Why are people poor? Why do children of the poor not thrive?
The latest explanation for why children coming from disadvantaged households do not rise in this land of equal opportunity, why they do not do well in school, is that they are exposed to “thirty million fewer words” by the time they enter school.
If only it were so simple.
Read it on Huffington Post, or click "Read More"
The Proceedings of a conference, Learning In and Out of School: Education Across the Globe, held at the University of Notre Dame's Kellogg Institute for International Studies on May 22-23, 2012, are now available!
This is envisioned as a contribution to broadening the scholarly but also the public conversation about the nature of learning and its relationship to the formal institutions we know as schools. In that sense, posting proceedings is a necessary offering.
We—anthropologists, psychologists, human development and education scholars from as far as Korea and Alaska—met for two full days during a gorgeous spring week just following graduation, with flowers and warmth and the peace of an academic year just completed. We ate wonderful food throughout the day and night, and had many informal conversations along with the formal proceedings. As convener, I aimed to implement my best understanding of how people learn and how they interact by structuring the conference with no papers delivered. This is somewhat like “flipping the classroom”: the independent preliminary work that could be done in advance was done in advance—writing and reading papers and preparing comments on others’ work—and the precious face-to-face time was used for what could only be done that way: discussing, asking, brainstorming, and laughing together.
I invite you to join me in an enterprise I’m calling a Critical Anthropology of Education. This approach to education—helping young folks grow into the kinds of people we and they want—is fully anthropological in every sense. This field is, for each of you, optional. It is not on the test.
Except that for our society as a whole, it is mandatory. And the test is all around us. We aren’t doing too well.
Recent publications about schooling and parenting, such as Amy Chua’s endlessly discussed Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s Academically Adrift have given rise to much questioning: What’s wrong with parents? What’s wrong with students?
What has not really been asked is, What’s wrong with school?