Tree Trunks are Brown
Tree trunks are brown. Right? That’s what we teach little kids, and that is what they faithfully reproduce in their drawings.
Yes, tree trunks are brown.
But sometimes they are more black . . .
or white . . .
Maybe even a bit red.
And then, sometimes, they are even green.
A couple of weeks ago I was at a transcript analysis group (Yes, I know, I know, try to contain your excitement at just what a cool bunch of dudes we must be!). The transcript was about a lower primary maths class. The educationists in the room were arguing that the children were learning to recognize and define 3D objects. The ethnomethodologists in the room were arguing that the children were learning to produce social agreement. Actually, almost everyone in the room probably agreed they were doing both at the same time, but you never let that get in the way of a good disciplinary battle.
Learning to cooperatively produce social agreement is important, as is learning that 3D squares are cubes. We learn to see and categorize the world in a particular way. Our cultural reproduction depends on it.
But it is also important to sometimes stop, take a deep breath, and look around, and see that not all tree trunks are brown.