ED 200 Week Two Part 1 (Spring 2022)

Hi everyone,

Did you ever see Star Wars? Well here is a blast from the past.

 

Obi-Wan Returns

 

Obi-Wan: Remember, a Jedi can feel the force flowing through him.

Luke: You mean it controls your actions.

Obi-Wan: Partially. But it also obeys your commands. . . . I suggest you try it again Luke. This time, let go your conscious self and act on instinct. . . Stretch out with your feelings.

Watch Luke training with his lightsaber. 

One thing Obi-Wan knew well was that there are different ways of experiencing the world around us. We can look out upon the world and see objects. Or, we can shift our perspective into ourselves. In a sense, letting ourselves go, and trusting our bodies to do what has to be done.

Look at Luke initially observing the external object from a distance. He comes across as a spectator. Reacting. But then, after Obi-Wan Kanobi’s instruction, he allows himself to rely on instinct — on his body. His experience is quite different.

Part of our power in the way we will be able to understand schooling will be to recognize two different perspectives. Let me try to give you a couple of examples here.

 

First: Spectator from a distance.

Crowd View
RedBud 450 Moto 2: Ken Roczen vs. Trey Canard

If you watch the first minute or so you will get the idea of viewing from a distance.

 

 

So as we watch this we can see when Trey Canard has the lead over Ken Roczen. We can see them moving in relation to each other. We can see where they are positioned on the track in relation to the finish line. Both Canard and Roczen are discrete measurable objects–we are spectators. But we know that our distant perspective is not a good representation of the racers’ perspectives. They are, in a sense, letting themselves go, allowing their bodies to instinctually race.

 

Second: The lived view.

Have a look at Ryan Villopoto racing at the Monster Energy Cup in 2012.

Again, a short viewing will give you the idea. Or if you are like me, you will crank up the volume, set the video to play full screen, and watch the whole thing ūüôā

 

 

Of course, both views are spectator views (viewed from cameras). But I hope you notice a significant difference here. Here are two more.

 

Observer perspective.

Video of the Year: Best Mountain Bike Shot Ever

 

Individual perspective.

 

GoPro: Backflip Over 72ft Canyon – Kelly McGarry Red Bull Rampage 2013

 

I hope you enjoyed the comparisons.

So, what did you notice between the different clips? The first clip showed the event from a distance. We sometimes refer to this as a spectator view. The second clip shows the lived-body experience. Of course, it is not a true lived-body experience, but we at least feel the experiences differently. Spectator from a distance; lived-body close up. We can sense a different involvement.

Of course, the videos make mountain biking look easy. This is what it is really like:

 

Question Set Number One (Continued)

Becoming sensitive to objective / visual interpretation of schooling is important if you are to make future distinctions between practices and ultimately compare different situations with some clarity and precision. So I ask you the following two questions to help you develop your sensitivity to these two perspectives:

22. Imagine you had to explain the difference between the lived-body experience and the spectator view to a 5th-grade student. In a couple of paragraphs, what would you say?

 

We have uncovered two important aspects or perceptions of experience. We can now begin to discriminate between the spectator view and lived-view.

  1. We all have bodies. While that seems self-evident, we can clearly articulate differences between the way our bodies experience the world when riding a bike or watching others ride.
  2. We can clearly describe at least two different perspectives of experience — one perspective is the ‘outside observer’ perspective. The other is the ‘lived’ (bodily) perspective.

Does this suggest anything about schooling and the foundations of education?

 

And the moral is?

What will be the moral of these previous examples? Many of the narratives that comprise schooling practices are based on the spectator view.

Question Set Number One (Continued)

Becoming sensitive to objective / visual interpretation of schooling is important if you are to make future distinctions between practices and ultimately compare different situations with some clarity and precision. So I ask you the following question to help you develop your sensitivity to these two perspectives:

23. If you really wanted to understand riding a bike, how might the lived-body experience deepen your understanding?

 

 

Professor, is this all real? Or is it just happening inside my head?

Of course, it’s happening inside your head, Harry. Why should that mean that it’s not real?

 

Harry asks the professor a question. It is a question regarding the inside and the outside. Interestingly, this same question has concerned us for millennia. It is a question that we will raise now in developing our understanding of bodies and narratives.

If we want to understand the incomplete narrative of the body, we have to understand this inside / outside distinction. Let us explore this distinction today in terms of our senses.

 

 

Sensing Bodies

 

When it comes to our bodies, the school narrative has presented us with an incomplete story. The narrative is one that privileges vision. We call this a hegemony of vision. Hegemony¬†comes from the Greek¬†hegemon meaning “leader.” In other words, vision has become the leader or the protagonist in the story. The narrative suggests that that which we experience comes from outside our heads. Even the narrative that was created about senses came from thinking about our senses as being triggered from outside our heads.

Margaret: Who, pray tell, is responsible for the way we conceive of our senses?

Sam: Pray tell? When did you start talking like that? I think you have been watching too much Harry Potter. You are starting to sound like Professor Dumbledore!

 

 

Remember Aristotle and the four causal modalities?

 

Aristotle would have had a different answer for Harry if Harry asked him the same question he posed to the Professor. When it came to the senses, Aristotle had high regard for thinking about how the ‘outside world’ had an effect on the body. And because of this, Aristotle handed down to us a way of thinking about the senses. In addition, he handed down the idea that the senses were quite passive, just waiting to be triggered or perturbed by the outside.

Here is what he said back in 350 B.C.E.

But coming now to the special senses severally, we may say that touch and taste necessarily appertain to all animals, touch, for the reason given in On the Soul, and taste, because of nutrition. It is by taste that one distinguishes in food the pleasant from the unpleasant, so as to flee from the latter and pursue the former: and savour in general is an affection of nutrient matter.

The senses which operate through external media, viz. smelling, hearing, seeing, are found in all animals which possess the faculty of locomotion. To all that possess them they are a means of preservation; their final cause being that such creatures may, guided by antecedent perception, both pursue their food, and shun things that are bad or destructive. But in animals which have also intelligence they serve for the attainment of a higher perfection. They bring in tidings of many distinctive qualities of things, from which the knowledge of truth, speculative and practical, is generated in the soul.

Of the two last mentioned, seeing, regarded as a supply for the primary wants of life, and in its direct effects, is the superior sense; but for developing intelligence, and in its indirect consequences, hearing takes the precedence. The faculty of seeing, thanks to the fact that all bodies are coloured, brings tidings of multitudes of distinctive qualities of all sorts; whence it is through this sense especially that we perceive the common sensibles, viz. figure, magnitude, motion, number: while hearing announces only the distinctive qualities of sound, and, to some few animals, those also of voice. indirectly, however, it is hearing that contributes most to the growth of intelligence. For rational discourse is a cause of instruction in virtue of its being audible, which it is, not directly, but indirectly; since it is composed of words, and each word is a thought-symbol. Accordingly, of persons destitute from birth of either sense, the blind are more intelligent than the deaf and dumb.

You might not know this, but Aristotle was hugely influential in the way philosophers thought about the way we experience the world. He was even more influential than Professor Dumbledore.  Seriously. If Aristotle and Professor Dumbledore had thumb wrestled, Aristotle would have won. But that is beside the point. Aristotle came up with four/five senses because of the way he thought that reality came from the outside and into the head. Thus, the senses responded to the world outside. Professor Dumbledore realized that our reality comes from the inside of our head. At least he acknowledged the importance of the world inside our bodies.

Let’s think about the way we sense the world. Think for a second about how you sensed the bike video while on the bike and contrast that when viewing from a distance. Your body felt something different. Especially if you have ever been on a motocross bike or mountain bike. On a dirt bike, you will feel your hands in the gloves twisting the throttle. The straining sensations in your legs. The scent of the exhaust. The continual sense of feeling like you are working to maintain balance. All of these sensory feelings, coming from your background experiences, help you perceive the bike videos the way you do. From the inside out.

To have the background experiences you do, you previously experienced the world around you so that you could perceive and make sense of everything you encounter. Our senses are vital in developing our understandings. Nobody would believe that anyone could appreciate Mama Davila’s cupcakes had they not held, tasted, felt, smelled, cupcakes.

How many senses do we really have?

Perhaps a good place to start would be to ask ourselves just how many senses we do have? Aristotle thought four or five. You probably learned five in elementary school. Considering our senses in greater depth might give us some clues as to how schools treat bodies–especially if the school is only taking into account a limited number of our senses.

 

 

How many senses did you say? Surely not only five!

 

 

 

 

Proprioception is important, though it is not a sense that we think of very often. But what would it be like if you didn’t have proprioception? Here is the story of one man who doesn’t have proprioception. Just think of losing this sense that we take for granted.

 

Living Without Proprioception

 

Muscle Sensors (Part III) РAn Intro to Proprioception 

 

 

Here is an example chart of how we might think of senses.

 

 

Question Set Number One (Continued)

24. Please view the following video clips. In each clip, focus on the bodies and the way the bodies sense (experience) the world. From the clips you view, tell me at least one example of the five senses: sight, touch, hearing, taste, smell, pain, mechanoreception (or proprioreception), temperature, and interception. While it will be easy for you to find examples of each of these senses in each video clip. You do not need examples from every video clip. But do try to find at least one example of each of the senses of Sight, Touch, Hearing, Taste, Smell Pain, Mechanoreception, Temperature, and Interoceptor in one or more clips. This will strengthen your ability to recognize the variety of senses we experience in our lives. 

Let me mention one thing about Mechanoreception. This term is one that might give you some trouble. You will have noticed lots of examples of Mechanoreception in the bike videos: we see Mechanoreception with the riders being accelerated, balancing themselves, and continually using their muscles and joints. 

 

The Bridgertons: Official Trailer

 

Dune: Official Trailer

 

Before I Fall: Official Trailer

 

The Hate U Give

 

Eighth Grade Official Trailer

 

All The Bright Places

 

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

 

 

In and of itself, when we consider senses in the context of movies, it seems evident that they are very ‘sensual.’ But what does this mean for schooling? What does this mean for the classroom? Is it a lack of consideration of the senses that cause some students to find schooling boring?

 

Harry: Professor Dumbledore, my teacher said that I am a visual learner? Is that true?

Professor Dumbledore: Harry, think for a moment. When was the last time you ever experienced anything from one sense?

Harry: Thank you, Professor.

Professor Dumbledore: May the force be with you, Harry.

 

Hopefully, after this exercise, you will be thinking about how ‘sensitive’ our bodies are. In fact, we could broaden the experiences of the body senses to include the sense of disappointment, care, love, aggression, hostility, sense of place, sense of belonging, etc. Whether or not we want to get that specific, well that would depend on our purpose. Right now our purpose is to recognize that to understand something, we have to involve our bodies and our multiple senses.

 

That’s all for today. Don’t send me the answers to your questions yet. You have one more lecture to respond to first.

 

I heard Sam and Margaret talking:

 

Margaret: “Hey Sam, I hear you are taking Dr. Dana’s Foundations class. What are you learning about?”

Sam: “Bodies and Narratives.”

Margaret: “Bodies and narratives. Is that all?”

Sam: “Really Margret, isn’t life about Bodies and Narratives? What more is there?

 

We can’t understand schooling without understanding Bodies and Narratives. Understanding Bodies and Narratives will give you special powers. You will start to see school and education in ways other people simply don’t. You will walk into a school and start to see things you never recognized before, even though you have spent years in schools. This understanding will give you power as a student and as a future teacher. I will help share new ways of seeing. I guess I should re-write the previous dialogue:

Margaret: “Hey Sam, I hear you are taking Dr. Dana’s Foundations class. What are you learning about?”

Sam: “Please call me Luke. Obi-Wan is sharing the power: Bodies and Narratives.”

Margaret: “What? Bodies and narratives. Is that all?”

Sam: “Really Margret, isn’t life about Bodies and Narratives? What more is there?

Margaret: “Oh brother. May the force be with you, Luke.”

May the force be with you!