Friday, May 6, 2011

Alfie Kohn -- Link and beginning reflections

Edit : Link Fixed (I hope) 

If you didn't hear the talk or want another chance, you can listen here.   Alfie, himself starts at 8:50;  At about 120 he begins talking about what we should do; The Q&A starts at 157:16.  Maybe more reflection chunk by chunk later, or by someone else!!!!

First, I must give a huge thanks to the FSP community and Alfie himself -- it was a giant example of team work that we invited, fed and engaged with 60 educators, 7 community co-sponsors and over 200 people in one afternoon/evening. Local Sprouts made an amazing dinner, and extraordinary desserts were donated by Bam Bam Bakery.  The Hilton Garden Inn donated a room for Alfie, too.

I am finding myself thinking a lot about the workshop and the talk, which makes the event feel like a success (it's all about inquiry, reflection, action).  I'm reading "Feel Bad Education," talking to my family and friends about my own childhood and my parenting, I'm following Maine's Education Committee (taking up charter school legislation next week) and the Save Our Schools activism.

Before debriefing on content, I am chewing on  process, passionate and problematic in relation to Alfie's talk. I deeply appreciated his passion, conviction and willingness to provoke us out of complacent thinking. It isn't always easy to acknowledge our responsibilities and, like Sandra Steingraber, he is calling us to take action in service to our stated values. At times I found his tone (slightly belittling - I actually do have the maternal "good job" voice and while I hear the critique I also had the sense that I was being "punished" while learning about not using "punishments" - and slightly dogmatic -while encouraging us to ask more open ended questions) off-putting and at odds with the content of his message.  This does make me wonder how very difficult it is to truly see the light in all of us, and to truly practice non-violent communication, while also expressing heartfelt and deserved anger and frustration at people's behaviors and our larger system.  Alfie asks us to consider what children need to feel loved and safe, and what really motivates children to learn and grow; the same question needs to be considered for adults. This set of queries is at the base of a lot of hard work in activism and will fuel my reading for a while, I think.

Would so LOVE if people wanted to use comments to discuss...