Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Community chest.



It was thanks to Paul Prinsloo that I became familiar with the annotated image of the Monopoly board.

He used it in his brilliant presentation entitled:

Faculty as quantified, measured and tired: The lure of the red shoes.
[slides]

Faculty as quantified, measured and tired: The lure of the red shoes.
[script]

Quantified, measured and tired.

It is taking more energy than I feel that I have to type this here.

A pop up notification appears on my phone:

"Congratulations: you have won an open badge for succesfully completing a course."

I feel no joy or achievement.

I feel only tired and demoralised.

I shan't ever wear those red shoes...

God be blessed (blasphemy). I suppose that is a mercy.

As a kid, I wasn't even seduced by brown shoes.

"We were never allowed brown shoes, only the privileged had them. We wore black army boots and gaiters on Thursday afternoons."

http://tachesdesens.blogspot.com/2014/02/body-and-sole-rhizo14-meets-metaphor.html

I count myself lucky to have shoes at all; others aren't so privileged.

Open badges and closed borders.

Yesterday, I conducted an English exam for a student who needed some sort of grade, any sort of institutional credit, to avoid expulsion from the country.

"Congratulations, you have won an open badge for successfully completing a course."

A survival badge.

He started his university career with minus ten years of study of English compared with the French students.

He started his university career with minus ten years of practice of computer skills.

"Congratulations, you have won an open badge for successfully completing a course."

A survival badge.

Community chest.

As I arrived at the university, I looked at the ongoing building work. It was for a spanking new research laboratory.  The occupation of the ex-library, once a potential space for an open learning centre, is a concrete demonstration of the power structure within the institution.

We had imagined a new pedagogical space.

Hours and hours of time invested...in praxis.

Does praxis make perfect?

Poor naive souls...

Pedagogy comes way down the list in terms of institutional priorities.

"Pedagogical project" vs "Research lab"?

There was no contest.

Shattered dreams of open community learning....

I shall get that off my chest.

Budget cuts...any budget cuts.

Rationalisation, financial control, personnel insecurity...personal strife.



"Congratulations, you have won an open badge for successfully completing a course."

Bored room meetings.

I met a couple of bored students waiting around for an exam.

What were they waiting for?

The opportunity to gain a bit of credit to move onto the next square in this ludicrous game.

They know that they are not invited to the main board table.

The real games go on in "Grandes Ecoles", then in board rooms, or amongst the bankers.

The real winners don't need "badges" like us, they employ people to sort out pesky legal problems.

The real winners don't need to write blogs, they don't give a fuck about that, they own the platforms.

The real winners don't play games, they don't take prisoners, they have no qualms, they are killers.

"Congratulations, you have won an open badge for successfully completing a course."

Not the banker?

I am a loser, I am not even winning at that.

I am a middling, meddling, signed up member of the mediocrity messing around in a sham meritocracy, piddling around in a sham democracy.

"Congratulations, you have won an open badge for successfully completing a course."

The real losers, don't play games, they don't take prisoners, they have no qualms, they are killers.

Those real losers buy semi-automatic weapons from the real winners.

Oh, you can't blame the winners for over-estimating their importance.

Why be critical when you are winning the game?

You wouldn't want to question your good fortune for too long.


You're a great guy!

You're a tough guy!

You're a really mean guy!

Oh Bravo!

I listened to Piers Morgan speak on TV.

The devil's apprentice.

Devil's apprentice winner, Piers likes the sound of his winning (whining) voice.

Great guy!

Listening to Piers Morgan speak on TV about winning the ratings battle, crushing the competitors to his girly eye-brow raising, colluding, co-presenters and I feel an urgent need to vomit, to take several showers.

Oh isn't he a naughty boy!

Piers sounds like a fucking loser to me.

The real winners don't need to present morning TV, they don't give a fuck about that, they own the platforms.

Good morning Britain.

Good morning Vietnam.

Il est cinq heures, Paris se reveille...

On n' est pas couché...

Are you sure?

I am sure il a couché...ou elle.

Red shoes, brown shoes? Brown shirts...

Another mediocre privileged protofascist populist on French TV, channeling Trump, channeling Farage, channeling Orban spitting out vile.

Debout la France!

I feel an urgent need to vomit, to take several showers.

The real winners don't care about divisions created as a result of the air-time given to these bastards on their fucking platforms.

Civil wars win ratings battles.

Give them blood.

They'll have the bullets.

"Congratulations, you have won an open badge for successfully completing a course."

Get out of jail! Free?

I wanted to be inspired by Sean Michael Morris's blog post that I read yesterday.


I read it.

I think of agency.

I feel tired, demoralised and measured in these words...

Oh agency...would that be like the drive for survival which brings people to get into boats to cross the Mediterrenean?

We need virtual exchanges to build up understanding between young people in Europe and those in the South Mediterrenean countries (Africa).

They say in the pamphlet.

"Congratulations, you have won an open badge for successfully completing a course."

Oh fuck, I am oh so so happy.

I am so fucking content with my badge.

Imagination as a precision tool for change.

I feel tired, demoralised and measured in these words...

How the fuck can I, white, bi-national shoe-wearing member of the mediocrity, imagine the lives of those risking their lives to cross the sea with their kids to come to France?

What did my imagination ever do to really change fuck?

Imagination, precision tool for change...my arse.

[I measure my words, I regret the tone, I regret the potential upset caused, I so want to be cheered, to cheer the work of those who I respect, I want to encourage, to feel encouraged, and the only words I can find to write are 'my arse'. I so wish I could steal the words of others, Freire, hooks, whoever, to feel better.]

I am sorry.

Open badges and closed borders.

I reread a paragraph about plagiarism.

What the hell is Turnitin?

I claim ignorance.

I read it and it sounds like some drug sold by Pfizer.

Can ignorance enable agency?

I feel myself writing words that I will only regret.

I am sorry.

The paragraph reminds me of the "exam" earlier in the week.

I had to explain the concept of "plagiarism" to the "candidate."

He had no English words of his own.

He was desperate to avoid expulsion.

He stole the words of others.

I begin to feel more like a border control officer than a teacher.

I find a space in the marking grid for him to express his plight in one of the five languages he masters.

Four of the languages, he points out, are not much use outside of his country.

English, he says is essential to him...to work in...management.

I hear the protofascist on TV whining on about France being colonised by African migrants.

I feel an urgent need to vomit, to take several showers.

I go back and reread Sean Michael Morris's:

"Is critical pedagogy aligned with the interests of the academy? In an ivory tower increasingly interested in credentialing as currency, competitive completion rates, models of efficiency that have given rise to online program management companies, the outsourcing of pedagogy to Pearson and Turnitin, are we confronting a reality where “Dreams are caught in the meshes of the saleable; possession of consumer goods is the alternative to gloom or feelings of pointlessness. Ideas of possibilities are trapped in predictability”? (“Art and Imagination” 124)"

However you turn it, in this occupied territory, the answer to Sean's question is:

YES

I go back and read Sean's last paragraph.

"Before I sat down to write this talk, I would not have thought that my best pedagogical advice might be to go seeking after monsters. But I think it’s good advice, and advice I want to take. To front the reckless world. To be reminded that some things cannot be reasoned."

Some things cannot be reasoned, yes.

I don't need to go seeking bloody monsters.

Does one really need imagination to see monsters?

NO

One does need imagination to survive these monstrous times.

GO directly to jail.











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