Bird Droppings April 7, 2023
I am pondering ABNANBNANBNANBNANBNANBC or antecedent behavior, new antecedent, new behavior, etc.
Last night I reviewed some notes from one of my numerous posts on my various blog sites and graduate school comments. I had been reading from a paper on a program developed in the mid-1980s in California. The program with one teacher in one school was so successful that they decided to implement it as a school board across the district. Some saw the AVID program as so many great efforts that it became a packaged canned program for anyone to implement as I read the article and thought about my long-range plans. It hit me.
I want to teach college and train teachers in my later years. One question that has perplexed me is how we teach a student in an education program to teach, for example, maybe this AVID program. We can provide all the tools, forms, calculators, notebooks with cool logos, a special room, and anything else needed to implement the program. My question is will it work? I commented on a particular attribute as I read my posts and many others. We can emulate the program and replicate a million copies of notes and details, but we cannot emulate the passionate teacher who developed the program. How do we get new teachers to emulate the great ones and be creative and imaginative in their own right?
I thought back to an incident in 2003. I recall very clearly how my son went to bed after working on his computer all night and told me to sleep more as I got up; it was about 3:30 AM. The previous day, as I gave out an assignment, one of the aspects was to ask five questions about the chosen topic and proceed to answer them. One student, who happened to drum in a band, thought he could choose something he “knew about” and be done. He, of course, chose drums; I should have known, and the question was, where did drums originate? His answer was so simple; he thought, Africa. I asked him a few questions to get him going, when, what country, how long ago, what were they made of, and are you sure it was Africa?
I was a bit mean as he had spent at least four minutes on his topic and questions. He proceeded to change his topic because the drums were too hard. This was not a dumb kid by any stretch of the imagination but extremely lazy. Each time his one-word answer would be met with additional questions. As I explained, you are answering a question but not answering it. More often than not, I explained that giving a simple, quick answer only gives minimal information. For example, Africa is a vast country. I went in a different direction for a few minutes with him. Where did the light bulb originate? I said, answering the United States leaves so much out.
“The lazier a man is, the more he plans to do tomorrow.” Norwegian Proverb
As I pondered my student and readings and pondered, I often wondered what makes us so lazy. Why do we have to have a quick solution or answer? Why can’t we look deeper anymore? And it seems we live so superficially, much like believing we can replicate a program by simply copying the notes. So much is missed by skimming along and only trying to finish or duplicate. For nearly twenty-three years, I worked in reproducing manuals for training programs; it is easy to produce a thousand manuals; I used to be able to get a page count, binder size, number of tabs, and if any four colors were involved, and how much and give a production time to the minute. But I was also on the development side and recalled months of research and effort to provide the original manual.
“Man wants to live, but it is useless to hope that this desire will dictate all his actions.” Albert Camus
Perhaps changes could be served if we could channel energy used for selfish means and redirect it. Camus brings up one of the primary motivational premises of man’s survival. Many psychologists, authors, and others have all started at this point. But what separates us from the lower primates? Watching high school students, I often wonder if survival is a factor.
“Each today, well-lived, makes yesterday a dream of happiness and each tomorrow a vision of hope. Look, therefore, to this one day, for it, and it alone is life.” Sanskrit Poem
When we can finish a day and look back and say well done, the feeling and attitude that prevail can lift us into another. I am working on an idea that works around a behavior premise of antecedent, behavior, and consequence, or more simply, ABC. Behaviorists see an antecedent leading up to behavior in all we do, but the consequence predicates the behavior. I raised the question to a friend of what if we could have ABABABAB where the antecedent leads to behavior which leads to a higher function of another antecedent and so forth, almost in a way what I was trying to get my drummer to do. Socrates did it well, answering questions with questions.
“He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.” Lao-Tzu
“A bar of iron costs $5, made into horseshoes, its worth is $12, made into needles, its worth is $3500, made into balance springs for watches; it’s worth is $300,000.00 Your value is also determined by what you can make of yourself.” Source unknown
This quote came to mind as I looked back at the student seeking a one-word answer to a lifelong question. How often are we content to have the five dollars instead of a bit of work and the Three Hundred Thousand dollars? One aspect of learning and teaching is getting students to view effort as positive, not just work. Many teachers have not learned to recognize effort, which often negates some students’ attributes.
“In this world, in order to enable society to develop, all its members have to assume responsibilities and make their contribution. If we do not make collective contributions, then there will be no development.” The Dalai Lama, speaking to the Tibetan National Assembly in Dharamshala, May 1989
Each of us lives in a society or community, and as much as we choose so often to be individuals, we are members of and interact within that group. The vitality of that group is the development and growth intertwined with the members’ contributions physically, mentally, and spiritually. Society exists because of these interactions, which refers to the previously mentioned AVID program. For example, in my own experiences with the Foxfire program, the community makes these programs succeed.
“Compare society to a boat. Her progress through the water will not depend upon the exertion of her crew but upon the exertion devoted to propelling her. This will be lessened by any expenditure of force in fighting among themselves, or in pulling in different directions.” Henry George
We have to be working together and moving in some direction, and as humans do so often, much time is wasted fighting and arguing among ourselves, and motion and growth are limited.
“The greatest difficulty with the world is not its ability to produce, but the unwillingness to share.” Roy L. Smith
We tend to be selfish animals by watching high school students form clicks or groups and adults form clubs and social groups. We look to ourselves and what benefits us, limiting friends and such to a degree we box ourselves in. We may be sharing a simple task, but it is often distant. TV humor plays on this subject several times in old Seinfeld and Will and Grace Sitcoms; giving is a chore, a burden, and the characters are parasitic instead of symbiotic. As I looked for quotes and thoughts, this one, in particular, popped up and was appropriate.
“Societies that do not eat people are fascinated by those that do.” Ronald Wright
Wright was speaking literally, yet interestingly enough, we of modern society, while we do not eat people, we still psychologically, emotionally, financially, or sociologically destroy them. As I look at how we respond to others so often, it is how we see ourselves indirectly.
“The most difficult thing we do is not deal in facts when contemplating ourselves.” Mark Twain
In a recent project assignment, several students “completed it” They did not finish the task but answered what they thought was the question; they just wanted it done. Whether it was right or wrong, good or bad, was not the issue; it was over.
“Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. You will not do anything with your time until you value it.” M. Scott Peck
I read this quote and saw an answer that if you genuinely do not appreciate yourself, your time has little value. Even when you are self-absorbed in using it frivolously, you simply are taking up time not using it. Guessing at answers to a test to get done or rushing through to be over, still, you wait just as the rest do, so is there any benefit, which always elicits my favorite catchphrase, “I don’t care.” I think it should read, “I do not care about myself” As we begin a new week, our world is troubled and sore. We are able if we try to make a difference, even in a small way. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and heart, and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)