And I all day felt like I had something else to say about the meeting—I did have one idea soon after (I couldn’t write—I’ve been told not to write during meetings, indirectly by __, more directly by __) that I can’t defend the undefined in words and arguments—since arguments depend on definitions, trying to mount a defense of my classes by saying what’s defined (in curriculum and rubrics) can never matter all that much—I didn’t do that yesterday.
( __ doesn’t seem to like standards-based grading. … But even he probably wouldn’t defend my idea that my sensibility, my mind, my interactions with students matter more than any curriculum plans.)
So, yeah, I felt I had nothing all that useful to add. S.B.G. doesn’t seem all that great—it doesn’t seem worth all the effort. I see __’s point that having specific standards gives a teacher specific things to tell kids to work on—a narrower diagnosis. He even said … that his model is a coaching model. But we coach kids (others) to improve at specific skills, skills that are pre-defined, like shooting a basket, whereas in my open-definition class, kids could do better work than I could imagine—or at least my assignments wouldn’t be too narrow. See, and even as I write that, I’m thinking of kids who did half-assed jobs on their assignments—that’s not admirable.
But as M expressed within recent months—if a lit class is gonna be about anything, it should be ideas, not skills. As I let the dog in a few mins ago, I thought how the Odyssey isn’t really all that psychologically complex—my sophs can mostly get it, understand Ody’s motives. I read something recently, a brief interview with Alain de Botton (I think), where he said a big problem now is that people think what’s popular is not related to what’s true. Alain said we ought to be able to use popular modes to teach/lead others to truth. I’m not sure I agree with that, for several reasons (I’m not sure there is truth, for one—though of course that isn’t to justify Trump telling lies).
Anyway, I still haven’t said much about the meeting. I will say that it felt odd, a little odd, to sit there and not say anything. … But save your comments—when you used to make those comments, you were probably leading the group off track. You weren’t being helpful.
[From journal of Tues., 2 May 2017, Journal 250, page 110-11]