From: Eugene Matusov
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Date: 12 Oct 1996
Hi Annie, May, and others--
I really like your reflective and thoughtful exchange and want you to continue.
Annie wrote, "Well, it seems like people are getting sort of upset over the lack of structure and direction at Barrios Unidos."
Since we talked in class on Wednesday that each educational setting has its own structure, it may be a good idea to try to describe the structure of Barrios Unidos. What are the structure at Barrios Unidos?
Often people do not see structure when there is a structure that they do not expect, which seems to indicated by the following Annie's statement, "I guess it is sort of difficult knowing that we're not doing what was intended." It is interesting to consider "knowing that we're notdoing what was intended." First of all, by whom intended? and how do you know (or why do you think) that what you are doing at Barrios Unidos is not what someone intended you to do?
I also noticed that both Annie and May have started to critically examine their own expectations and educational approach:
Annie: " I think it's good for the kids to have a chance to do what they want to do and it's not like any of the games are detrimental to them. ... I think learning to take what comes and deal with an unpredictable environment is a good lesson for us. " I really like Annie's characterization of Barrios Unidos as "unpredictable environment." Although I'd push further by considering the question: unpredictable for whom and why should be educational environment predictable (or fully predictable)?
May: "What I noticed is that some kids like to be on their own from time to time, while others like to play with different people or do different activities. ... part of the idea is to let them choose what they want to do and who they want to play with. " I think this may be the key to a guiding approach appropriate for the Barrios Unidos environment. Kids are playing while you are a spider is waiting for a learning opportunity that you co-construct with the kids. What do you think?