Stephen Brookfield on Experience

I thought I’d post this fragment from  The Getting of Wisdom: What Critically Reflective Teaching is and Why It’s Important by Stephen Brookfield. I like the way he explains how it is the depth of one’s experience that counts, and not the length.

Length of experience does not automatically confer insight and wisdom. Ten years of practice can be one year’s worth of distorted experience repeated ten times. The ‘experienced’ teacher may be caught within self-fulfilling interpretive frameworks that remain closed to any alternative interpretations. Experience that is not subject to critical analysis is an unreliable and sometimes dangerous guide for giving advice. ‘Experienced’ teachers can collude in promoting a form of groupthink about teaching that serves to distance themselves from students and to bolster their own sense of superiority.

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Why Reading Drive Was Interesting, But I Regret Buying It

This text wants to be a book review. Let’s see how it ends.

I started reading drive after all the hype around it, after being referenced in prof. Werbach’s Gamification course, and after passing my filter of “be careful when the 1 star ratings are more than 10% of the 5 star ratings” on Amazon.

Drive introduced new concepts like Deci’s Self-determination Theory and structured my scattered knowledge of when intrinsic motivators work in favor of extrinsic motivators, and when the opposite applies. It talks about autonomy, purpose and mastery as being the three pillars of intrinsic motivation, and comes with a toolkit & reading list.

Knowledge related, I enjoyed reading the book. Even more, I enjoyed following up on the scientific research referenced. Just today I searched some using Google Scholar.

So it’s not the content inside, but the wrapping that put me off. 75% from the beginning you reach Drive: The Recap – which is just that, a recap. Proposed wisely in three forms: Twitter Summary, Cocktail Party Summary and Chapter-by-Chapter Summary. So actual information is about 3/4 of our book.

The second thing that I disliked – and it’s the second time it happened –  highlighting limit. Information highlighted for reference has been lost forever behind the “you reached the limit of your highlights” message.

In short: Drive has lots of interesting concepts that otherwise would be found just in professional books or white-papers. Drive is also a marketing case-study for selling a book. Just that it has way to much redundant information. Way too much. Better buy Ryan & Deci’s white-papers and books (if they would be made available in ebook format).

Risk by Dan Gardner

Dan Gardner draws on studies and social experiments to explain how our perception of risk is often biased. A very good read with lots of examples. Actually, so many examples that my kindle version didn’t allow me to make all the highlights I wanted to make while reading this book. Throughout the book the author mentions two systems:

System One is the more ancient. It is intuitive, quick, and emotional. System Two is calculating, slow, and rational. I’ll call the two systems Gut and Head […] Head is our best bet for accurate results but it has limitations. First, Head needs to be educated.

Gardner, Dan (2009-12-23). Risk (p. 31). Virgin Digital. Kindle Edition.