Bernie zubrowski

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Boston Stories Project

Bernie Zubrowski Original Interview Transcript



Interview Date: 09/08/2006




BERNIE ZUBROWSKI

[BEGINNING OF VIDEOTAPE 1]
I took a chronological approach. Because when I started thinking about it, a lot of what I did in the early years was kind of a prelude in terms of design and development for my books and exhibits and a curriculum. And as I was thinking about those first years were really a continuation of some of my experience and work I had done for the African Primary Science Program and the Elementary Science Study. A number of the topics and materials I worked with were adaptations from the African Program and Elementary Science Study. Jim Zion hired me, and those five to six years – how long did community service go, Dottie? I don’t know. That one grant. About five to six years?
DOTTIE: Yeah. We merged with the Teachers Center [inaudible] the Resource Center.

Right. Well, during that five or six years basically I took, like, drinking straw construction, bubbles, works with siphons, I can’t remember some of the topics. And I adapted them for the after school context. I had started blowing bubbles in Kenya for the African Primary Science Program, wrote up a little paper in the second year. And the reason I did that, we had a conference with all the people in the program from the different countries, and we were talking about how could we integrate science and math. And I thought, well, maybe soap bubbles would be a way of doing it in terms of geometry. So I went there and got some cheap soap they use for washing clothes, I think, let it soak in water. I didn’t have drinking straws, so I used tubes of ballpoint pens, and then I started blowing bubbles. And when I came to the museum and started blowing bubbles, I found that Joy worked great and I could make gigantic bubbles. And what’s interesting about that is I find continuously, even now in my sculptures, that you’ve really got to play around with stuff. You can start out with some preconceived notions, but that only gets you so far. You’ve got to be ready to make discoveries and realize that something that’s happened is not only interesting, significant and maybe you can use in some way. Like, I like to tell the story I was playing around one day in the messy room back in Jamaica Plain and I made one kind of bubble launcher. No, it wasn’t a bubble launcher, it was that string and straw device that’s used all over now. And I had done that to make a rectangular sheet of soap film because I was going to put a sewing thread in there and pop the middle sewing thread. And there’s a demonstration in a book that sewing thread will form a perfect circle. And I was doing that, and I wasn’t haven’t much succeed. It’s too damn hard to pop that thing in the bubble. So for some reason, and I think I blew into it, and I got this big bulge and then I realized I could bring the straw together, and then I realized that playing around I could launch big bubbles. And then some of us got carried away and made even bigger frames and were trying to make bubbles this big. And out of that also I began to think, well, why not try to stretch it vertically. So I got a big, one of the planter troughs I think it was, and I put monofilament in the bottom of it, I pulled it up, and put a pole in there, and that was the famous stretch bubble that’s now all over the world, right, in lots of different museums. But the point there is, I didn’t start out to make stretch bubbles. I was playing around and I found out that I could do certain things with it, and found out that it was a neat thing to do, and it also related to some kind of science things I was doing. And you could try – one of my ideas was is with this stretch bubble is, at least in a classroom, was trying different soap solutions. How far can you stretch it before it breaks? So that would be a way of testing soap solutions. But the effect was so neat that, you know, like eight years later I put it into the Bubbles exhibit. So during that time I did a lot of playing around with stuff, and the museum let me do it. That was the great part, right? Under your regime and with Jim Zion and all, I mean, I could play around with this stuff. The other thing, when I was writing this sort of story, and I kind of realized this before, when I went into after school programs, it is a tough situation to work with. Because at that time, it’s a lot of drop in. You go there after school, you’ve got a bunch of kids, and you’ve got to have some compelling activities to keep their attention. Either that, or you have to have a wonderful personality or something like that. So as a real test of what I was doing, I would go in with bubbles, and of course they liked it, there might be some drinking straw structures, some siphons. And I sort of saw this before when I worked for [inaudible] African Primary Science Program that there are compelling materials. I started to call this “intrinsically interesting phenomena” like bubbles, air and water movement, things like that. But after school situations forced me to look at what is about the materials that is compelling, and then how can I design them so that I’m not talking a lot. But there’s something about the materials, the problems that I posed, that just gets the kids going for some time. Because they weren’t around to talk about things. They wanted to do. So I learned a lot about how to design stuff and make it as simple as possible, compelling as possible, and present it in a way that kids would go at it for some time. And partly because of my work at the Elementary Science Study and African Primary Science Program, where we’re trying to put curriculum units together that had continuity from activity to activity, I was also working toward building not just one activity with bubbles, but a bunch of activities with bubbles. Or not just one activity with siphon bottles or drinking straws for suction, but activities that would go on six to eight sessions, whatever, even longer if I could. So that was a challenge and that’s why I was continually playing with the stuff to see what more I could do with the same set of materials. But looking back on that period and then also things I did later on, a lot of that I used in the books that I did, the curriculum that I did and in exhibits, a lot of the exhibit stuff really is based on work that I did in after school programs, in the 636 Programs and some of the programs I did in schools. There was a lot of experience there.

MIKE: Talk about how, go back to how you got to African Science Program and that and EDC and where did you come from at that point that got you there.
On, pre-museum?
MIKE: Pre-Africa.
Well, I was – well, you know, when I finished college I went in the Peace Corps and I went into Bangladesh for two years. And there I was a science teacher for grades 6, 7, 8. And basically I had to create my own curriculum. They did have a syllabus and kind of a textbook. The textbook was in Bengali, and I never did learn how to read Bengali. I managed to teach in Bengali, sort of. But I liked the experience of being overseas and the challenge of designing activities with a limited set of materials. Because in Bangladesh there was hardly anything. There was hardly even anything to recycle. You could barely get kids to bring in tin cans because they used the tin cans for everything. So I left Bangladesh, went to graduate school, wasn’t doing too well in graduate school. And while I was in graduate school –
MIKE: What were you in graduate school for?
Physical chemistry. I read a magazine article about New Math, and in a footnote it said something about the African Primary Mathematics Program and Science Program. And when I left Notre Dame after the first year, I contacted someone at EDC, Charlie [Wolcott]. Do you remember him?
MIKE: He hired me.

Right. And I went up there and talked to him and I said, “I’m interested in this African program. I’d like to go back overseas.” He says, “Well”.... “But I still want to get a Masters in Science Education.” So he said, “Well, you know, we don’t have people working in the African Program right here, but there is a program called the Elementary Science Study, and they happen to be looking for people with a chemistry background.” And I don’t know why, we went to lunch. Charlie [Wolcott] was out to lunch and he hired me on the spot. It was one of the steps in life that I look back on now that kind of changed my life. Because then I moved to Boston to Baltimore, spent a year and a half there, and then went over to Kenya and worked in Kenya for two years developing curriculum. And Kenya sort of was like the Peace Corps in that there are very limited materials, and there’s hardly anything. The schools had no budget for science. Whatever you did had to be from the local environment. Which was a great discipline. I remember one time I was visiting a school and I was looking at the rooftop is made out of a grass thatching, because this was a school that had mud as walls, mud on the floor, and grass thatching on top. And I was looking at the grass and I said, “Where does the grass come from?” It comes from all areas and it grew in a lot of African countries, at least many of them that we were working with. Because the program involves seven English-speaking countries. And I realized that if you took the grass, had the kid bring it in, you got some pens, you could do construction activities with them. And that was one of the units that I developed, having kids build houses and other stuff with pens and grass and testing the – and I had them test the houses by hanging cans with a string on it and pouring sand on it until the house broke.
[END OF AUDIOTAPE 1, SIDE 1]
I built upon that when I came to the museum and had kids build drinking straw houses and test the houses with cups and nails. But particularly at ESS was really a formative experience, because I had people there from MIT, Harvard, Boston University, mainly scientists and some really good teachers. And it was quite a combination of very creative people who were really trying out all sorts of ideas about science education. It was one of the first major projects in the ‘60s. But also I think their approach resonated with my own approach that I had been trying at the African Primary Science Program. They were more student-oriented than content-oriented, if I could say that. And they were interested in having students explore, play around with stuff, at least some of the students and some of the scientists. They felt that, people like Phyllis Morrison. They gave priority to that. Compared to some other programs that got too heavily involved in emphasizing the conceptual development. This is at the elementary level, and I think it’s still happening. But my approach has been consistently trying to get, first off, kids playing around with stuff. And then out of that, beginning to get them to think about what’s happening and then having a dialogue with them about what they think is happening, and what the scientists describe as happening. And maybe getting them to the point where they understand the scientist’s conception of it. But I find even nowadays that’s still a ways to go with a lot of elementary students and middle school students, despite what people say out there. A lot of what people do is premature. But when I left the African program I wanted to continue to develop curriculum or design activities and all that. And when I moved up to Boston I couldn’t find that, because funding for that sort of thing stopped. But I was over at MIT talking to someone and they said, “You know, you should go to the Children's Museum and talk to Jim Zion. He may have some work over there for you to do.” So I had an interview with Jim, and he said, “Well, you know, we’re getting some grants pretty soon.” But I needed to work right away. I had a wife and two kids. So he sent me to Phil O’Connell. He said down and he says, “Bernie, how much money do you need to survive?” I came up with some figure and they managed to come up with that until the grant come through. Then I got a slightly higher, not much, but I had work. And it was [inaudible] related to what I wanted to do. So coming to the museum was a total accident. By a total accident. But it was fortunate.

MIKE: One of the things that always rang true in my head was that you were – I was thinking particularly about the business of translating your stuff into books and exhibits. And those situations, the translation into books was straightforward because you were still using everyday materials. Making the translation to exhibits for the sake and durability and some of that kind of stuff was a tougher sell.


Oh yeah, yeah.
MIKE: Talk a little bit about that whole thing, and introduce it in a way that....

Well, you know, the first exhibit I did was just before we moved downtown. That was a tool exhibit. And that was pretty easy. Although I look back now, and I don’t know if we could do that exhibit nowadays, because it’s big safety issues. I mean, the kids were working with pointed nails. Do you think we could do that? With all this things about liability an all that? I mean, I had kids working with [bow] drills, pump drills, a cutting tool that had a sharp nail at the end of it. And they were cutting into a piece of wood. Now that translation was fairly easy, because all we needed was surfaces. And that was John’s idea or my idea of just having a plywood surface for the [bow] drill, you just put holes in the wood. Instead of clamping it down, just put a big piece of wood there and they could put holes in the wood and practice drilling holes. And then the dowels could easily be replaced. So that translation wasn’t too hard. There’s still an ongoing issue of safety. And we had plastic windows so people could see but not stick their hands in. And there’s always an interpreter there. Then, let’s see, the second exhibit was Bubbles. And of course, there’s the big mess issue. Because all the soap film and all that. And Elaine was good about that, and John, thought that we could deal with the mess. That was the big issue, I think, for that one. Translating that into an exhibit took some playing around, but essentially, they were just adaptations of activities I had been doing for some time, blowing bubbles on a tabletop with a drinking straw. The stretch-a-bubble wasn’t too hard to translate. The thin aquarium, we had maintenance problems with that. That wasn’t too hard. I think with Bubbles it was more a matter of the mess. And it was compelling enough that people immediately got into it and there’s something about bubbles that people wanted to continue exploring and playing with it. They did a few things, those people, and walked away after five minutes or so. There was much more that you could do and the interpreters tended to help them with that. Raceways was the third exhibit, and translating that was more a matter of space. Because the rollercoaster took up a whole wall. And then I had another activity that was as long as the rollercoaster. There was a ball release mechanism, the ball went down a ramp and then rolled along. That’s not in the current exhibit. I think that it turned out that we didn’t anticipate this problem, that like with the rollercoaster, there’s these hills and valleys. And I had worked out the hills and valleys without supports, and brought John over and showed it to him. He did some measurements, but when he started building it, found out that it didn’t quite work that way. There’s a difference if the thing is supported or not supported, so he had to make adjustments. Also with the track we were using, if some other people were doing it, they would probably want totally consistent results. It turns out, you didn’t get totally consistent results. Which, in a way, I realize was good because then people thought the way they release the ball and some other factors might make a difference. So they experimented, which I thought was great. In a way I’m glad, in retrospect, they weren’t perfect. Because if they were perfect, they would do it once or twice and walk away. But the fact it wasn’t perfect, and maybe the ball was [jostled] a little bit or something like that, got them to explore more. And at all the exhibits I was always trying to maximize interaction and exploration. But going on to some other ones that were somewhat harder, like Salad Dressing Physics, there had to be some adaptations. Like I had bottles. And John took the approach of putting them these things that swivel. And I know [Singh] and I thought, eh, it kind of limits the interaction, because you can only go back and forth. You can’t move it around. So there’s some compromises made there. We kept having – another part of the Salad Dressing exhibit is I had different shapes that you dropped in the container. And we had never quite worked that out well. And then also the solid shapes falling in the different kinds of liquids. Some of them got stuck on the side of the container, so there were some issues there. What other ones were problematic? Wheels was hard to – Wheels was probably the most challenging, to do it in a way that was interactive. Wheels wasn’t as interactive as I would have liked to have done it. When I did Waterwheels in a classroom, it was pretty messy.
MIKE: It’s really off-the-shelf stuff.
Right. Pie plates and cups and all that. Well, John ended up building this big Plexiglas thing and you pumped water and wheels turned, you could lift a weight. But there wasn’t much opportunity to change where you pumped the water and a number of other variables that could have happened. So there were some big compromises on that one. The vertical waterwheel and the horizontal waterwheel. Yeah, that exhibit was hard to translate because of the nature of the activities. Water, for one. And like with the windmills, never quite happy with the way that turned out. The problem with windmills is that they’re turning, and there was a concern about kids, particularly young kids, sticking their hand in the windmills as they turned. So if you covered up the windmills with a screen, okay, they can stick their hands in it, but then you couldn’t do anything about changing windmills and experimenting with them. So there were some compromises made there. I think that was most challenging. Waves, which was my last exhibit, in some ways that worked out okay, surprisingly. There was one part exhibit where I wanted to have people make a bubble dome and get it to vibrate. And at first I was going to have them vibrate it by taking a vibrator and putting it on a thin sheet of Plexiglas. But I was always against high tech. I wanted something very tangible and I was using a doorbell as a vibrator, but it never was consistent. So I had to [inaudible] that. So I ended up, John got a real thin sheet of Plexiglas, I think it was 1/8”, put it on supports. So when the person blew the bubble dome and they used a tin can like they did in the Bubbles exhibit, you could tap the sheet and it would wiggle. And then – I don’t know if it was my idea or John’s – we had a light here and a white wall here so that you could see the contour of the bubble and its wiggling action. In fact, we used that with a long, wave-like thing, too. That had some challenges, too, and some compromises. We never did quite get the ripple tank right, I felt. I was okay, but I think it could have been better. But the thing is, all that work I had done before in the classroom and after school and all that, I drew heavily on, it was a challenge to translate it. And there were some modifications I had to make. I remember one thing I did in the Tops exhibit, the yo-yos. I had four different kinds of yo yos made out of plastic plates. I still used all of the familiar stuff, the mixers and all that, which I think people liked. But I had the yo yos on hooks. I had one yo­ yo that was a 6” diameter plates, one a 9” diameter plates. They were the same weight. And the question was, “What happens when you let them fall? Why not let them fall?” And I thought I tried to make it more open-ended, just having them on hooks and they’d just use their hands. And I had another set of plates that were like that, too. And it wasn’t working. So then I had the idea, well, let’s take some brackets and put it out from the wall, which wasn’t a major adaptation, and just tie it to the brackets. So all they had to do is wind them up and let them fall. And that made a difference. People spent more time at it, and there was more interaction. Just that slight change in the configuration. Things like that always interest me, how you can change some material, slightly sometimes, and it can make a difference of how people use it. And I’ve been intrigued with that for the last 30 years. And a lot of what I do still is think about those sorts of thing, because I was always trying to maximize the exploration without a lot of verbal input. You know I did, I think the last year or two I was there, I was thinking about suppose I did a mirror exhibits, because I did a lot of mirror activities in the classroom, did a mirrors book. So I took out some of my stuff. Oh, I should mention that for all the – well, let’s see, not the Raceways. For Wheels, for Salad I think, several exhibits I did quick and dirty tryouts on tables, out in the exhibit area, just to see how people would use it. And that was really helpful in terms of getting a sense. It was an intermediate step of how people in a museum context were going to use these materials. Because you have limitations. And so in my last year or so I was thinking, I’ve seen some mirror exhibits out there, but I wanted to do one which had a whole bunch of activities. And there are several activities in my book that no one else has done. There’s this mirror game where you have a barrier, a cardboard barrier, on a table, a mirror here and a mirror there, and a string is going from here. And the idea is, can you line up the string – you have a person there and a person’s over here, and I looked in the mirrors and try to locate the person on the other side by using the strings. In the classroom I could do that and kids found it interesting. But I was finding in the tryout that I had to give too many instructions. I found in general if you have, like, ten sentences you’ve lost people. If you have to have lots of steps before you start going it. In fact, who was I talking to recently about that? I know people do it, they did a little – oh, it’s Chicago. Do you know places where – this is taking off the track – but I was intrigued with the idea of using a video where you had, instead of instructions, a way of doing it where it was a continuous loop and the person came to the station, looked at the video, and says, “Oh, that’s what you do,” and just do it, so there’s no verbal instructions. And apparently no one’s doing that. Which I find rather interesting. You would think, nowadays, with flat screens and all sorts of stuff like that, that would be a good way of getting people started, with particularly activities that are a little complicated and hard to convey, even in short visuals. So the translation, some of them wasn’t too hard, I don’t think. Now, the one thing that still intrigues me is that, I think nowadays even today, people still don’t understand the underlying pedagogy of my exhibits. Like, see, the Exploratorium, because of its high visibility, has set an example particularly in the science center world of how you do exhibits. They do single station things. You do Waves here and you do something over there. This exhibit here, or activity here, and this one over here, are both about waves, but it’s the same phenomena but a totally different set of materials and all that. Whereas what I tried to do was stay with the same set of materials, the same phenomena and highly focused. And I always thought of that as an experimental collage where you’re getting different viewpoints of the same phenomena. So I was exploring the phenomena and emphasizing the exploration of the phenomena rather than – there was opportunity to introduce concepts, but that was kind of secondary. And I’ve done a curriculum also, and there’s no other curriculum out like this, too, or very little like it. And I bring that up because I’ve seen copies of the Bubbles exhibit in a bunch of museums. And I can see that they copy some of the things but they did not get the point of the exhibit, of my major priority in terms of the goals of what I was trying to do with Bubbles or Raceways or the other kinds of exhibits. And I’ve written a book about it that I’m trying to get published. Well, we’ll see what happens.

MIKE: I had that same problem with trying to do the [Scaling] exhibits, like [death] and the state of the [world] stuff, you know. And I tried to do it out at the [Pew] Museum when I went there using [inaudible] materials and eggs and things like that and I also tried to do one or two things that turned out to be tremendously effective when I was several months at the [inaudible] same way. But it was very hard to get the people on the floor to learn underpinnings of what is it about the scaling of this desktop that you can go in some many directions, and why is it worthwhile using this, and why is it interesting that the paperclip can break your toe, whereas it wasn’t a dangerous thing in and why the ruler, or something like that, and why if a ruler was twelve times bigger, why was it that you could do this [inaudible] was an inch on the ruler a foot? And it was this translation that.... But it seemed to me as if there was all kinds of things we could do with that. But it was very hard to get anybody on the floor to understand that this is very rich and there are many things you could do with it. So the translation for me was the training of the people on the floor and having the floor managers to see that this is an opportunity in that certain, which I think wasn’t what you were talking about.
Well, I’m talking about people who design exhibits, science educators.
MIKE: But it’s in the hands of the floor person, it’s the design, because they’re designing what are they going to do that afternoon for two hours in that space.

See, and in recent years in the science education world in terms of curriculum, a book came out, Grant Wiggins [inaudible], it’s called Backwards Design. It’s got a lot of tensions, and it’s like if you’re writing a proposal, particularly in curriculum, you’ve got to mention it. And their approach is just the opposite of what I’ve been doing for the years. They say you have to start with the concepts first, design assessment of how you’re going to understand the concepts, and then you get to the activities. And I’ve always described it as a dialectical process. You can’t just start with one thing without dealing with the other. And there has to be a back and forth. And I don’t know how you can do assessment ahead of time when you don’t quite know how the students are going to use the materials, and how their prior knowledge comes to be made explicit with these particular set of materials. And I’ve always thought of it as a dialectical interaction. And in the science education world, that idea is kind of foreign to a lot of people.

MIKE: I think that the backwards problem is that if you are so focused on the results, you know, if you’re going backwards from you have a concept you want to figure out a way to make that concept testable, it drives you in directions that you ignore what actually is going through the heads of the kids, then you as an observer in working with them [inaudible]. The discovery process is the discovery not just of kids playing with the stuff and finding out that starch does something, but that it’s you. You’re discovering. And that’s very important. And I think it comes out of this kind of results-based science. It’s also very foreign. You know, if you really go back, you find out that the playful science of, you know, if a person’s have an idea in their bathtub, you know, that doesn’t start with going off to do a [inaudible] create an equation that will convince somebody else that this is an important piece of forward motion in understanding science. But it’s really driven by this sort of results, it’s the test-based thing that’s affecting all of classrooms in America. You don’t allow other things to happen because it didn’t occur to you that maybe there’s just some things to discover about how kids conceptualize the world. .... There was being in the museum as opposed to in a classroom, on the floor of a museum. Talk about it wasn’t just the compromise and everything else. What did it feel like, you going into this thing where you started to do exhibits? Were you in a foreign land? Was it alien from the way you really worked? Did you get to the point where you felt this was also your medium?

Well, in terms of priorities, designing exhibits wasn’t my priority. And probably doing those books and the curriculum was more the priority. Doing the exhibits was interesting, an interesting challenge. But I didn’t feel like that was my main role at the museum. I mean, the first five years or so, if not longer, I had nothing to do with exhibits. And even then, later, until the last few years, I was only doing exhibits part time, and most of it was working with teachers, after school [people], or working in schools. But maybe I could turn this around a little bit. What has been interesting about the museum experience is because I could wear several hats, of working after school, working in school for a while, I was a university instructor, and then writing kids’ books, and then doing exhibits, sometimes I took the same set of materials, like bubbles or drinking straw structures, and they were placed in these different contexts. And that was interesting to see how you need to pay attention not just to the people but to people in a particular context. Like you say, how can you [inaudible] the activities from after school or school into the museum, because you cannot do everything in the exhibit context that you can do in school. We already talked about some examples. And so that gave me a perspective that I haven’t found too many people, except maybe some people that worked in museum, sign centers, who have that perspective. And it’s kind of hard for people to understand. It makes a difference of the context in which you’re working in. Now, this is related to a current issue that I’m interested. I’m involved in developing activities for after school. We did a set of engineering activities called Design that’s just been published, and we’re finishing up a set of science exploration. And in the last ten years, a lot of attention has been now given to after school, which is good. Maybe. There’s a lot of funding, accountability, and all that. But legislators, school administrators, some parents, are wanting after school to be more educative. And that’s been interpreted at making it more academic. And I’ve been fighting that, not just in terms of science but in general, because I think after school ought to be different from school. And traditionally, after school was more about exploring, not just in science, but art, theater, working with people, community service. It had that atmosphere. And it was also more about social relationships, at least that’s what I’ve heard from after school people. And what I’m getting at is that if you do Bubbles in school, I would do it differently in school than if I did it in an after school program. If I did rubber band powered cars in schools, I would do it differently in the two different contexts. I would emphasize much more the exploratory aspect of doing the activity in after school compared to school. School, because of what school is and it’s mandate, I would spend much more time getting kids to talk about what they’re doing, processing what they’re doing, getting more conceptual. And going to the museum, particularly in an exhibit, I found there were severe limitations of what you could really do. I mean, I felt that my exhibits really weren’t about teaching science concepts. They were more about introductory experiences to them. Now, hopefully, people would go home and explore them further. However, implicit in the exhibits were opportunities to get at some science. But I think because of that particular context, when people are coming through an exhibit and spending just 15 minutes at it, there’s really not much you can do except give it an introduction to it. So it was an interesting perspective being in an museum and taking on these different roles and seeing that context is really important. The context in which you’re operating. And I think people who only work in schools, or only work in museums, don’t have that appreciation. Unless if they’re working in a museum they also go in a school and do something, or if they go to an after school program and do something.

DOTTIE: You did a lot with the staff of after school and teachers [inaudible] –
Yeah, I’m doing that now, too.

DOTTIE: -- on how that experience has been, what you, and what we as a museum could bring to those teachers [inaudible].


And this is a message that the school people really need to understand about what can happen in after school. There’s a guy in Chicago and he was at the [inaudible] Institute, Halpern, something like that. Did you ever run across him when you were in Chicago?
MIKE: Lawrence Halpern?
Yeah, I think so.
MIKE: I did, at Brooklyn, when I was [inaudible].

Well, he’s written a book about the history of after school. And he’s on the side that where you need to look at the history of after school, and the fact that particularly these social relationships are very important. But I’m really worried that after school is going to become just an extension of school. There’s a real push in that direction. I mean, already kids come to the after school scene and almost all the places now give them homework. So they already spend six hours or so, and usually they do the homework right after school. Maybe they let the kids run around a little bit. So that’s an hour or so. Now, after that, “Oh, you can play a little bit”. Although some places have special programs that are kind of academic. So the kids.... But this is a huge political issue, because people in low-income areas and African American, and rightly, want to do well by their kids. But my feeling is, is that maybe there ought to be special tutoring programs for those kids after school, and make a distinction between tutoring and after school activities, and have both the staff – the administrators, staff, and program leaders realize, when you’re doing this, you’re doing tutoring. And when you’re doing this, you’re doing after school activities. And there’s a different kind of philosophy and experience. And I think coming from the museum world, I have an appreciation for that, that other people don’t.


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