Guest blog post: Erin Raab

erinFor a while now I’ve been meaning to ask a few people who I know if they’d like to do a guest blog post on something they’re interested in. While I was at Stanford earlier this year I met Erin Raab in David Labaree’s course “A History of School Reform in the US” (which is a great course). Erin is currently doing her PhD at Stanford in the Graduate School of Education where she’s trying to answer the following question: “How might we might re-envision, re-design, and transform our schooling system so that it empowers teachers and students as positive changemakers, in their own lives and in their communities?”
Prior to Stanford she worked in international educational development, including five years in Durban where she completed her Master’s in Development Studies (cum laude) as a Rotary Scholar. She also founded the KwaNdengezi Education Centre which serves 8000 learners in 9 schools, and worked with the Department of Basic Education as a Senior Researcher for MIET Africa on SADC’s program Care and Support for Teaching and Learning.
After realising that we both loved James Scott’s “Seeing Like a State” (which is an absolute must-read for everyone interested in anything ever) I asked her to make a list of other influential books/articles/videos. This is what she sent 🙂
**-  Allen Article by Danielle Allen (political philosophy) on disentangling the relationship between equality & education – she really helped clarify links I was struggling with.
**-  Aukerman, Lyle Articles on Dialogic Pedagogy  – I think this way of thinking about understanding learning (combined with socio-cultural ways of thinking about it) is key, really fundamental, somehow
–  Boyce & HertzmanArticle on how our environments affect us at the genetic level attached — This FASCINATES me…I think it’s important to think about how this is all really affecting us…not just psychologically but physiologically….it’s related to Nadine Burke Harris’ talk in a way.
–  GehlbachArticle on why social psychology might be important for educators to consider

Some books that have been influential:

seeing
**- Seeing Like a State – Scott – a lens for analyzing the failure of big social engineering schemes of the 20th century & a useful framework for exploring the design and impact of a more varied array of smaller social reforms (or attempts at social reform).  I attached the reaction paper I wrote on it.
thinking
**-  KahnemanThinking Fast & Slow – This book blows my mind.  Looks at how the brain works and “the psychological basis for reactions, judgments, recognition, choices, conclusions, and much more”.  I’m halfway through.
syst
**-  Capra & LuisiA Systems View of Life – Another one I’m working on in bits and pieces and am about halfway through because it’s mindblowing.  Starts with an overview of the history of scientific thought and how we’ve gone back and forth between believing we can boil things down to their smallest parts and then understand them, vs. the view that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.  I got into it as I started thinking that the answer had to lie in shifting the whole system — which meant considering how systems work and systems theory.
**-  Asch – Social Psychology – he’s one of the fathers of social psychology and, while dense, his book touches on so many core aspects of what humans need to flourish.
*-  Why We Do What We Do (by Deci) – precursor to Daniel Pink’s book Drive — about our three core human psychological needs – essential to considering intrinsic motivation.
* – Foucault – Discipline & Punish – A number of things stick with me, in particular about how we’ve made the punishment for “crime” to be separated from society and invisible.  I also think much of it relates to how we think about schooling & behavior.  Deleuze’s book “Foucault” is also a great accessible interpretation.
* – MarxDas Kapital – I haven’t read the whole thing, but the chapters I have read from the first volume blew my mind. If you haven’t read him at all, it seems important, especially for an economist 🙂
*-  LS Vygotsky & Education – Moll – — socio-cultural approaches to learning that I think are more representative of how we actually learn than traditional conceptualizations.  Relatively easy introduction to the ideas
*-  Scarcity – Mullanaithan — effects of scarcity mindset on people – — (I think this book and Daring Greatly & Deci & Soul of Money get at some of the core ways we are affected by our culture, but blame it on individuals).
*-  Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Freire – classic, amazing.
*-  Daring Greatly – Brown – I keep thinking about the role of shame in our organizations vs. wholeheartedness (also great for thinking about our own wholeheartedness 🙂 ).
*-  Soul of Money – Twist – Interesting look at interaction b/w cultural & individual relationships with money.
–  Flourish – Seligman – framework from positive psychology about what “flourishing” might mean.
–  Creative Confidence – Kelley – By the originators of design thinking.
–  The Price of Inequality – Stiglitz – looks at the political and social costs of inequality – rooted in the U.S. but perhaps even more applicable in SA.
–  The New Jim Crow – Alexander – unrelated to education, per se, but it really affected me and I’d like to write a similar kind of expose book looking at the system of education.
Interesting Videos
–  Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk – schools kill creativity

–  Nadine Burke Harris’ Ted Talk – effects of toxic stress

–  Story of Stuff Mini-movie – we should make one like this about ed!

–  Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk – the original why/how/what 🙂

–  Tony Robbins’ Ted Talk –  framework for thinking about motivation/psychological needs, I think he pulls from Deci a good deal

–  Shawn Achor’s Ted Talk – happiness advantage (basically, I just like this one ;o …and I think he has a good critique of methodologies that focus on the mean)

 

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I’m always fascinated to know about the books/articles/movies/experiences that influence the way people see the world, themselves and each other. If you’d like to share yours please include links in the comments section below 🙂

One response to “Guest blog post: Erin Raab

  1. Thanks, Nic! Look forward to reading your list too! Another link for the KwaNdengezi Ed Centre is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx0jfUfskXE . If anyone in SA is interested in getting involved there, I would love to put them in contact.

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