Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 48 seconds

Lose that Winning Culture #moocmooc

Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 48 seconds

Pun intended. We need to lose that emphasis on winning, or succeeding, starting from children’s pop culture, all the way to scholarship and politics

I am not even talking about losing competition – although letting go of that might be cool, too, but I am talking about the importance of failing and of recognizing that winning or succeeding aren’t the only desirable outcomes for every endeavor.

If we want to foster agency for students i think the most important thing they need is the ability to handle defeat well, the courage to risk failing and the willingness to get back up and keep trying OR change course if needed.

One of my fave kids cartoons is Sofia the first but I hate that she ALWAYS wins in the end. As if winning were the only reason we should have faith. It isn’t

I was also recently telling someone that I published an article on hybridped about my critical pedagogy failures. I thought it would be more useful for others to know what did not work for me, than what did. Why? Because practicing critical pedagogy is HARD and very contextual, and I feel others can learn so much from what didn’t work for me. Though they probably need to try and fail themselves. But at least they’ll know they’re not alone. And that failure didn’t make me give up, and even though i wrote that article about my failures, i was invited to co-facilitate a MOOC on critical pedagogy πŸ˜‰ by the same ppl who peer-reviewed the article πŸ˜‰ And they even they even think I’m a good teacher πŸ™‚ Lol

But even then, winning has the problem of appearing like an end-state to seek, when learning never ends. For the oppressed to think they need to reach a winning state after which they can relax is a myth. Think Egyptian Revolution – overthrowing Mubarak then Morsi were not winning end-states (though they ended state heads) they were beginning points for further praxis and hard work – little of which happened.

But the culture of defeat that we live in now in Egypt – that needs to change. We just need to lose that winning culture

5 thoughts on “Lose that Winning Culture #moocmooc

  1. “For the oppressed to think they need to reach a winning state after which they can relax is a myth. Think Egyptian Revolution – overthrowing Mubarak then Morsi were not winning end-states (though they ended state heads) they were beginning points for further praxis and hard work – little of which happened.”

    Such an excellent point. The context is very different, of course, but your example here reminded me of the election of Pres. Obama in 2008. Certainly, the Obama Administration has had many problematic & outright harmful policies, from a corporate approach to education policy to the drone strikes that have killed civilians in Pakistan & Yemen (and possibly elsewhere in the Middle East; those are the countries I know about). However, the Obama campaign in 2008 was an exceptional example of grass-roots mobilization, especially of young people & people of color; people were excited about voting for Obama and they showed up at the polls. One might argue that failing to turn this enthusiasm into a movement that would pressure Obama into governing in line with his campaign rhetoric was a tremendous missed opportunity for the U.S. left.

    Certainly, the situation is more complicated than this. There are certainly people out there at the grass-roots level doing hard work in organizing, while in Washington, some of the President’s more progressive proposals have been blocked by an idiotic Congress – but perhaps if we’d capitalized on Obama’s momentum in 2008-09, we’d have a Democratic majority in Congress. That, of course, wouldn’t automatically result in social justice; the Democrats can be just as horrible, in practice if not in rhetoric, as the Republicans, and we would still need to put pressure on Democratic lawmakers to enact equitable policies – but then this only illustrates your point, that there is no permanent state of winning, only a continuing struggle to make our world move closer to justice.

    1. Hi Michael, I absolutely love these kinds of comments. They feel like a reward, a treat, i get for blogging a good idea. I love how you recontextualize and transfer the ideas and give me more food for thought. (You’re a talented blog commenter!) It also hits home a really important point to me about reading and readers that you make explicit in your comments – that as we read someone else’s context, we find connections to our own – and that makes the point stay with us more, I think.

      Regarding the Obama example, i was in the US up until March 2008 so I remember the enthusiasm of people, particularly at Rice University where I was teaching, for Obama (forget that Texas is a red state, Houston and of course the university especially, had no cowboys). I wonder if one of the problems common to Obama and Egyptians is that distance from power allows us to imagine much more broadly, but when we are in it, there are so many issues and complications and obstacles that our ideologies do not solve. Obama’s rhetoric of working with both sides meant he ended up working with neither side, compromising on key values, and losing big time on other things (if i may generalize without examples!!!). Idiotic congress indeed – why is that? So sad that the most powerful country in the world can’t get anything done because people are bickering over political power rather than what is important. I get my new from Jon Stewart, so I don’t really know what’s going on πŸ™‚ or maybe I do πŸ™‚

      1. Thanks for the compliment on my commenting. You’re a talented blogger, which makes it easier to find connections. πŸ™‚

        I’ve been to Houston, once, and visited the neighborhood that surrounds Rice; I can imagine that being a pocket of Texas blue. It will be interesting to see how the Texas’s politics change as the state’s Latino population continues to grow; I’m hopeful that more of Texas will turn blue.

        I call the Congress idiotic, but in a way, they are quite good at their job, since blocking Obama’s more progressive initiatives has continued the widening of economic inequality in the US; and the GOP quite clearly is doing the bidding of its oligarchic masters. (The Democrats are nominally and rhetorically the party of the common person; but it’s important to remember that Clinton gave us NAFTA, for example, which I would argue was one of the worst things to happen to working people in the past 30 years.) The GOP’s policies are disastrous for the country as a whole, but very good for the corporate elite; so perhaps I should call John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and their whole GOP crew idiotic like a fox, if you will.

    1. Dave, I love love love it, and I am someone who left my perfectionism behind in my undergrad years. I will share that article widely, thank you!!!

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