An Existentialist Cat Video can Help Explain Constructivism

Henri 2, Paw de Deux

The cat has a distinct worldview, and from it, constructs a world around him of idiots, loneliness, and angst.  His perception of the events around him are clouded by a relentless despair.  He does not understand why he feels nothing when he gets on the scale–his caretakers become irate; why does he feel no different?  Objects in the world have distinct meanings for different observers.  The scale has no fixed significance.  To the humans, it means they have eaten too much and exercised too little.  To Henri, it means he is emotionless.  Even the display of happiness, for Henri, is not enjoyable, but insufferable.  He calls the white cat an imbecile, and thinks he is surrounded by morons.  The actions of the others could be completely logical from their viewpoint, but Henri has an egocentric gaze that has not been challenged by the events around him.  What he has learned, he has learned through experience.  If someone would have told him to avoid the “whipped cream” in the bathroom, he probably would have ignored them.  He found out for himself, in an all-too-real situation.

Local Law Enforcement Knows the Deal

From the Knoxville News-Sentinel:

Law enforcers: Pay for early education now — or prison later

Nice to hear that the police know that early education is the best crime prevention tax dollars can buy.  The inverse relationship between crime and education is well established–no matter how many local politicians say it’s not a good investment.  I’m hoping Bill Dunn just says those things in order to appeal to his constituency.  Head Start might not be a perfect program, but early education’s value is incontestable.

The Idea

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The Idea

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Our schools continue to implement standardized curriculum, cutting learners off from their homes.  Community- and Place-Based education takes advantage of the natural tendency people have to form connections to where they live, improving both the motivation of students and giving them purpose.  A biology class, rather than study a list of vocabulary and diagrams, can observe and collect data right outside the school.

If we add to our example the support of a local organization, the teacher and organization can include lessons in civic education, environmental and social justice issues, and elements of service learning very easily.  Making the walls of the school more permeable in this way helps students, teachers, and families in the quest to improve communities.