Loopiness As a Pedagogical Methodology
Anne Dalke and Paul Grobstein
The clashing point of two subjects, two disciplines, two cultures --- of two galaxies as far as that goes --- ought to produce creative chances.
C.P. Snow, The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution
But it was from the difference between us, not from the affinities and likenesses, but from the difference, that [understanding] came, and it was itself the bridge, the only bridge, across what divided us.
Ursula LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness
"Together we reconstruct the texts that have been our classrooms in hope that others may find here useful accounts ..."
"... don't depend on people knowing in advance what is "right," but rather on people having
confidence in the creative potential inherent in groups of people sharing different perspectives and ideas, in exactly the same sense that they have (or should have)
confidence in the creative potential inherent in all individuals, themselves included."
Creating a conversation ...
Noticing, valuing, and facilitating the internal conversation ...
Some outcomes ...
A few months ago my impressions [of Sharon Burgmeyer¹s "Cube and Sphere"] were: "The cube seems to suggest linear thinking, i.e. logic and reason. The ball suggests something whole or complete (intuitive knowledge?) perhaps the missing puzzle pieces of logic must become painted w/ the various shades of intuitive knowledge . . . perhaps the cube will eventually become the ball!". . . . At the beginning of the term, I resisted the "cube of applied logic," secretly favoring the multi-colored "sphere of intuitive knowledge." (The resistance should have been a clue: in my experience it usually means the avoidance of learning something!) The bold colors of logic and critical thinking suggested limitation, and a lack of mental "freedom." Reasoning represented an often cumbersome, painful process requiring patience and discipline. However .... Gradually I found that the exploration of various models of thinking could be interesting and even exciting. I discovered that intuitive thinkers like myself need not fear theoretical models of applied logic. Theoretical models are simply different glasses through which to observe and interpret the world. While I have been busy learning to "think" in new ways, it seems that I have been revising my attitude towards thinking, as well. I have learned that exploring new models or frameworks encourages a certain fluidity of thinking and keeps the mind reaching for new understandings.
Eveline Stang, csem student, December 2001
Everyone in the class taught me things about themselves, human nature ... life; things I desperately needed to learn. For a
- Being quiet is not a bad thing.
- Organization is necessary for those not sharing a subconscious.
- All the ideas that come into your head do not need to be put into your paper.
- Having different viewpoints and sharing them benefits everyone; it doesn't mean you aren't still friends.
- Words can be more revealing and more powerful than anything else in the world- they can also be completely unnecessary.
Chelsea Phillips, csem student, December 2001
Some lessons and issues ... continuing the conversation
- Design loopy classroom experiences
- Take advantage of differences ... they are good things
- Be comfortable with both the intuitive/unconscious and the analytical/conscious ... they belong together
In the middle it hurt!
Daddy was gone
Confusion set in
Like a bad song
Pieces of life
Thrown up in the sky
One by one fell
Back into my heart ........................... Louise Tillett, csem student, December 2001
- Be comfortable with discomfort ... one needs to model with students what one wants them to do
- Continue the conversation