Scratch and the New Pleasure

I’m a bookseller and yesterday an old lady (who was a mathematics teacher years ago, she told me) asked me about Scratch (“a block-based visual programming language and online community targeted primarily at children”).

Her granddaughter was studying it and she wanted to learn it, being curious. I was amazed, because… it’s not very common.

As she was a bit doubtful, I explained her it was easy to learn, and told her about my pleasure learning HTML and, a long time ago, programming for days in the BASIC language.

But then, I could hear myself telling her about pleasure.

Because I do remember very well the pleasure of programming!

It’s not like writing an article. Maybe more like composing music! It’s something you build (or you weave) and you constantly check if it works properly. You have to develop other ways of thinking, imagine processes. It’s invention!

So it puts you in the state of “flow“. But more important : programming puts your brain in another state, maybe similar to kids’ when they play Lego.

I felt this when I learned English too.

So what I realized is : it’s good sometimes to learn how to do something you don’t know at all. I wonder where it comes from (probably because your brain connects new things)…

What would you choose?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Basic :

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Scratch : 

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Learning by weaving

As a bookseller, I hear sometimes this phrase from a mother, about her child :

– He doesn’t read.

This is a screens generation, so it happens all the time! I answer the simple way :

– Buy him books, anything, about what he loves!

Trivial, but true. The little guy will, with a little luck, find it interesting. Something interesting in a BOOK? Really?

The structure here is simple : to learn something, weave it with a subject you already know, or an interesting field.

To gain vocabulary in English, I never learned lists (boring), but I bought American books, short stories (Carver, Caldwell), or actors’ biographies (Warren Beatty, Karl Malden). I underlined words or idioms I didn’t kknow…

Like the British red string :

The ropes in use in the royal navy, from the largest to the smallest, are so twisted that a red thread runs through them from end to end, which cannot be extracted without undoing the whole; and by which the smallest pieces may be recognized as belonging to the crown.

Use a red thread of passion or knowledge into your learning process. If you have to learn German, complete the process with the autobiography of (and other books about) your favorite German director (Fassbinder? Herzog?). Or subjects.

It’s “interesting”, it’ll weave, therefore you’ll learn with efficiency.

Where else to use this?

Thanks for reading!

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Waterbudding & Recombinations : To learn is to unlearn?

It came in a conversation.

There are two ways of learning :

  1. One is to pile up knowledge. Your culture gets bigger, like a balloon.
  2. One is to unlearn.

 

We all stacklearn! We know more. At the same time, as the skyscraper grows, maybe the first floors vanish. That’s OK. You know more this and you know less that – because it lost it accuracy, or whatever.

 

To learn-unlearn seems to be cleverer, right? Our new knowledges have an effect of what we already know.

  • Ideas recombines!
  • They struggle to find their place!
  • They fight. They dance!
  • They cut old branches!
  • They water buds!
  • They add features to the engine!

 

Heyyy I found the final word for this article :

 

Them with an open book is a student

Them with three open books is a thinker

 

 

Have a nice day. Thanks for reading.

 

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Photos : Galen Rowell

Too complicated to be bugs : Chronicle 34

If you’re passionate, if you’re a thinker, there are two types of spouses. When you begin a lecture about something you found, with “this” tone and sparks in eyes :

  1. Rolling eyes “Here we go again!”.
  2. Asking questions, loving it, helping you, smiling “I love your lectures, love!”.

zoid

I’d love my blog to be not some food, but some stimulant.

zoid

Someone who thinks only thoughts which (he thinks) are useful.

zoid

To me : “One mistake at a time, will you?”.

zoid

Criminy! Yesterday, someone took an article I wrote years ago, cut 95% of it and put it into the drafts section. That’s opening a few questions : who, how, why? Some occurrences are bugs, but some are too complicated to be bugs.

zoid

Cinematographer Gregg Toland worked with such directors as John Ford on “The Grapes of Wrath”.

“Toland’s trademarks included sharp, deep focus pictures, black-and-white film, ceilinged sets, low-angle lighting, and touches of Germanic expressionism”.

After much success in his early career, Toland remarked, “I want to work with someone who’s never made a movie. That’s the only way to learn anything from someone who doesn’t know anything.” He got his chance in 1941 with Orson Welles and “Citizen Kane”.

zoid

Exhausting : when people don’t hear you (and don’t understand) when you’re exhausted.

zoid

How come you could be trapped AND unmoored? When?

zoid

I reckon there’s a Meta-Talk Toxicity. When we communicate we sometimes have to talk about the ways and paths of… communicating. Sticking to it – and killing something. How and why? Develop.

zoid

Ask for a map.

 

Have a nice day!

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Tricks & Ropes : Two Apprentices

ONE

A Method is ideal, it’s a model, it’s abstract, transmissible and transferable, you can teach it. It’s logical, manageable, and you start from yourself to apply it.

TWO

There’s this new apprentice. He’s young, fast, has instinct, he’s casual, but clever. He’s doing pretty well!

But :

THREE

Of course, as soon as you work with life & its pertained complexities, things begin to hurt, to squeak, to skid and to run out of control eventually. One gets stuck. Two… crashes. Both are surprised!

FOUR

If you’re the person in charge, you have to deal with these apprentices. One has to learn suppleness and how to find colors. Two has to learn methods, to canalize.

FIVE

In French we say “Avoir du métier“, “To have some skills from working experience”.

  • Methods are effective quickly if you work on algorithms, on computer programming.
  • Instinct is great if you draw, take pictures or write poems. You go girl!

But :

There’s always this “stuck moment” where they understand (I hope so) that they have to learn the other skillside, THEN to learn how to build their own engine with both.

Both have to learn the ropes, the magical ones and the logical ones. One has to learn how to be like water, how to adapt quickly. Two has to learn rules (even to bend’em), to find where the levers are…

 

A diplomat, a teacher, a therapist,

 

This Patterntool can be used to study : Diplomacy, Teaching, Photography, Marriage, Poetry, Writing, Architecture, therapy : in every job involving humans or creativity, your skill is made of strict methods AND the fast ability to watch and adapt to the situation.

 

One question : in your field, on what platform of the scale are you?

 

Thanks for reading!

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Coding & Composing : What are your lost Kingdoms?

I call a Lost Kingdom an activity you loved in the past, and you don’t do anymore today.

For me it’s coding (I programmed a lot when I was maybe 15) and composing (from 20 to 25). Today, it’s over.

But :

  • In 1993 I had to learn HTML because I wanted to have a clean code for my http://www.maison-page.net – it was delightful, and I have to say I felt this really weird feeling to put on these old shoes. Coding is building something, with immediate tests and gratifications. It’s a little mathematics too. Logic. It puts your brain in a grid of logic, building, making tools. I love it so much! De facto, my page was and stays very fast. Sorry, no PHP or Java here…
  • Five years ago I bought a midi keyboard and began to work with GarageBand. It amazed me, gave me pleasure, and I composed maybe 20 or 30 new tracks. And I remember now… not the music, but the state I was in when I was working on them.

 

The idea of Lost Kingdoms leads me to this idea. Some activities push us in different states. You can play Lego, have a clever conversation for hours, write a poem, take your cam in the countryside, watch a mantis praying, build a cabin in your garden : it’s a “way of thinking”, and your brains knows and recognizes it. Your grow from this.

Lamenting on Kingdoms lost is useless, I agree. Go back to it. Or find new ones : learn an instrument, travel Italy, begin Chinese or horseback riding (question : why not simply “horse riding”??). Bake new cakes . Put your brain in new grids. It’s good, believe me.

 

Thanks for reading! Have a nice day!

 

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Instagram : teget

 

 

From Wrong Promises to Constellations Seeking

Be afraid of your own big statements! They are often linked & enchained to Big Promises. And promises are promises, it’s forbidden to be casual with these, right?

That leads to a funny assessment : what do we do with wrong promises? MMhh, double-bind, right? Whatever I choose, I’m done.

I shouldn’t have promised, because…

  • It’s unreachable
  • I was drunk
  • It was stupid
  • I put other people in it
  • I changed my mind
  • I have new elements
  • It’s boring
  • It’s a cage
  • Haecceity (I’m dancing, I’m alive, I’m changing all the time)
  • I forgot life is complex
  • I’ve changed
  • I held it for long enough
  • I lied
  • It’s not true to my ideas
  • Adaptation
  • Someone told me to think
  • I got a proposition
  • I want to undergrade my promise
  • Assuagement
  • Fuck it

 

Voilà. Fine. Now what?

Inspiration. Try to stay a creative thinker, find new ideas (and people who think like you), have good conversations around them, peel off clothes (after you’re done with the ideas). Connect to radioactivities. Ask questions. Twinkle. Be a firefly.

Have a nice day!

 

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Instagram : teget

 

 

You should hear a French classroom trying to pronounce LE English!

I learned Latin and I hated it. To translate Latin is like to open a clock and take it to pieces. In a minute there’s a mess on your desk, and you want to chuck everything in (which doesn’t help at all). Then, have a beer and watch the sky thinking about the Romans. When in Rome

I learned German. Pronunciation was fun (ahh the ch sound in “ICH”!), but their sentences are bags of knots with the verb at the end – “I know that Kansas in the USA is” – and words are too crazy for my Frenchiness. Try to say Schlittschuhlaufen (ice-skating) or Streichholzschächtelchen (little box of matches). OK. Bye bye!

 

I began English at 11 years old and I liked it. As kids already, we were training our American accent on recess time, playing indians and cow-boys, with a faked and imaginary drowning nosy duck John Wayne accent. Imagine us in short pants running everywhere like crazy swallow birds, saying in loop “wayne right wayne right way yeah I kill you right okey” in a pinchedy nose tone. Yeahhh.

The first thing we struggled with is the ze. Well : THE. We don’t have this “tongue between teeth” thing here. So, well, ze French often tell ZE, and with consequences : Zat music, Zhere it is, Zis is gonna be hard. EVERYSSING will be!

Then, as we like to say the “R” differently, we struggle with your way of saying it. Strrrrruggle is a good example, by ze way. Romance is pronounced RRrromance here, we had to learn Wwomance (oh, this makes suddenly sense!). We had to get used to it, including the ending R, like in RIVER. Hear this classroom munching “Rivehhhwwwaow“, oui?

The first time I read the word “River” out loud in the class stays a trauma for me. I was 11 and I said “Ryver” (because I knew that “Life” was NOT pronounced “lif” but “life”).

– “Not Ryver, River, Jean-Pascal”.

What ze?????!
Today, what stays difficult for me is : the accentuation in words (what, you say “Word Stress”? Really??). Therefore, I don’t know what to do with PREsent (the gift) and to preSENT (the verb). You’re all crazy, that’s what I say 🙂

Where’s the accent on TELevision? TeleVIsion? Eekkk! OK I can say Tivi.

I had difficulties with words like Flaw of Law (we always pronounced this one “Low” in class) – this is such a strange sound, and I hate to open my mouth like that. For Christ, it seems I’m about to drool, being astonished and to swallow a fly at the same time! The LAAAH.

We said NEW like niouw, and I never would have guessed that American people say Noo York for the city. And if you don’t say the k letter in knife… why is it needed?! Nife would do the thing…

Little by little, I make progress though. I know that English blogging for a French is absurd, in a way, but it is not :

 

Thanks for reading! Have a nice day. Look : it all ensnowed! :

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When you learn something… reading a text YOU wrote before – #diary

It’s useful to write (a diary, for example), a for many reasons. One of them is… you can be surprised when you reread your old things. You can get… new ideas! How come?

First because you do not own the same brain since the hour you wrote that. Your focus is different. Your preoccupations have changed. Then, maybe you forgot what you were talking about at this time. It’s like digging in your own brain.

Resurgence.

It’s a similar pattern when you reread books and essays you annotated years ago. You can find good old quotes or ideanuggets, but sometimes you are also floored because you find great things BETWEEN your underlined passages : how come did you not notice that befooooore?

These things from the past can bring you seeds and ideas, which at this time were not ready to grow.

It’s maybe, also, like when you check a puzzle you’re on, a way to push a piece, to make it sure it’s well placed…

Tool :

Write a diary, reread your own old books or letters. Harvest! Search for old green boxes in the garage. Emeralds and Pearls!

Thanks et have a nice day!

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“Vicarious” : How to learn by watching others #pedagogy #empathy

Vicariant en Français. Vicarious in English. What a strange word! It’s a concept and I put it here very simply, as a tool, or a seed. Do what you want with it.

Vicarious : Experienced through somebody or something else.

It’s all about learning, first.

There are many ways of learning. Albert Bandura was interested by one of them : observational learning. A way to learn is by watching others.

Social learning theorylearning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur through observation.

Vicarious can be extended to other things.

For example : in the night your eyes can’t see, so you use your hands to “grope for” (en Français on dit “Chercher à Tâtons”, ain’t it cute?).

Vicarious : Experienced throught something else. To replace a function by another.

Think about this now :

Empathy is a vicariance, a Metaphor is a vicariance (a word for another), a Trauma can be vicarious (traumatised because you helped traumatised people), an Emulator is vicariant, and a Impostor is vicarious, etc. Once you have this tool, you can use it elsewhere.

Ref : Alain Berthoz, la Vicariance

 

Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow me!

 

I’m living vicariously through your pictures in Lille…