Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home


A Life of Particularity

Susan Notes:

Oliver Sacks offers this conclusion at the end of his memoir.There are no rules, there is no prescribed path. . . .[W]e are destined, whether we wish it or not, to a life of particularity and self-development, to make our own individual paths through life.

For me this is what good teaching is about: A life of particularity. Particular, individual kids experimenting to find their own solutions. It is why I find Arne Duncan's sales pitches for "personalization" via blended learning are so particularly loathesome.

Note: Sacks' conclusions are research-based.

by Oliver Sacks

Individuality is deeply imbued in us from the very start, at the neuronal level. Even at a motor level, researchers have shown, an infant does not follow a set pattern of learning to walk or how to reach for something. Each baby experiments with different ways of reaching for objects and over the course of several months discovers or selects his own motor solutions. When we try to envisage the the neural basis of such individual learning, we might imagine a "population" of movements (and their neural correlates being strengthened or pruned away by experience.

Similar considerations arise with regard to recovery and rehabilitation after strokes and other injuries. There are no rules, there is no prescribed path of recovery; every patient must discover or create his own motor and perceptual patterns, his own solutions to the challenges that face him; and it is the function of a sensitive therapist to help him in this.

And in its broadest sense, neural Darwinism implies that we are destined, whether we wish it or not, to a life of particularity and self-development, to make our own individual paths through life.

— Oliver Sacks
On the Move: A Life
2015-04-28
http://knopfdoubleday.com/book/236755/on-the-move/


INDEX OF RESEARCH THAT COUNTS


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.