by Rich Gibson

Views of Leadership 
"A leader knows where he is going, how to get there, and how to persuade or force enough of the right people to go along." (Napoleon)  

" Genius, the whole of it, is the impudent assumption of power. Whether you exercise it over a closet or a continent is of not great moment. It's getting the measure of your material that matters. The material is always so amazed to find that anyone has taken the trouble to measure it, it can never answer back." (Gwyn Thomas)  

"Nothing splendid has been achieved except by those who dared consider themselves superior to their circumstances." (Bruce Barton)  

12 Quick Attributes of Peak Performers 

1. The ability to rehearse coming events mentally, before they happen.  

2. The ability to examine the worst consequences of an action before taking risk.  

3. The enjoyment of the art of whatever work is involved, striving for excellence.  

4. The ability to go beyond previous performance and to avoid being too comfortable with things as they are.  

5. A problem solving approach as opposed to fixing blame.  

6. The ability to step back and plan, not just swing from crisis to crisis. Distinguishing a crisis from an annoyance.  

7. Strength at selling ideas, to champion thoughts rather than let them die untried.  

8. Eagerness to accept responsibility and ability to live with setbacks, rejection and loss.  

9. Leaders create a balance between autonomy and direction: setting goals for others but not directing how the goals will be met.  

10. Leaders are team builders, they seek to train and encourage others to surpass themselves.  

11. Leaders persevere. Change is both a process and a demand.  

12. Leaders know, "He who has a why to live can bear most any how."  


"If there is not struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to freedom but deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing, rain without lightning and thunder. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its mighty waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.  

Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." (Frederick Douglass)  

Ten Points of Leadership 

1. Honesty  

2. A clear vision of the present, the future, and a plan of action  

3. Service as a role model  

4. Accommodation of various viewpoints  

5. Ability to self-correct and self-criticize  

6. At the best when things seem worst  

7. A sense of humor, especially about oneself  

8. Ability to quickly analyze a situation within a coherent framework  

9. Leads in practice as well as theory  

10. Commitment to organization over self  

"Do not assume the enemy will not come. Rather, rely on one's own readiness to meet him. Do not presume he will not attack. Rather, make one's self invincible." (Sun Tzu)  

"Power goes to two poles--to those who've got the money and those who've got the people." (Saul Alinsky)  

"You are either a rebel or victim." (Richard Wright)  

"Don't mourn--organize." (Joe Hill)  

Whole Language is a Philosophy that Believes: 
1. Language and meaning making are inseparable. Meaning interprets reality.  

2. Language is language-oral or written-or other signals.  

3. Language is social-children learn in the context of its use.  

4. Children are natural learners, and will spontaneously make good learning decisions.  

5. Children learn to read - write and tell best when the conditions are informal, natural, a "dinner table" approach.  

6. Children need to be immersed in authentic text; novels, poems, story-telling, etc.; not basals.  

7. Teachers demonstrate reading/writing/story-telling.  

8. Teachers believe kids will succeed.  

9. Kids need to own their learning and literacy choices.  

10. Time to read, write and tell stories is essential.  

11. Kids learn by trial and error, invention, discovery, intuition.  

12. Curricular decisions are shared. The curriculum is integrated, with an authentic purpose of inquiry.  

13. Collaboration is key.  

14. Whole language privileges trade books over basals.  

Whole Language - a Quick Checklist 
(From Whole Language Newsletter, December 1986) 
1. Teaches reading from parts to whole  Keeps language whole 
2. Is text-centured  Is child-centered 
3. Is vocabulary controlled  Is literature based 
4. Teaches skills in isolation  Is rich in context 
5. Focuses on mechanics  Is rich in writing 
6. Is quiet  Encourages verbal interaction 
7. Limits parent involvement  Facilitates parent involvement 
8. Sets criteria for competence  Enhances self-esteem 
9. Maintains static groups  Encourages flexible grouping
10. Uses a cookbook method  Includes a variety of strategies 
11. Prescribes methodology  Empowers teachers 
Old Literacy and Whole Language- 
Sources of Authority and Difference 
Old Literacy  Whole Language 
Teacher  Learner 
The official curriculum/cannon Curriculum rises out of experience-needs-interest 
Text - Basals  Trade books - discovery process 
Meaning is in the print  Meaning is transactional 
Power flows down Power marginally shared 
Transmission pedagogy Child Centered - reconstructionist 
Dominant Culture Asserted Multi-cultural -- critical theory 
Phonics first  Meaning first 
Individualist learning  Collective + Individual learning 
Theory isolated from practice Links word + world
Formal tests  Kids watching, journals, tapes 
Reading groups/skill  Reading groups/interest 
Kid Agency denied Kid Agency privileged
Drill + kill reading/writing "Real" reading and writing 
Information processing Search for Meaning/identity
Local community/knowledge denied Locality privileged
School workers deskilled  School workers empowered 
Identify - attack weaknesses Build on student strengths 
Knowledge disjointed  Knowledge united 

Both Old and New literacy focus on language, the development of individual meaning, as means for social construction or reconstruction. In this way...both are idealist.  

Grid of Reading Materials 
Newspapers and Magazines
Research materials
materials other than books 
Problem-solving materials 
Trade books 
Primary sources 
Social Studies
Current events  

Controversial issues  

Feature articles  

Political news 





Research reports  




Morse code  


Fine Art  

Music sheets  

Political records  



Building models  

Making clothes from patterns  

Reconstructing Human culture from artifacts 

Nonfiction books  


History Poetry  



Political science  


Human relations

Family documents  





Science editor  

Science news 







Chemical symbols  





Cooking recipes  

Computer printouts 


Physical science  

Natural science  



Conservation records  

Notes of original  

scientific records  


Business news  

Want ads  

Stock-market reports  

Financial section 

Technical journals  




Expanded notations  


Numbers systems

Solving problems  





Written problems  

Business ledgers 

Book, play and  

movie reviews  

Narratives in  





Text illustrations  

Format (book,  
play, script)  


Works of art 

Theme and plot analysis  Fiction  



Creative writing by students in class
Reading Strategies, Goodman, p. 37-38


Unrealized Potential Within the New Literacy 

There is a growing tendency to see whole language as just another way to teach literacy.  

This denies the real potential of whole language which lies in:  

    1. Its opposition to status quo schools--yet forms of " whole language" now become government backed.  

    2. Emphasis on collaboration-collectively-but collaboration to what end?  

    3. Is attacks on race/class tracking.  

    4. Its ability to open up class time 

    5. Its attacks on racist/class-based tests and basals.  

    6. The shift in the center of meaning. There is more than one interpretation-but infinite interpretations?  

    7. Encourages real language with real consequences-but is attacked for lacking rigor and relying on spontaneity.  

    8. Gives some decision power to kids, parents. An inquiry process.  

    9. Sees knowledge as collective rather than individual property.  

    10. Linkage of theory/practice-word and the world. Learning demystified.  

    11. Sees knowledge as integrated - interrelated. Whole language is Issue Rich, analyses issues, locates kids in their material world.  

    12. Whole language RE-skills school workers.  

    13. But Whole Language has not carried its power as a critical theory far enough. 

Critical Pedagogy Believes: 

1. Ideas are socially constructed . All knowledge is political, not neutral.  

    a. Education is political is political and partisan.  

    b. Schools are vast markets, warehouses for kids, and recreate unequal social conditions.  

    c. Schools are also centers of hope for democratic equality--and resistance. 

2. Knowledge is stamped with the brand of class, race, and sex.  
    a. Formal education systems are designed to reproduce class relationships and create people who are instruments of their own oppression.  

    b. Yet there is always room to struggle for what is true, to gain and test knowledge. 

3. All teaching presupposes a view of the past, an analysis of the present, a vision of the future.  

4. Partisan pedagogy seeks to:  

    a. Unmask oppression and domination through social inquiry.  

    b. Make people agents able to gain and test knowledge on their own.  

    c. Demonstrate the liberating nature of collective inquiry and action 

    d. Raise questions for reflection, and conditions for practice, so ideas and practices can change. Education becomes experimental and exploratory.  

    e. Forge unity of learners (leaders-hip based on a sense of respect and equality).  

    f. Encourage people to examine the contradictions of their own surroundings. What are our problems? Are our problems similar? Where do they come from? What can we do?  

    g. Authority is rooted in respect and extended knowledge, not sheer domination. Leadership is earned-and earned again.  

    h. Dialogue to gain and test the understanding of interrelated, interdependent, yet contradictory ideas. Unity through struggle.  

    i. Demonstrate that knowledge is partial - a momentary grasp of ever-changing reality. 

5. Theory into practice into theory. People are asked to take positions and rationally support them.  

6. From the people to the people. Knowledge is drawn from, and taken beyond, the classroom.  

7. At its base values:  

    a. Material equality  

    b. Political democracy  

    c. Importance of leadership 

Critical Pedagogy 
1. Has, in some instances (Grenada, China, Cuba, Tanzania) served the interests of new elites rather than the interest of social and economic equality. Has failed the test of material equality...and a critically literature population.  

2. Continues to rely on spontaneous decisions and understandings of students/participants whose oppression may not allow them to see a wider horizon.  

3. Has regularly reconstructed basals which continued to deskill teachers and disarm students. Basals are inherently alienating.  

    a. Critical examination, then, had its limits  

    b. Examples, Grenada, Cuba, China 

4. Another strain of "Critical Pedagogy" denies that social class is the axis of social change and elevates secondary issues like race, sex, etc. to an equal plane. This leads to  
    a. Irrationalism in theory  

    b. Pluralism in practice  

    c. Continued material inequality 

5. A truly exploratory, investigative pedagogy hold everything open to critique.  

6. Fails to recognize the relationship of the state (government), capital (profits), and schools. See each disconnected from the other.  

7. Focus on discourse within schools rather than oppositional social struggle.  

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