Mime Anecdote

In a book chapter on the role of play in creativity, Sarah Lewis shares an anecdote about the public policy of a mayor in Colombia. He wanted to solve the problem of dishonest cops, so he hired mimes:

…to replace the “notoriously bribable” police. With faces painted white or blue, some dressed in bowties, black pencil on their eyes and eyebrows to exaggerate expression, the mimes would stand at the intersections and on streets mocking bad behavior and praising good behavior from pedestrians and drivers.

Mockus’s theory was that play could help, since people are often more afraid of ridicule than being fined (p. 156).

This mime anecdote may work as a transition between focusing on the scholarship of fear and that of failure.


Mastery Requires Endurance

Sarah Lewis, in The Rise: Creativity, The Gift of Failure, and The Search For Mastery, she discusses the mindset of archers at target practice. Her definition of mastery may be useful for educators.

Lewis writes:

Mastery requires endurance. Mastery, a word we don’t use often, is not the equivalent of what we might consider its cognate–perfectionism–an inhuman aim motivated by a concern with how others view us. Mastery is also not the same as success–an event-based victory based on a peak point, a punctuated moment in time. Mastery is not merely a commitment to a goal, but to a curved line, constant pursuit (p. 7-8).

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 8.13.34 AM

photo credit: me

See also Otherwise Ignored Ideas and (other posts about failure here)

Otherwise Ignored Ideas

In the introduction of The Rise: Creativity, The Gift of Failure, and The Search For Mastery, Sarah Lewis takes a look at the division between work and labor.

She writes:

A division line often position creativity, innovation, and discoveries as a separate, even elite, category of human endeavor: chosen, lived out by few. Yet out stories challenge this separation. If we each have the capacity to convert excruciating into an advantage, it is because this creative process is crucial for pathmaking of all kinds.

What we gain by looking at mastery, invention, and achievement is the value of otherwise ignored ideas–the power of surrender, the propulsion of the “near win,” the critical role of play in achieving innovation, and the importance of grit and creative practice (p.11).

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 8.00.21 AM

photo credit: me

The path is an image she uses quite a bit with reference to mastery. She goes on to explain several times throughout the book with how we perceive failure. She reminds readers:

It is cliche to say that we learn most from failure. It also not exactly true. Transformation comes from how we choose to speak about it in the context of story, whether self-stated or aloud (p.13).

See also Mastery Requires Endurance

Large-scale Course Redesign

In Improving Learning and Reducing Costs: Lessons Learned from Round I of the Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign By Carol A. Twigg (source) the Emporium model in developmental math is summarized.

This is a comment from 2003:

Decisions to engage in large-scale course redesign cannot be left to an individual faculty member. An institution’s best chance of long-term success involves not a single individual but rather a group of people who, working together, are committed to the objectives of the project. Indicators that the faculty in a particular unit are ready to collaborate include the following: they may have talked among themselves about the need for change; they may have decided to establish common learning objectives and processes for the course in question; and they may have instituted pieces of a common approach, such as a shared final examination.

See also (source) for more current discussion.

Nightly Flights

In Austin, Texas, a tourist attraction is to gather on the Congress Avenue Bridge, on the lawn under the bridge, and in boats on the river to see the nightly flight of the Mexican free-tailed bats.

From the Bat Conservation International:

When engineers reconstructed the Congress Avenue Bridge in 1980 they had no idea that new crevices beneath the bridge would make an ideal bat roost. Although bats had lived there for years, it was headline news when they suddenly began moving in by the thousands. Reacting in fear and ignorance, many people petitioned to have the bat colony eradicated.

About that time, Merlin Tuttle brought BCI to Austin and told the city the surprising truth: that bats are gentle and incredibly sophisticated animals; that bat-watchers have nothing to fear if they don’t try to handle bats; and that on the nightly flights out from under the bridge, the Austin bats eat from 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of insects, including agricultural pests.

Inspired by source:

Coins Lost By Mermaids

Sand dollars have five points not six and they are not shellfish, they are sea urchins.

Sand dollars connect to folk lore in the following ways:

A variety of imaginative associations have been made by idle beachcombers who run across the bleached skeletons of dead sand dollars.

The tests are sometimes said to represent coins lost by mermaids or the people of Atlantis. Christian missionaries found symbolism in the fivefold radial pattern and dove-shaped internal structures.

“Aristotle’s lantern” has been discerned in the distinctive perforations of keyhole sand dollars.


Limitless Spectacle of Everyday

Here is a remixing of this artist’s ethos (source):

From architectural interventions to delicate paper constructions, [this] work invites an intimate engagement with the phenomenal world, exploring the interconnections of time, materiality and experience through an awakening of the senses.

Individual works rely on interaction and embody change, often their own dissolution over time. Transparent media play on the limits of visibility, creating conditions for discovery and reflection while revealing the limitless spectacle of the everyday.

The Warp & The Weft

In a search for an image to explain the warp and weft in fabric, a simple image appears from wikipedia:

An artist named Kumi Yamashita also appears in the same search (source). She removes part of the warp and the weft in fabric to create something new.

She describes her delicate and precise art:

Sometimes there is something beautiful about things falling apart. Undoing one thing while simultaneously creating another.

See also Many Paths To & For Personalization (source).