Values and Learning Modalities

“Pass It On” TV commercials from Values.com were the experimental learning modality used at the monthly meeting of the Socratic Conversations on Thursday, September 18th.  In Lights! Camera!! Values!!? the group explored their basic values by responding to one-minute dramatic pieces on significant themes, like believing in yourself (courage and perseverance), making a difference (generosity and leadership), doing your part (social responsibility and active citizenry), and sportsmanship (honesty and integrity). These values were examined in advance via the learning modality of Vialogues to spur the lively in-person conversation moderated by Ron Gross, author of Socrates Way.

Participation, involvement, depth of insights, and participant-satisfaction were extraordinary among the twenty-five attendees who sat in large circle and also drew inspiration from historical oil paintings, including one of Mary Swartz Rose, Professor of Household Arts from 1910 to 1923 and a Professor of Nutrition from 1923 to 1940 at Teachers College, Columbia University. Swartz was the first full-time person to develop a program in nutrition at an American university – bespeaking of the value of educational innovation and curriculum design. Said Peter Agovino, a student of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at Teachers College, Columbia University:

“This was a stimulating, meaningful way to engage in the observation and discussion of values. I am truly shocked by the positive impact these conversations have had on my perception of myself and other people.”

Books on display highlighted the value of television, film, theater, and computers to learning philosophies and practices. Notable titles included: Television Studies: The Basics, by Toby Miller (Routledge, 2010); Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, updated edition, by Jack G. Shaheen (Olive Branch, 2009); Ethnotheatre: Research from Page to Stage, by Johnny Saldana (Left Coast Press, 2011); and Computers as Theatre, 2nd edition, by Brenda Laurel (Addison, Wesley, 2014) – resources that helped set the stage for spirited learning through dialogue and discussion.

Stay tuned for the next Socratic Conversation on Thursday, October 30, Halloween for Thinkers: Let’s Talk Back to Death by Affirming Life!, where we will probe the “performative education” dimension: affective education around Death through enactment, costume, music, gee-gaws, masks, and other customs and rituals.

Image: Big Red Apple, by Paolo Neo, Wikimedia Commons