Wednesday, August 23, 2006

From Yumi:

i didn't get a chance to call you earlier tonight -- sorry! but i wanted to retell the lemon story before i forgot. because you're right; it really is a pretty unbelievable story. i mean, it's teacher training! this is how they teach teachers to teach! argh.

in the first part of the activity, the instructor put a row of lemons up on the chalk tray and asked us for "observable qualities" about the lemon. we were aiming to get to twenty. the qualities named included things like "yellow" "indented" "casts a shadow." she wrote these qualities up on the board and asked us to write them down. this took about twenty minutes.

then, we broke up into groups of three. she came around and gave each group a lemon and asked us to repeat the activity, but in our small group and with our particular lemon. a lot of the students got bored enough at this point to do things like bounce their lemons on the table, rip off pieces of the skin, and so on. surprisingly, everyone was well-mannered enough to actually follow directions and participate. (some people even appeared to be sort of "into it." god help us.) this part took about half an hour.

we then returned our lemons to the instructor, who put them back at the front of the room. each group elected a "representative" to read our list of qualities back to the class, reflect on the process, select our lemon from the group at the front, and explain how he or she found "our" particular lemon. each quality was written up on the board very slowly by the instructor, who couldn't spell to save her life.

we finished with a group discussion on how this activity related to a class on human development. replies: that all humans look alike from far away but are unique upon close observation. that you can see people/things better from up close and with a "hands on" approach. that even though everyone is an individual, we all have certain things in common as well.

i was sort of offended, not just at the inanity of it all, but also at being asked to think of my fellow human beings as, you know, LEMONS.

Kaveri commented:

the unintended message of this excercise seems to be that only microscopic examination enables discernment of human singularity-- our differences are tiny and insignificant.

No comments: