Amazon.com Widgets The Good Place (Michael L. Umphrey on gardening, teaching, and writing)

"Peace is not an absence of war; it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice. - Benedict Spinoza."

Levels of storytelling, Part 2
     Pursuing intentional purposes

The second level of storytelling includes the planned and structured stories we use to organize our lives. Politicians call stories at this level of narration “campaigns.� Scientists call them “experiments.� Teachers usually call them “unit plans.� They are scripts we intend to live, aiming at goals we consciously choose. They are the larger stories we want our lives to follow. They are the stories of our intentional purposes and of what happens as we pursue those purposes.

Because schools are ritual centers cut off from the real living places where we love and hate, we burden them with all the elaborate aspirations that our love and labor are too meager and narrow to bear.
Madeline Grumet

Let us answer this book of ink with a book of flesh and blood.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Organizing around purpose

The second level of storytelling includes the planned and structured stories we use to organize our lives. Politicians call stories at this level of narration “campaigns.� Scientists call them “experiments.� Teachers usually call them “unit plans.� They are scripts we intentionally create, aiming at goals we consciously choose. They are the larger stories we want our lives to follow. They are the stories of our purposes and of what happens as we pursue those purposes.

What intentionally planned stories schools tell is a subject that every faculty should be able to discuss fluently. We know from experience that the most powerful learning occurs when we become protagonists in our own learning: pursuing desires, facing obstacles, meeting opportunities, making decisions, and arriving at conclusions. In many workshops, I’ve asked people to tell me the most significant thing they remember learning. The answer is always a story. Because we are made to live and learn through story, turning schoolinlg into a story requires neither pedagogical brilliance nor a complicated theory.

It mostly requires that we attempt something. A couple of years ago I visited with an unusually intelligent young man who had dropped out of school after ninth grade. “They never did anything,” he explained. Not doing anything, or not seeming to do anything, is a fatal mistake for schools. Getting ready for a test doesn’t count, unless the test itself means something.

MORE...


Posted by Michael L Umphrey
(0) CommentsPermalinkPrinter-FriendlyE-mail this page
©2005 Michael L. Umphrey
(0) Trackbacks

Page 1 of 1 pages