those outside want codes that will ensure their success: product is important,
and w/out explicit information about the rules, it feels that there are secrets being kept,
and there's a strong sense of being cheated/denied access to necessary knowledge
since working-class parents are more directive, their children may not
understand indirect statements from a teacher as (veiled) commands, w/ consequences
people of color see authority as earned, and so needing to be consistently performed;
cf. middle-class people who see authority as acquired in the role, so not needing expression
criminal not to attend to deficits in codes needed to function effectively;
pretending that gatekeeping doesn't exist ensures that students won't pass through
to act as if power doesn't exist ensures that the status quo remains
honesty preferred: explain the games and their rules
political change can't happen from below, where we must
teach them both the realities of power and its codes
ex. of Athabaskan Indian teacher of "Our Heritage Language" and "Formal English,"
whose students learn how arbitrary, and politially charged, language standards are
teaching not conventions but cultural awareness
appropriate education should be devised with adults who share the children's culture
debate is not really re: skills vs. process, but cross-cultural communication and power;
otherwise, "silenced" by forces that claim to "give voice"...
put our beliefs on hold (cease to exist as ourselves!) to see ourselves from others' angry gaze
people are experts in their own lives: don't deny their interpretations, believe that they are rational
learn to be vulnerable enough to allow their realities into our consciousness, initiate true dialogue
[Ellsworth challenges this!]

Kim and Markus, Speech and Silence: An Analysis of the Cultural Practice of Talking:
educators' concerned w/ silence of East Asian students;
their relative lack of verbal participation is seen as hurdle to "independent thinking"
Is talking always good? in other cultural systems, good thinking/
performance associated w/ verbal reserve
with cultural model of self as free and independent, speaking one's mind =being a person
in cultural model of self as relational, listening to indirect speech w/ inferred meanings is valued
talking as expressing one's ideas, vs. connecting w/ others
BLIRT (brief loquaciousness and interpersonal responsiveness test)!
low-context cultures focus on content of speech; high-context on context
different cultural practices of parenting talking/listening--> classroom participation:
dense network of cultural values and beliefs about being a good person
cf. direct, explicit American speaking with
reserved, implicit, indirect East Asians,
whose speech invites active, fully attentive listening!
Western belief that talking enhances (analytic) thinking,
vs. Eastern belief that it impairs (holistic) thought
culturally specific assumptions need to be questioned, modified
freedom of silence as fund'l a cultural right as freedom of speech

Dimitriadis, "Popular Culture, Pedagogy, and Urban Youth":
"structuring of silence" in urban schools, which silence marginalized youth
"accountability"= policing
alternative curricula, "homestead" =stake out meaningful spaces outside the borders of school
decenter assumptions about what 'education' means, where they get it
scaffold lessons w/ popular texts; use media to author their lives, define selves
antipathy to how black history is taught: King indexes ideally nonviolent black population
move beyond curricular "representation" to "performance": how are historical figures mobilized?
more "raplike" than "schoollike"--valorizing violence; drama more "real" than documentary
seeking (and critiquing) physical response to Klan rally; discourse of rights not mobilized