// Week 2 //

Monday 8/31

Started reading Rancière‘s “The Ignorant Schoolmaster” today and I feel like I see a lot of parallels between this first chapter, “An Intellectual Adventure”, and some of the early chapters of “Teaching as a Subversive Activity.” Most notably the notion that it is more important to teach students how to learn than what. To kill off the “guess what I’m thinking model.” This text has also really made me consider the empowerment behind teaching someone or leading someone to the ability to question and learn without being stifled by the authority of the educator. “There is stultification whenever one intelligence is subordinated to another.” Towards the end of the chapter it is mentioned that this type of self teaching/learning has been going on forever and to me it feels like we are walking into a new incarnation of it with this jump to digial learning and how that may blur what is considered education. In what ways is sitting through a zoom lecture different that learning something through YouTube? Is it the content covered or is it the confirmation of what you have learned in the form of a diploma? Who is to say you can’t kit-bash your own education through platforms like YouTube, Skillshare, Patreon, etc? Esspecially when so many designers/artists are self taught. Maybe we just have to remove the gatekeepers of our industries first.  

Thursday 9/3

Completed Chapters two, The Ignorant One’s Lesson, and three, Reason Between Equals this evening. In a section of the second chapter called “The Island of the Book” Rancière notes that the first rule of universal teaching is that one must learn something (in Jacotot’s case, Télémaque) and then equate everything else to that one thing. This was compared to the methods of the Old Master wherein a student would learn one thing before being told they could move to the next, and then the next after that, etc. The methods of the Old Master seem to align with that of traditional art and design schooling where students begin with foundations and progress from there, as well as with the Bauhaus model where students start at the outer ring and work their way in. I wonder though how design educators could break from this. Would it be a matter of teaching foundations alongside other classes throught the tenure of the student? Or would educators need to instead create/instruct students to create some sort of Télémaque. Could that be a text provided at the beginning of each course (likely related to the course) or would it better serve students if it was a collection of design examples found or scrapped from history/online/from books by the students. Its is my thought that this collevtive, collection of design examples could be the Télémaque that serves as an equalty of intelligence because was created wihout the input of the instructor, therefore not imposing an inequality of intelligence. I wonder too how you can teach something like design without using the language of the Old Masters; would that mean teaching design without ever speaking in the language of design as it stands today?

Another important concept from this chapter want the idea that “everything is in everything”, that there is equal intelligence in all things we create and that in general there is no hierarchy of intellectual capacity. Meaning that no one being is inherenty more intelligent than another human being, in stead intelligence manifests based on the amount of energy put into wanting to learn. And that if students/people realize that they are equal with all others then they can be emancipated from the stultification of the Old Masters and can carve their own path forward to the “land of knowledge”.

Additionally this chapter speaks to the Socratic method of teaching and how Socrates interrogates in order to instruct while the emancipator interrogates to be instructed. The ingorant master does not ask questions to see if students learned what they wanted the students to learn but instead ask questions to see that students are in fact learning. The ignorat master asks questions to see what students have uncovered while teachign themselves. I wonder how an ignorant master can teach a subject that they are not truly ignorant in, and how they could reduce themself to the level of ignorance. It seems that Rancière would call for the educator to do nothing more than verify that the work has been done and that autonomous learning is taking place, but what does this do for things like critique? Do you remove critique all together? This seems rash as I have learned more in some crits than I had all semester. Maybe instead this calls for critiques only amongst peers, critiques amongst individuals of comparative intelligence where one is less likely to stultify another. 

Chapter three delves into notions of equalty that I would likely better understand if I was not at the breaking point of my ability to stare at, and read from my computer screen (if only printer ink wasn’t so damn expensive). As my mind lapsed I did pick out a handful of ideas. First in the section that spoke of man being a will served by intellegence it was noted that for the universal method to be sucessful one must seek to repeat and seek to re-see what they have seen and that this form of repitition is the most frequent mode of exercising intelligence. Also making note that repetition is boring and often gives way to the vice of laziness. I think though that this drices home a lot of what this chapter gets at in regards to the equality of intelligence. Submitting to the fact that we are not all born equal but that through repitition equality of intelligence can be cultivated and maintained. That the best of classis “genius poets” were only so through hard work and repitition. It is also worth pointing out the bit about the ambitious losing waht they have gained in the way of intelectual power by not judging themselves as inferior to anyone and that it is better to judge oneself as equal to everyone else and everyone else as equal to oneslef. 

Friday 9/4

// Class Note Dump //
Can you have improvisation (freedom of ideas/spontaneous invention) with rules?
Can you have hierarchy and equality? Is it better to have a moderator than hierarchy?
Rules should be minimal.
Assuming that this exercise of class rules is based loosely on the immaculate heart college rules, then maybe we should consider that these rules are less about being hard-and-fast rules and are more so guidelines for a successful practice realized in a collective space. The IHC rules feels like more of a manifesto than a set of rules. Also “there should be new rules next week”  really implies that these rules are flexible, evolving, plastic.
Minimal rule making/minimal parenting
Professionalization versus students following their own practice?
Free classroom in an unfree society?
Knowledge growth and self exploration
  • cost of education as exchange for hard professional skills
  • how does that affect students or curriculum that skews more towards the theoretical or free/self-expression?
What are the skills necessary to be successful within a specific context?
Conceptual thinking and hard skills are two sides of the same coin and need to exist together.
  • Can you implement hard skills/technical skills through projects/coursework that is more conceptual in nature?
  • Can you implement course work in which students only realize they have learned hard skills/technical skills in hindsight?
  • Do you emancipate through conceptual means while also requiring the use of certain programs in order to implement hard skills without stultifying?

Is this not about teaching astrophysics and more about teaching someone that they have the ability to learn/teach themself astrophysics based on the intelligence they already possess?
Equality of intelligence between two beings moderated by a third intelligence (Télémaque)?
Fact vs meaning?  The Télémaque is a fact? Is something a fact because it is present in the physical world? Our interactions with the text both happen as a fact, we can all read the book and it is all the same book which make that a fact. You may come to different conclusions or choose to not believe, but the fact remains that the book remains the same to all of us?
Hyper-normalization argues that governments, financiers, and technological utopians have, since the 1970s, given up on the complex "real world" and built a simpler "fake world" run by corporations and kept stable by politicians. (Wikipedia)
Unchanging product of intelligence in the form of a text?
Scientism – the promotion of science as the best or only objective means by which society should determine normative and epistemological values. The term scientism is generally used critically, implying an unwarranted application of science in situations considered not amenable to application of the scientific method or similar scientific standards. (Wikipedia)


>>> Draft core questions about the book once finished <<<