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This 0 page Class Notes was uploaded by Brian Schimmel on Sunday November 1, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to EDP101 at Miami University taught by LawrenceSherman in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see /class/233373/edp101-miami-university in Educational Psychology at Miami University.
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Date Created: 11/01/15
12 WK Teaching 39 I The Elephant Human beings have divided selves Some philosophers emphasize that people have a cool rational side and an unruly passionate side Some theo logians emphasize that people have a loving virtuous side and a selfish sin ful side Freudians used to emphasize the divisions between the ego the su perego and the id But lately some brain researChers have another way to conceptualize the divided self They distinguish between the conscious in tentional parts of the mind and the backstage automatic parts The best metaphor for this last di vision comes from Jonathan Haidt s wise book The Happiness Hypothe sis Imagine he writes a boy riding an elephant The boy is the conscious mind the prefrontal cortex and such The boy can plan ahead The ele phant is the unconscious part of the brain the amygdala and other re gions It produces emotions and vis ceral reactions It processes infor mation and forms intuitions These days scientists are spend ing a lot of time trying to understand the elephant and journalists are po p ularizing their results In Blink Malcolm Gladwell describes how the elephant can pick up and process in formation and even draw instant conclusions before the boy is aware of what he is seeing In Social Intel ligence Daniel Goleman describes how elephants talk to each other while scarcely letting the boys in on the conversation Fear laughter and other emotions can sweep through crowds before the individuals in the crowds understand what s going on The elephant is the repository of tacit knowledge As Robert Sternberg of Yale notes tacit knowledge is pro cedural It s knowing how not know ing what It s knowing how to listen how to see and organize what you see A child born into a home where people use a lot of words develops a sophisticated ability to use language without even having to sit down and consciously develop this skill A child39 born into a home where actions have predictable consequences learns to restrain impulses and practice self control The elephant doesn t acquire its knowledge from selfconscious study The elephant absorbs39 information from the environment The neural ar chitecture of the brain is39 shaped by experiences and habits often during the sensitiVe periods early in life This way of dividing the self is be ginning to have a powerful influence on education policy and urban policy and across a whole range of other practical spheres For example last Sunday Paul Tough had an outstanding article in The Times Magazine about how to im prove urban schools In one scene Tough was standing in front of a mu sic class at a KIPP Academy The teacher was explaining Tough s pres ence to the class when hetsuddenly pointed to Tough and asked Do you notic39e what he s doing right now The class called out Nodding The teacher was using Tough s un conscious nodding to reinforce a les son that when you listen to a person you should look at the person and you should actively listen Later in the class the teacher told the stu dents to adopt the normal school pose The kids slouched low in their chairs and gazed off into space Then the kids snapped back to the KIPP approved posture upright every head swiveling toward whoever was speaking t In short KIPP is taking skills that middleclass kids pick up uncon sciously and it is rigorously drilling I 39them into students from less fortu nate backgrounds KIPP Academies like many of the best schools these days don t just cram information into brains They educate the elephant They surround students with a total environment a holistic set of habits and messages and they dominate stu dents lives for many hours a day A generation ago the gods of edu cation fashion ordained that children should be liberated from desksin a row39pedagogy to follow their natu ral inclinations In those days hu man beings were commonly divided between their natural selves as sumed to be free and wonderful and their sociallyconstructed selves as sumed to be inhibited and repressed But now thanks to bitter experi ence and scientific research we know that the best environments don t lib erate students We know or have re discovered that the most nurturing environments are highly structured Children flourish in homes that are organized in families where attach ments are stable among people who plan for the future and within cultures that celebrate work Many of today s most effective I antipoverty institutions are incredi bly intrusive even authoritarian Up to a point elephants seem to like it that way El 9002 2 aster1151330 XVGNHS 03do 53min gt130 AlEIN 3H1