Carla Rinaldi’s essay Making Learning Visible is a very well thought out endeavor but, for me , it was a bit hard to read. It seems as if she is trying to overuse the English language (I am aware that I also do this, but I would like to believe that I know where to put on the brakes). Concepts that would normally be understood by an intelligent twenty-one year old become energetic excursions into abstractdom. I nonetheless enjoyed the reading and believe that i can apply some of it to community development.
Ms. Rinaldi uses documentation to facilitate children’s learning but differs from most educators in the sense that she collects data on the students during the experience and doesn’t apply it until the end. This, to me is more like a laboratory experiment. She says that she takes this approach so as not to interfere with the learning process. I believe that more of the entire picture in regards to the child’s learning habits can be understood through this procedure. This approach, the author believes, enables’ children to “find the meaning of what they do, what they encounter, what they experience…”.
Ms. Rinaldi sees children as being competent and strong, a view that is not always shared by most educators. She gives much attention to the subject of listening and believes that this practice connects us to others. The author advises us to listen,” …with all our senses (sight, touch, smell, taste, orientation).” I’m a bit confused as to what she means by “orientation”. She says that listening always involves emotion, but I beg to differ. Many judges and jurors are asked to be unbiased in trials involving murder, rape and other heinous crimes. Although most people are not able to totally detach themselves from such issues some do, in fact remain level-headed and use sound judgment. I do believe though that one must respect the pupil and have a desire for him/her to grow. Her idea that, “(listening) demands that we have clearly in mind the value of the unknown and that we are able to overcome the sense of emptiness whenever our certainties are questioned.” is invaluable.The educator speaks about the ability to shift,” from one kind of intelligence to another, from one language to another”. This is something that black people do and have been doing for centuries. It is called “Code Switching”. We have developed our own language and behavior in order to survive in a racist environment with few resources. I ask my classmates to take note of the way we speak ”on the block” in contrast to the way we speak on the job. Consider the intelligence of our ancestors who were able do this and hand these skills down to their children. Ms. Rinaldi says, ” Young children are strongly attracted by the ways, the languages (and thus the codes) that our culture has produced, as well as by other people (children and adults). What does she mean by “our culture”? Does she mean a universal human culture? Does such a thing exist? Judging from the way she writes her culture is very different from mine. Maybe that’s why I had such a difficult time reading this work. The author nevertheless, has brilliant ideas on how teachers should allow differences to be expressed and then nurtured through an exchange of ideas.Ms. Rinaldi has a very detailed theory on documentation involving video, audio, written notes and so on that seems that it would be very effective in helping educators understand students’ individual learning styles thus making teaching more effective. I would however, like to obtain records of the success rate of this system and compare them to those of random public and private schools.In the final analysis, I believe that this essay has alot to offer but it is written in a way that only a t of few can appreciate it. Maybe the author should spend some time in public schools, particularly those in the southern United States. Then, maybe, we could “talk”.Thanks, Funmi.