Sunday, June 5, 2011

EduKare- Resilient Communities...

flickr photo via akaalias

"Seems to me if folks understand that EdUkare is about health and security and resilient communities, it would help clarify."

Michael Josefowicz (@ToughLoveforX) tweeted the above a while back in the @EdKare stream, and the point deserves some attention. At the Twitter @edkare stream, Michael, Daniel Durant (), I and others are involved in what I would call at this stage a global thought experiment in co-creating nemetics. Nemetics is a term that has evolved to explain phenomena surrounding the exchanges that occur in our emotional, cognitive and physical spaces.
To clarify, here's some notes via Michael (with a few supplemental links added by me):
  1. Nemetics is based on three fundamentals: Nemes, NemiTubes and NemiSpheres. The focus of nemetics in an EduKare context is the study of neme exchanges called "NemeX" 
  2.  The term neme indicates a superset of replicators in all Complex Adaptive Systems. Replicators are memes, genes, "Lumenes"
  3. Memes are replicators in Cognitive Space. Genes are replicators in Physical Space. The term "lumenes" is coined by Mark Frazier, President of OpenWorld...for a free, resilient, and generous world (@openworld) in Emotional Space. 
  4. "Neme" is an acronym for the fractal learning process of Complex Adaptive Systems. Notice (or not) Engage (or not) Mull (or not) Exchange (or not)... NemeX connotes the actual exchange in progress.
  5. Notice/or not, Engage or/not, Mull/or not, Exchange/ or not, and tweaking Time and Space is the basis for three dimensional Automaton Modeling Complexity
  6. Physical Space is said to be Pwaves. Emotional is Ewaves. Cognitive is Cwaves. A Neme is said to Collapse ECPwaves to a Neme. 
  7. A NemiSphere is a snapshot of entangled NemiTubes in which NemeX is constrained by Tacit and Explicit Rules. 
I know, I know... clear as mud, right? Don't worry; we're all figuring this out as we go in what I would say is a real-time, distributed, online NemiSphere... hence the descriptor "thought experiment." The boiled-down point illuminates the fact that we exist in society as an infinite series of complex adaptive systems; complex as identified by the absolute diversity of people, perspectives and levels of knowledge that exists within them, and adaptive as identified by the natural and intentional fractal ways that individuals and groups adjust to the social, emotional, cognitive and physical characteristics of their NemiSpheres.

flickr image via Song_sing
To ground all of this in a purpose-driven context, schools are if nothing else, complex adaptive systems. An EduKare approach within schools posits that the complex adaptive system describes the fact that kids are social, emotional, cognitive and physical beings that require individualized services and supports within a system that is complex because it is comprised of the litany of unique individuals (students, staff and others who support its purposes,) and adaptive simply because it recognizes and strives to meet the needs of each one of them.

EduKare schools are about health and security and resilient communities. They understand that before kids can learn in the cognitive spaces (Cwaves,) they have to be stable and high-functioning in their social/emotional/physical spaces (Ewaves and Pwaves.) An EduKare school places the deliberate support of healthy Ewaves and Pwaves as their primary objective. For so many kids, the process will be quite efficient as many arrive at school in kindergarten as adequately well-adjusted in the social-emotional and physical domains... but there are those (and to be honest, we can't seem to find an algorithm that would absolutely define predictive determiners,) that are not OK in the social-emotional and physical domains for any number of reasons. It's virtually impossible to determine this in a clinical sense owing to the factor of resiliency. Resiliency is the X-factor that helps us determine how well-adjusted kids are when entering school, but more importantly, it is the known factor that provides a targeted focus for supportive adults to nurture increased levels of resiliency in the young people they serve. Resiliency can be nurtured and taught as evidenced by contemporary research in the fields of education, psychiatry, social psychology, medicine, social work, mental health etc.Until we know how resilient individual kids are (or are not,) and then begin work to support the requisite growth of resilience in all kids, we can't optimally support learning.

Although we can't know how resilient kids are upon entering school, we can embark on a process of learning their stories that helps us put the pieces of their resiliency profile together. In the context of nemetics, we have to notice these stories, mull (think) deeply about them and then make responsible, informed decisions about how we are going to exchange with the data they provide to support the growth of resiliency in all students, but particularly the more challenged ones. It's critical to understand also that the primary writers of these stories are the students themselves; we simply support the process by empowering them to weave their own stories; to take ownership of their learning paths in a complex adaptive system we call the EduKare school environment.

Who does this in an EduKare school? Good question... In the first EduKare post at KARE Givers, I explained that an EduKare school is one that accesses the specialized skills of helping professionals in a wrap-a-round service provision model. Ideas for a Comprehensive, Integrated School-wide Approach is a UCLA paper from all the way back in 1977 that proves this is not a new idea, but perhaps one that will need a deeper NemeX process to divine where the rubber will meet the road in providing comprehensive, coordinated services for children in general. More specifically, the EduKare model posits that the locus of service provision should be based in schools; the places where kids spend a large part of their wakeful hours for thirteen years of their lives, and one that is designed to support learning. This point is key...

To optimally support learning, teachers need to be present and accountable for what they are trained to do; teach. The fact remains, however, that learning detractors are present in the social-emotional and physical lives of children... these detractors are part of their learning stories. In order to help learn these stories, and to help write them in a teaching and learning context, teachers need support from those other helping professionals that are trained to do what they do; mitigate social-emotional and physical detractors in the lives of children, (that will ultimately also detract from learning.)

What better place to coordinate these processes than the schools that conveniently dot our local landscapes, that reflect our diverse nature and that are designed as teaching and learning environments? 

EduKare schools are fundamentally those that understand their role in promoting the health and security of resilient communities through the nurturing of healthy, secure and resilient kids and their families. EduKare teachers are those that fundamentally understand that support for the cognitive growth of their students depends largely on how effectively the social-emotional and physical needs they manifest are provided for. Working collaboratively with others who support these needs is the path to a successful EduKare service provision model.
 

8 comments:

  1. I am going to go back and reread this and probably several times. My initial thought/reaction is one of gratitude.

    I survived two DCFS investigations last year, and since then I have seen evidence of DCFS (and related agencies) used as a cudgels against parents. But what has surprised me is having conversations with teachers who have had parents threaten them and administrators with this and parents threatening other parents.

    In other words, an agency that was set up to protect children is being used more and more as a threat or leverage against other adults. My impression is that this has become pathological, ie, very different than how these agencies were intended to function.

    Back when I was a kid growing up on Chicago's Southeast Side, we had block mothers. I knew that when I saw an orange decal with a black house outline on it, that was a safe place for me to go. My mother never worried as I wondered about the block because she knew that other moms were on the look out.

    She also knew that when I'd climb the fence to visit our retired neighbor, that he really was teaching me about gardening and not doing anything untoward.

    These days we don't know our neighbors and when our impulsive younger daughter ran down to the corner to probably watch the fire truck back into the firehouse, the firemen told me that she was too young to be down the street by herself. When I protested that she was eight, they told me she was too young. I felt mortified, too, when the police showed up at our doorstep to do a wellness check on her. At that time she still didn't know our address, and so it is probably a good thing they did check.

    It's a sad commentary when I feel more at ease talking to people online than I do with people who live on my block. We live anonymous lives. No one wants to get involved.

    Our older daughter is severely disabled. I can count on one hand how many times in the past fifteen years anyone in real life has asked me how I am doing.

    We need to find a way to be gentler with one another and to return to presumed innocent. Too many of us, as casual observers, judge instead of fact find. Community requires taking time instead of making snap judgments. We need to do better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your comment Debbie... you have touched on something I have been thinking about for a long time. In fact, I was talking about this just last week at my school.

    In the context, for example, of church providing different forms of care and support for social need in society, with separation of church and state, "social services" has become bureaucratized, and we have come to know government as the only institution that can save our social state. I'm not saying that gov't. social services is inherently bad, but simply that we default to them and have lost our connection with the best forms of social services to ever exist; ourselves.
    Namaste

    ReplyDelete
  3. Not sure if church is the answer, but certainly something more compassionate than an overwhelmed bureaucracy. I almost felt sorry for the investigator sent to investigate me. She clearly is in over her head.

    We need more services that work and that are community driven. If I am looking for a village and I have more emotional wherewithal than most, then I worry about what parents with less emotional reserves do when faced with adversity.

    The investigator looked at my house and immediately diagnosed me with depression and in need of meds. How she could determine that within five minutes is beyond me. I took it in stride. I also could imagine me, five, ten years earlier perhaps taking that offhanded remark more to heart. I do sometimes tweet, not dead yet. That kind of remark is not only unprofessional, it is out and out harmful. A weaker woman might rush upstairs and OD or take things out on her kids. When I read news stories, I do sometimes think that could have been me.

    Very few people have to endure this kind of ordeal, but it is humiliating, and, furthermore, it is difficult to move past.

    One Mother Desperately in Search of a Village

    The isolation many feel is stifling. I don't seek out neighbors because my house, albeit in better shape than a year ago, is still far from being House and Garden. I am frightened. I feel traumatized. When there's a knock at the door now, I jump. To whom can I safely reach out? Can I trust my kids' teachers?

    Last night two teachers talked about surveying their parents. I cautioned them that parents may be wary. It is sad that it's come to this. Those of us who need help are afraid to seek it. And so we struggle.

    Whether it's school or church, we need to know there is a place where we are safe and where we know our kids will be safe.

    We have lost ourselves. Poets like TS Eliot and WH Auden warned us about this as our society shifted to post-modern ways of life. Reclaiming community is a tall order. You are here. I am here. It's a start.

    ReplyDelete
  4. We have indeed.
    I use the church (in whatever denomination) as one example of that "sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves"... a circle of support so to speak, but you are correct; there are many. However, all have to start with the will to provide, care and be involved without judgement, and with an eye toward solutions, not condemnations.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'd be curious to know when the shift occurred... the swing of the pendulum to caring for kids to the detriment of parents.

    We need a happy medium. Protect children first and foremost. I discovered that parents are suspected first when anything happens. I also learned, much to my distress, that mothers are investigated before fathers are.

    Nurture the mothers. Give us a village. Many of us are dying spiritual deaths, cell by cell, as we accumulate guilt in this consumerist society.
    When hippies turned in their love beads for briefcases, we started to die a slow spiritual death.

    As we shift from public schools to charter, we simultaneously shift from inclusion to exclusion. You and I are on the same page. I hope others will join in and comment on your thoughtful post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great post Sean! I was mulling yesterday and a distinction between stories and narratives came to mind. I suspect that nemiSpheres are the narrative contexts in which our own stories are embedded, like nemiTubes. When our stories come together, they nTangle. When a nemiSphere is filled with harsh ecpwaves the nemiTube nTanglement happens less because there is no Trust. When there is no trust our stories become fixed in circumstances outside of our control, we become victimized and isolated.

    Resilience seems to be an awareness of the causes, components, and conditions that keep perpetuating destructive ecpwaves in the nemispheres. That means we recognize and accept responsibility for the narratives that hold us back from manifesting the stories that are in our highest and best nemiSpheres.

    That is to say, when we change our stories in the context of a broader narrative, we can become heroes of our lives. We can enter a larger nemisphere that is more resilient and connects us with the heroes of our lives. I suspect it is the hope in a more holistic and less fearful nemisphere that keeps mothers like Miss Shuganah reaching out to others online.

    The web is an nemisphere of great hope for the world, but we don't yet know how to collectively apply its potential to our communities in a face-to-face context. Thankfully Educare is applying nemetics in a manner which I think is leading us toward a "how".

    ReplyDelete
  7. Daniel,

    Reaching out online is the easy part, especially with a pseudonym. It's in person that feels terrifying. Online I can tell my story. But in real life I am afraid that my neighbors know what a fraud I am.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The web holds much possibility... I agree, but at some point it has to be a vessel that connects people in ways that empower them to be "in the present" with other people; one that connects them in ways that allow them to feel hope through the connection. I think the narrative of those that become "connected" is the key to sharing their hope.

    ReplyDelete

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