Friday, September 30, 2011

Unschooling and dual approaches to systems

Survival Podcast episode on Unschooling with Courtney Clay:

Jack: "I would sit down with my son and say, okay, this is what you need to do to pass, now tell me what you really think."

There is a way to approach all dealings with rules and norms (formal or informal) that acknowledges the "hoops" aspect of things social. This is similar to my frequent maneuver with youth where I lay out those things we simply need to accept based on their being too big to take on or a necessary sort of evil. This includes many bureaucratic necessities and rules that we may agree are better there than not but for which we wish there were any number of sensible exceptions. This is also what I pointed out during the strategic visioning process with Sharon and Robert -- that in identifying the program's goals and objectives we were doing it for two audiences: ourselves, and funders (or others to whom we are accountable or dependent upon). The result is two different but related sets of goals and objectives, one that we can put our hearts to and really dig into, and one that we can hope to make reflect as much of the first as possible within the constraints of the norms and expectations of the institution that we depend on, and using its language.

This is a clever way to deal with the cognitive dissonance of needing to pander to, or even support, systems that we find questionable at times, encumbering or simply dumb. We could kill or dehumanize ourselves trying to align ourselves full-being with the supra-human systems we reckon with daily. Instead, we find ways of referring to these systems as a sort of weather system, with which we must interact effectively in order to get on with our work.

No comments: