Feeds:
Posts
Comments

                                 FACEBOOK WRITINGS ON EDUCATION, 2016.

_______________________________________________________________

ONE

You must NEVER EVER create conditions for people to fail, specially for the best of people. You must only create conditions for SUCCESS. Otherwise, stand aside. This is ABSOLUTELY a MUST in the area of education.

Even creating conditions in which errors may occur is perfectly sensible; errors may lead to great SUCCESSES. What is totally insensible is to create conditions where errors are the direct path to failure.

Most education nowadays is of the second kind. A striking example is the “solemnity of plagiarism”. As if teaching a CODE were teaching/reaching a person.

_______________________________________________________________

TWO

Education is wholly based on either: a) sacrifice, or b) happiness (“eudamonia”). It cannot have it both ways.

Now, some think that learning sacrifice LEADS to happiness. We strongly think those who believe this are quite confused. We can show why. We can’t do it here, though!

In contrast, we believe these two educational roads never ever touch, and that road b) is rarely taken —hardly known— because road a) has great powers on its side. These powers are in high positions (political and entrepreneurial), and perhaps are even otherworldly!

In other words, we know so little of happiness (“eudaimonia”), it has become unrecognizable in our lives and in our education.

Nonetheless, everyone believes, almost blindly, that they ARE happy: preferably so, if less questioned about what their happiness means! Here, the education on happiness, road b), comes to an end.

(Note: “eudaimonia” is the word Aristotle uses for what we kind of understand as “happiness”)

_______________________________________________________________

THREE

Industrialized education does not teach to love learning and its many gentle, even fun, shared surprises.

Rather, industrialized learning —the learning of our time, and especially of our ginormous educational facilities– teaches the repetitive process of information sharing towards a marketable degree. It hardly teaches one to laugh. It is the most serious of the serious. It proudly speaks of “industry standards”.

And though, super serious, industrialized learning is intent on the unimportant: on the ritual of attendance, on the ritual of the exam, on the ritual of the levels and prerequisites, on the ritual of extremely minute objectives and goals, on the ritual of the attack on plagiarism, on the ritual of certification. Its seriousness is one based on mere formality. This kind of seriousness is empty.

Industrialized education sacrifices the potential inherent in our human encounters, those infrequent encounters sought by those of us who truly wish to learn to learn. This is unforgivable. For these encounters are far and between, these encounters are face to face —-many a time—- on a one-on-one basis. They are so rare, people generally cannot understand what is going on when they do happen. They are surprised by actually seeing and feeling for themselves the real nature of learning. They even get quite angry.

Moreover, industrialized education requires a weird notion of “teamwork”, one which means that being part of the “team” means adjusting to the unquestioned demands of these processes themselves! I mean, “don’t rock the boat, otherwise, it might sink!” This is why a proper metaphor for industrialized education is certainly the Titanic; the most industrial of things ever. They never thought they would sink. Continue Reading »

NUESTROS ESCRITOS SOBRE EL PROCESO DE PAZ COLOMBIANO A LO LARGO DE ESTE AÑO 2016. 

¿Por qué estos escritos?

Porque nos tomamos en serio la posición aristotélica de la participación ciudadana en los debates del día en las polis a las que uno pertenece (en nuestro caso Colombia y Canadá). Nos tomamos en serio el valor de la palabra y de la retórica tal y como la ve la corriente socrática-aristotélica.

¿Por qué en facebook?

Porque el debate es público y es acá compartido con conciudadanos/as, incluso así no vivamos en Colombia en estos momentos.

Los escritos están ordenados desde el más reciente, hasta el más lejano.

No sobra decir que nuestra Maestría es en asuntos de filosofía política.

_______________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________

ESCRITOS

________________________________________________

La ingenuidad de esta columna de El Espectador radica en cuatro elementos:

a) Es bien, pero bien, tardía en un proceso que pudo haber generado unidad en vez de separación si quienes lideraron el proceso de parte del gobierno y las farc hubiesen sido menos arrogantes.

b) Santos está en el poder, y no se puede creer que estar en el poder es lo mismo que no estarlo.

c) El Espectador, y muchos otros medios poderosos, han generado ellos mismos las condiciones de polarización en su afán de crear una paz forzada, una polarización que ahora piden parar para reconciliarnos.

y, d) Piden una reconciliación una vez todos los procesos formales como el fast-track y demás han salido airosos, pero irrespetando y dejando de lado la opinión de mitad de los colombianos/as que ganaron el plebiscito de manera legal, justa y correcta CONTRA todas los pronósticos (incluyendo a El Espectador).

En conclusión:

Sí, en verdad, debemos preguntar a El Espectador, y en general a los que votaron “sí” y aprobaron todo a la fuerza:

¿cómo harán para reconciliarse con los colombianos/as que no les creemos?

________

La paz en Colombia = el mamarracho de paz

________

A Uribe lo mandan a que lo regañe el Papa, y no se deja; pero a Timochenko ni le preguntan sobre la persecución religiosa a la base del revolucionario marxista ateo!

Eso revela cómo se da la cercanía moderna entre el liberalismo —-y su neutralidad sobre la pregunta de Dios—- y el revolucionario, y su olvido de Dios.

Qué diferente la concepción de los clásicos griegos. Es allí donde se encuentran las bases de resistencia. Por no decir, una más honesta verdad.

 
________
 

La reunión Uribe–Santos–Papa, revela mucho de la relación entre la vida política y su necesidad de una íntima relación con una cierta visión de los dioses y su justicia.

Ese sí que es el verdadero dilema fundacional de la vida del ciudadano/a público/a.

Nadie ha expuesto esas conexiones mejor que el Profesor Thomas Pangle.

Las conclusiones son de una importancia filosófica vital. Hay dos tipos de vida. Esa es una.

________

Qué ingenuos y, sobretodo peligrosos, quienes celebran el Fast-Track.

________

La paz anti-democrática.

________

MUERE DICTADOR CASTRO.

Que se prepare Colombia para sus nuevos, comandantes, perdón, profesores de paz. Castro les enseñó la libertad. PLOP!

RESISTENCIA.

________

PAZ VÍA CONGRESO

El “mejor” acuerdo, la peor paz.

________

¿Alguien me puede explicar por qué cárcel para este señor (Masa Márquez) —el mismo día en que se firma el “acuerdo de paz con las farc—– sí es muy bueno, pero no para los líderes de las farc?

O en otras palabras, ¿por qué con este señor sí sentimos que se ha hecho justicia y que ese sí es un asesino que debe ser castigado, y en cambio con las farc que han cometido crímenes de lesa humanidad, no? ¿Cómo generar las condiciones de paz de esta manera?

Yo he escrito con anterioridad sobre esto, pero si que me gustaría escuchar explicaciones.

________

PAZ VÍA CONGRESO

La paz en Colombia.

No entiendo. El Acuerdo se va a debatir en el Congreso, pero sin que se le pueda cambiar una sola coma. ¿Qué es lo que van a debatir? ¿Si quedó bien empastado?

¿Me puede alguien explicar?

________

Escucha uno a las farc y a Santos en vivo —y luego uno escucha a muchos otros— y sin duda Colombia ha perdido una oportunidad para acordar un futuro compartido. Lo pierde porque nadie sabrá nunca si en verdad la gran mayoría de los colombianos/as acordaron lo que el acuerdo acordó. Ese vacío es un vacío demasiado grande para construir una paz verdadera y duradera.

Pero tal vez vaya más allá. Al escuchar los discursos de las farc y de Santos resulta impactante un contraste fundamental. Mientras que las farc enfatizaron una y otra vez de “la diferencia”, Santos una y otra vez habló de “la unidad”. Así se implemente el acuerdo, pareciera que la visión moderna de la democracia necesita de una constante discordia para poder funcionar. Eso tiene implicaciones cruciales. Pero independientemente de ello, ahora sí —-pareciera—- se escuchará una gran discordia entre los colombianos/as. Y esa discordia no sabemos a dónde nos llevará como nación.

Surrealista.

________

PAZ VÍA CONGRESO = TRIUNFO DE LA PAZ FORMAL, FIN DE LA PAZ REAL

Hay quienes desean celebrar.

________

PAZ VÍA CONGRESO según Castro.

Nuestras preguntas:

¿Cuántos colombianos/as escucharán emocionados, entusiasmados y entregados los “debates” por la paz en el Congreso? ¿Usted los escuchará? ¿Sacará tiempo de su día a día para compenetrarse con las habilidades retóricas de nuestros/as representantes públicos/as? ¿Qué debate real puede haber en un Congreso oficialista sin real oposición? ¿Qué legitimidad puede haber en un Congreso desprestigiado? ¿Es esta paz la paz del colombiano/a del común? ¿A estas élites políticas/guerrilleras en verdad les interesa el colombiano del común?

Lo que enseña esta paz, son lecciones que no todos queremos aprender. La paz sí, la paz “como sea”, no.

__________

Resume bien la posicion del SÍ. No repetiremos todo lo dicho anteriormente acá en facebook. Poco aprendió el SÍ de su increíble, pero afortunada, pérdida en el plebiscito.

Irónico sería creer que la paz está mucho más cerca, cuando en realidad pueda que sólo esté un poquitiquitico menos lejos.

O de otra manera:

¿Qué es más importante, la paz entre el gobierno y las farc, o la paz entre los colombianos/as?

Pero que hagan otro plebiscito, y por favor, que lo ganen rotundamente, sí! Y a los que voten NO, que los deporten à la Trump.

________

Un nuevo acuerdo de paz debe unir a los colombianos/as, sobretodo luego del plebiscito perdido por los del “sí”.

¿Une esté acuerdo? Parece que no. Y menos si vuelven y juegan con lo de “inmodificable”. Pero que hagan otro plebiscito para averiguar.

Y si pierde el “sí” (+farc), deben ENTENDER que estaba en ELLOS/AS unir a los colombianos/as, no simplemente esconderse detrás del que “los demás no nos dejan unirnos”. Ese es el camino, poco admirable, del: ” si sale cara, gano yo; si sale sello, pierdes tú”.

Y si gana el “sí” (+farc), DE NUEVO está en el “sí”, seguir uniendo. Es el proceso de paz del “sí”, y está en ellos asumir su responsabilidad. Y ya no importa si hay seis, o seis millones, de colombianos/as que voten en contra. Está en los del “sí” unir a esos seis, o seis millones de conciudadanos.

En otras palabras, para nosotros, no debe haber un sólo día en la vida de los del “sí” en que no recuerden la arrogancia y la “sobradez” por la que perdieron un plebiscito —acomodado— frente a sus propios hermanos/as.

Y si nos unen, pues quedarán en la historia para siempre. Pero si nos desunen, igualmente. Continue Reading »

Reflections: TWOOK — “A Reflective Educational Experiment (in times of illness)” (FULL VERSION)

Reflections: TWOOK — “A Reflective Educational Experiment (in times of illness)”: (click below)

TWOOK — “A Reflective Educational Experiment (in times of illness)”, 1-6.  (pdf file)

IMPORTANT: All posts, pages, art and written work found in this blog are licensed through Creative Commons:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

IMPORTANT: All posts, pages, art and written work found in this blog are licensed through Creative Commons:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

REFLECTIONS

FINAL PROJECT TESL CERTIFICATION CANADA:

BUSINESS ENGLISH CLASS (pdf. file)

TOPIC: “RAISING FINANCE THROUGH MICROFINANCE”

December/January 2015

CLICK HERE FOR PROJECT:  FINAL PROJECT TESL CANADA

Reflections:  Aboriginals in Canada and Two Possible Meanings of “Discrimination” 

“So there is certainly no lack of activity in our little boat, but is there any purpose? Is the tall figure who may or may not be the Spirit of Haida Gwaii leading us, for we are all in the same boat, to a sheltered beach beyond the rim of the world as he seems to be, or is he lost in a dream of his own dreamings? The boat moves on, forever anchored in the same place.” (my emphasis: words of Bill Reid on his own sculpture, The Spirit of Haida Gwaii)

And there was always the wind ….. and sometimes …… sometimes ….. the wind brought good news, and sometimes …… sometimes ….. the wind brought evil.” (my emphasis: Taken from the first of Inuit Legends, CBC Aboriginal, “Inuit Journey”: link)

 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 Spirit of the Haida Gwai

The verb “to discriminate” has come to have a primary negative definition. Basically, very roughly, it means “to unfairly treat a person or group of people differently from the rest.“ Of course, for the negative definition to succeed, the emphasis must be placed in the “unfairly” or “unjustly”. This is the reason why we speak of “anti-discrimination”; we wish to correct a wrong. But, for sure, there is no negative discrimination simply by the fact of there being mere difference: that Canadians see themselves as radically different from Americans does not imply discrimination in the negative sense. Thus, difference does not always lead to discrimination; but difference which is the result of a certain grave and prolonged injustice, surely does. Slavery in the USA is one blatant example, the treatment of Aboriginals in Canada a parallel one.

The history of Canada´s First Nations is surely the result of an unjust and forced differentiation. It is not just based on the now oft-repeated problematic phrase “we are all different”; it is more based on the idea that “we are so different, that you and yours must cease to be.” If lucky enough to be spared death, the “other” must still be so assimilated that this “other” becomes nothing but a crippled “us”. Such historical triumphs are truly essential defeats. In this regard, educating ourselves about the history, the nature and the consequences of the current discriminatory relationship we have with Aboriginals is but the first step in ameliorating the pervasive and noxious effects multiple non-Aboriginal policies have had  over their destiny, their sense of self-worth, their linguistic identity, their territorial self-sufficiency and their potential for political empowerment (see latest interview by Judge John Reilly in CBC’s The Current: link, and very important previous interview as well). This includes, as we shall see, most poignantly the ESL setting. Why so? Because the language issue is perhaps at the core of the mode of forced assimilation, even annihilation which Aboriginals in Canada have had to face. Now, before proceeding and in order to be clear as to what we mean by Aboriginals, it is important to note that in 2011, 1,400,685 people in Canada identified themselves as Aboriginal: “4.3 percent of the total population of Canada: 851,560 were First Nations, 451,790 were Métis, 59,440 were Inuit. (p. 8 of the excellent First People’s Guide for Newcomers created by the City of Vancouver and which should be replicated in each Province and downloaded by all ESL teachers and students: link .)

Fortunately though, “to discriminate” does not possess this negative meaning alone. To discriminate CAN in fact be liberated from a sense of injustice, from the permanent presence of the pain –an absolutely understandable, yet unimaginable, pain– that accompanies prolonged suffering from wrong-doing. Why is this positive definition so important? For an identity built on an injury seems to us to remain unable to move; a healthy identity necessarily must somehow move beyond mere negation of itself and the injurer. An identity founded solely on the hatred of the occupier seems to us destined to fail. In this sense, it is of great importance to emphasize that “to discriminate” is also defined as the mark of someone who can “perceive the distinguishing or peculiar features of a given thing/topic”. A dictionary provides the following example: “the human eye can discriminate between very slight gradations of color”. Such a skill is truly unique, it may perhaps be among the highest. For it takes great sensitivity, imagination and most importantly, intelligence, to be able to see the whole of reality in all its color gradations. In photographic terms, few can see the shades of gray; few are like Ansel Adams.

Unfortunately, in the case of our relation to Aboriginals, this more positive sense of discrimination is for the most part lacking. We non-Aboriginals fail to see even what appears most evident. In the case of Canada’s First Nations, and Aboriginals generally, our eyes continue to be blind to a kind of devastating differentiation which we ourselves (the non-Aboriginals) have initiated and of which we continue to be part of. In these brief pages we seek to begin to shake ourselves free –so far as possible– from such damaging presuppositions, specially as they appear in the field of ESL. Continue Reading »

DIPLOMA COURSERA

Reflections: Political Thoughts on Sustainable Development (A Commentary on Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs’s Coursera course: “The Age of Sustainable Development”)

Having had the opportunity to start to undertake Professor Sachs´s quite informative and extremely educational course on Sustainable Development (SD) –now going into its 6th week— I would like to briefly express some of my concerns and questions regarding SD. Of course, as I read the Discussion Forums, many point to issues regarding the many factors involved in the implementation of the policies which SD allows us to better see and hopefully, to implement, specially in those cases of “poverty trap” in which the conditions are more troubling and recurring. No one wishes to live in inhuman hardship all his/her life; extreme poverty must be eradicated via a concerted effort, and by all ethical means available. In this regard, many of the now famous “TED talks” allow us to try to imagine the hardships and thus feel the importance of connecting lovingly for serious practical improvement: for example, TED talks by: 1) Bono, 2) Jacqueline Novogratz (specially the one regarding prostitution), and my two favorite, 3) Jessica Jackley, founder of KIVA  here , and 4) Bunker Roy founder of the Barefoot Movement here . Also, non-academic books such as The International Bank of Bob by Bob Harris, which tells the story of microfinancing success KIVA whose motto is tellingly “loans that change lives”, humble us and transform us in ways we could not even foresee. In brief, many are concerned, and rightly so, with practical issues. Many forum posts in this course come to mind in this regard. Let us just recall a simple one:

“Hello all peers,  My name is Abdikadir Daud from Ethiopian Somali region, I’m forwarding my thanks to the course   facilitator because I got extended knowledge from this course and I will transfer this skill to my communities .
Thanks
Abdikadir” ( here )

Abdikadir from Ethiopia, like many of us from around the world, wants to make a difference.

However, my questions proceed from a very different area. They pertain to philosophical questions, that is to say, they deal with the core concepts, formulations and assumptions which must be put forward in the case of any given approach to the complex political and economic reality in which we live. P. Sachs himself does not tire of saying that SD is not merely a PRACTICAL path to CHANGE the world, but also –and more importantly— a THEORETICAL path to UNDERSTAND the world (Lecture 1, Week 1; and beginning of 1st Google Hangout, here ). He even goes so far as to say that it is a NORMATIVE framework which means it involves certain moral presuppositions. These convey the limits, for instance, for all business practices; not everything that is legal should be done. (see, for instance, 2nd Google Hangout: Question No. 4, “On the role of regulation of business.”) Consequently, my main concern regarding the EXCELLENT lectures we have been fortunate to partake in, is to signal –however embryonically– to some of the more puzzling philosophical underpinnings underlying the Sustainable Development Movement. This means that, according to such a critique, it becomes extremely important to undergo a rational critique of the core concepts which guide the interpretative self-understanding of SD. I believe that training in the humanities (specially, political philosophy) alone provides the impulse to see the real importance of such a critique, a political/philosophical critique. I also believe that, given this theoretical inclination, few of our fellow Coursera virtual classmates will proceed to consider the rest of this –much longer than normal– post!

Obviously –though I have lived half of my life in Colombia (which exemplifies many of the problems P. Sachs speaks of, and MORE!) and the other half in Canada (which exemplifies many of the benefits of which P. Sachs speaks of, and MORE!)— we must immediately confess that we do not possess the intellectual capacity nor the global comprehension that somebody like P. Sachs allows us to perceive in each of his engaging video-lectures for the Coursera course. We are but learners, poor in understanding. Be this as it may, nonetheless we will venture to point to what I consider to be some extremely troubling silences and/or omissions which may make us –should make us– question SD forcefully.

Now, although I have already tweeted  to #susdev some general short questions, for instance: 1) “ #susdev Suppose we ALL were middle-income citizens of the world. Is that enough? Would our spirit not lose sight of what is MOST important?”, or 2) “ #susdev Isn´t there a rhetorical identification between “extreme poverty” and “poverty” which does not allow for a real critique of SD goals?”, still –as mentioned above– our concern in this post is somewhat more detailed or profound.

We could say that SD, in general —and Clinical Economics, in particular— could be giving us a “differential diagnosis” that may SEEM to point to the root cause of things, variable as they may be, but which may end up REALLY missing the CORE causes of the general “disease” with which some thinkers believe we are currently afflicted as moderns and post-moderns. And by missing some of the CORE causes, it might not be providing the best “medicine(s)” available/desirable. In the philosophical arena, the most radical critics in this regard would be those who follow Heidegger´s powerful critique of technology. Though extremely important, we shall not go into that camp here in detail.

Rather, using P. Sachs own clinical analogy, we can say that it is common nowadays to see traditional Western medicine incapable of treating complex diseases which do not have to deal with physical trauma or life-death situations. Chronic illness, such as different forms of arthritis/fibromyalgia, are a case in point. Of course, P. Sachs´s views seem to us to be much more akin to alternative medicine, in this respect. For one of the basic tenets of alternative medicine is that each patient is UNIQUE. So, each country, according to “Differential Clinical Economics” is likewise, quite UNIQUE. P. Sachs does not tire of saying that a holistic approach to the healing of poverty cannot be founded on a single linear conception of cause. Failing to understand this uniqueness may in fact worsen the situation beyond recovery. In medicine, one need only bring to mind the controversy over the drug Celebrex which not only did not actually cure your arthritis (it simply alleviated the pain), but actually –with certainty– damaged your heart! The history of many other drugs follows this pattern, unfortunately. In political life, the current political turmoil of countries such as our feverish neighbor Venezuela, may be thought to be something akin. As you will see, given the spirit of this post, one truly wonders what P. Sachs´s thoughts are on the current crisis in Venezuela, precisely because its regime claims to hold power for the poor. However that may be, P. Sachs —who also helped Bolivia during its feverish times— summarizes this view well:

“The modern doctor is expected to diagnose the specific causes of a specific patient’s illness and to offer a specific prescription that is accurately honed to that patient’s conditions and needs. The modern economist should do the same in diagnosing the persistence of poverty.” (our emphasis; Chapter 4: “Why Some Countries Developed While Others Stayed Poor, I. The Idea of Clinical Economics”)

 

Thus, one imagines that if P. Sachs himself were to fall ill, he would most likely search for an alternative medicine center rather than a traditional monolithic hospital built on unquestioned homogeneous forms of understanding, (or better yet, both if possible, for not all traditional doctors are self-enclosed and not all alternative doctors are truly open). The drama of the latest candidate for the Oscar Awards which deals with HIV/Aids –the compelling movie, Dallas Buyers Club—exemplifies all these tensions perfectly. For we, who have been sick, know well that the sick are among the poorest, mind you.

But, as you will see below, our critique could be said to involve a much more intense and alternative diagnosis than the one which P. Sachs offers. It would be an alternative to the alternative; but much more troubling. It would be an alternative that would show –if someday made fully explicit– that the alternative provided by SD is, in the end, really, really, not so much of an alternative except in the imagination, albeit with some crucial exceptions, among them, that of the eradication of extreme poverty itself. The idealistic overtones of SD would be seen thus to be constantly destabilized by the realistic peculiarities of localities, by a kind of non-Machiavellian political realism (i.e., much closer to Thucydides´s) and by certain “intractables” of human nature. Or to be less severe and less cranky (!) —for we know, as its students, that SD has partially succeeded IN REALITY through exciting models such as those of the Millennium Villages– one could say that the goals of SD, for instance, the Eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG´S), must be corrected with recourse to another tradition which not only sets the hierarchy of these goals aright, but also may add some which may have been altogether forgotten in SD differential diagnosis, however complete it claims to be. ( here )

Continue Reading »