This video made me want to cry tears of linguistic joy.
This public school in Los Angeles is teaching kids to essentially become bilingual—learning the “mainstream” form of American English without devaluing the AAVE they speak at home. Absolutely incredible.
Here’s another video from the same series (the documentary “Do you speak American?”), talking to some of the now-adult children and parents who were part of the landmark 1979 court case (MLK Jr. Elementary school kids vs. Ann Arbor MI school board), finding that the black children in the school were being discriminated against based on their language.
It’s long been shown that it’s more effective to teach children to codeswitch between multiple dialects or languages than to force them to abandon what they speak at home and use only the dominant one, both in terms of children’s skills with the dominant language (how do you learn to sound out words when the sounds you’re using don’t correspond to your teacher’s?) and in terms of children’s emotional development (unsurprisingly, people don’t like school much when they’re constantly told that their community is wrong). Barriers for teaching children to codeswitch are for political and social reasons, not linguistic ones.
I fear we are witnessing the “death of expertise”: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all.
'Expertise' as used here almost always requires the acceptance and approval of the Powers That Be - automatically excluding anyone who has knowledge that comes from experience (look, ‘expert’ and ‘experience’ have the same root for a reason), who can’t afford/has no access to traditional institutions through which ‘expertise’ is conferred, whose expertise conflicts with the agenda of those Powers, etc., etc.
The glory of Google and Wikipedia and everything like them is their ability to democratize knowledge. Furthermore, that is precisely what teachers want: to help people learn stuff, whether they normally would or not, whether it’s taught in schools or has been thrown aside for three months of test prep, whether it’s the area someone specializes in or is simply curious about… There’s no reason whatsoever that knowledge has to come from a ‘professional’ rather than some other source; that doesn’t make the knowledge any less potent, or any less true.
There is no division between “students and teachers, knowers and wonderers”. I am a teacher; I am also a student, always, because no matter your knowledge, you can always learn more. ‘Knowers’ v. ‘wonderers’? Really? How do you think people come to know things in the first place? I’m definitely an ‘expert’ on a number of things—an institutionally certified expert, even!—but I still wonder about all those things. Besides, who determines what is ‘knowing’? Plenty of those things I have expertise in are *not* institutionally certified, and that makes my expertise not one whit less.
For instance: I know a shitload more about recovering from traumatic brain events than my neurologist. He knows all about how these things happen in the first place, all the ins and outs and mechanisms; however, when it comes to practical advice for what’s necessary to not continue to fuck yourself up in the weeks afterward, he learns a hell of a lot from me. He’s an MD/PhD, he’s about as ‘expert’ as you can get; but that’s nothing in the face of actual experience. In fact, the main reason I knew he was an infinitely better doctor than the other neurologists I’d seen is because he acknowledged how little he knew about the experience of, say, having your life force drained from you by anti-seizure medication. Despite his honest-to-Dog genius, he does not pretend to all-encompassing expertise, or treat his fount of knowledge as the only valid source - which makes him smarter and more ‘expert’ than anyone who thinks they know it all.
And everyone knows that the only difference between professionals and laymen is that one gets paid for their achievements and the other doesn’t. It’s such a pathetic example, really: ‘laymen’ is a word created to distinguish the people who were not endorsed by the institutional Powers That Be in religious life; the Jesus Christ of the Bible was a layman, and as such was anathema to the institution. Now, we’ve all seen how much we should blindly trust and accept what the Church/etc. tells us, right?
Finally, that bit about “achievement in an area” is utterly nonsensical. Is ‘achievement’ supposed to stand in for ‘experience’—which, as already noted, is never accepted as institutionally valid in conferring ‘expertise’? Does ‘achievement’ mean an official document a la a diploma? How many of the world’s political leaders have degrees in management, policy, diplomacy, etc.? Have they ‘achieved’ less than those who have studied those topics in a fucking ivory tower? To reverse the question, there’s that old saw about how those who can’t do, teach. Now, I think that’s bullshit, because teaching is a fucking skill, and plenty of people who have incredible achievement in an area can’t go into a classroom and convey any of that in a useful way. By the same token, when those people *are* good teachers, do we keep them out of the classroom because their ‘expertise’ comes from experience rather than academic success? Never.
This whole thing is bullshit. All those signal words—expertise, professional, layman, student, teacher, knower, wonderer, achievement—are deliberately misused, ignorant of their actual definitions and meanings, to make a faux-profound statement that has no purpose other than to bitch about how the Powers That Be are no longer as all-important in conferring expertise as they used to be.
You can be an expert without paying for it. That really pisses this person off.
yes to the above. but at the same time, when i take an elevator and go up to the viewing deck of a 128 storey building, i would like to think that the architects and engineers involved in building that shit were the best at what they were doing, and had the experience and the training to back up their claims to expertise. i mean, you can question monopoly on knowledge without denying that expert knowledge exists, which is where i feel this thread uncomfortably heading… because that way lies climate change deniers.
As someone who has inadvertently ended up straddling these boundary lines— as someone who, for instance, has the privilege to be an academic, but who also writes and edits for Wikipedia in subject areas that I have absolutely no academic qualifications for— I wish that this conversation didn’t tend to organize itself around a binary of “people with no expertise” versus “people with expertise.” What I feel like the long post above is pointing towards is that the issue is not “no-expertise” versus “expertise;” the issue is “How do we re-evaluate what it means to have expertise?” The ways that we’ve evaluated this in the past are unquestionably oppressive in almost every way. But this doesn’t mean that we should throw out the entire notion of “expertise,” because— as pointed out— this is dangerous and nonsensical. It means that we need to radically reconfigure our understanding of expertise in a way that includes those methods of knowing that have been excluded from the white male colonial etc. establishment.(via halfhardtorock)
Andy Samberg Absolutely Destroys the James Franco Roast
Is it just me or you don’t really realise how drunk you are until you are in a bathroom alone???
ya know that kid whos at the arcade and is just watching the demo for a game but they’re pressing the buttons like they’re playing?? well that’s how i’m handling adulthood so far
This Is How A Teacher Grades Your Exams