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 Class for October 28th 
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I thought I'd go ahead and begin the forum for class that we said we'd do for Andy. Here are some highlights that I remember from class. I'll keep it brief so that everyone else can respond and Andy can read the perspectives of everyone.

We begin class by talking about Ishmael in groups. We learned from Dr. Turner that the author, Daniel Quinn, was a monk in training. We talked about the gorilla being the teacher because he is the closest animal to human. He was more appropriate than a human to tell the story because a human would have been considered a "messiah" like figure if he'd been the teacher. A gorilla is close to the story but not "implicated."

There was a discussion of the following question: What is the law Ishmael teaches us? The law that we "don't get" is that we may compete, but we may not wage war. Only rabid animals kill just to kill. Animals kill because they are hungry, but humans wage war and exterminate.

Next, we discussed many topics including the questions: 1. What is the story? 2. Is Mother Culture a story? I'll let my classmates post their thoughts on these questions and the other discussions we had.


Wed Oct 29, 2003 9:45 am
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We also discussed the idea of being told a lie and touched on the emotional reaction/experience of people having relized they were being lied to. SOmewhere in there ethics came in.
Towards the end we tried to wrap the subjects discussed up by thinking about how the story has anything to do with schools. I think on a more broad scale, and tend to see it as teaching students the lie itself in an attempt to have them do a better job than us.

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Wed Oct 29, 2003 10:38 am
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Beth:

Thanks so much for starting this thread!

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Gayle Turner


Mon Nov 03, 2003 9:25 am
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I think in summary we discussed how a narrative (text) can be used to shift a student's perspective deliberately by challenging basic presumptions and opening new viewpoints. Gayle explained how all teachers in a way are telling some type of story via the strategies and classroom environments that they create as they go along.

Thus, we as teaching professionals should be aware of this powerful tool for opening minds and improving critical thinking skills beyond the day in and day out experiences.


Tue Nov 04, 2003 11:51 am
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I'm going to try to type my notes, hoping I can get these cryptic scratchings to make sense for Andy.

Someone mentioned the Ishmael web site - www.ishmael.com
which should be intersting.

As others have mentioned, we discussed what is the "story" told by "mother culture". As in the biblical account, Western Civilization typically espouses that "The World Belongs to Man". Another way to phrase - "We are the species of destiny". As in, man is the culmination of evolution. This thinking denies that evolution could be still in the process of producing sentient species. (Has anyone been watching "Enterprise" on UPN? They are encountering beings from another planet that has 5-6 sentient (intelligent) species - manlike, apelike, reptilian, fish, bird, etc. )

Supposedly a strict Darwinist approach doesn't see man as the pinnacle of evolutions - it just says we are better adapted to current planetary conditions.

We had some discussion on laws that we don't "get" - the statement "you may compete, but you may not wage war". Evidently battle on one's borders is OK, but trying to wipe out one's neighbors is not OK in the Leaver Law. (Even our war in Iraq could be debated on this one. Some would call it an agressive war, whereas others would call it a necessary defense, post 9/11.)

We discussed the hunter gatherers being possibly exterminated by the agriculturalists.

The question "Are we Content" was mentioned. Also, how unethical behavior is good for business! (Guess why Joyce left the business world, and doesn't want to return!) A mention of a "circle of lying" in the Ishmael book. Pressure - "Those who refuse to take a place do not get fed."

Dr. Gayle mentioned ambassador Wilson's wife working undercover, but being "outed". Someone mentioned the movie "Vanilla Sky" - something about "The answer to 99% of the questions is "money". That reminds me of the Watergate scandal - "follow the money".

We discussed - "What is the Law". To the Leaver civilizations, they had a law that you don't kill what you aren't planning to eat. They also allowed killing for self-defense.

I was surprised that Daniel Quinn the author was a Trappist Postulate - which we jokingly referred to as a "monk in training". I wouldn't have thought a former monk would question the Book of Genesis so strenuously, and completely swallow evolutionary theory, (without questioning its meager evidence in the fossil record one iota) - by either the teacher or the student!

Dr. Gayle also mentioned St. Thomas Aquinas and his blend of logic and (something) - I didn't get it written down. Maybe it was logic and theology.

Dr. Turner mentioned Galileo's trial - how he had to recant his teaching about the earth revolving around the sun - or be put to death for heresy!

Dr. Turner said, "Why do we read this book - Ishmael?" She mentioned higher level thinking skills, to change the way we think about the world, and our place in the world. Connections - how the teacher "pulled the information" out of the student. Systems thinking, harmony and balance. The need to question and not be afraid. A teacher's responsibility - since school is a powerful place. Teachers are changing philosophy. Younger people are becoming teachers for different reasons. For example, years ago, a female had two options - study to be a teacher or a nurse. She mentioned how an administrator can set up the atmosphere in the school. This story is definitely thinking "outside the box". We see the same ingredients in a whole new light.

We can't ignore the Power of Narrative - the Power of the story.
She mentioned Deborah Meyer. (I can't remember who she is!) Something to do with high poverty schools is all I wrote down.

Those are my notes - I'm sorry they are so cryptic - and that I couldn't rephrase them sufficiently into complete sentences - because I was afraid I would "get it wrong".

I hope someone else can "fill in the holes!"

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Joyce Jarrard


Wed Nov 05, 2003 7:19 pm
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Joyce- I thought I took detail notes in class, but I think you have me beat. I was going to add my notes, but Joyce, I think you covered it.

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Daphne King


Sun Nov 09, 2003 1:50 pm
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