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Interview with John Bambach

Interviewee: 
Bambach, John
Interviewer: 
Rieke, Robert
Date of Interview: 
1974-02-21
Identifier: 
OHBA0222
Subjects: 
Cardboard carpentry; Photography; Teaching; Stanislavsky; Human Development and Learning; Philosophy; Skinnerian Behavior Modification; Dyslexia
Abstract: 
In this interview John Bambach discusses the philosophical aspects of photography and how it is an extention of the human eye and of the human consciousness. He covers various aspects of photography, such as lighting. Mr. Bambach talks about his work with cardboard carpentry and how it helps people develop practical skill, which he believes has been avoided in the some classrooms in favor of developing consceptual skill. He also discusses the personalities required to be a good teacher.
Transcript:
RR (Robert Rieke): (wired) huh? Let's see, today is the day before Washington's Birthday February 21, 1974 . And I'm talking to Tom--?
JB (John Bambach): John .
RR: I said it wrong. John, Bambach . B-A-M-B-A-C--.
JB: -H.
RR: -H. And I'm Robert Rieke . John , we're here to talk about my project which is an imaginative history, of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte . And imaginative history, can't be written like an ordinary history would be. It can't follow a chronological development. And we'll have to let it be held together by another kind of form, and I'm working on that form now. [pause] It will have different parts, the parts will be related. And I haven't put it all together yet, but I, I've got a form, and I'm working on the first chapter. Matter of fact, I wrote some pages this morning. So I'm writing as I research, and I sort of need inspiration wherever I am. Now you've been here, you say, this is your third year?
JB: That's right.
RR: Where did you come from, directly--?
JB: Straight out of Belmont Abbey . I just finished my bachelor's work in sociology. And at the time I was looking for work in advertising fields, of all fields, but I had spent some time in that in summers, and some time I spent out of school. [papers rustling] And during that time I ran into Dr. Chase who needed a media specialist. And, as it turns out, my varied hobbies seemed to quailfe--, qualify me for that.
RR: Well, what's your favorite medium?
JB: Right now, photography.
RR: You don't know how gratuitous all of these things are, because, this afternoon I was, I went over to the Biology Department [clears throat] to look for someone who could tell me about the human eye, or any eye.
JB: But I, I could give your ashtray a look at--.
RR: All right, but, but a camera is another kind of eye.
JB: Uh-hum.
RR: It's a second eye. It's a man-made eye. And I'd like you to talk about the camera as an extension of the human eye, and tell me what you think about it.
JB: Interesting. It's I guess a little bit more than sematics that makes me say it's easier to talk about it as an extension of the human consciousness. There are for, for the, [pause] commonalities between the, the eye and the camera lens in terms of engineering, there are considerable differences there, but, well they don't concern me right now. My work recently has as an extension of my own consciousness, as a [pause] two-dimensional representation of, of the way I perceive things has, has been a pretty, pretty accurate record, I guess of my own personal development. If I look at work I was doing four years ago compared to the work I'm doing now, on the surface I seem to be taking in more in the way of detail and find it easier to relate various detail elements to other elements; gets me into the area of aesthetics then, how am I going to do that, the, the way I decide to relate those as a result of my aesthetic judgment? But most of my work recently has been less set up, more spontaneous; not necessarily candid, that implies something else. Sort of instant composition.
RR: Well, you're doing fine. I want to relax your mind a little bit by saying something so that you can catch your breath. Because you're, you're, you're a little hesitant to really jump into things. I'm a big ear, and the first thing you said ran a thrill up and down my spine because, if you thought you were detracting me, on the contrary, you were moving in right exactly where I am. You used the term, "The extension of human consciousness," and you may not know it but, that's what my history is all about.
JB: OK, how do you mean that?
RR: Well, I want people to see things that they've never seen before. Things that are right under their noses, but they've never looked at before, they've never had a meaning to before. And what you were saying is just exactly what I want to hear, so let's hear more about it.
JB: Well, let's see. Let, let me take your statement as a bit of a redirection then, its--.
RR: Maybe.
JB: quite in line. Its, the pictures that that I consider to be my best work and since my, my judgment on that is, is purely internal, have been the pictures that I guess sort of elevate the, the ordinary to the almost elegant. For instance a window doesn't become, you know, isn't just a window to me anymore. It's, it's a--, I can sort of thank the window as, as being the source of my medium. That window right in this room is, is the only light source. As a result recently I've seen a lot of my work including windows, including light sources in the picture, so as not to assume their existence anymore; sort of making their existence explicit and trying to tie in that, the element of the light source to the things that the light source affects. [long pause]
RR: Yes. Well, this is even better, you see. We're getting right into the deep meaning of what we're talking about right away. [pause] You see this is a secret project. It's a secret project John , because I want you to not tell anyone what we're talking about. I'm going to talk a lot of people, and if the word gets out as to what I'm doing, people will think I'm crazy.
JB: All right.
RR: They, they won't think that I'm doing it right, and they, I know some people already that have been trying to tell me what I should be doing, and they're absolutely dumbfounded that I'm not talking to Bonnie Cone and Chancellor Colvard and things like that. That isn't where the story that I want to write is at. You see, you referred just a minute ago to where I start my manuscript. [pause] Got it around here somewhere. Yeah, the opening words of my manuscript read like this, "The view from the fifth floor of Dalton Tower looking toward the northwest, presents a panorama in two directions." That's where I start. I start out with where I am as I write and I describe what I see and my eye moves around and I use the eye sort of like you'd use a camera, to see things and comment on things and things come out that, maybe hadn't thought about before.
JB: Uh-hum.
RR: Well, I'm interested in--, you keep, you've said it twice now, but we've got to come back to it because you keep saying it. I'm interested in L-I-G-H-T. Which seems to be very crucial to what we're talking about. Is it? Do you ever think about light?
JB: Constantly. Have to.
RR: Oh. Well, when you think about light, what do you think about?
JB: Well, it could be anything. For instance as we were coming up here I was taking a light reading on the lower floor there. What I was thinking about at the time was you know what aperture and shutter speed could I use in that area. I'm trying to work less with a meter and more by, you know, just guessing the light level. It's not so much the discipline of guessing it but by removing myself one step from the technology of taking a picture I get a little bit more in touch with, with the reality of the existing light not so much concerned with measurements, but, but, what it is that that light is affecting, how it's affecting it. For instance the, the light on one side of your face, how much different is that from the light on the other side of your face, what's affecting the shapes on your face. This, this room in general, if I were--, I could do a whole photo essay on this, on this room, and what I'd start out with would probably be something similar to your opening statement, except I wouldn't say it, I'd do a picture of it. I'd take a fairly panoramic or wide view picture of the room, and just to sort of relate all the available elements. And if I were developing it into, into a complete essay, I'd start switching lenses and, get a, start focusing on particular things, you know, a stack of RCA tapes up there, you know maybe, maybe your books, your manuscripts the latch on the window over there. By the time I was done, you'd have a pretty good feel for the sort of things I'm aware of as I look around the room. And of course for me to do that, I've got to become consciously aware of the things I look at. Getting back to light, without light there's no photography. I can thank light for whatever available, I'm a, I'm able to do with the medium.
RR: Tell me something, when you are mentally visualizing the taking of these pictures, [pause] are you taking pictures of light, or of the things which light reveals?
JB: Well, I don't know. I could flip into a philosophical set on that.
RR: Go ahead, go ahead.
JB: Ultimately, I'm let me think on that a second. I'm taking pictures with the light of the things that, that light forms. As a, as a photographer or while I'm in a photographic set, there isn't much that can exist for me that doesn't exist--, or there's nothing that exists for me without the existence of light, so I'm, I'm sort of looking at what light creates, in a sense.
RR: Very good, let me write that down. [pause] You said that light creates. [pause] All right. Is there such a thing as light, if there is no eye?
JB: [laughter] That's the same question, you know, as is there sound if a tree falls in the forest and nobody's there to hear it. I can look at it both ways, and think it's probably the part of the nature of what I do that I've got technical concerns as well as aesthetic and philosophical ones. So I have trouble personally answering that specific question.
RR: But it intrigues you?
JB: Oh yeah, sure.
RR: Well, I'm not suggesting that all the questions we're going to raise here are going to be answered this afternoon--,
JB: Uh-hum.
RR: But the questions themselves may be interesting. Well. I want to get back to what you started talking about earlier and there was some hint of it as you described the process that went on when you said you put that light meter up and were trying to guess what it would say, but really you were trying to test your own eye against what the meter was saying, right?
JB: Um-hum.
RR: So that in a sense you were making your own eye an organ of measurement. But more than an organ of measurement you want to confirm a sort of knowledge which the eye gives you. Learning to trust the eye, even without the instrument. And all this can tie into what you first said, which is the extension of human consciousness. I'd like to get back into that deeper realm, just a little bit. You don't have to give me a lengthy answer on the question, but what do you perceive as human consciousness? Have you thought about it? You used the word.
JB: Somewhat. I think I, I would have trouble saying what, what the consciousness itself is other than the elements that make it up.
RR: In what way?
JB: Generally synonymous with consciousness, for me, is awareness of well, OK, awareness, and specifically awareness of, of a, some perception.
RR: All right, let's stop there. Have you ever thought that this awareness that you receive through various elements?
JB: I don't, I don't receive the awareness.
RR: All right, say it your way. What you--.
JB: OK, it's developed as a, as a result of, or it exists as a result of perception, but, but itself isn't received.
RR: The awareness is not received?
JB: Right.
RR: No, the awareness is already there. Have you ever thought that this awareness, that is already there, as being a part of that of which it is aware?
JB: No, but it's not hard to think about that.
RR: Well, what would that be?
JB: It starts me to thinking about the, the nature of unverifiable data, you know to, to deal with data that is, of which I'm aware. I'm working on awareness continuum that, that the, the. It's, it's all very circular, you know, It's an intriguing question. It's not one, which on a practical level, generally concerns me. I just accept it for what it seems to be.
RR: No?
JB: I don't know if I'm answering your question--.
RR: You're avoiding it in a sense because you're afraid to say what your inner voice says. But that's all right, maybe you haven't heard your inner voice yet. We're, we're approaching too quickly the thing I want to perhaps find. Let's switch a little bit and come at it another way. [pause] You are a Media Specialist in the College of Human Development and Learning.
JB: Um-hum.
RR: You are there to serve others. I don't mean by that a menial kind of thing, you're also there to teach others, because you--.
JB: That would probably be the nature of my service, I guess.
RR: That's the nature of you service, is, is showing other people in the college how, what you have to offer would be valuable to them and what they're trying to get at. I want to relate this skill that you have to the program that's going on. How do you see the relationship? Do you find that this aspect of the college curriculum or methodology [long pause] is important?
JB: Of course. I, I--.
RR: Well, I, I asked a really innocent question, but go ahead and comment. Comment any way you feel about your relationship to the program, I want you to see that, you mentioned that you think it's important.
JB: OK as far back as I can personally recall and further back than that, things that other people have recalled and written about, the prime medium of education has been the spoken word and the written word. The prime mediums. There's been, for some reason, until the, the last ten years or so, reluctant, reluctance to move into other media. I'm not sure the cause for that, nevertheless that seems to have been the case. What I'm trying to do is take mediums with which I'm familiar, or with which I could become familiar, and establish their somewhat practical--. It's hard to define the nature of that word practical, application in the teaching profession. Or in any helping profession. I don't know whether the reluctance to move into these other media is, is just based on what some people would consider the reluctance inherent in human nature. Something I don't necessarily buy, but it's the best thing I can think of off the top of my head. The fact is, that, that the written word was initially sort of a visual adjunct to the spoken word. So, in a sense, our first audio-visual might have been books. I'm just trying to take that movement, that change that sort of lay foul for hundreds of years really, and try to continue that movement, or pick up on that movement again. I, I'm try, for instance, I see photography as a mode of expression every bit as, as explicit and conversely every bit as impressionistic as the spoken or written word. I see sound, various elements of sound, whether they may be music, or what most people would consider to be simple noise, as possible modes of expression. Now in a cageian sense there is no noise that could be considered music. That's another dimension again. Not only working with audio-visuals for instance, when you came into HDL before, I was working on a cardboard chair. I've been working a lot recently with cardboard-carpentry. It's practical advantages, multiple it's a construct, a construction medium that children can easily work in. We have a number of people in early childhood education, and I believe that, that the environment within which learning takes place is part of the learning that occurs. So having a degree and of control over that environment or having a degree of input into that environment aids the learning process. So this is just looking, cardboard carpentry is something that just looks at the physical environment and gives teachers and children [pause] a device for setting it up, so to speak, getting some initial input into the environment, just starting with that physical environment. Of course the, the, that particular act of working with cardboard goes into many other dimensions. For instance, we had a girl in yesterday who was a math major. And she didn't quite know what we were doing up there initially so I said, "Well look around. We're building furniture out of cardboard, or puzzles, or, you know, whatever you can think of to do with this cardboard. You can go down to the bookstore and pick up a sheet of it at 4 x 5 feet, and you can get it for about $2.00." "OK," she said, "What can I do then?"
RR: That's pretty expensive.
JB: Yeah, it's damn fine material though.
RR: All right.
JB: So she got herself a piece of cardboard. "Well, now what?" She says. "Well what would you like to build with it?" She says, "Well, all these people are building tables." I don't know what it was yesterday, but everyone wanted to build a table. She wanted to see what else you could build out of it. "So, well, you could build stools out of it, chairs out of it, or puzzles which are something people are into a lot, you can build partitions out of it. Just about anything you can think of to build, you could probably do it with cardboard." I haven't tried an internal combustion engine recently, but I did build a speaker enclosure out of the stuff last week, so it's awfully flexible material. So she looked at a couple of quick sketches I did. For instance, if you wanted to build stools, you could fit three stools with very little waste into one piece of the cardboard, or you could get one good size chair out of it. Just showing her how you could plan your shapes into it, sort of like a puzzle.
RR: Um-hum.
JB: To make the most efficient use of that one piece of material. She stared at those things for a good fifteen minutes without doing anything, and then proceeded to start marking off a pattern on the piece of cardboard, she was going to build a chair. She got the two sides marked off, and they sort of were designed so that they interlocked in terms of the design on the cardboard, then when you split them apart, you've got no waste. And she lost herself, she couldn't figure out where to go from there. She couldn't get from the two-dimensions into three. And you've gotta be able to do that to an extent to pre-visualize the end result and decide what you need to be cutting out of that cardboard. Well, she'd probably never drawn anything which develops the ability to go from three dimensions to two dimensions, and it's usually pretty easy to go the other way once you develop that ability. I also guessed that at time she was either a math or engineering major. Somebody who worked a lot in her head and worked a lot in the abstract, because she just kept staring at the things. And I finally asked her, and she said yes, she was a math major, and she said, "The first thing that people try to get across to math majors is that there's nothing simple. If I could just try to get the word simple out of their vocabulary, everything seems complex suddenly." I said, "That's your problem. This is simple, and if you can't understand the nature of simple, you're going to have a hard time working with this stuff." So we talked about it a while there, and she finally figured, "Well maybe if I cut out this piece, and cut out the other piece I've got and sort of stand them up, it will help me to, you know, to visualize the end result." And that started to work. Well, that's something that John Piaget could have told her a long time ago. She was, in one sense, on the level of a little kid. she needed or probably had just by-passed it her own development concrete manipulative skills.
RR: Had never played with blocks?
JB: She'd have to go back to--. Probably not. You know, I wouldn't be surprised. Probably very little finger-painting, a lot of things that would have developed some of those things.
RR: All right, [clears throat] I'm beginning to see some of the patterns here. This kind of a insight which you are passing on to teachers which they in turn will pass on to the classroom, is important at particularly what age, would you say?
JB: Any age, I don't see any.
RR: Well, in a, a training situation in the public schools, for example. Do you still say any age?
JB: Which pu--.
RR: But what if they've already learned it? Where do you think the ri--, ideal age is for them to begin, say, work with cardboard carpentry?
JB: Oh, oh. Ideally, it's, you know, youngsters, as little children. That's the point at which, in, in fact, I understand there's research to support the notion that certain skills that aren't learned in what's considered to be the proper developmental sequence can't be as easily learned later on. If that's true, then this girl that I met yesterday is going to have a hard time devel, developing her manual dexterity.
RR: But what, what would be the ideal age for this cardboard-carpentry to be introduced?
JB: Probably, probably. I would say at the latest, I'd like to see it introduced by the time a kid is maybe six. Kindergarteners can easily work with it. They do work with it. [long pause]
RR: Now this doesn't discount the spoken word and the written word, it's simply another dimension
JB: Not at all. Sure.
RR: to learning. What other dimensions would you think of for being aimed at by the program here which you can be of help in bringing out?
JB: Something I was doing two days ago for Cliff Hammand's 201 class for some, some role playing. Working with the you know, what is it we talk, what is it we mean when we're talking about role playing? What are some of the things that can occur when you role-play? what are some skills you may need to develop in order to do it effectively? And what we did was Bill Scarborough and I role-played a counseling situation in which I played a person with suicidal tendencies and he was a counselor at, or whatever might have been at mental health, might have been at open house, I came in to, to speak with. If the role-playing is being done effectively, and I mean effectively in terms of the individual who's doing it, that individual ought to be able to actually feel, not just conjure up a feeling, but actively feel what a person in that role would be going through. It's sort of it's based on a Stanislavsky model. Oh what is it, the [pause] method acting. Method acting is basically a role-play, where you become your role rather than simply portraying it. Role-playing is a, a skill I developed when I was in my undergraduate work. I was studying drama for a while and we worked extensively with role-playing.
RR: All right, now this, this was done in connection with the counseling side of the HDL program, or, or?
JB: No, this was in our introductory course, in 201, using role-play as an awareness expanding--.
RR: Well, you, you wouldn't bring the case, a suicidal case into a kindergarten?
JB: No.
RR: at what level would you bring it in? When is the concept of the self-death appropriate for open exposure in the life of a growing child?
JB: I'm not sure what you mean by appropriate. That's--.
RR: Well, at what time can this be dealt with in a way that would not be traumatic? A young child thinks of death all the time, really, but--.
JB: I, I don't know if that's true.
RR: Oh, I think so. I can remember my sister waking in the middle of the night, and crying, "I don't want to die, I don't want to die," when she was four or five years old. So it's not as though this message has not been learned at that age.
JB: Um-hum.
RR: She might have been a little older, but it wouldn't have been much older than that. So in this dimension of Human Development and Learning, I was just wondering what the experts say, or what the intuition is about exposing this concept about self-death, to little children--.
JB: Of course, of course the,
RR: To a growing person.
JB: That particular concept wasn't what we were dealing with, that was just sort of a vehicle.
RR: No, but it was a rather graphic illustration, one which you just wouldn't casually propose that they emulate at any level.
JB: Right.
RR: Was any caution brought out at the time this was done?
JB: Not particularly, the--.
RR: Well it was assumed that those in the room were not going to be upset by this? Maybe some were.
JB: Upset. I, I think so, or they were at least considered, I'm sure, by, by their instructor to be--.
RR: Able to (distinguish)?
JB: Copeably well developed, well not even cope. More--.
RR: Oh, cope--. Cope with the role-playing illustrations.
JB: Um-hum.
RR: Well, this comes to some thing a little more basic now. We've mentioned several things here, and different types of media, and the role-playing, and this brings a very philosophical question to bear about where we are. I'm not trying to have you pretend that you are the reference for the College of Human Development and Learning. You're an individual, that you're a part of that college. I want you to comment on the role of education, [pause] now of the ages that we've touched, kindergarten through say, twelfth grade. That's what the program's designed to serve, right?
JB: Beyond that. (That cuts the--.)
RR: (Yeah, that's the guts. That's the.) I know you talked about life long learning too, but really the programmatic part of it has as it's core the traditional learning span that is now.
JB: I was even thinking within that for instance our counseling program which is every bit a part of HDL is, as is curriculum and instruction. Deals with people of all ages, are no age limits on that.
RR: All right, well, I don't want my question to be lost, because I don't want to put words into anybody's mouth but--.
JB: OK.
RR: The philosophical question is this, John , is the aim of education programming or de-programming? Now let me draw a little illustration here that will perhaps make my question meaningful. Now I have a feeling that the program on this campus claims for itself a, a new [pause] emphasis. Certainly one which--. Certainly an emphasis which is not reflected in the present cadre of school teachers in this community, or in the state or even in the nation. The older program--, the older pattern of the finished schoolteacher who went out was one cast in an authoritarian mold. And the most successful of these gravitated to the administrative heads.
JB: Um-hum.
RR: And they were reinforced by community feeling and parental joy, that we have something here which can hold these young hellions down and program there so that they can easily slip into our establishment with no fuss and feathers. The program we have here is designed I think to combat, to open things up, not to program the person, but to open the person up so that he begins to find a self-identity, and not which will result in anarchy, but which will result in a loving and comfortable relationship to others while maintaining that identity. Do I sort of have my finger on it?
JB: Yeah, I'd add responsible to that.
RR: Well, yes, then responsible to that. Now, my philosophical question is this, if this different, if it's directed against what is already there, if it can be conceived of as de-programming of what is already there, could it in any way be thought of as a conditioning or manipulative or inverse programming?
JB: Conceivably, in fact, I think that's, that's something that's often mentioned in my 201 class, that question's come up. I can't look at it that way. What I'm, I, I guess if there's one single element that I'm try to push, it's the importance of the element of choice. If a person could chose, [long pause] a person could chose to differ with us phila--, philosophically, and still be successful in the program, I'm not sure how far that--.
RR: Spell it out a little bit.
JB: Pardon?
RR: Spell out what you mean by an example, I'm not sure of what this example--.
JB: OK, for instance, I've got negative tendencies toward Skinnerian Behavior Modification. [pause] I don't feel that the way to deal with that is for me to counter-modify, so much as to stimulate an awareness level in that person, and in myself at the same time. There are some people who for instance, want to bring in somebody to talk on dyslexia in my 201 class. OK, I've got certain feelings about dyslexia myself. Rather than me getting into either a debate with them, which is one way of assuming us as being equals and setting up what could be construed as a really artificial situation, or we just talk back and forth and don't necessarily come to an agreement, we both get our points of view out. What I'd like to do is, is, what I probably will do is bring in somebody with an opposing point of view, simply to keep a balance there. The process of getting two very strong sides to that is something that I, I hope will increase the awareness of the students in my class on that particular subject. By the same token, the person who's inclined toward Behavior Modification, if they are successful at working back from that [pause] to their initial assumptions about people, that's about all I can expect of them. If, if, if our ultimate difference is philosophical, I can't do much except to accept that. I can't start programming them away from their philosophical inclination. I do feel that my position would be to help them get back to that philosophical base so that their inclination towards, for instance, behavior modification isn't an arbitrary one, or one that's based on a, a merely pragmatic effect.
RR: All right. Now, I didn't interrupt you, but there are some things here that I didn't understand and I'm going to ask you to explain them just a little bit in order that I may really understand this example. You mentioned two names, Skinner. Correct? Who is the Behavior Modification man? Was the other a name too, dyslexia, or is that a term?
JB: Dyslexia is considered to be a perceptual disorder.
RR: All right. D-I-S-L-E-.
JB: D-Y-S-, I believe, L-E-X-I-A.
RR: Is a perceptual, what?
JB: Perceptual disorder. It's a sort of a--.
RR: Is that a complimentary term to what Skinner's driving at?
JB: No, no. They're entirely two different things.
RR: Or is it a polar opposite, or are they're just unrelated?
JB: They could be related, but they aren't by nature.
RR: Well, remember the question was what are you doing to your students?
JB: Um-hum.
RR: Are you programming them or de-programming them, in order that they may go and do likewise? And your answer was, "No, they could have a different philosophical base, and still be successful." Did I read you right?
JB: I yeah, I think so.
RR: And your example was, I'm, I'm negative towards Skinner, but suppose someone is. I should simply make them aware of what this philosophical base is, that it's not something arbitrary, but something they've thought out, feel responsible for, and are willing to use it. And the example brought in dyslexia as the thing with which they would be dealing from their philosophical has a base. Do I have it now?
JB: Sort of, I was just use, I well, dyslexia and behavior modifications are two things I might differ with a student on. They aren't necessarily related as two examples. Now I need to qualify something there, in terms of my role as an instructor, or introductory course in human potential, what I expressed essentially is my role. Now, from there comes another question, should these people be teachers? I've got thoughts and feelings about things that contribute to learning. Teachers role in my mind being one should contribute to learning, not necessarily being merely a dispenser of information. Books do that very efficiently. Um--.
RR: And cardboard carpentry.
JB: And cardboard carpentry, yeah, sure. [pause] A person who has a high control need, might well be inhibited to someone else's learning. Ultimately, my concern is with the learner, not with the teacher. I would not be willing to, if I were in a position to certify teachers, [RECORDING INTERUPTED] [RECORDING RESUMED]
JB: which I'm not now, however I've got some input into that, in that 201 is sort of a screening ground for student teaching, or entry into our student teaching block. A person with a high control need, that I've felt to be destructive, I would have to make a value judgment on, that might say, that I don't believe this person should be teaching. I don't believe this person should go out, should be admitted at this point into a student teaching block. That's a possibility.
RR: You' re throwing some loaded terms around here that I've got to come back and check on a little bit. [pause] What's another way of saying a person has a high control need, is that a person who is very dependent on others, or a person who is just the opposite who thinks he doesn't need any dependence on others or is authoritarian?
JB: No. Neither one. Well, OK, a person with authoritarian--.
RR: A self-contained person.
JB: Well, I don't read authoritarian as being that necessarily. You can be self-contained and not be authoritarian.
RR: Alright. Well what does this term mean to you, high control need?
JB: A person who feels it necessary to have control over other persons. That's the sense in which I'm using that. [pause]
RR: All right. [pause]
JB: Or a high amount of control over other persons. I mean I've got a degree of control in my work, I assume most persons have a degree of control.
RR: This person can't function unless he's in control of others, successfully.
JB: To a degree, that's correct.
RR: And he's defenseless when he's not in control.
JB: OK, defenseless is an interesting term to use here.
RR: OK, well, he's, he falls apart, he just can't function right. He loses his composure. The other thing you said was if indeed the screening process is taking place at the introductory level, and you noticed this, and this is a thing that should be flagged before the candidate is allowed to pursue, you might have to use a value judgment on this person, to discouragement them from continuing, or block their continuance. Why did you use the term value judgment? Why don't you just say judgment?
JB: My assumption is that all judgments are based on a person's value system.
RR: Well isn't, aren't you making a, quote, professional, unquote, judgment there? Is that, is that another way of putting it?
JB: Yes, I think so, I'm not sure that professional judgments are anything more than value judgments, or anything less that value judgments either.
RR: Well does this, the fact that you would, might be asked to make a judgment, does that [pause] give you that terrible feeling of yourself being at [pause] a high control need in which you are determining someone's fate?
JB: No not really. I think I've sort of gotten that sorted out for myself. It's not a personal need I've got. Personally, I would prefer not to have to make that decision, however, that decision is inherent or the need to make that decision is inherent.
RR: Part of the responsibility of your being an instructor in that course.
JB: That's right.
RR: Well, now let's talk about just this sort of thing. You say this is not where you're at, because you don't have this responsibility, yet.
JB: Well, I've got a degree of that responsibility.
RR: You've got a degree, I mean, if you saw something flagrant, you'd feel it necessary to report it to somebody else so they could check it out.
JB: Well, no, I've got a class which is a screening ground, or could be a screening ground for people going into student teaching, so I do have the potential of blocking that person.
RR: Well, how do you block them, by grade, or by counseling or what?
JB: Preferably, by counseling. I would prefer it if I could discuss my perceptions of that person with that person, see if they're in line with that person's perceptions and perhaps by making that blatant, explicit, whatever, and allowing the person time to think about it, they might opt out of that end of the program, or might opt into other things before they enter the program. It depends. If they don't see it as a need of theirs, then I need to make a decision about whether or not I'm going to block it. You know, maybe they're perfectly happy with however it is I see is the problem.
RR: Well, what percentage of the students that are entering into the 201 classes really have a desire to take this as a first step into your sequence are potentially in need of being screened out, would you judge?
JB: That's really hard to say. I'm in my second,
RR: Make a wild guess.
JB: Potentially in need of being screened out--.
RR: We'll assume that the course itself can save them. That's one possibility, or other counseling could eventually rescue them and allow them to come back in.
JB: OK, one distinction would be--.
RR: But, but, I just want the biggest, the biggest number who are not yet ready to go beyond this course, directly into what else there is to do that gets them quickly on their way toward meeting certification requirements. What percentage of students would be deemed poor risks?
JB: Very small, but that I, anyway, would be inclined to, to block per se. Normally what occurs is that I have some potential concerns about certain students that will be going either directly or in the near future into student teaching. Usually what'll happen is that I'll state those concerns and talk with them about that and very often the, concern is also of concern to that person except they haven't really thought about it, something they might have been blocking.
RR: In other words, you can say that the person who thinks he wants to be a teacher, usually by that very decision has [pause] put himself pretty well home?
JB: I don't know what you mean by that.
RR: Well that the mere choice of going into the program, on the motivation of the student acts as a screening device for the undesirable student.
JB: Not really. No.
RR: Well that doesn't seem to square with what you said about a very small percentage not being ready.
JB: Well, for instance, out of thirty or twenty-eight people in my section of 201 this semester, there are only four of whom four who'll be going into student teaching definitely.
RR: So you don't worry about the other twenty-six?
JB: In terms of their entry into that particular helping profession, no. Now I might have similar concerns about those people, but the decision as to whether to block their entry into student teaching just doesn't exist. [long pause]
RR: Well, what other aspects of the program over there--.
JB: Fairly short, I've got a class coming up right now.
RR: Intrigue you?
JB: I'm sorry, other aspects of?
RR: Of where we are in this program intrigue you. Do you think we're doing all right? Do you think there's some bugs in it? Do you think there's some hope for it? Do you feel good about it's relationship to the rest of the campus, to the community, etcetera? Anything you want to say in two minutes?
JB: I'm comfortable with the program right now. But when I say that, it's not so much as the program is now, but as the program is developing, as the people who work with the program are also developing. I guess I'm never quite comfortable with a specific state of affairs so much as that state of affairs on a developmental continuum. That development, I'm quite pleased with though.
RR: All right. Do you feel good about things?
JB: Very much so.
RR: (You're reading) as the comfortable one.
JB: Yeah.
RR: Well, that's a good testimonial. Thank you, John . We'll stop here and let you get to class without any rush.
JB: Great, great.
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