Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Don't Do It

Thanks to my daughter I've learned about a fantastically oppressive pedagogical technique that's become popular in our ever-more-ratcheted-up workaholic control society. Hilariously, it's called the DO-NOW. 

The first step in a great lesson is a “Do Now”– a short activity that you have written on the board or that is waiting for students as they enter.  It often starts working before you do.  While you are greeting students at the door, or finding that stack of copies, or erasing the mark-ups you made to your overhead from the last lesson, students should already be busy, via the Do Now with scholarly work that prepares them to succeed. In fact, students entering your room should never have to ask themselves, “What am I supposed to be doing?” That much should go without saying. The habits of a good classroom should answer, “You should be doing the Do Now, because we always start with the Do Now.”

Hey I have an even better idea. Start the kids working while they're eating their cereal with me! Tweet them a puzzle that their cereal bowls yell at them in the voice of their favorite Disney character from out the tiny speakers in their IOT china.

Because now can be defined arbitrarily. And hesitation and “what am I doing?” have nothing to do with teaching. Or learning. You should always know what you're doing. Otherwise you're a loser. Gotta keep on keeping on!


cgerrish said...

I can imagine a chalkboard with just one item on the "Do Now" list.


Reminds me of an interview with Patti Smith...

KU: You often describe a real sense of contentment in spending afternoons sitting in the same café with black coffee, daydreaming and writing. But we live in an era of quick convenience, one in which contemplation falls by the wayside.

PS: We could talk about this for hours. I used to work at a bookstore up [on Fifth Avenue], and at every day at lunchtime, [the street] would be packed with people on their lunch break, either talking with a friend or walking by themselves, thinking, daydreaming, just letting their mind rest. But now, I was walking on the same street and looked, and all I saw around me were people arguing on their phones, continuing their workload or trying to figure out what happened to their American Express package. I thought, Where is their downtime? What happened to daydream time?

KU: It seems ironic that people who hold business meetings over the phone probably think of daydreaming as frivolous, but then they’re the ones giving us 80 different flavours of Pop Tarts.

PS: You can’t criticize our culture as it shifts. It’s a collective consciousness. But I do mourn certain things, and I feel concerned about children who are not outside playing and building forts or making up games. There’s nothing wrong with playing video games or watching cartoons, but when it becomes the essential way that you are spending your supposed creative or physical energy, you have to ask yourself if you’re losing something.

Angel Weber said...

This made me sad and a little mad.
Even in college there is the overbearing sentiment "Don't you know already?!". No, that's why I'm here, duh. Little ones should never feel like looser for wondering.

Never-mind breathing.
or Laughing...

[Or Pretend to]
Resistance is futile!