2019-04-07 11:41 -0700
Weeknotes for April 7, 2019
The back page of “Learning How to Learn” by Joseph D. Novak, D. Bob Gowin, and Jane Butler Kahle still gives me goosebumps to read:
For almost a century, educational theory and practice have been influenced by the view of behavioral psychologists that learning is synonymous with behavior change. In this book, the authors argue for the practical importance of an alternate view, that learning is synonymous with a change in the meaning of experience. They develop their theory of the conceptual nature of knowledge and describe classroom-tested strategies for helping students to construct new and more powerful meanings and to integrate thinking, feeling, and acting.
In their research, they have found consistently that standard educational practices that do not lead learners to grasp the meaning of tasks usually fail to give them confidence in their abilities. It is necessary to understand why and how new information is related to what one already knows.
All those concerned with the improvement of education will find something of interest in Learning how to learn.
I revisited “When you get that wealthy, you start to buy your own bullshit”: The miseducation of Sheryl Sandberg” which I’ve been tweeting about. From "The Parable of the Sadhu", a Harvard Business case study by Bowen McCoy, which is held up as an example of bullshit and stands in contrast to the ethics of The Concrete Sumo:
The word ethics turns off many and confuses more. Yet the notions of shared values and an agreed-upon process for dealing with adversity and change – what many people mean when they talk about corporate culture – seem to be at the heart of the ethical issue. People who are in touch with their own core beliefs and the beliefs of others and who are sustained by them can be more comfortable living on the cutting edge. At times, taking a tough line or a decisive stand in a muddle of ambiguity is the only ethical thing to do. If a manager is indecisive about a problem and spends time trying to figure out the “good” thing to do, the enterprise may be lost.
Business ethics, then, has to do with the authenticity and integrity of the enterprise. To be ethical is to follow the business as well as the cultural goals of the corporation, its owners, its employees, and its customers. Those who cannot serve the corporate vision are not authentic businesspeople and, therefore, are not ethical in the business sense.
I had an interesting conversation with my friend Rob about Single Transferable Vote schemes. For example, when there are 3 seats and 5 candidates, it’s a process for re-assigning “surplus” votes once one candidate has enough votes to win a seat. I had also come across a definition of wealth that had me thinking of the limits of consumption:
The current meaning of wealth is not the amount you own, but rather how much you can consume (sustainably). Formally, the definition is Total of all assets of an economic unit that generate current income or have the potential to generate future income. This is of course the same amount as the amount that you can sustainably consume. This means that we can measure wealth either as production or as consumption.
…remember that you cannot consume money. You can only consume goods and services. Amassing riches has little value in itself. It is mainly a way (for an individual or group) to postpone consumption to some point in the future.
This post on "Trust and Integrity" by Jessie Frazelle resonated:
I think people tend to under estimate how important it is to be transparent about things that don’t need to be private. I’ve seen a lot of people in positions of power, use their power of keeping information privateagainstthose under them. They don’t fully disclose the “why” and it leads to people they manage not fully being able to help solve the problem as well as not fully understanding the problem. It also doesn’t build trust.
From "The Vision 2 and the Severing of Politics from Video Games" by Simon Parkin (emphasis mine):
Taking those risks requires supporting structures that, in Pedercini’s view, the industry lacks. “The parallel with the film industry is useful,” he said. “A politically uncompromising film like ‘Sorry to Bother You’ became a blockbuster, but its production would not have been possible without Sundance and a whole supportive ecosystem.” Video games have no such ecosystem; as Yang put it, the medium is in the process of reverse-engineering an art form from an entertainment business. “We have to build the arts-and-culture platforms and the festival circuits,” Yang said. “We have to convince funding bodies and governments that games are worth more than their sales numbers.”
…the workplace is just like college admissions. You learn the rules and use them to your advantage. So teach your kids when they’re young that the higher the stakes the game is, the more arcane the rules are. And the more arcane the rules, the more likely it is that you can find a backdoor route to the top.
But pretending the system is a meritocracy encourages more discrimination –– so says economist Robert Frank. And belief that one has succeeded inside a meritocracy leads to more self-congratulatory, selfish behavior. Frank says people who accept that all of life is about skill and luck are much more likely to be thankful and therefore more generous.
Bottom line: Gaming the system is a great idea, but you can’t game the system if you don’t have good grades. Hard work counts too. So raise a kid who has gratitude. Because when it comes to being a happy person, having gratitude is much more important than having a fancy diploma.
"Ilhan Omar’s Embattled First Months in Office" by Benjamin Wallace-Wells:
“I don’t have a way of making myself less threatening as a black person, as a black woman, as a Muslim person. And so it is just living with the reality that there are people who will see you as a threat. And figuring out how do you not allow that to deter the work that you have to get done.”