Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Notes on Teaching Self-Consciousness

Primarily through the herculean labors of Geoff Sauer, Elisabeth Hurst, and Joe Lockard, Bad Subjects has finally finished making the transition to its new "plone" architecture. The site is still a work in progress. We're figuring out what to foreground at different levels. But it's far easier to navigate than before. And, because it's organized like a relational database, we can add new features with out recoding every piece.

In honor of this auspicious event, I'm linking once more to the first piece I ever wrote for Bad Subjects , "Notes on Teaching Self-Consciousness," only this time in its "plone" incarnation. Here's a sample paragraph:
Our second task as teachers is to always remind ourselves that the breaking of old ideological habits does not necessarily entail the formation of new ones. Indeed, how many of our own teachers and peers have made it painfully clear to us that they are conscious of what they should not do, but have no idea what should be done? Initially, then, we cannot expect much better of our students. When our students start to become more self-conscious, they may well be able to break most of their old ideological habits, only to succumb to this sort of despairing paralysis that prevents them from forming new ways of actively engaging with the world. We will surely be able to recall similarly paralytic experiences. It is paramount that we both share these experiences with our students and offer them encouragement by telling how we worked or are working through them. It will be difficult to keep our students from backsliding into their old ideological habits while they are in the throes of this 'paralysis of self-consciousness'; we as teachers need to avoid becoming discouraged by recognizing in these throes the birth of something revolutionary.
As I noted the last time I linked to this piece, I still stand behind the basic argument. And, though I'm sometimes shocked by the confidence of my tone, I don't feel particularly embarrassed by anything in it. It's nice to see the piece, not to mention the rest of Bad Subjects, in a new light.

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