Teachers -Left out in the cold

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Apr 26, 2014 3:01 pm

A-RockLeFrench wrote: But some people are having their minds blown
Yeah there is that problem.
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by BBadger » Sat Apr 26, 2014 3:44 pm

A-RockLeFrench wrote:Especially when my point of view threatens your assumptions about what other people are supposed to be doing. Teachers are supposed to be doing their job.
No, actually, my claim is fundamental. There is no "opinion" here.

Doing their job means being at their job -- to do it -- and not "skipping class" to go on a romp in the desert. You're not employed as a teacher to be somewhere else dong something else, when you're supposed to be on the job teaching.

If you're a teacher who wants to negotiate with the principal to have time off to attend Burning Man, by all means, that is just fine. You've sought out permission to go in a responsible manner. I have zero problem with a responsible teacher who want to go to Burning Man going seeking responsible means to attend. However, if this teacher is pulling shit like skipping school just to go off to Burning Man, you are directly undermining the education of students in any context -- not least of all by being a terrible example.
A teacher at Burning Man, in their own selfish pursuit of hedonistic bliss is forsaking their responsibilities to our children, their responsibilities to our future as a society and must be told to shut up and go back to work. And furthermore that these idealistic teachers are the disease that needs to be excised from our system of education.
Yes. Shut up and get back to work, or be fired. You're not being paid, as a teacher or in any profession, to take time off anytime you want without permission from your employer. If that's the kind of hippie lifestyle you want QUIT YOUR JOB, be self-employed, or get fired for not being on the job when you're supposed to. It's a job for a reason. Nobody is forcing teachers to work if they'd rather be doing other things that they could do when not employed.
However I'm pretty sure that the conversation the OP was initiating wasn't about these horrible teachers you've taken cause against. This is a conversation about the teachers who actually do care enough to make the decision to not go to Burning Man. And when they do go, how does that effect their job and what kind of relationship does their school administration have with teachers going to BM?
Let's see. The OP had to lie storytell to make the burn twice in the last seven years. The rationale is that there are some "invaluable experience" despite the fact that she's skipping school during the self-acknowledged vital time of the year.

She wants advice? I tell her to grow up. Make some responsible decisions -- which can indeed include attending Burning Man without lying/skipping school.

What followed, in response to your claims that the education system would somehow benefit from such absenteeism, is also equally valid: these are not responsible decisions, and teachers who make them should be fired.
This is a conversation that people who are involved in the education system and who go to Burning Man are actually pretty serious about having as there are (whether you like it or not) some pretty big implications and effects on 'the system' from educators going to TTID. While to a meatcake and a boat captain it might just be one big-ass cool party in the desert, to others it can be a deeply transformational event, even spiritually. So many boundaries and envelopes are being pushed at Burning Man. My judgement (And I suspect I am not alone in this) is that what people learn and un-learn at BM has the potential to affect the world outside of BM.
So why don't these people have their transformational event on their own time? Maybe before they've got responsibilities to others, especially children? This reminds me of parents who decide to "realize their dreams" at the expense of their own children. No. You're a parent now. Act like one. Likewise, if you're a teacher, you need to be teaching when you're supposed to -- not making up lies to go off to some desert festival multiple times. That kind of irresponsibility is directly undermining our childrens' education.
What are some things that can come from a conversation like this? Resources for other teachers who are thinking about going to BM. Asking the questions of how can going to BM be framed in way that it becomes something beneficial for a teacher to experience? How can a teacher going to BM benefit students? What things are educators learning about education at BM and what sort of new concepts and ideas are emerging in the areas of interactive, cooperative and individualized learning?
Great. Do it on your own time though. Negotiate time off if you have to. Just don't go skipping out on your duties.
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by A-RockLeFrench » Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:37 pm

Eric wrote:
I like how you completely ignored my first paragraph - where I explained how my friend showed to his principle how attending would give him tools to use in his classroom ("He's been able to twice work it out with his principle to go from Weds on (back at work on Tues), by showing how he could bring specific things back to use in his teaching.").

While you are blindly assuming that everyone who doesn't completely agree with you is utterly against you, you're ignoring what I actually said. He loves attending, he has found ways to incorporate it into his teaching (that his principle approves of), but he understands that he can't attend every year because of his other job requirements. It's not his *right* to attend every year (any more that it's anyones), it's a privilege he holds dear & appreciates. Just like attending is very important to me, but when I had my last job I understood that it might be a while before I could attend again - it was a condition of the job.
I am not assuming that anyone who doesn't completely agree with me is utterly against me. Also I was and am not ignoring your first paragraph.

I hadn't assumed that you were even disagreeing with me. I had chosen to quote your second paragraph because I felt it supported my point in differentiating between a teacher blowing his or her responsibilities off to go party vs. a teacher who can make a responsible decision not to go Burning Man if it means potential consequences for their school and/or students.

I'm sorry for any confusion that may have been caused as a result of neglecting to include your first paragraph in that quote.
BBadger wrote:
If you're a teacher who wants to negotiate with the principal to have time off to attend Burning Man, by all means, that is just fine. You've sought out permission to go in a responsible manner. I have zero problem with a responsible teacher who want to go to Burning Man going seeking responsible means to attend. However, if this teacher is pulling shit like skipping school just to go off to Burning Man, you are directly undermining the education of students in any context -- not least of all by being a terrible example.

....

Let's see. The OP had to lie storytell to make the burn twice in the last seven years. The rationale is that there are some "invaluable experience" despite the fact that she's skipping school during the self-acknowledged vital time of the year.

She wants advice? I tell her to grow up. Make some responsible decisions -- which can indeed include attending Burning Man without lying/skipping school.
Sounds to me like the OP scheduled time of work to attend Burning Man those two times. How very irresponsible. I would imagine that quite a bit of story-telling is involved in most professionals time-off request for Burning Man.

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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by GreyCoyote » Sat Apr 26, 2014 7:15 pm

My request for time off went something like this:

Me: So, um... Burningman... I was thinking of going this year....

Boss: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I registered. Now hurry up and get yourself registered. We're taking two weeks off end of August... Now get back to work, Sweathog...

Me: Oh. :mrgreen:
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by Simon of the Playa » Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:09 am

Waldorf


case closed.

Wasn't Rudy Steiner a Nazi? :twisted:
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by *Kat* » Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:07 am

Simon of the Playa wrote:
Waldorf
case closed.

Wasn't Rudy Steiner a Nazi? :twisted:
Sheesh, come on at least google him before throwing something like that out there! What would YOU define as a Nazi? Rudolf Steiner died in 1925, the Nazis never really came to power til 1933. Yeah, I googled the first date. :mrgreen:
That being said of course he was (and his views remain) very controversial. He was a child of his time and a lot of his writing is dubious today (and probably was back then too). However, the Nazis criticized Steiner severely. Personally, I don't like a lot of his views myself, but there is a lot of really good stuff in his approach to education - or at least in the way Waldorf schools put it to practice these days.

I've done internships at several different private schools so see what didactic thinking is out there. Yeah, I've been at a Waldorf school too. Some of the stuff seems strange to me, but I think they have a lot of really good educational concepts going on.
Steiner, Montessori and others already put into practice over a hundred years ago what neuroscientists are finding out to be the key factors to a holistic education today (though a lot of concepts had been around much longer already).

I think a lot comes down to: What do people think is a good (or better: modern) education. A lot of people seem to think school is learning as in sitting in school memorizing facts - the good old 20th century grinding mill we've all gone through.
A modern education is focussed on understanding, not memorizing. It's focussed on practically doing something and thus testing theories one has learned. It's about learning with different senses, different tasks, different levels of difficulty and even different topics that are tailored to each student's interests and needs and current stages of development. It's about being self-sufficient and being able to work with others to reach a common goal. It's about thinking in advance, planning, experimenting, and revising.
You can't teach that that by standing in front of the classroom feeding the same information to all of the kids at the same time. You've go to get incredibly creative as a teacher and be a good motivator. You have to see the potential every child's got and foster that individually. Keywords in modern education are inclusion, self-reliance, self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, participation and immediacy. Sounds familiar, maybe? A little? A lot of progressive education fosters exactly those aspects. Including Steiner.

(Researches from neuroscientists show that with the traditional 20th century way of frontal instruction people remember only an average of 5% of what they have learned at school. What a waste of lifetime and potential and creativity...)
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by *Kat* » Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:30 am

I just thought of a great way to put it:
In classical education (frontal instruction) the student is a spectator. In modern education the student is a participant. :mrgreen:

I like that so much, I might sneak that into my thesis - maybe a good part for the introduction...
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by some seeing eye » Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:36 am

Thx *Kat* for a thoughtful post. To the OP:

First the main determinant of children's educational success, however it is measured, is parents. 0-K is critical for personality development within temperament, and ready to read. Teachers are not the prime determinant of educational success.

Second, BM can be a transformational experience. Once transformed, attendance is optional.

Third, each temperament is different, but there are many experiences with the psychological intensity of the BM event or greater. For me it has been international activities. Teachers and anyone can discover ways to find that transformational experience. BM is not the only way, or even the best way. All other ways are less dusty and most more life threatening.

Fourth, the BM culture is a cult with inclusion rituals designed to make the business work. There is good material there. But a messianic drive to teach children BM culture is like teaching brand culture like "just do it" to children.

BM is a business, brand and cult drawing from authentic human values in a way post industrial culture. It is not the source of those values.
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by Aurelia » Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:40 am

OMG
I stumbled into this thread

Yes, I went always from the beginning at brc
and some crucial early years of changing into a teacher ..I went Friday early dismissal ,paid my driver, because I was exhausted, and got back in time for school Tuesday
It is always a personal choice although there is some considerable badgering going on here

Steiner, Waldorf, that may be at least 2 new topics to rant on.

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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by *Kat* » Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:56 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q

The Internet is a wondrous thing... Just when I was moving on to something else...
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:16 pm

some seeing eye wrote:
BM can be a transformational experience. Once transformed, attendance is optional
I think that's the most brilliant point made on this thread!

I went, saw that there were others like me who had ideas and likes outside of the typical suburban American standard, said "Oh wow this is so cool" and I've been back on and off since then whenever everything worked out, but I can't say that any subsequent BM trips "changed" me or affected my thinking. Going back again is just fun.
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by A-RockLeFrench » Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:52 pm

So far I think *Kat* is winning this one. Way to effectively illustrate how impactful it can be to apply the principles of BM to a modern education and why such a conversation is important for educators who are really seeking to teach for learning vs. "the old way" of teaching for rote memorization.

For someone interested in why people learn the way they do and why our classical system of education is failing our students there's a lot to be gained from looking at what and why people learn from Burning Man. The concept of participant vs. spectator is fairly fundamental (I would argue anyways) to the culture and philosophy of BM and as BM grows and spreads its tentacles into the default world this concept will gain more traction in other areas of default culture and society. Or not...

Though it's hard to draw a concrete connection between two things that are so un-concrete as BM ideals and what is happening in our culture and collective evolution...
Captain Goddammit wrote:
some seeing eye wrote:
BM can be a transformational experience. Once transformed, attendance is optional
I think that's the most brilliant point made on this thread!

I went, saw that there were others like me who had ideas and likes outside of the typical suburban American standard, said "Oh wow this is so cool" and I've been back on and off since then whenever everything worked out, but I can't say that any subsequent BM trips "changed" me or affected my thinking. Going back again is just fun.
Attendance has always been optional. And just because your first time was maybe transformational and now going back is just fun it may be different for others.

My first year was a big deal, but it took a while for me to shake off my pre-conceived notions, drop my inhibitions enough to really dive in to what was going on internally and externally. My big breakthroughs and 'transformation' didn't realize until my second year, but then again I've always been a late bloomer... I think that it is entirely possible for the transformational aspect of BM to continue transforming afterthe first time. I keep going back because it is fun, it is challenging, and it still has the potential to transform, because I know I sure ain't done transforming, learning and growing.

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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by *Kat* » Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:09 pm

Some great points there imho.

But, it's not so much about winning. I think this is a very interesting conversation and I'm happy to see that there are so many people who seem to display some kind of passion for education - even though they might not agree with me.

I'm also in the middle of writing a thesis on open learning so I've got an unfair head start on most people here - and to be honest one could probably find just as many arguments against mine; the educational literature is extremely diverse. But that's true for most fields.

There is a lot of stuff going on here that we are talking about at the same time. We don't even agree on what "Burning Man" OR "education" are, really (and again, that's not a bad thing). Now we are even moving toward controversial figures in education!


I think this is worthwhile keeping up though, mainly for two reasons:

1. I think that indeed the Burning Man culture can have a huge impact in teaching and society in general. Let's not delude ourselves here, it won't be mainstream (at least I don't see it happening anytime soon), but there are indeed a lot of similarities in the findings of psychology and neurosciences that explain both why people have such a good time on the playa and why they have such memorable experiences - and, in the end, that is what long term learning is: memorable experiences. The playa is a great place to actively develop the skills that we want to foster in our students - and whose development in us has been somewhat denied to us, at least if you've gone through a classical frontal instruction education.
Do you have to participate in TTITD to "get it"? Definitely! You can read about it, sure, you can look at pictures, sure but you will not be able to internalize it from afar as well as you can when participating. Likewise it's a good thing to come back once in a while to refresh your memories (in most cases you don't internalize something by just doing it once).
Can you be a great teacher without going to Burning Man? Definitely! That's not the question for me. The question is: Can you be a better teacher because you go to Burning Man? Yes, definitely. But not if you take a week off to party...

2. Maybe - who knows - something productive will come out of this. Let's not kid ourselves. We are not primarily going to Burning Man to become better teachers, or, indeed, better humans. BUT maybe going to Burning Man can evolve directly into growing as a teacher. I see this on many different levels:
- personal growth
- exchange with other teachers - maybe even international - to reflect upon and to evolve your own teaching skills
- exchange with other teachers/parents/whathaveyou to reflect upon our school systems
- developing working material i.e. something you can take home and teach directly in the classroom
- developing working material for parents who want to take their kids out of school for the week
So yeah, ultimately I am thinking into the direction of workshops on the playa. Not the whole time, of course - but maybe enough to be able to justify going. It's unrealistic to think teachers can go every year or even for the whole week. But maybe every third year or once in every five years, who knows. The Black Rock Educators Consortium has already done workshops though I don't know how useful their presentations are for the classroom and - and this might be the ultimate problem - you'd probably have to return with some sort of official documentation of attendance to your school.

(And, by the way, I totally agree that one should always be honest about going to Burning Man and clearing it with supervisors first. Likewise one ought to have a plan on what the kids will be doing during the time one is gone to keep the burden on colleagues as small as possible. And one ought to make up for the time one has missed.)


Sadly, the OP seems to have disappeared. So maybe this was just a rant? Did she get scared away?
The only way to change something about the situation is to get creative & active. But yeah, that's work again. And then maybe even on part of your playa time...


(Sorry, I have drifted off a bit again...)


(By the way, a great read I'd recommend to anyone who wants to have a closer look at what is going on in schools is Philip W. Jackson: Life in Classrooms. It was first published in 1968 but my copy from 1990 is, sadly, still horribly up to date.)
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by theCryptofishist » Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:15 pm

*Kat* wrote:Sadly, the OP seems to have disappeared. So maybe this was just a rant? Did she get scared away?
The only way to change something about the situation is to get creative & active. But yeah, that's work again. And then maybe even on part of your playa time...
A quick glance (i.e. not following the links, only reading the first sentence or two) indicates to me that she only comes around when she wants a ticket or to complain...
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by BBadger » Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:16 pm

A-RockLeFrench wrote:So far I think *Kat* is winning this one. Way to effectively illustrate how impactful it can be to apply the principles of BM to a modern education and why such a conversation is important for educators who are really seeking to teach for learning vs. "the old way" of teaching for rote memorization.

For someone interested in why people learn the way they do and why our classical system of education is failing our students there's a lot to be gained from looking at what and why people learn from Burning Man.
I think you're comparing apples and oranges here. The education system has its flaws; however, the purpose of the system, especially at the beginning, is to build up as much knowledge and learning into a time period of a person's life where the gains are greatest. It's like investing early with compound interest.

At Burning Man, the opposite phenomena is what usually occurs. The investments have already been made; now it's time to spend some of that capital. People already have and bring knowledge, resources, and skills: this is why Burning Man is the way it is. Though people often claim to learn new skills, more often than not they're just applying what they already knew, or had the abilities to do. The whole "transformation" people have is realizing things about themselves that they already had but were suppressing or never exercising.

In education, it's not about revealing hidden information. You can't make the jump from nothing to Burning Man or something else demonstrated as great. You're just going to be wowed by what you see but have no means to recreate or expand it -- which often happens anyway for many people who attend. It is good to show what is possible, but you can just as easily strive to be an astronaut as someone who makes art for Burning Man. There is the importance of reinforcement in learning, but Burning Man or its culture really isn't about that either. It's more a place and event that gives you some reason to learn and reinforce knowledge -- but don't delude yourself into thinking Burning Man is the exclusive venue for that.

So what particular part of the Burning Man culture would be good to provide at the early levels of education? Mostly the concept that there are places and people who will appreciate the kind of work that goes into such an event. In other words, showing that there are alternatives and reasons why you may consider trying something outside the goals/needs of regular society. Even then, Burning Man is just one of many places where people can be appreciated for what they do -- not the end-all, be-all. You don't need the event to teach such things, people just happen to do such things at this event.

And the educators? Maybe consider that the fact that the type of person, who happens to be a teacher, that prepares to go to Burning Man is more important than the actual attendance. In other words, perhaps the selection bias is more telling than exposure to the event itself.
The concept of participant vs. spectator is fairly fundamental (I would argue anyways) to the culture and philosophy of BM and as BM grows and spreads its tentacles into the default world this concept will gain more traction in other areas of default culture and society. Or not...
This again? That concept is only "fundamental" to the culture of Burning Man only as a means of labeling certain people "participants" and others only "spectators." It's a burnier-than-thou concept. Otherwise, the distinction is completely faulty.

The reality is that there is no real difference between a so-called "participant" and a "spectator": the audience is as much a part of the show as the performer, just a different part. People certainly wouldn't bring art to the festival, or do much of anything creative if there were not audiences to also enjoy it. Likewise, people go to Burning Man to enjoy the performance and art. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement. Hell, even at the quantum level you can't "spectate" anything without actually "participating" in the interaction.
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by 5280MeV » Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:11 pm

BBadger wrote: Hell, even at the quantum level you can't "spectate" anything without actually "participating" in the interaction.
This is normally true, but the Elitzer-Vaidman bomb tester (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elitzur%E2 ... omb_tester) arrangement proposed provides true quantum spectation. A year later, in 1994, this possibility was experimentally verified. There are interaction-free measurements.

It might be possible to construct some sort of Interferometer based partially outside of BRC, which would allow one to truly be a spectator. It would be a pretty cool art project that wouldn't make any sense to anyone.
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by Aurelia » Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:08 pm

aha !
there it is...
sense, thought I'd lost mine
xoA.

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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by *Kat* » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:19 am

Wow. A lot going on again. I'll add my 2 cents regarding

Spectating vs. Participating:
BBadger wrote:The reality is that there is no real difference between a so-called "participant" and a "spectator": the audience is as much a part of the show as the performer, just a different part.
In education there is a distinct difference between teacher-centered instruction (the teacher tells the kids what to do, sets the topics, gives out tasks, evaluates how well the students have worked according to his standard, etc.) and student-centered instruction (the kids have a say in curriculum, tasks, how and when the learn, work and play).

In teacher-centered learning it is the teachers obligation to set goals, prepare lesson plans, prepare working material and then check (test) if all students achieved the goals. In student-centered instruction the teacher also knows what the students are supposed to learn. But he does not prepare individual lessons. The teacher creates a working environment that fosters independent learning, curiosity, experimentation and creativity. There are many different way to reach a certain goal (acquire knowledge), the teacher provides the material needed and encourages and help every kid individually.

In teacher-centered instruction the administrative aspect is the focus: the teacher, the principal, the people who make decisions about curriculums, laws, etc. The students become spectators. In student-centered instruction each child is the center of focus. What are the child's current needs, what are current interests?

One example to illustrate this:
I worked at a school in March that is very much based on open learning. We had a curriculum planned (of course I have a plan when I walk into the classroom). We were in the middle of a course about weather phenomena and the next one was going to be wind. However, there was absolutely no wind. All week long. We were going to measure wind strength and direction and build out own measuring tools. At the same time the schoolyard was a huge construction site. They literally tore up the entire blacktop. My classroom was on the ground floor with huge windows. We had big machinery drive by the windows throughout the day, literally two inches away from the windows. Of course the kids watched the machines! Furthermore the whole building shook from all the noise, it was simply impossible to do much cognitive work.
What did I do? I postponed the classes on wind and spontaneously had them draw the machines. Since they were right there by us, the kids could see all the detail. They drew incredibly elaborate pictures of a lot of mechanisms. They spontaneously got together in groups to help each other. They amazed ech other, looking at their pictures in wonder not being able to believe THEY actually drew that. And yes, I was amazed too! In a more ideal world I would have had the chance to teach about how these machines work later on.
The wind? Well, we did that next week. When it had actually picked up.
What was planned simply was not important at the time. I could have made the kids sit down and listen to me lecture about wind, sure. Would they have listened? I doubt it. Would they have remembered anything? I do not think so. I could of course have yelled at them and made up penalties for not paying attention and sent them home with a bad grade (well, we don't give grades) to teach them proper behavior in school: You do what your task is! Not what you are interested in! Don't like it? Suck it up! The government says we have to talk about wind today. Better get used to always doing what you are told!
Personally, I would consider that not learning but training. The students are spectators to what the teacher does. They are not involved (at least not the majority of them).

A similar thing to the construction site example happens on the playa: We get involved. We see something that intrigues us and we spontaneously start a conversation. We stop and look at something closely. We are confronted with art and playscapes that force us to work together. Somebody else might have put it there but we are the ones who are involved.

The key factor to spectator vs. participant is time (imho). Do I have the time to teach what is important to the kids right now? Do I have somebody breathing down my neck waiting for me to do something wrong (as a teacher)? Do I get in trouble if I have not managed to teach something by the end of the year because more immediate things came up? Do I have the courage to think out of the box? What will the parents think? What will the other teachers think?
That's the luxury we dwell in on the playa – not having to answer to these questions. We are sort of stuck out there for a week. We have time. We don't have pressure. We can wander, interact, ask, tell, look closely, revisit, enjoy. We are emotionally involved.

I think this is an extremely unique setup to the playa. I know of no other place/event that makes becoming a participant as easy as the playa does. To me, participating on the playa is not bringing artwork or setting up a theme camp or doing a workshop – participating to me means actively taking part in your environment, allowing yourself to be the agent in what you are doing and not just doing what somebody else (a person, society) tell you what you ought to do.
Again: I don't think you can experience it anywhere else to that extend. It's a very good feeling to take home and try to recreate some of that in your classroom.

I would actually argue that in very many cases we are spectators outside the playa. The lines between being a spectator and being a participant are blurred. BUT very often we do what is expected of us. Very often we do NOT participate (as in being involved emotionally) but rather governed by worries and fears and what-ifs.


How we learn

This is tied to the participant vs. spectator issue. We know from psychology and neurosciences that you cannot fill somebody with knowledge. You can repeat something a hundred times and not have it memorized in a way that you can access that knowledge easily. It might be in your head, but you might not get to it. Remember learning the multiplication table? How much of that got lost when you started using calculators? What about the poems you had to memorize in school? Could you still recite them now? What about chemical formulas? Dates in history? You learned so much. But why? You learned it to pass a test. You wrote the test – and most of it was gone very soon. You were a spectator. Somebody forced you to learn that.
If you truly want to learn, you have to actively construct the knowledge in your head. Actually, that is exactly what your brain does: Whenever you learn/experience something, it forms a new physical connection in your brain. It's like a hardware modification. If you use that idea again, it is reinforced. The more often you use the idea, the more reinforced it gets. If you look at it from a different perspective, other neurons are connected to it. You brain builds a web. You don't use something? Well, your brain starts to disregard those connections. Others become more important. You start to forget (this is extremely simplified). If you want to learn, you have to be actively involved. You have to try and fail, reconsider, look at something in a different way, make connections to what you already know, be excited about what you are studying. You have to be an active participant.


Motivation

There are many different reasons why people do things. Firstly, we can separate motivation into intrinsic (you do something because YOU want it, e.g. out of curiosity, feeling to have accomplished something, to gain autonomy) and extrinsic motivation (you do something because something outside of you, e.g. competition, fear, rewards, money, punishment). This is not to say that intrinsic motivation is always good and extrinsic motivation is always bad!

There is a HUGE variety of different motivational concepts out there. It's really worth googling. Here is one that pops up a lot (from Schwartz). So, why do we do stuff?
for power – to gain social status, prestige, dominance
out of hedonism – simply to have a good time
to conform to society – restraining our actions to fit to our surroundings
for stimulation – to get a kick out of something, excitement
for self-direction – to be independent, to create, to experiment, to explore, to gain self-respect
our of tradition – to commit to certain customs, ideas, values
to feel secure – for safety and harmony
out of benevolence – out of the caring for others
to feel achievement – to show that you are a capable and successful
(and other reasons)

So somebody might build an art car to be respected (looked up to), to fit in (maybe a lot of his friends bring artwork out to the playa?), to feel that he has archived something, for his sheer own pleasure, or, indeed, a mixture of different reasons.

I, personally, actually don't think that many people create for TTITD because they want to be admired. It's such a big playscape out there. There is constantly something new that triggers your interest. And hardly anyone will even know your name. I actually DO think that most people create for the sheer fun of creating and experimenting and pushing themselves.
Again, I think that this is something very distinct to Burning Man. Spending thousands of dollars and free time and sweat and tears for a week of fooling around is not commonly encouraged in the default world (or, indeed legal or possible). There are pockets in society – e.g. artistic communities and artistic neighborhoods.
Again, this appreciation for intrinsic motivation is something great to transfer to your classroom.


Wow. I'm afraid I spent more than 2 cents now...




And, finally, a few side notes on some specific issues:

BBadger wrote:The education system has its flaws; however, the purpose of the system, especially at the beginning, is to build up as much knowledge and learning into a time period of a person's life where the gains are greatest. It's like investing early with compound interest.
The problem is: That is exactly what traditional education is usually NOT doing. I'm not saying kids don't learn anything in school - we would not send them there if they did not. But what is it that kids really learn? They learn to somehow get by. They learn that passing is sufficient, you don't have to strive for success. They learn that pushing yourself is not necessarily rewarding. They learn that trying very hard fosters jealousy. They learn that being different is a bad thing. They learn to cheat. They learn to suppress others. They learn to constantly judge themselves in comparison to others and not their own potentials and achievements.

BBadger wrote:People already have and bring knowledge, resources, and skills: this is why Burning Man is the way it is. Though people often claim to learn new skills, more often than not they're just applying what they already knew, or had the abilities to do. The whole "transformation" people have is realizing things about themselves that they already had but were suppressing or never exercising.
Applying something is just another way of learning: You are using knowledge you already have and reinforce them by transferring them to something else – your brain builds another connection (or two, or three). Knowledge is only the starting point of developing and refining skills. The whole process is learning.

BBadger wrote:There is the importance of reinforcement in learning, but Burning Man or its culture really isn't about that either. It's more a place and event that gives you some reason to learn and reinforce knowledge -- but don't delude yourself into thinking Burning Man is the exclusive venue for that.
Certainly not the only one but a darn good and effective one – if you want it to be.

BBadger wrote:People certainly wouldn't bring art to the festival, or do much of anything creative if there were not audiences to also enjoy it. Likewise, people go to Burning Man to enjoy the performance and art. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement.
That seems like a moot point to me. If there were no people out there (your “audience”), there would be no festival – and hence no reason to create anything for that festival.
The special thing about Burning Man is that everybody out there can be turned into an active participator at any moment.

BBadger wrote:This again? That concept is only "fundamental" to the culture of Burning Man only as a means of labeling certain people "participants" and others only "spectators." It's a burnier-than-thou concept. Otherwise, the distinction is completely faulty.
I actually think this is NOT a burnier-than-thou concept. I, personally, don't judge people who do not get actively involved.
I actually think that the participator vs. spectator thing is a descriptive thing, not a prescriptive one. To me it simply states what seems to naturally happen to a lot of people out there.
Sometimes even 15 minutes on the street clock is a world away! A letter of the alphabet can be an entire light-year, a galaxy, a universe. - AntiM

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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by Simon of the Playa » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:50 am

My sister runs a waldorf school for youngin's and shes TOTALLY a nazi...


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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by Roberto Dobbisano » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:53 am

If she sees this you are in DEEP schiese.
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:12 am

I hope writing posts that long and tedious are very therapeutic for the authors.
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by *Kat* » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:19 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:I hope writing posts that long and tedious are very therapeutic for the authors.
Yeah, sorry I busted your attention span. I forgot you might be just another glorious graduate of the great American school system...
Sometimes even 15 minutes on the street clock is a world away! A letter of the alphabet can be an entire light-year, a galaxy, a universe. - AntiM

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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by Simon of the Playa » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:28 am

waldorf is great!








until you actually go out into the REAL world.... :twisted:
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by *Kat* » Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:42 am

Simon of the Playa wrote:waldorf is great!

until you actually go out into the REAL world.... :twisted:
Whaaat? That sounds like you consider being able to dance your own name is not a vital skill to survival in this modern world! :mrgreen:
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:15 am

*Kat* wrote:
Captain Goddammit wrote:I hope writing posts that long and tedious are very therapeutic for the authors.
Yeah, sorry I busted your attention span. I forgot you might be just another glorious graduate of the great American school system...
There's an art to getting your point across efficiently.
You might be a lot of things... A good writer isn't one of them.
Last edited by Captain Goddammit on Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by Aurelia » Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:17 am

well except for SOTP's asides this reader /educatress went to sleep

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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by ygmir » Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:51 am

*Kat* wrote:Wow. A lot going on again. I'll add my 2 cents regarding

Spectating vs. Participating:
**snipped**
do we have any sort of "instructional" thread? TL:DR?...........
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by 5280MeV » Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:38 pm

Hey guys - I think that we can do this!

Put a DJ in a dark soundproof box. The output of the decks will be digitized and sent to a lab where a photon can be emitted into a Mach-Zehnder interferometer scheme as described in http://arxiv.org/pdf/1004.1895v1.pdf. These bits of information can be measured in an interaction-free way, and then sent to a soundsystem back on the playa. There may be some degradation of sound quality due to probabilistic imprecision of the interaction-free measurement.

People can then go to the theme camp and dance without interacting.
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by Eric » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:22 pm

This thread has turned into good old all-American circle-talking. I feel like I'm reading the Congressional Record at this point.
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Re: Teachers -Left out in the cold

Post by 5280MeV » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:32 pm

Eric wrote:I feel like I'm reading the Congressional Record at this point.
That is another great example of an interaction-free measurement!
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