Weapons of Mass Salsa Instruction.

17 Jan

The following references are from:
Weapons of Mass Instruction - A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling
by John Taylor Gatto ».

This book is a manifesto against public schooling.

Prologue: Against School, Pages xviii-xix, xxii:
“… Inglis breaks down the purpose — the actual purpose — of modern schooling into six basic functions, any one of which is enough to curl the hair of those innocent enough to believe the three traditional goals of education listed earlier:

1. The adjustive or adaptive function. Schools are to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority. This, of course, precludes critical judgment completely. It also pretty much destroys the idea that useful or interesting material should be taught, because you can’t test for reflexive obedience until you know whether you can make kids learn, and do, foolish and boring things.
2. The
integrating function. This might well be called “the conformity function,” because its intention is to make children as alike as possible. People who conform are predictable, and this is of great use to those who wish to harness and manipulate a large labor force.
3. The
diagnostic and directive function. School is meant to determine each student’s proper social role. This is done by logging evidence mathematically and anecdotally on cumulative records. As in “your permanent record.” Yes, you do have one.
4. The
differentiating function. Once their social role has been “diagnosed,” children are to be sorted by role and trained only so far as their destination in the social machine merits — and not one step further. So much for making kids their personal best.
5. The
selective function. This refers not to human choice at all but to Darwin’s theory of natural selection as applied to what he called “the favored races.” In short, the idea is to help things along by consciously attempting to improve the breeding stock. Schools are meant to tag the unfit — with poor grades, remedial placement, and other punishments — clearly enough that their peers will accept them as inferior and effectively bar them from the reproductive sweepstakes. That’s what all those little humiliations from first grade onward were intended to do: wash the dirt down the drain.
6. The
propaedeutic function. The societal system implied by these rules will require an elite group of caretakers. To that end, a small fraction of the kids will quietly be taught how to manage this continuing project, how to watch over and control the population deliberately dumbed down and declawed in order that government might proceed unchallenged and corporations might never want for obedient labor. …

… Now for the good news. Once you understand the logic behind modern schooling, its tricks and traps are fairly easy to avoid. School trains children to be employees and consumers; teach your own to be leaders and adventurers. School trains children to obey reflexively; teach your own to think critically and independently. Well-schooled kids have a low threshold for boredom; help your own to develop an inner life so that they’ll never be bored. Urge them to take on the serious material, the grown-up material, in history, literature, philosophy, music, art, economics, theology — all the stuff schoolteachers know well enough to avoid. Challenge your kids with plenty of solitude so that they can learn to enjoy their own company, to conduct inner dialogues. Well-schooled people are conditioned to dread being alone; they seek constant companionship through the TV, the computer, the cell phone, and through shallow friendships quickly acquired, quickly abandoned. Your children should have a more important life, and they can. …”

Prologue: Against School, Pages xviii-xix, xxii

It’s up to the salsa gigolo to take control of his learning, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Here are some tips:
1. Maintain your sense of autonomy.
2. Develop your own style, without sacrificing the quality of your lead.
3. Take all the beginners’ classes you can, from all the different instructors.
4. Make salsa friends to enable your salsa addiction.
5. Dance with beginners to improve your lead, and to grow salsa biomass.
6. Decide what salsa means to you, and know your ‘why’ for salsa.

When a fellow salsa gigolo asks me who my instructor was, I think to myself, “Which one?” The one, who taught the first club lesson I ever took? The one who taught me the intimacy of bachata? The one who patiently taught me the basic step, and how to lead? The one, who inadvertently taught me that not all moves shown in a class are actually leadable on the dancefloor? I remember choosing my first non-club instructor after watching him dance. I liked his style.

Chapter 2: Walkabout London, Pages 37-38:
“… In 2006, the University of Connecticut set out to discover how much learning happens in a student between entering as a freshman and graduating as a senior. Five academic areas were selected to measure, using 14,000 students at 50 American colleges, including Yale, Brown, and Georgetown. At 16 of those 50 — including Yale, Brown, and Georgetown — graduating seniors knew less than incoming freshman. Negative growth had occurred. In the other 34, no measurable change had taken place …”

Chapter 2: Walkabout London, Pages 37-38

Sometimes when I mention that salsa instructor, I get a confused look from the person asking, I guess because they don’t see the similarity in our styles. They don’t see the learning that happened over dozens and dozens of beginner classes, almost a decade ago.

Other times, I might point out a salsa instructor to a fellow salsa gigolo, and I can see them thinking to themselves, “I’m not impressed”. They don’t see the beginner salsa classes that instructor ran in the club, with 50-100 sexy bachelorettes on one side, and 50-100 horny salsa gigolos on the other side of a long line. Epic.

Chapter 9: A Letter to My Granddaughter About Dartmouth, Pages 172-173:
“… Let me give you some hard evidence that the people who built the schools and colleges you admire did not have your interests at heart, but their own. No single group was more influential in shaping our institutional school ladder than the pragmatic philosophers of Cambridge, Massachusetts. And no pragmatist carried more clout than Charles Pierce, the eminence grise behind William James and John Dewey. Listen to Pierce’s mind at work in the 1870s as he contemplated the advent of forced schooling:

“Let the will of the state act, then, instead of that of the individual. Let an institution be created which shall have for its object to keep correct doctrines before the attention of the people, to reiterate them perpetually, and to teach them to the young, having at the same time power to prevent contrary doctrines from being taught, advocated, or expressed.

Let all possible causes of a change of mind be removed from men’s apprehension. Let them be kept ignorant, lest they should learn of some reason to think otherwise than they do. Let their passions be enlisted, so that they may regard … unusual opinions with hatred and horror. Then, let all men who reject the established belief be terrified into silence. … Let a list of opinions be drawn up to which no man of the least independence of thought can assent, and let the faithful be required to accept all these propositions in order to segregate them as radically as possible from the influence of the rest of the world [all emphases mine].” …”

Chapter 9: A Letter to My Granddaughter About Dartmouth, Pages 172-173

It is said that you can tell how good a salsa instructor is, by how good his or her students are. It is also said that a good dancer is not necessarily a good teacher, and a good teacher is not necessarily a good dancer. Every salsa instructor has his or her strengths and weaknesses. Learn from both their strengths and their weaknesses. After a decade or so, you too might look nothing like your past instructors.

And sometimes it has nothing to do with the salsa instructor’s teaching or dancing, but that they can get a room full of trophic level 2.0 salseras to show up to a club, week after week. Bring the epic, and the salsa gigolos will come.

Salsa Gigolometer 100


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