Looking down and “thinking like a mountain”


Looking down from the mountains to an institution, it is amazing to see how things look different. The streets look miniscule; people look like little dots in the space, and the fog that scatters through the city provide the feeling of mystery, structure, and organized chaos that prevails in education. In a way, the feeling of ascension provides the walker with a sense of power not experimented before. Perhaps validating Foucault`s point, In knowing we control and in controlling we know. However, this linkage seems disconnected to the walker`s opinion without incorporating the Greek concept of metis.

According to Scott (1998), metis represents a wide array if practical skills and acquired intelligence in responding to a constantly changing natural and human environment(p.313).  The walker`s experiences reminds him of his early lessons of life as well as the constant new lessons obtain through his journey.

One of the most noticeable observations while looking from the top down was the difficulty of truly knowing what is really happening down there. Two opposite conversations where echoing to his surroundings.

The first conversation was the need to make data-driven decisions to make sure all students where given an equal opportunity to succeed. In this conversation, education was being linked as the redeemer to solving our social and economic problems (Sunderman, 2009).  This conversation backed with federal pressures promoted accountability, standardizing and constant assessments. Furthermore, this national phenomenon was not only being used in the field of education. In fact, several disciplines were promoting that the more we know the more efficient and effective we are able to make things. For example, self-tracking devices to measure ways to track ourselves to prevent blood pressure and other sickness (Singer,2011). In the field of advertising,measurements shopping patterns to decide customer advertising and customer choices(AlixPartners,2010). Albrecht and Vanderlippe (2002) take this concept to another level by suggesting that they reward you for having the means to spent, however, the price setting is also being set accordingly.

            Additionally, this process is also being used across the globe in order to provide identifiable information to the government. Individuals are being provided unique codes according to a scanning system that tracks civilian’s fingerprints and their unique iris (Beiser,2011).

The second conversation happening in the surrounding was an opposition to what was occurring. The resistance against the structure proposed the idea that simplification did not proposed the appropriate solutions due to the complexity of its subjects. Taubman (2009), voices his concern by suggesting that teachers should not be responsible for overcoming historically rooted disadvantages- inequalities, poverty, injustice and racist-of an individualist society. Instead proposed alternative methods that are beyond short-term solutions, which worsens the problem.

According to Berry (1981), we should concentrate in good solutions that accepts its given limits, solutions that accept the limitations of the discipline, solutions that solves more than one problem and does not make new ones, and concentrating in good solutions that always answer the question. Furthermore, Taubman (2009), voices his concern by suggesting that teachers should not be responsible for overcoming historically rooted disadvantages- inequalities, poverty, injustice and racist-of an individualist society.

Freire (1993), offers perhaps a more transformative solution where the states, the solution is not to “integrate “but to transform the structure so they can become “beings for themselves”(p. 74). His transformative solution reminds us that we people are not marginal to their environments instead it is a structured system that keep others oppressed( Freire 1993l; Bird Rose,2013). Anyon(1980), articulates this concept suggesting, “knowledge and skills leading to social power and reward are made available to advantaged social groups but are withheld from the working class, to whom a more “practical” curriculum is offered”(p.67).

Zembylas(2007), offers a different alternative suggesting  “ teachers and students make available to themselves the forces of pleasure and the powerful flows of desire, thereby turning themselves into subjects who subvert normalized representations and significations and find access to a radical self”(p.332). In the words of palmer parker,

“ Institutions are neither other than us nor alien to us: institutions are us.”

As the walker continues his journey, the walker is encouraged by the imagination of possibilities proposed from many walkers in the field. Bird Rose (2013), invite us to think, to think of possibilities in which people can live together. A place where we examine our own bias and realized a future of possibilities. Frisk and Larson (2011), suggest that educational systems require structures that promote the freedom to constantly learn and adapt, the ability to go beyond a checklist to comprehensive pedagogies that are responsive to the effective teaching and learning. Hartman and Darab (2012), shares opportunities where structural powers provides opportunities and the freedom to think. Furthermore, Freire (1993) suggest not only to think freely, but also to have a critical spirit.

Our own journey provides us abundant and significant examples of how structures, power, and knowledge can liberate or oppressed people. Our current systems dictate so much of what is being considered as knowledge and what is acceptable. However, the scholars mentioned invite us to see the world differently, to provide our own meaning, to be critical, to challenge a reactivate status quo that kept us from moving forward.



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