The FUNdamentaLIST is

August 1st, 2011

I am a teacher who does not know everything. This blog is about finding out what I do not know, or do not know how to do, through risk and interaction. The risk occurs because I sometimes feel shame about the things I don’t know that I think I should. One of the goals of this project is to dissect, confront, and obliterate that shame.

One question I will ask is: Why do I think I should know this? Another question is: What prevented me from finding it out thus far? That is where questions will stop and action will begin. I will find the answers by interacting with others, by having experiences that make the learning memorable. That’s why it’s a FUN LIST.

As a teacher I have found that I, and many others, learn best through experiences that include narrative and relationship. You will see that many of my posts involve people who I admire and have a relationship with. Many of the posts may take on a narrative form, or I may borrow from stories as I go through my list.

I also want to explore the psychology and politics of learning. What affects our sense of efficacy? What are some psycho-emotional, economic, and systemic barriers to learning? Who decides what is learned? Who decides whether it was learned? As a public school teacher entrenched in a system concerned with accountability and measurement, these questions are a part of my every day.

The list on the left of the blog includes some topics I don’t know about. They are fundamental in my mind because they are things that I think, for whatever reason, I should know as a person of my age, gender, location, level of education, and economic status. I plan to tackle this list, but I make no promises to cross each item off. I want to become comfortable with the reality that there will always be things that I do not know. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh was a formative book for me as a child; I must have read it at least 13 times. There is a memorable scene in which Harriet throws a tantrum at the realization that she can’t possibly know all that there is to know. It is impossible. I will likely add new items to the list as I think of them or become curious about (or feel inept at) new things.

Creativity is the final component of this project. We learn best, and retain most, when we immediately apply what we’ve learned, and transfer the content to multiple contexts. In this blog I will use various media to apply what I’ve learned: music, video, art, etc. I will also try my hand at various editing software. You will see that I am not expert at these things, but that’s not the point. Or rather, that IS the point. Meaningful learning involves risk. Since I constantly ask my students to take intellectual and social risks while learning, shouldn’t I demand the same of myself? I want to push through my perfectionist tendencies and show you myself as I really am: a humble learner, just trying to have a little FUN.

This project is about interacting with other people, and that means you! Please feel free to engage with me by posting comments.

This blog was designed by the talented Bryan Morrison.