Don Hanlon Johnson, PhD

  Chapter 12 from H. Svi Shapiro, ed. Education and Hope in Troubled Times:Visions of Change for our ChildrenĻs Future.  London: Routledge (Taylor and Francis, 2009).

  The Cultivation of Children's Bodies Towards Intricate Thinking and Sensitive Behavior

New visions always require radical, root-like, thinking redirected towards origins; in the case at hand, to the sources that give rise to the complexity of pedagogies, curricula, instructional plans, institutional designs, and methods of assessment. In order to gain access to those primal sources of inspiration, we have to hold in abeyance all the assumptions that have led to the current situation, research conclusions, the received opinions about what must be done, the political hard lines. Bracketing all that we think we know, we need to return to fundamental questions of what we want from these institutions for our children, our communities and the world. 

Here are two fundamental questions:

1.  How can schools better help our children develop the kind of intricate and sinuous intelligence needed to meet the many personal and social challenges they will have to confront as adults? 

2.  How can schools better cultivate in children the humane qualities that make communal life and a truly democratic society possible:  kindness, compassion, humor, integrity, reliability, the capacity to deal comfortably with an ambiguous world?


Favela Rising is a movement and a film about one of the Rio de Janeiro favelas, that was the heart of the drug trade, run by the gangs, with high levels of violence.  A group of people in the community made the decision to transform it through channeling the intense energies of the youth into vigorous dance, singing, and music making, away from violence, depression, incarceration or death. Similar to Rennie Harris's hip hop movement in Philadelphia, and many other movements in depressed urban areas of the United States where people are engaging the vibrant bodily energies of youth in danger to transform communities of violence into vibrant islands of hope.  The body is the key—its capacities either for wanton destruction of self and others, or for ecstatic creativity and communion with others.  These instances of working successfully with young people on the outer reaches of possible destruction illuminate how we might envision dealing with the less dramatic widespread loss of young people of all economic and social classes to addictions, depression, and a loss of dreams.


How do I dare propose this essay?  Teachers, administrators, and educational policy makers are flooded with advice from politicians, educational theorists, parents, corporate executives, and law enforcement officials.  Since we've all spent many years in schools, and since many of us continue to have children and grandchildren in school, we all correctly think we have a stake in how they work. Smothered by a barrage of advice are poorly paid overworked teachers who have to put up with often raucous and uncooperative children, and administrators who are constantly having to prove to some agency or other and aggressive PTAs at the cost of their jobs that their charges are being adequately prepared to deal with the jobs they might take in 10 years, that they are protected from sexual predators on the internet, kept from the early stages of substance addictions, and well on their way to being well-behaved citizens.  What justifies adding to this bewildering flow of advice? In struggling to answer this question, I have found what makes it possible for me to go ahead with this is not to try to add something new, but to bring to focus with radical simplicity a healthy trend that has been building for a few decades, with the hope that such a focus might inspire a few people to intensify and bring to greater fruition what is already going on.

I speak of the sea change in attitudes about the role of the human body in learning, both in the culture at large and in schools themselves. 

The cultural turn to the body has taken place in two regions.  One is the public realm of everyday attitudes towards the body and body practices. Since the mid-20th Century, there has been a steadily increasing awareness that the cultivation of our bodily energies through such things as exercise, diet, and massage therapy are part and parcel of becoming a successful adult.  Not unlike medieval monks, the workforce now marks the day three times with the morning, noon, and evening runs, bikes, weight-trainings.  As in the parks of China and American Chinatowns, you now see city parks all over the country filled with people stretching, doing martial arts, yoga, jogging, biking.  The ubiquitous corner markets of earlier years are now rented out by exercise and yoga studios.

As in China, many have the sense that these intense daily activities are not thought to be exclusively about physical health and longevity.  Even though there is not the body of communal textual reflection on these matters which has been going on for centuries in Asia, there are many indications that these turns towards the body are thought to be a factor in becoming a more intelligent and sensitive human being, more capable of creative activity in the world, more sensitive to the needs of one's intimates and co-workers.

This sea change is not only in the popular mind. One of the most stunning scientific movements of the past century has been the proliferation of sciences of the body:  genomics, robotics, cognitive sciences, evolutionary and cellular biology, etc. In this realm of the sciences a new consensus is developing about a model of  "mind" or "intelligence" that stands in juxtaposition to the older Cartesian and Platonic models.  "Mind" is viewed within the context of attributes which "emerge" from the embryonic organism in its process of development. Just as the sweet random movements of the newborn, or its gurgles and grunts will develop into intelligently communicative gestures and sentences, so, too, its early musings and wonderings will slowly develop into adult mindfulness.

 These cultural changes are reflected in schools.  When I left kindergarten for grade school in the early 1940s, I found myself forced into a silent procrustean bed for the long years of school stretching before me—desks fixed in geometric rows facing forward, no chatting among us, no moving around the classroom, speaking only when spoken to, even bathroom visits so restricted that there were always 'accidents' appearing on the floors.  Now there is easy movement in the classroom, with tables and chairs arranged in a less military or monastic manner.  You always see children moving around, getting supplies, sharpening pencils, chatting with the teacher or work partners as they go about their assigned tasks.

The national panic over obesity is a sign, though distorted, of this change.  Both educational programs in the schools and new rules for the kinds of food and drink promoted by the schools reflect a broadly shared realization that a healthy body is crucial to being a thoughtful and productive adult, even perhaps more important than learning the multiplication tables, since here the stakes are illness and death.  And yet there is a confusion here about what the nature of the real issue.  One the one hand, there is an old and demeaning identification of various forms of plumpness and big bellies with unattractiveness by comparison to the anorectic models of popular beauty.  This is different from an often inarticulate intuition that growing instances of obesity among young children reflect a combination of a lack of care about our material reality:  spending hours supine in front of a monitor, eating junk foods, not caring any more for the flesh than for our endangered forests and waters.

It is this intuition and to similar intuitions about the importance of children's bodies in the educational process to which I want to speak in this chapter, with the hope that by condensing into simple principles the variety of insights that have motivated this vast turn towards the body during the past half-century, the people who actually have to live day-to-day within the schools might find some help in thinking through making them more effective.


In the call for papers for this collection, Svi Shapiro writes:

The severity and complexity of human problems will demand from us, and especially our children, inclinations, dispositions, and knowledge quite different from those which have shaped, and continue to shape, our social identities and ideological outlooks, moral preferences and attitudinal priorities.

The vocabulary of this call evokes the human organism: inclinations, dispositions, shaping, and attitudes. These are not ideas but sensibilities earned by educational practices that are not primarily cognitive. They imply a different kind of cognition, not dissociated from experience in formulas and sentences but emergent from the human organism; not detached from but deeply intertwined with the suffering and yearning world of everyday life. 

"Inclinations", for example, captures the experience we have of leaning this way or that, inclining towards the couch or the jungle gym, towards this person, away from that one, towards playing the guitar or riding a snowboard.  "Inclinations" are the heart of effective pedagogy; when responded to by teachers, they mobilize the student's interest to learn what is at hand; when ignored,  they fester in frustration and boredom.

"Dispositions" is a term that takes central place in the late Pierre Bourdieu's analysis of the various ways in which bodily comportments form the basis for the social order, including the conduct of teaching in academic institutions.[1] No matter what  one thinks or imagines, the weight of bodily habituations, shaped over time, sweeps one in predictable ways, some of which are simply annoying in their seeming repetitiveness; others of which are tragic in their seemingly inevitable slide towards depression or violence. Only with great effort of sustained thoughtful practice can one dispose oneself towards a different direction. Young children are in the process of crafting these habituations, some useful, some problematic.  The results of ignoring these habituations becomes painfully obvious in adult struggles to overcome one's dysfunctional dispositions—chronic hostility, lassitude, fear, self-doubt.  On a larger scale, failure to deal with these habituations undercuts the creation of the kinds of flexible, resilient, and open-minded thinking required in a diverse democratic society.

Shaping "social identities and ideological outlooks, moral preferences and attitudinal priorities" requires addressing these very bodily currents. But this 'shaping' is often etherealized in educational theory to the point where its original references to bodily activities of hand and sweat are reduced to abstract rules and theories.  A widely shared mistake in the development of Western notions of the mind is that this shaping takes place primarily through language, rules, punishment, and reward.  Ideas and rules are not sufficient to craft an ethical and thoughtful adult.  This is the major problem of pedagogy in the modern Western world with its Cartesian heritage:  ideas and rules by themselves are helpless if they are disconnected from the organic foundations of our being.  Insisting that young protean highly mobile children sit still in desks, that they be punished for giggling and squirming, sets up an atmosphere of resentment and hatred of school as an institution of dissociated discipline, not of vibrant evolution of sensitive intelligence and imaginative craft.


Wilhelm Reich's analysis of fascism, derived from his intimate first-hand living through the horrors of Hitler and Stalin with his brilliant psychoanalytic eyes is unique in appreciating that the roots of the fanaticisms which continue to sweep the world are not primarily to be found in ideas but in the mobilization of bodily energies either for good or ill.  Resistance and liberation in his view is not primarily a matter of Reason but of a more profound return to the sensibilities of our bodies.[2]  The battles are between the uniforms, flags, and military choreographies of the Nuremberg rallies filmed by Leni Riefenstahl and the half-naked Gandhi with his hand-woven dhoti and staff marching to the sea.

To dissociate himself from the animal kingdom, the human animal denied and finally ceased to perceive the sensations of his organs:  in the process he became biologically rigid.  It is still a dogma of mechanistic natural science that the autonomous functions are not experienced and that the autonomous nerves of life are rigid.  This is the case, notwithstanding the fact that every three-year-old child knows very well that pleasure, fear, anger, yearning, etc., take place in the belly.  This is the case, notwithstanding the fact that the experience of oneself is nothing but the total experience of one's organs.  By losing the sensation of his organs, man lost not only the intelligence of the animal and ability to react naturally, but he ruined his own chances of overcoming his life problems. . . .  Man's body sensations did indeed become rigid and mechanical.[3]


Children's Developmental Trajectories


Grades K-8 are dealing with children who are engaged in a complex transitional realm of human development. At the early stages, the child is still principally occupied in making the journey from the pre-linguistic and pre-formal-movement phases of development. Every parent knows that the infant spends many months playing with intricate plant- and animal-like protean movements long before he or she sits or walks in anything resembling the formal geometries of  adulthood. He or she plays with a complexity of  polyphonic sounds that only slowly gets shaped into articulate words, and eventually sentences. The success of later development is proportionate to the degree in which those earlier stages are integrated and consolidated in activities of syntactical speaking, reading, writing, and mathematical reasoning. Without an adequate sense of continuity with the earlier stages, emphasis on the formal activities of syntax and calculation begin to leave a child with a sense of alienation.  The developmental psychologist Daniel N. Stern argues that this bridge between the non-verbal world of infant experience and the linguistic world is crucial in forming a healthy personality:

Infants' initial interpersonal knowledge is mainly unshareable, amodal, instance-specific, and attuned to nonverbal behaviors in which no one channel of communication has privileged status with regard to accountability or ownership.  Language changes all that.  With its emergence, infants become estranged from direct contact with their own personal experience.  Language forces a space between interpersonal experience as lived and as represented.  And it is exactly across this space that the connections and associations that constitute neurotic behavior may form.[4]

                  If the child has had good enough nurturance in the first five years, not abused nor subject to the disabling displacements of war and poverty or disease, he or she arrives at school a vibrant, buzzing, alert organism, speaking with newly discovered words, almost poetically, wildly inquisitive, but lacking the various orderly skills of grammar and logic that characterize adulthood. The process of making the primal journey from the non-verbal into language and organized gestures is well along the way, but far from any kind of natural proclivity for the extremely formalized activities of grammar and number. The impact of the early grades school can be dramatic, for good or ill, on the delicacy of this newly forming world of syntactical communication and numerical calculation depending on how carefully the child is helped to preserve felt links between the already highly developed movements and soundings and the dawning and tentative worlds of discourse and calculation.  If the vocal exuberance and complexity of infant sounding is too rapidly squeezed into syntactical order, you have the dampened language of everyday life and adults alienated from the intricate expression feelingly connected to our interlocutors necessary to deal with the problems that face us as communities.  When the constant exploratory reaches, jumps, leaps and twists are trimmed to fit the Procrustean bed of postural order, you have the beginnings of the rigid character structures that plague us as adults, making it difficult to maintain the flexibility needed to deal with our ever-changing life challenges.  At the same time, it creates a distance between the child's own source of personal decision making, leaving it more susceptible to the public winds and the emotions of the moment, not to speak of chronic back pain and headaches.

It is the unique challenge of years K-8 to give as much attention to the cultivation of this bodily substrate of adult development as to the formalities of reason and good citizenship, sending off middle-school graduates to high school and college where they will be able to take on the demands of increasingly abstract studies without losing their birthrights of vitality and open-heartedness. Is it possible for the design of these nine years to make use of this now widespread recognition of the importance of body movement, sounding and feeling as the generative matrix for the evolution of mature thinking and decision-making? Can pedagogies take seriously into account how to incorporate the fleshy liveliness of the organism—its movements, urges, fascinations, boredoms, hostilities—into the disciplines of syntactical language, mathematical reasoning, and the many other formalisms of intellectual expansion. The problem is that even though dualism is no longer in fashion among thinking people, its residues are left unquestioned in many areas such as school priorities.  Although the popular culture and the cognitive sciences have developed a new model of Reason, an older model, dating back to Descartes and Galileo, remains embedded in our institutions of education, medicine, and religion, where the development of reason is thought to be relatively independent of the development of its organic foundations.



The Argentine social scientist Maria Maria Julia Carozzi goes to the heart of the problem which faces teachers and educational policy makers in her analysis of the model of thinking that dominates Western academic discourse as cut off from the bodily processes that provide the matrix for the emergence of thinking:  the acts of moving, reading, writing, wondering, speaking, puzzling.[5] The vibrant mobile exploratory young child enters the school where the rich panoply of bodily streams of development are squeezed into what are thought to be the abstract forms supportive of rational development.  Sitting still in geometrically designed rooms mirrors the abstractions of the alphabet and numbers.

Susan Leigh Foster describes what it is like to be a scholar, whose training begins in kindergarten:

Sitting in this chair, squirming away from the glitches, aches, low-grade tensions reverberating in neck and hip. Staring unfocused at some  space between here and the nearest objects, shifting again, listening to my stomach growl, to the clock ticking, shifting, stretching, settling, turning—I am a body writing.  I am a bodily writing. We used to pretend the body was uninvolved, that it remained mute and still while the mind thought.  We even imagined that thought, once conceived, transferred  itself effortlessly onto the page via a body whose natural role as instrument facilitated the pen. Now we know that the caffeine we imbibe mutates into the acid of thought which the body then excretes, thereby etching ideas across the page.  Now we know that the body cannot be taken for grantedä.[6]

The cultivation of intelligence is directly addressed by the emphasis on curriculum, books, tests, and standardized educational outcomes.  Are these emphases out of balance? Do they embody certain problematic assumptions about the nature of intelligence and its development?

Our schools can seem like Descartes writ large.  When he was a young adolescent in a Jesuit prep school, he was troubled by the fact that most of his teachers were in disagreement about many matters of importance. While the rest engaged in constant debate, only the mathematicians could find grounds for agreement.  He based his entire philosophical career on this typical adolescent unwillingness to accept the inherent messiness of life, arguing that all that was worth knowing were those matters that could be put into the absolute certainties of mathematical logic.  Only this realm of our being, he argued, deserved the name Mind (res cogitans, the thinking thing). Our perceptions, feelings, longings, complex experiences of life are personal matters of taste and belief, not shared matters of communal reason; they belong to religion, art, and physical education:  the realm of Body (res extensa, the extended thing).

We do indeed need this Cartesian mind for counting out money at the supermarket and adding up our assets; it is what we need for executing basic jobs available in the workplace. But this kind of Mind fails even within the realm of Reason itself.  Cognitive scientists have done groundbreaking research on the difference between our innate neural capacities for the recognition of number and simple combinations of numbers, and the difference between the basic organic substrate and the complex linguistic abilities needed for multiplication, division, and higher operations.  In their view, even here the body must be taken seriously as the precondition for the successful development of mathematical reason:  children need to be given the opportunity to cultivate their organic sense of number before being pushed into higher developmental realms at a speed where there is a danger of disconnecting from this neural foundation.  When we approach the actual practices of good science, the Cartesian model reveals even greater flaws.  Successful scientists have developed the intricate capacity to observe careful details, engage in inventive speculation, devise clever means for bypassing our preconceived opinions, the tenacity to keep to their inquiry even in the face of seeming defeat. Often, as in the case of Darwin, botanists, and the early geologists, they need to have the capacity of engage in physically demanding explorations in difficult terrains, their senses keen to the unexpected just lurking out of sight.




The most glaring failure of the Cartesian Mind occurs when one is faced with questions about the role of schools in preparing children to meet the typical challenges of becoming an adult. 

How to negotiate questions related to choosing and succeeding in a profession that will make for a satisfying work life.

How to care for one's health and emotional well-being over the long haul.  How to work effectively with other people.

How to negotiate the ever-challenging questions of crafting successful relationships with one's intimates.

How to be an effective parent. 

How to satisfy one's spiritual and emotional longings.  

Not only does this adolescent Cartesian fantasy create a radical separation between reason and the body; it also divorces reason from value, leaving that for religion, aesthetics, or sheer power. The rapid spread of Christian, Muslim, and Hindu militant fundamentalisms is partly due to the failure of the Cartesian model to deal with these crucial life questions related to the meaning of being human, leaving its graduates adrift in a virtual world of reason detached from substance.  The resulting nihilism married to the growing wealth and power of the dominant scientific culture creates a formidable enemy to the traditional values of older cultures that see themselves as helpless against the technological and military might of modernity.

The uses of punishment in schools are one telling indicator of how children are being educated towards certain values. It is significant that the standard pattern for punishing bad behavior is to withhold body-based activities—recess, dance class, outdoor activities—precisely because they are so desirable.  Punishment typically means sitting still and quiet indoors.  It also means the curtailment of vibrant and successful learning in favor of keeping the kids in line, revealing the often hidden prioritization of conformity over the development of intelligence.  This is not to romanticize out-of-control young people; they clearly need boundaries.  The question I raise is about the extent and content of the means used to create boundaries, particularly tendencies to disembody learning.

The emergence of grade-school children into the playground for recess or after school is like the popping of the cork off a warm bottle of champagne—wild yelling, running, leaping, sometimes edging into aggression.  Keeping children from having recess is a first-line punishment for bad behavior because of all the day's activities, this is the most, if not the only one that is loved. 

The local middle school has for four years been attempting to establish what in California is called an "academy", an alternative learning center within the school itself which emphasizes project-based integrative learning.  Last year's version had scheduled each Friday a trip to the local climbing gym. There, with the assistance of climbing instructors in addition to the school teachers, the students got to learn a variety of things in the context of the physical challenges of climbing simulated cliffs: coping with fear, the necessity of collaborating with others demanded when at the edge of severe harm, the nature and capacities of their bodies, issues around metabolism, breathing, and a host of other insights that students would share and reflect upon after the weekly event.  After a few weeks during which the students expressed great enthusiasm for the weekly trip, the program was halted as a punishment for the fact that the students were behaving too wildly in the school classroom itself.

A couple of months later, another popular course in the alternative curriculum was eliminated as a punishment for bad behavior. In this project, one day a week had been devoted to students working outside on a nearby small watershed, bounded by hills and meadows.  They did hard work clearing the pollutants and invasive plants. At the same time they were studying ecological science, learning about the indigenous flora and fauna, and how those indigenous plants were affected by waste products and invasive species.  The students I knew were completely absorbed in these projects, relishing the outdoor labor and excited by their finds of insects and special plants, as well as by their learning how everything was interrelated. As with the climbing wall, this day was eliminated as a punishment for the students being too rowdy in the classroom.

By the end of the year, the alternative nature of the academy had literally been disembodied, with project-learning still an operative concept, but the projects, like projects in regular classes, were more traditionally academic (writing a diary pretending you are Lewis or Clark, studying the physics of surfing by research on the internet, etc.).

At the same time, one of the students whom I asked about this program said the best part of it was that he could go to the bathroom when he wanted to without a big deal of getting a pass, and that if he got restless he could go outside and run around for awhile.

I bring up these instances as illustrations of a widely practiced pedagogy of moral training that widens the experiential gap between Mind and Body. The typical punishments meant to shore up rules of behavior are disembodiments; the pedagogical emphasis on rules of behavior is disembodied. This emphasis on abstract rules and their implementation through punishment and reward is peculiar given that we adults know all too well that enforced rules have only secondary importance in our attempts to be good; our experientially embodied tendencies of anger, envy, greed, weariness, despair, and addictions naggingly keep us from following what we know is right, derailing our intent to be kind, blurring our knowledge of how to act humanely in this particular situation.

The earliest creators of our educational systems understood these issues.  Classical Greek notions of education put emphasis on developing harmony in the body through gymnastics, music, dance, and the arts.  In Plato's plan for an ideal education, by the time the young man came to study the nature of the Good, he would be surprised to find her to be an old friend, having already gotten a feel in his body for the virtues.  Similarly, in the mystical schools of East and West, virtue has always been cultivated through practice: meditation, silence, the concentration of certain kinds of focused behaviors.

Vestiges of the classical methods of developing virtue remain in military education.[7] It is no accident that difficult young men are typically consigned to the military, or military-based schools.  It is clear to everyone that cocky young men cannot be trained to be completely obedient to the commands of their superior by giving them rules and orders.  They must reshape their feelings and tendencies so that they learn to react instantly to commands, and to the enemy as someone who is to be eliminated with whatever means is necessary.  The training is radically of the body, with rules directly related to bodily training:  the drills, pushing physical endurance to its absolute limits, humiliation, uniformity, pornographic and drunken shaping of community feeling.

In a related manner, the many programs of rigorous outdoor training of youth—Outward Bound, NOLS, and others—have been developed on this fundamental understanding of how values of intense physical development are intimately linked.  Similarly with the various programs in the inner-cities where youth are inducted into groups where they organize themselves for success based on intense forms of bodily movement, voice, and music.

Looking to these successes of embodied virtue-training, what insights might be found about how educators might better cultivate children's bodies to evoke curiosity, open-mindedness, and intricate thinking?  How might they shape social identities and moral preferences in the directions of justice, sensitivity, and compassion? how might the bodies of children be more seamlessly woven into the heart of intellectual discipline?

"Cultivation" is a gardener's term, earth-centered, evoking care for the delicate nature of new growth, and yet, respectful of the inner wisdom of seeds and sprouts, knowing that they have their own paths to follow and need only the right conditions of nurturance, climate, and protection from external damage.  But like "education", this is no longer an innocuous term to be taken at face value.  Cultivation practiced by the gargantuan agribusinesses bears little resemblance in technology or mentality to that practiced by a traditional small farmer or the backyard lover of plants.

A residue of the classical Greek and Roman notions of cultivation remain in schools' devotion to children's health.[8] There is a vibrant discourse about proper diet, exercise, and rest.  At the same time, there is little evidence that educators and politicians consider these activities as having any intrinsic relationships to the development of a child's intelligence and moral integrity.  "Health" is structurally separate from the disciplines that are considered to be the essential core of school (and are the first to disappear when the budget becomes squeezed).

The Japanese philosopher Yasuo Yuasa presents a very different notion of cultivation in his book The Body: Towards an Eastern Mind-Body Theory. He writes that "personal cultivation in the East takes on the meaning of a practical project aiming at the enhancement of the personality and the training of the spirit by means of the body."[9] In his extensive analyses of this notion, it is very clear that the activities of attending to breathing, moving, sensing, imagining, and other bodily activities constitute the path towards the development of intelligence and spiritual values.  He sees this as a profound difference between dominant notions of intelligence in Japan and the West:

One of the characteristics of Eastern body-mind theories is the priority given to the questions, 'How does the relationship between the mind and the body come to be through cultivation)?' or 'What does it become?'  The traditional issue in Western philosophy, on the other hand is "What is the relationship between the mind-body?" In other words, in the East one starts from the experiential assumption that the mind-body modality changes through the training of the mind and body by means of cultivation or training.  Only after assuming this experiential ground does one ask what the mind-body relation is.  That is, the mind-body issue is not simply a theoretical speculation but it is originally a practical, lived experience, involving the mustering of one's whole mind and body.  The theoretical is only a reflection on this lived experience.[10]

 In this Asian model of cultivation, the uses of the body in school are not only matters of health, but of educators thinking through how to enlist the enormous stores of raw bodily wisdom in the processes of higher learning. 

These ideas are by no means original, nor is their implementation far from our noses. John Dewey, Rudolf Steiner, and Maria Montessori are among the strong voices that have advocated a more intense focus on body movement, project learning, dance, art, music in the early years. Their followers have long advocated slowing the pace at which young children are inducted into reading, syntactical writing, advanced mathematical operations, and abstract social studies. The many schools in which their ideas are being practiced are easy-to-hand models of what might happen more effectively at a larger level:  much less emphasis on formal academic learning in the earlier grades, and more emphasis on thoughtful activities aimed at cultivating the sensitive neurological matrix for more abstract learning.  Perhaps their heirs, and the vast community of creative pre-school educators might be enlisted in learning how we might better serve the yearning and mobile students in their early grades.


[1] Academic Discourse: Linguistic Misunderstanding and Professorial Power, with Jean-Claude Passeron and Monique de St Martin, trans. Richard Teese (Stanford:  Stanford Univ Press, 1994).

[2] Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, trans. Vincent R. Carafagno (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1970).

[3] Ibid., p. 343.


[4] Daniel N. Stern, The Interpersonal World of the Infant: A View from Psychoanalysis and Developmental Psychology (New York:  Basic Books, 1985), p. 182.

[5] MarŪa Julia Carozzi, "Talking Minds: The Scholastic Construction of Intercorporeal Discourse," Body and Society, Vol. 11 No.2, pp. 25-39.

[6] Susan Leigh Foster, "Choreographing History," from Susan Leigh Foster, ed., Choreographing History (Bloomington, Ind.:  Indiana Univ Press, 1995), p. 3.

[7] It must be noted that 'virtue' originally meant 'manliness'.


[8]Michael Foucault, in The Care of the Self, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Pantheon, 1986), p. 43, analyzes the classic origins of the dominant model of cultivation in Western culture.

[9] Trans. N. Shigenori & T.P. Kasulis (New York:  SUNY Press, 1987), p. 85.

[10] Ibid., p. 18.