Tuesday, July 11, 2006

HI! It's been several days, and we've been busy with packing, etc.

It's time to add to my thoughts on learning and teaching. If you don't see the connection between what you read now and the alleged subject, go back and read what has gone before. I think you'll begin to catch on!

So, here goes.


Failure to know - oh, what's
A classroom for, if not to
Try, and miss, and try again, and
In the failing, knowing yet more
Each time, growing ever more
Confident. Or, finding all the
Things that will not work,
Trying again.

Ideal, you say - of course. So - why
Not, instead of fear of failing,
Love of knowing; instead of knowing
All or fearing the result, the search,
The questions, and the value of uncertainty.
As I am uncertain at this point, and
Should be afraid, but am not - rather
Exhilarated at the prospect of finding more.
Failure and authority most often
Team up together, but need not.
A friendlier environment for searching
Can be set - it takes some work.
And confidence on a leader's part, of
Course - so here's another riddle
To be dealt with, if not solved.
And the search goes on.


What is there about circles - sitting
'Round a circle - that disturbs?
Authority has trouble with its status,
That's for sure! For a circle is
A democratic figure - no place on
It's circumference better than another.

So in the search for solutions to
The puzzles - of self, of life,
And of the great conversation, what better
Form than the equality and evenness
Of a circle. Each puzzle in each box
Can be itself; and others, differently.

In rows and squares, or lines and ranks,
Some can be low, some higher, and
One highest (or lowest) in the hierarchy.
Yet hierarchies lend themselves best
To conclusions, not to inquiries;
And, too often, Truth is lost.
Circularity lends itself not only to equality
But to sharing: to openness of speech
And hearing; to the engagement of the
Heart as well as of the mind; to
Humanness and love - the focus and the center.
Hence learning, and the search goes on.


There's nothing quite so puzzling as a
Group of puzzles, with attendant
Labels and boxes and rules and
Order, all and each vying with
Others for some end or other.
Community, we call it, and what is
Common is often hard to determine.
Yet it's there, so let's look.

In our special situation, it's not a
City or a village we're concerned with,
But a learning situation, an experience concerning
Some more than one, yet less than a multitude. Puzzles,
in their boxes, with their labels,
In a box in a system - a classroom in a school. And
that's a community? Oh, yes!
Rarely a tyranny; more often a
Benevolent autocracy; occasionally
A democracy. In which one can learning
Truly advance, as we have been saying?
When there is no fear; where the love of
Truth, and curiosity, prevail; where
No hierarchy impedes; where the goal
Is growth, the conversation open.

Where each is learner, teacher -
One and the same - and each
Can be a puzzle, outside his box,
While puzzling the greater questions.
Of this life, and in so doing,
Come ever closer to understanding,
Knowledge, and changes growth implies,
And reach to wisdom as an end.

Such a community is one of love;
For every member must love the
Others for the discourse to go on; must
Care about the process and the goals,
And the sheer delight of watching others
Grow. Such a community values
Puzzles, nurtures them, and in the end
The puzzles love themselves.


So, finally, each puzzle stands revealed -
A person, young or old; teacher,
Student, parent, child. The names are
Many, the roles legion; which hat to wear
At each moment? Labels are so important!
Without a label, I don't know how to deal -

With you. Person is too personal, I
Sometimes think; better to learn the
Box and its label, and get on with
More important things. Like what?
Like learning what is set forth to
Be given back; to conform to -
Norms of the system, the larger boxes
And their labels? Am I better
For it? Are you? Or are we both
Far better for the uncertainties of
Confrontation, the mutual sharing of
Our doubts - our puzzles?

And which way lies the learning that is true
And good - for growing? Puzzles by
Themselves learn nothing. As persons among
Persons they attain a dignity of wholeness
And aliveness that is human - and each puzzle
Begins its mystery to reveal


Blogger Jill said...

Bob - you have really spent a lot of time on this stuff, haven't you? How long does it take you to do the poetry?

10:31 AM

Blogger Bob said...


I wrote all of thie pretty much in a period of two months in 1988, and then stopped for quite a while.

I tried my hand at some other poetry in the same format, but didn't produce anything I thought much of!

I haven't tried any recently, but may get back to it one day.

Thanks for your continuing inerest.

9:36 AM


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