From: Eugene Matusov
Submit: Post Message
Date: 10 Nov 1996
Hi Ayal and everybody--
Ayal wrote, "I think that it would be a great idea to implemeny the maze. " Can you elaborate why maze is great, please?
I see some positive features of the maze in
1) a symbolic representation for the kids of all available activities;
2) opportunities for kids to explore the games in depth; and
3) facilitation for kids' talking about the games with each other.
I see also some potential problematic features of the maze:
1) maze creates new disciplinary issues of the maze enforcement (who will do it and how, what would happen if kids violate the maze and jump from activity to activity -- which may be kid's personal style of learning and exploration);
2) maze is created and contolled by adults which may not give kids opportunity to bring new activities to BU;
3) maze and task cards can inhibite kids' experimentation with and invention of new game rules.
As to Wizard, Ayal wrote, "I'm still unclear as to the wizard. He seems like nothing more than a messianic figure. Supposedly once the wizard comes all problems will be solved, no worries, we don't know what the wizard will do but we know it will fix everything. I think that's bullshit and we need to spend serious class time trying to figure it out because I think people are in for a big surprise when they see that even bigger problems will arise."
I very much share Ayal's concern about powerful wizard that solves all problems (I don't think it is b.s.).
I see the following potentially positive features of wizard:
1) supports and promotes kids' writing;
2) relaxes kids' frustration;
3) supports kids' communication and reflection about activities.
I also see potential problems with wizard:
1) who will be a wizard (the person should be reliable, sensitive to kids' needs, understanding local communities and BU, speaking Spanish, available during BU sessions)? I'm not sure that we have such a person now. I think that having less that I listed can significantly jeopardize kids well-being.
2) one of BU mission is to teach kids how to solve their interpersonal problems. I think that Wizard (at least as it is in 5th Dimension) takes away this mission.
3) I think wizard socialize kids in a bureucratic society that you communicate with invisible powerful authority. Do we need that socialization?
What do you think? Let's keep this conversation.