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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 12.16.2022

“Are you with me now?” AJ Ryder

Last week at the Leadership Conference, when I was talking to our group about how we started the San Diego Met, because of time, I couldn’t tell the story of having one of our students, Eric Oliveras from the first class of The Met in Providence come with me and speak at the San Diego School Board meeting and with Superintendent Bersin’s staff about his experiences. Eric’s talks and presence really turned the tide for us and it is a reminder that from early on and even before The Met existed Big Picture found students and families from the community to come along on the journey with us to figure all of it out. There are many authors - authorities in our work and I hope we never stray from acknowledging families and students as part of our maker’s mark. It just so happened that last week, Eric sent me this note.

Hey Elliot, I hope all is well. I miss you very much. I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I was able to attain my BS and MS. I have a huge passion for jazz and I remember you sharing a bit of your collection with me. I have a home restoration business now and traveling through the states restoring homes. I hope our paths cross again. Much love, -Eric

I finally had the time to pick-up From Lived Experience to the Written Word by Pamela Smith. Frank Wilson has been telling me about the book for months. So far, it does not disappoint. Pamela Smith gives a historical perspective of how we got to where we are in society and in schools regarding the division between ‘mind/thought and body/action’ differentiating how to do vs how to think from a perspective that for me is developing a new framework. Without creating this framework for not just knowing and being able to do but also doing and being able to know, the k-16 school systems will remain a ball of confusion for most students.

From Lived Experience to Written Word is all about tacit learning, learning from experience and embodied cognition merging with the printed word in the form of recipes, instruction manuals all the way to YouTube DIY’s. It distinguishes people who know what they are talking about because they lived it from people who just write i.e. talk shit. The problem is our society has for the most part discarded the people with the embodied wisdom and today any fool writer or speaker can get up there with little credibility but lots of believability and cater to those who know even less and want to quickly know more.

“Once a thing is put in writing, the composition, whatever it may be, drifts all over the place, getting into the hands not only of those who understand it, but equally of those who have no business with it.” Socrates

“Here is the distinction between true embodied wisdom and a feeble externalized collection of data, a list-like reminder where lots of writing makes it seem like you know much, while for the most part you know nothing.”

“Most important, skilled and expert performance of techniques can never be taught in writing, they take time and much practice, and they necessitate communities of practitioners both to develop and define what constitutes skilled practice and to teach and transmit it.”

You may fool people with text but wisdom is embodied and is difficult to express in text.

In our schools and in our society, we continue to put theory above practice, abstract thinking above bodily experience and mind over hand. It is nice to have other partners in this work of a new framework.

Case in point, today when I was reading the newest data from ASA about their research showing over half of the teens said that their friends (54%) and social media (52%) provide them with information and inspiration about the causes they care most about. Now consider the sources they just noted.

The Bottom Line from ASA research:Understanding specific causes Gen Z cares about is important. Yet, too many young people are turning to what can be unreliable sources of information.”

Last night Charlie Plant sends me a text to watch the documentary, The Chisels are Calling. John Monteleone’s story is one of a journey on the road to mastery where craft, art and science merge over a lifetime. It is brilliant. This is part of a new framework. What’s old is new.

And, Yvonne, who was on our Brooklyn neighborhood trip a few weeks ago, just sent a hardbound book with few words, almost all pictures of the journey. Somehow it all comes back again where craft, art and science merge.

Great news from Lima, Peru – Roberto Barientos Mollo emailed telling us that “9 secondary technical schools of district 7 of metropolitan Lima are being encouraged to implement bpl in 2023.”

We had another great meeting facilitated by Eunice developing a practice of BPLiving throughout BPL. More to come….

This afternoon Anthonette, Board member Gary Kraut and co-founder of B-U Pam Roy and I will meet about using Alums from BPL schools to tell their stories of finding their interests and passions that give meaning to their lives. This is going to support our work both in and outside of schools a la ImBlaze and B-Unbound.

Be well.

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