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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I'm Telling!!

Encouraging voluntary rather than assigned participation from the students in the Third Space workshop I'm doing with Ed Martinez at the MAH, I was toying with the word "telling" as one of the ways to ask for a submission without making it requisite. What can you tell me about...? And then the reflection of all the connections and resonances of the word, from storyteller to tattle tale, from retelling to tall tales, and so of course I went to the Visual Thesaurus:

The Visual Thesaurus array for "telling"
"Telltale" and "tattle" were the most intriguing connections. What is the impulse to "tell on" the sibling about? Obviously an effort at understanding something about rules and consequences, as well as an exploration of the variations of truth in a recounting. But it's the breaking of a co-equal bond with a or friend sibling, by invoking the authority of an older other, that makes the cultural denigration of the snitch make sense. 

So the "Teacher's Pet" syndrome also enters here somewhere, I think, but I'm not going there right now. The upshot of the reflection is that questions are the key, and learning how to facilitate asking the right questions is the core of this work.