Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Need for Consensus/Poynor

I remember watching a brief documentary several years back where business owners were bemoaning (aren't they always?) that the most recent college graduates had yet to learn how to think for themselves - that they were too used to working in teams. As a result of the way they had not been weaned, businesses were taking it upon themselves to teach the graduates how to be individuals. When I read Rick Poyner's article, in which he quotes a writer who stated "the time for being against is over," and "I do not want to separate. I have no interest in being against..." I immediately thought of those businesses in the 90's who were complaining about the lack of individualization. Then I realized how often we, as teachers, had been forced to "team teach" ideas and to show our own growth in teaching by putting students into groups and forcing them to get along - encouraging it as good behavior. Look what we've done! We've created a generation that literally clings to each other and doesn't wish to make waves.

Poynor nails it when he states that the critic must practice more than being a supporter and advocate, or there is nothing over which to find fault - therefore, this is not criticism. And yes, this world he grew up in, that had engaging writers who read across a range of cultural fields, who sought a broader audience of intelligent, thinking individuals - the "public intellectual" as he puts it, has dwindled to a pittance in the mainstream world, and one of the reasons I love being in a college setting. I still see the individual in education, but mostly at the university. Perhaps, and I would love to be wrong on this one, it does exist in the workplace for others in our group? Were you lucky enough to be with strong, intelligent people willing to criticize the design, or culture, or pop art, etc...? That has to be a gift one can give others - the ability to value yourself enough to stay mentally alive, and encourage it in others.

As for our next project, I'm still thinking about it. I would like to do a poster because of the strong visual impact, and am willing to learn a new program. I just hope I've picked a program (Illustrator) that will actually be what I need after I spend several hours learning it. If not, then I'll make whatever it will let me make.


Donna Bowen said...

I'm curious about the use of the word "force" when discussing team teaching. Exactly who was forcing what? Can you expand on this?

Wendy said...

Well, we were evaluated according to whether we followed the "new curriculum design." Lots of walk-throughs from administrators and the head of the department to make sure we used the new educational theory - in this case, team teaching (which, by the way, has died out as more emphasis on other theories comes into play).