Bologna and Cheese

That’s right, bologna and cheese, this is a favorite sandwich among some folks. I know my son sure likes it…he might even love it. I had not eaten any of these sandwiches in what must have been 30 years…then I tried a bite…memory runs pretty deep for me too it seems. It’s predictable – squishy white bread, bologna, and that smooth processed American cheese. It all comes right back when you have a bite. It feels familiar and known…it gets the job done…it just works. It’s connected up to all those things you know – that you have done before – it fits right back in to a place in your brain that makes sense.

That is until you change something. Sometimes I like a little mustard on the sandwich…my son however will not touch a bologna and cheese sandwich with mustard. He likes it plain and simple…a purist you might say. I’ve seen others react in a similar way…bologna and cheese on whole wheat? Are you crazy? It’s better for you, I say…fiber you know? Hell, I don’t eat bologna and cheese because it’s healthy! Or what about a little mayo…or some lettuce and tomato…you know, change things up a bit. Nope! Resistance, rejection, heckling, that is what you get when you try messing with the bologna and cheese equation.

The memory and feelings run deep.

I think the same thing can happen when we try to change things in the classroom…in the ways we teach…particularly after learners have eaten their fair share of bologna and cheese over the course of 12 + years of schooling.

Changing the menu can be a challenge…and working to expand the learning palate can result in what seems like a lot of untouched plates. It is easier to stay with the predictable – because it feels familiar and known…it gets the job done…it just works. It’s connected up to all those things you know – that you have done before – it fits right back in to a place in your brain that makes sense.

So I’ve been looking for examples of things that change the menu and puts some of this in reverse…that might not fit just right in your brain, that is not something we’ve done before, and is not neatly connected to all those things we know.

I’m trying to think carefully about what these things mean for learning…

Ed Parkour
“Ed Parkour is not a person or a movement.  It is people on the move.  In parkour, the structures of the world are not taken as they were meant, but how they might be used.  Walls, obstacles, and barriers become objects to be leveraged, harnessed, and sometimes altered.  The practitioner of parkour sees the world as a playground of possibility.  Likewise, the practitioner of Ed Parkour tries to leverage and harness the “walls” and “structures” that try to control learning.  Ed Parkour is learning around, over, and outside the walls.”

“Digital Storytelling (also affectionately known as ds106) is an open, online course that happens at various times throughout the year….but you can join in whenever you like and leave whenever you need. This course is free to anyone who wants to take it, and the only requirements are a real computer (none of those wimpy ass iPads), a hardy internet connection, a domain of your own, some commodity web hosting, and all the creativity you can muster (and we’ll spend time helping you get up and running with at least two of the last three requirements).”

“We believe university-level education can be both high quality and low cost. Using the economics of the Internet, we’ve connected some of the greatest teachers to hundreds of thousands of students all over the world. Udacity was founded by three roboticists who believed much of the educational value of their university classes could be offered online. A few weeks later, over 160,000 students in more than 190 countries enrolled in our first class, “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.”

What are you seeing out there that is a change in the menu?


One thought on “Bologna and Cheese

  1. I completely agree with you, Jeff. We dig stubborn little ruts in our memories. Soon enough they become deep like foxholes, and we all hide in them, desperately trying to find comfort while folding and contorting ourselves away from the unknown. However uncomfortable it may be, we cripple ourselves for security, instead of approaching uncertainty as an opportunity to learn, explore, make mistakes, and amaze ourselves. The late, great Physicist and Astronomer Carl Sagan said, “we find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.” If anything, the lessons of science, at least in broad strokes, are humbling. And not just a little humbling– deep in your bones humbling. Uncertainty is expanding, and learning only urges it to expand more. However, we get our meaning from having the courage to stand up and see uncertainty for the blessings behind its scary facade– freedom, opportunity, and responsibility. Bologne and cheese on white bread is great. Thanks for this post, and for urging me to reflect on the reasons to I should try one on wheat.

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