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Education general, but also with covid

#41 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-July-24, 06:13

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-July-18, 07:31, said:

The main purpose of schools is to provide child-care so that parents can be productive in the economy.
Knowledge is what the person acquires from those around them. If they are lucky, the people around them are skilled at helping them acquire tools to gain knowledge. Stuffing knowledge into people never works.




Seems like a recipe for massive inequality to me. If there were no schools available to everyone to try to level some of the inequality of knowledge, opportunity and power in society many in post war generations would never have had educational opportunity (school, university, professions etc) and would still be consigned to the restricted opportunities the privileged classes wish to reimpose as part of the abuse of a pandemic emergency around the world. There are so many reactionary agendas being pushed it is quite frightening
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#42 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-July-24, 06:50

There are several issues here. Some of us are expert educators. I know Ken is. I have held many jobs in the tertiary sector. Despite the tightly held beliefs of some on this Forum, I am not a mini-golf instructor.
When I told my mother that I wanted to be a film director she said: "sure - as soon as you finish medical school".
The unfair part was that she advised all my friends to become lawyers; including my sister's friend Julia Gillard. I like arguing. It seemed very unreasonable. So I took up Bridge when I retired.

Yesterday I unearthed the handwritten memoirs of my Grandfather that my Father had transcribed. He liked to argue as well. So did my Father.
There is an important distinction between teaching and education that is being missed here. Teaching is a completely passive activity. The person at the front speaks and you write stuff down. Later when you go over it you might learn something. At that moment you are educating yourself. Education is a singularly personal activity.

When somebody says "I'll teach you a lesson" you are usually in trouble.

Education leads to that "aha" moment when we suddenly understand why underleading an Ace is a bad idea. Somebody can TELL you not to do it until they are blue in the face but no 'education' occurs until you 'realise' what the purpose is.
Hence the Latin root of the word to draw out. or lead out as in Il Duce. I learned that from "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" great book and film.
The use of Latin words in English is a common way of disguising there meaning. Moving right along.

When I say school is largely child-care I am serious. For the most part, society wants drones, not thinkers. Watch the famous "Make your bed speech" by McRaven. It is a riff on the 'be prepared' motivational speeches. That is what school is. It 'prepares' people. But for what? Few people that I know come out of high school able to think. They are, by and large, not trained to be imaginative.

I do not really think I understood mechanistic thinking until I was well into my thirties. At that time the quality of my research (I'm my opinion) improved dramatically.
My understanding of how to do it was in place. I had the tools and for a while, I was able to produce some great stuff.

Learning lots of things is good. Being competent is excellent. Being prepared for anything is wonderful. But so what? You have to do something with all of it otherwise you are just playing Bridge; which now that I am happily retired, is what I mostly do - just not very well.
The younger people can try to pick up the baton where I left it. Good luck to them.



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#43 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-July-24, 08:12

I am not disputing the broader concept of education, or dismissing the child care analysis of schools, or the fact that sadly for many in society through schools, universities ( sadly many anyway), media and other forums the majority are becoming unquestioning drones.

History has moved on. The time I was discussing post war gave access to much power denied to the majority of society by increasing access to high school and university education. That had been denied to many pre war.

Sadly for me I feel some of those gains have been lost. There were forces that went beyond empowering people and giving opportunity to everyone to trying to destroy everything. I have a rather dark view. You cannot give everyone the chance to be the best by knocking everyone down and destroying quality

I hate to say this to any educators but as someone lucky enough to have been to some top international schools the quality of much education has gone down the gurgler.

I could rant on that for ages but it's late and I risk saying stuff I shouldn't

But as a final late night comment a very alarming trend i have observed is a tendency by many who benefited over recent decades from the freeing up ( in my view reducing quality somewhat) to abuse their pieces of paper and think that all pieces of paper with the same letters and words are equal quality and merit, and we are in a dangerous time. To paraphrase, to me many letters and titles don't mean that much. Some do still more than others but when whole institutions are degraded politically there are dangers
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#44 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-July-24, 13:23

There were some very difficult problems with education pre-pandemic and I am not trying to gloss over them. Despite some of the problems of my era (I graduated high school in 1956) I very much believe I benefited greatly. On one hand I could talk of my last period instructor in my senior year who had an alcohol problem severe enough that I was seldom missed when i cut out early to pick up my girlfriend who attended a different (and better) school. Otoh I could talk of my father who came here as an immigrant, finished 8th grade, and his son, me, who has a PhD. And there are many stories like mine. I'd call that opportunity.

But now, right now, we have a mess. This is not good for anyone, but as always some will cope better than others. That's inevitable, in a broad sense, but still our choices matter. We have to find a practical realistic approach, accepting that it will be far from what we would wish for.
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#45 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-25, 12:47

From Five Radical Schooling Ideas For An Uncertain Fall And Beyond by Anya Kamenetz at NPR (June 2020)

1. Support families to help teach children.
2. Give teens one-on-one support.
3. Use online systems to assess, remediate and individualize learning.
4. Form microschools and home-school co-ops.
5. Take education outdoors.

re: #2

A family member who teaches eighth graders keeps office hours from 1 to 3 PM daily. Students can sign up for 15 to 60 minute sessions and discuss anything they want. If I were a parent of school-age kids, this is something I would strongly encourage them to take advantage of. IMO, learning to ask for help and have constructive conversations with adults is pretty high on the list of useful skills.

re: #4

Quote

Matt Candler is the principal of NOLA Micro Schools in New Orleans, which currently plans to reopen in the fall as a one-room schoolhouse, with about 25 K-12 students, in a former cider house that allows ample space for social distancing. Candler says what defines a microschool from his perspective is not size alone, but a focus on empowering the learner to pursue their own interests, which made his school's transition to remote learning unusually smooth. For example, his high schoolers organized their own morning "huddles" online, where they share progress and goals for the day. "[Microschool parents] have greater trust in the child's ability to self-direct and the school's ability to adapt," he says.

Krystal Dillard is the co-director of Natural Creativity, a center for self-directed learning that supports home-schoolers, who generally attend between one and four days a week. She serves a diverse community in Philadelphia. She says the interest in the alternative they offer has exploded since the pandemic: "I can't tell you how many [traditional school] parents who have reached out to me to say, 'This isn't working. I don't feel that my young person is being served through this virtual learning world that they're sort of being forced into.'"

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#46 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-July-25, 15:35

To be clear.
Education is something the individual does for themselves. They can do it anywhere. They do not need a building. They can do it in Hotzeplotz.

Teaching is coming that can be good or bad.

Very few teachers become true "educators" because they do not learn the concept of "the fully imagined audience".

Some are good at it because they already have learned to be Educators elsewhere.

You cannot learn to be an Educator in a few weeks or even in a year. It takes a lot of work.

There is much more to being a Teacher than 'see one, do one, teach one'. No wonder so many people find Bridge a difficult game to learn. To say nothing of Mathematics and everything else.

The ability to solve a simultaneous equation does not confer upon someone the ability to draw out in another person the ability to do for themselves.

To do that you need to be an Educator. To do that you need very specific training. That training is not commonly provided to Teachers which is why most Schools just function as child-care.

That is why online learning from one good educator is much better.

Does that help?

Syllogistically speaking
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#47 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-July-26, 05:50

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-July-25, 15:35, said:

To be clear.
Education is something the individual does for themselves. They can do it anywhere. They do not need a building. They can do it in Hotzeplotz.

Teaching is coming that can be good or bad.

Very few teachers become true "educators" because they do not learn the concept of "the fully imagined audience".

Some are good at it because they already have learned to be Educators elsewhere.

You cannot learn to be an Educator in a few weeks or even in a year. It takes a lot of work.

There is much more to being a Teacher than 'see one, do one, teach one'. No wonder so many people find Bridge a difficult game to learn. To say nothing of Mathematics and everything else.

The ability to solve a simultaneous equation does not confer upon someone the ability to draw out in another person the ability to do for themselves.

To do that you need to be an Educator. To do that you need very specific training. That training is not commonly provided to Teachers which is why most Schools just function as child-care.

That is why online learning from one good educator is much better.

Does that help?

Syllogistically speaking


You are clear, but that's not saying I agree. I led a pretty independent life as an adolescent. Eg, I bought a car when I was 15, paying for it with money I had made. Later, I thought about maybe going to college or maybe joining the Nave after high school. When i figured I wanted to go to college my parents, after discussion, decided they could help by letting me continue to live at home rent free, but who would pay tuition and other expenses was not even discussed, the answer was obvious. And yes, I learned a lot outside of school. And some of school was really a waste. But a good deal of school was not a waste. An early memory. I was 5, I was in a bar with my mother (not unusual), it was near Christmas and I announced that the sign over the bar said Merry Christmas. My mother said "Oh, you can read?" "Yes, I learned in school".
School is useful. Or at least it can be. I hope that it can continue to be useful in our current mess of a time. Not perfect. Few things are perfect. Useful. Useful is good.



Ken
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#48 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-July-26, 13:42

That's a great story Ken, but it was a long time ago.

Thinking back is it really likely that you learned to read in School immediately on the day that you arrived at school as a five-year-old?

Surely as a middle-class Jewish boy like me - and btw - your written voice is strikingly similar to that of my Zeide's memoirs - it seems more likely that you were taught by your parents at home.

The Goys showed you the Merry Christmas sign and made a big deal of it.

I was also forced to write a Christmas book when I was six years old in Sheffield England, my vowels and handwriting are still tortured from the experience. Ah still play on road. With won of ma frends.

I made a lot of great friends at school and I learned all sorts of things.

But, Learning is an ACTIVE process - you do it. The other people around you may help; whoever, wherever doesn't matter. I suggest that the more of them and the more varied the better.

Some helpers are better at it than others because they understand the "fully imagined audience", and they know their art well. and they have an enormous 'capacity', and a lot of other things. I have met a few of those people. They are extremely rare.

Most people achieve it very briefly. It's like winning a Nobel or coming 1st in the Super Sunday. When you do it and see the look of amazement on students faces as they understand a concept that was a mystery to them before, the satisfaction is indescribable.

Richard Feynman speaks of the moment in his book when he realises that he suddenly knows something that nobody living or dead has ever known before.

That's why I became a scientist instead of making money.
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#49 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-July-26, 16:57

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-July-26, 13:42, said:

That's a great story Ken, but it was a long time ago.

Thinking back is it really likely that you learned to read in School immediately on the day that you arrived at school as a five-year-old?

Surely as a middle-class Jewish boy like me - and btw - your written voice is strikingly similar to that of my Zeide's memoirs - it seems more likely that you were taught by your parents at home.

The Goys showed you the Merry Christmas sign and made a big deal of it.

I was also forced to write a Christmas book when I was six years old in Sheffield England, my vowels and handwriting are still tortured from the experience. Ah still play on road. With won of ma frends.

I made a lot of great friends at school and I learned all sorts of things.

But, Learning is an ACTIVE process - you do it. The other people around you may help; whoever, wherever doesn't matter. I suggest that the more of them and the more varied the better.

Some helpers are better at it than others because they understand the "fully imagined audience", and they know their art well. and they have an enormous 'capacity', and a lot of other things. I have met a few of those people. They are extremely rare.

Most people achieve it very briefly. It's like winning a Nobel or coming 1st in the Super Sunday. When you do it and see the look of amazement on students faces as they understand a concept that was a mystery to them before, the satisfaction is indescribable.

Richard Feynman speaks of the moment in his book when he realises that he suddenly knows something that nobody living or dead has ever known before.

That's why I became a scientist instead of making money.


To start with your last sentence: In high school I was in conversation with my girlfriend's father and mentioned that I really like math and physics but was not all that interested in money. From the look on his face I would not be surprised if he suggested to his daughter she look around for someone to replace me.

Now back to the first sentence and some of the follow up. I did not learn to read on the first day, of course not, it was near Christmas, well of course, when I read the Merry Christmas. And I learned to read at schools not at home. For better or worse, and I think for better, my mother's basic approach was "The schools do what they do and parents should not interfere, the parents do what parents do and schools should not interfere". This worked well.

I'll have more to say, maybe quite a bit more. But dinner is ready.
Ken
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#50 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-July-26, 17:45

View Postkenberg, on 2020-July-24, 05:02, said:

But we are in a real mess. The objective has to be to use the time productively. We have to accept that it won't be what we would hope for. I think what I like best about the Matthews article is that it seems to accept this reality and tries to see how to deal with it as best we can. And he is open to ideas.

That's the important point. We know what would be ideal for educating kids, but we also know that the pandemic won't allow that. In the spring educators and parents were just improvising, since they had no time to prepare for the switch from in-person to virtual teaching. This summer they should be figuring out how to improve on it.

We have to accept that it won't be as good as the "real thing". Trump and DeVos, as usual, are just ignoring reality and pretending that we can go back to the way things were. Are kids really going to learn better if they also have to watch their parents and grandparents dying around them?

#51 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-July-26, 18:46

View Postbarmar, on 2020-July-26, 17:45, said:

That's the important point. We know what would be ideal for educating kids, but we also know that the pandemic won't allow that. In the spring educators and parents were just improvising, since they had no time to prepare for the switch from in-person to virtual teaching. This summer they should be figuring out how to improve on it.

We have to accept that it won't be as good as the "real thing". Trump and DeVos, as usual, are just ignoring reality and pretending that we can go back to the way things were. Are kids really going to learn better if they also have to watch their parents and grandparents dying around them?


I agree, unfortunately for the average person - by which I mean people that do not have vast amounts of money like Trump and DeVos - these two are not 'ignoring reality'.

I will set aside my resolution not to characterise people for just a moment.

Trump is completely clueless. An intelligent thought has never crossed what passes for a mind in his entire life. The only thing that Trump thinks about is Trump. If you have a Dog or a two-year old child then you can understand Trump. Trump is easy.

DeVos and the rich ones are different. They only care about money. But they are cunning - like *****-house rats. They want schools to open so that the slaves can go back to work for them and earn money for them. If the slaves die they will just get other slaves.

They don't care about you or me or anything else.

Their children do not go to school. Their children stay at home safely. They vote by mail. They are the scum of the earth.

OK, back to normal now.


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#52 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-03, 08:10

My wife has a pretty consistent morning exercise routine. This morning she was slow getting started which she mentioned while putting on her sneakers. While she was making her excuses, I typed "I am a slug" into google translate and played it back for her in French which she found amusing. The quality of online tools available for learning a foreign language these days, including online chat, is amazing. I suspect this is well known by teachers and that this may be one part of distance learning that is not suffering.
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#53 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-03, 09:56

View Posty66, on 2020-September-03, 08:10, said:

My wife has a pretty consistent morning exercise routine. This morning she was slow getting started which she mentioned while putting on her sneakers. While she was making her excuses, I typed "I am a slug" into google translate and played it back for her in French which she found amusing. The quality of online tools available for learning a foreign language these days, including online chat, is amazing. I suspect this is well known by teachers and that this may be one part of distance learning that is not suffering.


Sounds much better in French. As often happens.

So, a little recess chat about languages.


I took Spanish 1 in 1952 as a high school freshman. There was an area of St. Paul, across the Mississippi from downtown, that was heavily Mexican. La Casa Coronado was then just a small bar and taco place (they later expanded greatly) but they did sell 45 rpm records by Spanish singers and I bought a couple. I'm not sure just how much I learned listening to them but it was a kick.

One of my favorite language stories goes back to 1981-82 when my daughter Ruth was in Spain for he junior year in college. I went over to visit her and we went here and there, including Granada. We were walking, behind a group of young men, up a hill to see the Alhambra.There is a Gypsy, well, ok, Roma, area near Granada and one of them approached the guys to read their palms. This was greeted by a dismissive "Senora, somos de Granada". So she turned toward us and without missing a beat Ruth announced "Senora, somos de Granada". I could then hear the guys talking approvingly of the Senorita. On this trip often people thought I was German. (I'm not) but no one, even for a moment, thought I might be from Granada.

So many fun things with language. Later Ruth and I were in Seville, going to a Flamenco place. We got lost., we couldn't find a street sign anywhere. Ruth was getting tired of always having to be the one to handle the local conversations so I approached a guy and asked "Como se llama esta calle?" Ok, he told me the name of the street but then went on with some extensive thoughts, maybe about what a nice night it was, who knows? So Ruth explained to him that her father knew how to ask what the name of the street was and, when needed, where the bathroom was, but that was about it. Although I did later, while on my own, have a very good if very challenging conversation on a train with a couple who were just returning to Spain after years of exile dating back to when Franco was in charge.

Ok, recess is over, back to work.

The grandkids range from pre-school to college (and one out of college). We will see how this will go.
Ken
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#54 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-05, 06:03

That sounds like a fun trip to Spain. I had almost forgotten I need to start planning a family trip for 2022. Will get on it. :)
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#55 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-05, 07:29

View Posty66, on 2020-September-05, 06:03, said:

That sounds like a fun trip to Spain. I had almost forgotten I need to start planning a family trip for 2022. Will get on it. :)


It was a great trip. I have too often neglected the fun that can be had on a good trip. An early trip was with a friend by bike when I was 13. We rode up to a state park on the St.Croix river and camped for a a few days. When I was 15 I bought a car and the same friend and I took a rode trip. His family owned a cabin on a lake in northern Minnesota so we stayed there for a bit and then headed over to Duluth. I remember we saw The Caine Mutiny in Duluth. I always enjoy such things and regret not having done more of it.


Another story from the Spain trip. Granada is snuggled in the Sierra Nevada mountains and I decided I wanted to go skiing. Ruth decided to just stay in town so I had to cope on my own. I am not a great skier (to put it mildly) and I figured it would not be a good idea to break a leg this far from home so I asked Ruth to ask the locals if cross country skiing was a possibility. Ruth spoke Spanish very well but somehow the communication failed. I ended up at a place that was perfectly willing to rent downhill skills to a crazy American who wanted to plod along with them on level ground but there were no cross country skis and no suitable paths in sight. Ok, we cope. There were various lifts to various heights depending on which ticket you bought and I decided to keep things simple and buy the ticket that allowed me to use all lifts and then I went as far up as I could go. It was terrific. I was skiing down the side of this mountain with absolutely no one anywhere in sight and a great view of the mountains. There was a point where I might have gone off the edge of a path for a big drop but I managed.

Anyway, have a good trip and tell us about it. More fun and less Trump is what this world needs.

Back to education for just a moment. One thing kids need to learn is independence. Some of my best assignments required me to read stuff on my own and write up my own thoughts about it. That can be done during a pandemic.
Ken
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#56 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-September-05, 08:40

View Postkenberg, on 2020-September-05, 07:29, said:


Another story from the Spain trip. Granada is snuggled in the Sierra Nevada mountains and I decided I wanted to go skiing.



First time I was in that part of the world, there was a heatwave going on in August. You just did not go out in the heat of the day it was a considerable distance into 3 figures in the sun and a number of people died (much worse in Seville than Granada). We took the bus up to the top of the mountains and went from that to close to freezing in under 2 hours.
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#57 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-05, 11:39

I was in Granada in January (in 1982!). Shoirtsleeve weather in Granada, skiing in the mountains. An impressive difference.


For education, we have probably all been hearing about the learning pods. Here is an article from WaPo

https://www.washingt...3381_story.html

One take-away is that educational leadership has not much gotten in front of this. I realize it's tough, but here where I live the county spent a lot of tiime coming up with a detailed plan. About a week ago the state announced some new requirements and the county;s plan does not fully conform to the new rules. It would seem to me that the state could have put something out in June or maybe early July but a week before classes start? No.

So parents, here and elsewhere, are coping as best they can.
Ken
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#58 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-September-05, 13:44

I have not traveled overseas nearly as much as I now with I had earlier in life, but the most rewarding learning I've encountered were my trips abroad. I have yet to make it to Spain but I've enjoyed immensely my travels to Portugal and Italy. Travel makes you both wiser and more understanding. If only we could make it available to everyone.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#59 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-07, 09:22

re: One thing kids need to learn is independence:

From How I Became a Poker Champion in One Year by Maria Konnikova at the Atlantic:

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Our earliest walking conversations are, as you’d expect, among the most basic. I’ve already drilled down the ground rules of Texas Hold’em: You are dealt two cards. You decide whether to play them or to fold. If you do play them, you call the “blind” bet or raise. Everyone else follows the same decision process, going in a clockwise direction starting from the player to the left of the big blind, a position called, appropriately enough, “under the gun.” And then you make that decision again every time new information, in the form of new cards, appears. At the end, if only one person holds cards when the betting is done, she wins the pot. If the hand goes to showdown—that is, the final bet is called—the person holding the best cards will win.

But that’s about where the simplicity ends. To the untrained eye, poker seems deceptively easy. It seems like every time I talk to Erik, he has a new story of a bartender or server or Uber driver who recognizes him and offers up the wisdom that he could play just as well; that “lucky break” simply hasn’t manifested itself.

Seidel doesn’t give me much in the way of concrete advice, and our conversations remain more theoretical than I would prefer. He focuses more on process than prescription. When I complain that it would be helpful to know at least his opinion on how I should play a hand, he gives me a smile and tells me a story. Earlier that year, he says, he was talking to one of the most successful high-stakes players currently on the circuit. That player was offering a very specific opinion on how a certain hand should be played. Erik listened quietly and then told him one phrase: “Less certainty. More inquiry.”

“He didn’t take it well,” he tells me. “He actually got pretty upset.” But Seidel wasn’t criticizing. He was offering the approach he’d learned over years of experience. Question more. Stay open-minded.

These Zen koans can be frustrating. I do want answers. I do want a guide for what to do with my pocket 10s from the small blind following a raise from under the gun and a re-raise from the hijack. Enough philosophy! I want to yell. Give me certainty! Tell me if I’m supposed to call or shove or fold. Tell me if I’m making a big mistake! But Seidel will not be shaken. And I’m left with that frustrating not-quite-rage that, weeks later, miraculously coalesces into knowledge. Poker is all about comfort with uncertainty, after all. Only I didn’t quite realize it wasn’t just uncertainty about the outcome of the cards. It’s uncertainty about the “right” thing to do.

A number of years ago, Erik heard about a seminar led by Mike Caro. Caro is famous for his book on tells—live, in-the-moment reads of others at the table. “He’s a pretty eccentric guy,” Erik says. “And he’s walking around the stage and starts off by saying, ‘What is the object of poker?’” I nod in agreement. A question I’ve been asking myself frequently.

Erik continues, “Somebody says, ‘Winning money.’ He says, ‘No.’ Somebody else says, ‘Winning a lot of pots.’ ‘No.’ He says, ‘The object of poker is making good decisions.’ I think that’s a really good way to look at poker.”

He thinks for a bit. “When you lose because of the run of the cards, that feels fine. It’s not a big deal. It’s much more painful if you lose because you made a bad decision or a mistake.”

Seidel won’t tell me how to play a hand not because he’s being mean but because that answer comes at the expense of my developing ability to make good decisions. I have to learn to think through everything for myself, on my own. All he can give me are the tools. I’m the one who has to find the way through. And then, perhaps, I’ll be ready to play for real stakes, in a real casino, one step closer to the World Series of Poker.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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Posted 2020-September-23, 08:32

The hell that is remote learning, explained in a comic

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If this is hell, imagine what it's like for teachers who have two kids the same age as the author's kids.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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