Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education

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Author:  Lisa Pendry [ Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Ishmael

I know everyone is probably reading Poisonwood, but think back just a moment to Ishmael. I really enjoyed our discussions, but there was one question that we did not answer, and I was wondering what everyone's thoughts were. Why a gorilla? I think it's because there are so many similarities between humans and gorillas and the whole controversy about evolution that it forces us to consider the intelligence of other beings. Ishmael was not finished "evolving" and was a teacher. We can learn from many sources if we will open our eyes to the fact that we are not "all-knowing." Just a thought.

Author:  Nicole Hazelwood [ Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Why a gorilla?

Lisa, I had the same thought...Why a gorilla? When I started thinking about gorillas and the character traits they possess, I thought about communication. Humans are thought to have evolved from "monkeys/gorillas" and have been shown to emotions like humans. Ishmael displayed his feelings about Sokolow when he discussed how Sokolow treated him and the partnership they exhibited. I feel we also needed an outside perspective to show us how humans have turned from helping others to helping ourselves-the "all about me" attitude. Also, a gorilla was used because they are kind of frightening to look out. The narrator had to push that difference aside to converse with Ishmael. Like our students, we must set aside differences and focus on the point presented.

Author:  Tina Bullington [ Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:56 pm ]
Post subject: 

I know this is going to sound crazy but I've always thought of gorillas as being gentle giants ~ I know..... I've got my head wrapped around King Kong! :) I really felt as if the selection of a gorilla was because they are strong, intellegent, caring, nurturing, family oriented, social animals. They are also stronger and typically larger in stature than humans. The fact that Ishmael was wise fit for me as I read the book. He had experiences that we, as social beings, have. His knowledge is close to ours but in a way.... more intense. Does that make sense?

Author:  LaRhonda Williams [ Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:37 pm ]
Post subject: 

So if that is the case, "soft gentle creatures," "evolution," why do many racial slurs include calling black people (african americans) monkeys? Why not gorillas? Monkeys are foolish, silly and wacky? What are gorillas? What is the difference?

Author:  Lisa Pendry [ Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

OK, so I had another thought about why a Gorilla. LaRonda, maybe the author purposefully chose a black gorilla that initially scared the new student because of his appearance (representing the black male and the stereotypical white response of fear), and then drew attention to his intelligence. I think people tend to think of the gorilla as more "man-like" than the monkey and people who use those types of derrogatory comments are trying to dehumanize african-americans.

On a religous note, I am infuriated by people who profess to be Christians that make racial and homosexual jokes. Somehow, I doubt Jesus would approve of these things. However, in a recent discussion about his issue, one person commented, "That's how I was raised." I think it comes back to everyone having a story to tell, and that they need to be heard. I think as educators, we have to give these students more experiences and insites into the issues of racism.

Author:  Lora Tiano [ Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:25 pm ]
Post subject: 

As I stated in class, this was far from my favorite reading of the semester! :)

I do think that the relationship people see between gorillas and humans definitely played a part in the choice, though.

I felt like there was a lot of "talking around" things...too much repetition and choppiness for me to gain a lot of insight, but:

I do "buy into" the idea that if we'd stop hoarding and worrying and planning so much, we'd all get such a greater joy out of life - all without killing off every other living creature! (The story about the sweet potato actually got me started thinking - imagine! As much as I hate to admit it, maybe that's what a talented author he really is...He got me to think about "how it came to be this way with a story about a sweet potato!) :D

Author:  Meghan Wood [ Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:52 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'm with you Lora, that this definitely was not my cup of tea when it comes to books!

I'm kind of like Daniel is with Poisonwood in reference to Ishmael. I read it thinking the whole time, why don't they get to the point and stop talking about the same law!

In hindsight now, :D , there are some things I did walk away with after reading this book. I learned that sometimes the best teaching/learning method is to let the audience discover things for themselves and go about their own way at obtaining that knowledge. It has been proven before that a person learns more sometimes by being hands on and having to work out a problem on their own. I also agreed with the idea that maybe we have hoarded too much food, stuff, clothing, instead of just sticking to what we need. I mean for example, I have a writing pen fetish. When I feel down I buy a new pen and sometimes chocolate, but anyway, do I really need another pen when I have 20 or so already?

I think we can apply this to administration by looking at the rules and laws society has established and ask are they really the best for us, for students, for schools? Then maybe we can become that flexible administrator who decides what works best for our school. And also not hoarding all our resources or supplies but share them with other administrators. I think it would be really neat if we actually kept sharing our thoughts once we become administrators or are in other positions.

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