I Need More Ice Cream for This

It was not in Raj Lyubov’s nature to think. Character and training disposed him not to interfere in other mens’s business. His job was to find out what they did, and his inclination was to let them go on doing it. He preferred to be enlightened, rather than to enlighten; to seek facts rather than the Truth. But even the most unmissionary soul, unless he pretend he has no emotions, is sometimes faced with a choice between commission and omission. “What are they doing?” abruptly becomes, “What are we doing?” and then, “What must I do?”
The Word for World is Forest by Ursula Le Guin (2010, p. 124)

When I started reading the selections for this week the above quote from one of Ursula Le Guin’s books came to mind and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s went into my hand. In higher education, in our graduate school careers, in the courses we teach, and with the students we work with the question remains: what are we doing?


What are we doing when students from historically marginalized populations continuously take the third shift of educating their peers, and us, about what it is like to be at an institution that was never meant for them?

What are we doing when we make students jump through hoops of paperwork for “accommodations” that may not actually fit their needs out of fear that someone, somewhere would abuse our generosity if we simply took students at their word?

What are we doing when our peers and colleagues say they suffer in ways we could never understand, that they’re tired, that they have to be on their “best behavior” to avoid validating stereotypes and that they feel tokenized when the only time their voices matter is if they are needed for a photo-op for the upcoming recruitment brochure or for a video highlighting the diversity at a given institution?

What are we doing in these situations? Sometimes this

When I read this weeks readings I felt/feel: angry+sad+irritated+ tired…

All these birds at once…

I feel like I need to go grab another three pints of Ben and Jerry’s even though I know I’m probably at least partially lactose intolerant and that I should be a vegan.


I feel all these things and this is what is missing from most of the classes I’m in and from a number of the conversations I have with folks outside of my friend circle: emotion and affect.

Palmer’s essay was about this notion and long before Palmer people such Audre Lorde pointed to the uses of emotion and affect, in Lorde’s case The Uses of Anger. In fact, most of his essay read like the work of numerous liberation scholars including liberation theologians and those historically invested in black liberation. While what I say next is in keeping with what Palmer says, it’s from the space of the liberation scholars who did the labor before us all and are no longer around to see their labor bloom into a new movement and conversation.

Contrary to the commonly espoused belief, emotions can serve in a clarificatory capacity for some people at least some of the time. Which  people? Well, probably the folks who historically have had robust reasons to be irritated with the current state of affairs and higher education.

How does this semi-diatribe relate to being a “new professional” and connecting the dots? It’s an invitation to reflect on the final question: What must we do?

How do we make space for emotion and affect to be in our classrooms where our students can be their full, authentic selves even in the midst of deep and sometimes uncomfortable conversations?
How do we relate to those who question the system when historically and systematically we are given disincentives and incentives to the contrary to censure, ostracize, and disassociate from the “revolutionaries”?
How can we be our authentic selves while we are here?

How can we do these things? By being revolutionaries which is what Palmer is gesturing at even if they never use the word and say they aren’t calling for an uprising.

What would that look like? I don’t know, but I suspect that the answer relies on building capacity and a network of colleagues who can share the labor, work together, and change a system to be in the service of those it is charged to serve-to place the system into the obediential service of students and faculty/staff alike.

What might it require? Being for and with one another even in battles that are not our own.

Being for and with our students in the project and labor of inviting them to be critical of themselves, the programs they are in, the lessons they learn, and of the institutions they attend.


It requires solidarity (tapputu in Akkadian), emotion, labor, and hope–but what these look like are things we will have to figure out in the process of relating to one another and figuring out our revolution.

“You cannot buy the Revolution. You cannot make the Revolution. You can only be the Revolution. It is in your spirit or, it is nowhere.”
The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin (1974, p.301)


What is the opposite of war?

Question: What is the opposite of war?

Answer: …?

Before you continue to read this post, and for once it’ll be rather short (comparatively, but not by much), take a few moments to answer the above question. While I will be, quickly, linking what I am saying to Freire’s work and thoughts, although I will be assuming relative familiarity with Freire’s problem-posing model and not explaining it, my set-up is going to be non-traditional. In fact, I am going to be pulling from Philip Hallie’s “From Cruelty to Goodness“. Hallie is a scholar who investigated the cruelties of the Holocaust and worked to answer the question I posed to all of us earlier. Given the recent events here at Tech against our Jewish community, it is an answer that I think salient for the critical pedagogy we are investigating this week.


When folks are asked to name what the opposite of war is, many (I include myself in this number) will initially answer “peace”. Likewise, if I had asked a question about the opposite of harm/pain, many would have initially said “relief from pain” or something of that sort.

Peace, and relief from pain, are not the opposite of war or pain; they are their absence. For Hallie, they are not sufficient for overcoming decades and, sometimes, centuries of social conditioning and structured oppression. That is a systems claim, but I see little reason for it to not apply to the classrooms level as well. As such, I would like to posit that we need to do more than remove negative elements in our classrooms. If we ever want to practice a critical pedagogy of the sort Freire posits, a pedagogy that necessitates the destruction of a power differential, we need to have something positive as opposed to neutral in our praxis.

Hospitality and Restoration

For some of the learners in our classrooms, and for some of us in class, there are live harms. There are historical and unmediated instantiations of cruelty and maimed dignity that are brought into the classroom as invisible knapsacks not of privilege, but of oppression, degradation, humiliation, and isolation. Under a neutral model, such as a peace model, these aren’t addressed and in being ignored can continue to impact the experiences of those in the classroom. We can’t, with Freire’s model, afford to ignore these past and live harms. We must address them and combat their reification in the classroom.

As facilitators in our classrooms, a positive possibility for addressing these harms is framed as hospitality. For Hallie, hospitality is “…unsentimental efficacious love” that ends cruel power relationships, and in my view transforms relationships, while seeking to heal those who have been harmed.

To contextualize this a bit more, hospitality is a response to oppression/institutionalized cruelties and these cruelties are captures by four aspects. The first is that the cruelty is substantial and maims dignity. [1] Second, that it is pervasive or total insofar as those living under the oppression cannot find respite from those assaults on their dignity. [2] The third is that it involves a power differential. [3] Last, it operates just outside of awareness and takes a constant effort to address. [4]

This persistence, resilience even, in the face of a historical banking method is necessary for instantiating a radically different pedagogy that, in many ways, is not of our own creating (more on this shortly). Our students have been impeded in a model, for the most part, that tells them over and over again that they are not capable of original thought, that they don’t have anything to offer, and that they are not worthy of our attention or deference. This is a sort of cruelty in its own way, and hospitality is a way of combating it.

In combating it, the facilitator gives deference to those whom they, for lack of a better term, serve. They ask “what do you need from me” and “how can we work together to make sure your needs are met”. I know this may seem odd, and even in liberatory thought deference and “terms” conflicts are readily contested, but I don’t see how Freire’s model can work any other way.

It is a risk, yes, and a risk that we have been systematically incentivized to not take. But what must we believe about those we work with to not be willing to cede power? What must we fear to not be willing to be vulnerable? And who benefits from our continued refusal to do these things?

Hospitality, as required by the model, does not set one person or group above the other and does not assume that one holds power over the other in the conventional sense of the term. Rather, it frames the actors as equals, as mutual laborers in a project of their creation, and stands opposed to the many paradigms of instruction that we have currently in the academy.

It helps create a possibility for the construction and production of knowledge that Freire was looking for. [5]

“Of” NOT “For”

For the critical pedagogy we are investigating, we are looking at a shift in model; we are looking at a student and learner centered model; we are looking at a pedagogy OF the oppressed.

The “of” is very important. This is not a pedagogy that is “for” the oppressed. It is not a pedagogy that is created, formed, laid out, and then applied “to” the oppressed. It is created by and on the terms of the oppressed and never otherwise. Perhaps this is why, in the introduction of his book, we find that a 16-year old boy and his “semiliterate” mother were able to understand the book and its message when the “academics” could not. The book was “of” them, not “for” the academics. [6]

In our classrooms, specifically in those spaces where we hold power granted by a system, this means a pedagogy that is ultimately only ever legitimated by the students and learners is stems from. It is not something we apply to them, though there are facilitation skills and elements of vulnerability imbedded in creating a classroom environment such that they can collaborate in the labor of making, and unmaking, the pedagogy by which they learn; a pedagogy that makes and unmakes them just as it makes and unmakes the facilitator in remarkable and, often, unimaginable ways. This is where hospitality comes into play since, without hospitality, we risk reifying historical power dynamics within the classroom or failing to account for the histories and lived experiences our students bring with them into the classroom.

Outside of that space, in the places where we no longer hold power, though for some of us those spaces are few and far between, there is an opportunity for our own pedagogy to emerge. A pedagogy which, in fact, can lead to the liberation of the oppressed and their oppressors alike. To tie this back to Hallie, hospitality restores humanity to someone else, or to a group of “other” people, but also restores the humanity of the practitioner.

For Freire, only the oppressed can liberate the oppressors. For Hallie, only the maimed can ultimately restore their maimer. For both the liberation of both is bound together.

For us in this classroom, and in our future classrooms should we answer Freire’s class, we will make it and it will make us in a continuous process of labor and relation.

It is a pedagogy of us and it is ours just so long as we are for one another.

[1] “Cruelty involves the maiming of a person’s dignity and the crushing of a person’s self-respect” (p.23)

[2] p. 24

[3] pp. 24-25

[4] “It is the viewpoint of the victim that is authoritative” (p.25) This requires that someone who has been taught how to not listen to the oppressed will have to actively work to listen to their stories.

[5] see p. 10 (by pdf page demarcation) in Pedagogy of Freedom.

[6] see pp.22-23 in Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

“I thought he was going to hurt someone”

In October of 2015 a cohort of 40 or so people gathered in Squires for InterCom training. During the training one scenario required a person to use a slur word of some kind during the circle to give the facilitators the opportunity to navigate ways of responding to unexpected events in the process of a facilitation.

But, there was a small hiccup. One of the participants, let’s call him J, who wasn’t a facilitator was out of the room when we disclosed who was going to be using a slur word and why. As such, he, a tall black man (these are important demographics to note), didn’t know going into the circle that another person, a white man, had been asked by the trainers to use the n-word during the circle.

The facilitators were brought back in, given their topic, and things started smoothly enough. Then, in the midst of the conversation, the white man used the n-word and a discussion quickly emerged about that word, its use, and reclamation. J reacted strongly to the use of the term and at one point said “Look, if you use that term again I’m going to have to do something”.

How would you interpret this phrase? How do you think people in the room interpreted J’s response?

While this week’s readings were concerned with adjusting, and mitigating, the impact of implicit bias, utilizing “brave” space as opposed to “safe” space discourses, and what I took to be, in one respect, an appeal to long term tangible increases in profit that can accrue when a workspace and place is diverse, I want to take us in a different direction and talk about some things the readings didn’t discuss all that explicitly. While I will come back to elements of bias, especially given the title of this post, I want to start a bit differently than I normally do.

Rather than start with a long, rather drawn out explanation of the concepts at play, here are some scenarios to ponder.



Scenario 1:
Think back to the first day of class. If you’re teaching or a TA, or have been in the past, think back to how you take roll on day one (assuming you do so). If you’re not teaching or a TA, think back to when you were a student and how your teachers/professors took roll.

Question: How do we usually take roll in a class? Are there any unnamed impacts of certain methods for taking roll/learning names in a class?


Scenario 2:
You are in class and notice two students having a conversation. One student is talking and then the other student interrupts them and says “Look, just tell me when we need to meet. I can meet at 2. When can you meet?”. The first student looks frustrated and starts talking again making the same points they made earlier to the obvious frustration of their peer.

Question: What is going on? How might the parties feel?


Scenario 3:
On a different day in class two students, Alex and Sam, are talking about something before class. Suddenly you notice Alex using a lot of hand motions and get very close to Sam. Sam takes a step back before continuing the conversation.

Question: How would you read this scenario with only the information provided? Would anything change if you knew the gender, or the race, of Alex and/or Sam?



Scenario 1: Universal Design

When I reflect on my experiences in the classroom, the way roll/attendance tends to get called in classes where the professor cares about knowing names is as follows: on day one the professor goes down the list, calls your first and last name, you say you’re here, and if you have a different name that you go by you tell the professor and they edit the roster.

Sounds normal, right? Many folks I’ve talked with in my department say that this is just the model that they have always used and seen used. But who could be harmed with this model or, sometimes, put in danger?

For trans* students, especially those students who don’t have a name change in the system, and sometimes who can’t get their name changed in the system for a myriad of reasons, the first day of class can be a bit stressful. Some students email their professors, individually, semester after semester to give them a heads up that they go by a name that’s not on the roster (or “obvious”). But, there are a few hiccups here. The first is that the that name information doesn’t always make it way onto the roster that will be called on day one and thus the bootstrapping may have been in vain. The second is that this requires the student to “out” themselves to someone they might not know yet and not everyone responds positively, or even neutrally, to trans* students in the classroom.

As such, I think that when it comes to designing our classrooms, we ought to operate with a mind towards mitigating the harms, and the need for bootstrapping, for our students. This isn’t to say that universal design can fix everything, but certain design moves can help those who need it the most and also those didn’t realize that they stand to benefit from changes to the system.

As such, here is a proposal: when we take roll, rather than call out the first and last names for the students, call out the last name only. If you’re like me, you will still mispronounce it but hey, now we only have to mispronounce the last names! After you call out the last name, have the students respond with whatever they go by. There is no need for the entire “My legal name is William but I go by Bill” hoop jumping, for trans* students if they have a name that they want to go by that’s not their “legal” name no on in the class will be the wiser, and you only have to struggle to pronounce the last names (this time). This is one example of a universal design move in the classroom that benefits more than just trans* students even if they may benefit from it more than some others.

While there is more to say about universal design, to end this section, I want to ask a question:

What are some other examples of universal design that we can use in the classroom and what are our reasons for not shifting to different models?


Scenario 2: High Context and Low Context Communicators

For me, I see this kind of interaction fairly regularly and it speaks to a difference in context communication. By this, I mean that some people are high context communicators (HC) and some people are low context communicators (LC). For folks who are HC communicators, especially in new settings, it is not uncommon for them to need to speak uninterrupted in order to feel heard and valued. If they are interrupted, or rushed by folks who are LC communicators, they may feel dismissed or unheard. In contrast, folks who are LC communicators tend to want to get to the point, can come across as blunt for HC communicators, and may also become very impatient with HC communicators.

In the classroom, or in spaces in general, we need to be aware of how differences in context communication can aid, or hinder, the interactions of folks in those spaces. Folks with different styles of communication, or with different context and cultural traditions, may interpret classroom activities, films, or discussions in different ways and respond to those things in a myriad of ways. If we were to ignore the roll that a difference in context played in those interactions, we risk ostracizing a group of learners if the classroom is set up for a certain kind of context learner to the detriment of the other types of learners in the space.

As with the last scenario, oo end this section, I want to ask a question:

When designing classrooms, how to we create and make space for multiple styles of communicators? How do we address conflicts that arise when there are differences in styles?


Scenario 3: Oral vs Print Culture

Sometimes when students interact, body language, tone of voice, mannerisms, and other indicators can be actual indicators of mood/affect. Other times they can be misinterpreted to indicate moods/affects not currently present. In the above scenario, it is not uncommon for folks to take the actions of Alex as either indicating excitement, anger, or other moods that tend to reflect what we as the observer have tended to associate certain actions with (e.g., hand motions means angry) in our own histories. As such, the purpose of this scenario was to get folks to reflect on how we as educators and facilitators may interpret language, especially bodily language, based on our own preconceptions of what anger, excitement, engagement, and the like look like with our academic training.

For, within academia we operate in what is called a “print” culture (PC). This kind of structure is such that emotions tend to be rather limited, communications for formulaic and dictated by tradition and norms within the academia, boundaries and distance (literal and metaphorical) tends to be emphasized, etc. Sound familiar?

In contrast, “oral” culture (OC) operates in a more emotional and expressive manner. The communications are focused on the relationships among the interlocutors, there isn’t really a formulaic or structured element to the conversation as opposed to flowing narrative, and boundaries and distance (again, literal and metaphorical) tend to be down played. The interlocutors connect with one another via emotions, physical closeness, etc.

When folks from a PC interact with folks from an OC, there can be tensions that we need to name. To the PC folks, the OC folks may come across as hostile or threatening due to their close proximity and use of hand motions when, for the OC folks, how they are acting and interacting is an indication of their engagement with the person and topic at hand. There are other things to name, and we can process though them later.

To end this section, I want to ask another question:

How might someone from an OC find academia? Specifically, how might someone who is a first generation college student, with an OC background, find their peers and professors and how would their perception of the climate effect their success?


When the scenario with J played out in the circle, we processed through not only what was said but also how people interpreted J’s words. For some people, and this was the case for a number of the white folks in the room, J’s words came across as a threat.  One person said, “I thought he was going to hurt someone” hence the title of this blog post.

When we asked J what he meant by his words, he said that he had meant he would leave the room. His “doing something” would be removing himself from that space.

When it comes to our classrooms and how we design them there are a few things I think we must all be conscientious of. On one hand there is the design of the space, its accessibility, the removal of needless barriers for students, etc. This can include changing how we do class rolls, for example, or even using only gender neutral/name only references for students when we don’t know their pronouns (a bit more contentious of a UD move).

On the other hand another important element is knowing ourselves. Sometimes, we might misinterpret what a student says, much like J’s colleague very much erred in their reading of his exclamation. In trying to move through those tensions both for ourselves and among the students we work with, we need to know what we’re bring to the table and what they may be bringing to the table.

While we facilitate a classroom, we should know the culture we have, our communication styles, if we are Low Power Distance or High Power Distance (something I didn’t discuss), etc..  We will be bringing our histories and biases into the classroom. Rather than be ashamed to acknowledge our tendencies and biases we can use our knowledge of them to be better facilitators across and among differences in the classroom.

The talking points for this blogpost are taken from and inspired by materials found in the VT InterCom: Dialogues for Social Change program run by Dr.Christian Matheis and the IEC here at Virginia Tech. They can be found, in much more detail, in the Human Relations Facilitation, Modes of Communication, and Responses to Conflict training packet. Additional information can be found in: Intercultural Sensitivity for the Health-Care Professional Eric H.F. Law, M.Div. with Elizabeth Snow, MA, OTR 1995

I Have Two Voices: One Is silent

“This is my voice, there are many like it, but this one is mine.”                   –Shane Koyczan, “This is my Voice

Allow me to complicate things for this week’s topic:
I have two voices. One of them is silent.
Yet, both are part of my authentic teaching voice.

The Non-Silent Voice

(Like I said, the non-silent voice)

When I walk into a classroom on the first day, usually into a philosophy class, I give a brief bio about myself and then jump straight into one of the most important parts of that class: community building and context setting. By context setting I mean being honest and transparent about the often unsaid and left out things.

For the unsaid (but sometimes implied):

  • We as a class will be creating and making this classroom together
  • We are responsible and accountable to one another
  • My students are the core while I am a facilitator of their narrative and
    exploration into the topic
  • I am more concerned with them learning to be honest with themselves about what they believe, and why, than with their actual views
  • I will invite them to engage in difficult conversations and to lean into the discomfort of challenging discussions, with the hope that they will eventually trust that the conversation will take us all to deeper levels of understanding both about the topic at hand and, more importantly, about ourselves as interlocutors

For the left out (and rarely implied):

  • We should be mindful of accessibility/We will remake the space as needed to make it more accessible
  • We will discuss things they never learned or were intentionally not taught in school (null curriculum)
  • They are welcome to be their authentic selves in the class; they don’t have to hide their beliefs or say what seems “mainstream”
  • I am more concerned that they leave with transferable skills than knowing the minute details of the philosophers we discuss
  • I am human, have opinions on these topics and I won’t reveal any of mine until the end of the course.

To this latter point, I tack on the truthful disclaimer that I will at times motivate and defend views I do think are false because they are the topic of the week and it is my responsibility as a facilitator to give them an accurate lay of the land to explore. That last part usually gets left out.

Next we do introductions. We take time, careful time, filling out note cards and an intake form that give background information that I want to know such as:

  • major
  • past history in philosophy
  • current beliefs (so I can flag the tensions that will pop up sections to section and so that they can reflect on what they believe at the end of the semester)
  • things they’re actually interested in so I can work in topics/recommend readings
  • “preferred” pronouns if they should have any

I also ask them to draw me a picture on the note card as well but I don’t tell them why until the end of the semester. Pictures and non-traditional methods of concept presentation/acquisition happen a lot in my sections. Finally, we go around the room and share one embarrassing thing that happened to us to establish lines of common, yet different, experiences (lots of people falling down stairs, I share falling down a hill into my first field hockey collegiate game) and we start talking about the reading.

In a normal class session we do processing to work through anything that folks aren’t quite sure about from the week’s readings, we do a peer led discussion where 2-3 students lead a discussion/activity on a given topic for their colleague, we unpack the activity, do another small group conversation, and end with a participation page where they can ask me questions/reflect on what they are thinking about. This is also where the introverts can participate in a more introvert friendly space.

So far everything I’ve named has been the (usually) audible, present voice I bring into the classroom. It is with this voice I try to nurture, not tolerate or merely accept or support, the voices, opinions and thoughts of the students I work with. It is with this voice I try to support them when they say they “just can’t get it” and challenge them to formulate the argument on behalf of their opposition when they get to haughty.

My teaching self tries to be both high in support and high in what is called “control” in Restorative Practices models but more accurately translates to “challenge”. I try to challenge all my students to improve even when they struggle and to reach out to one another as colleagues in a mutual labor of learning difficult concepts. They each receive feedback on their work and at the end of the semester they get an “improvement” based grade in addition to the university required letter grade since when I said I care about improvement, I meant it.

I try to foster a classroom environment where they are accountable to one another, not merely to me, and an environment where ultimately I would be irreverent. One in which unpopular opinions can be shared openly, honestly, and where we can have a philosophical discussion about the tensions among views without the need for facilitator oversight.

All of this (I hope) sounds pretty decent, right?

What then is the voice that is missing?


The Silent Voice

In the classroom an intentional style, and approach, I take given that it is philosophy is to tell my students almost nothing about my background. I tell them a little bit, like the main areas I work in so that they know I may give more feedback than normal if I know the literature; I flag that I’m a diversity trainer for the university (and that they may run into me outside of class); and give a bit of history (reslife, old majors) with the end note of “I know that unforeseen things will happen in your lives; just keep me in the loop when, and if, you need some sort of accessibility move to balance life’s challenges”. Like I said, high in support and challenge.

But what I don’t reveal is also of import when it comes to my authentic teaching self:

  • I don’t tell them that I’m a moral realist, intuitionist, and deontologist.
  • I don’t tell them that I’m a conditional vegetarian who thinks I should be a vegan.
  • I don’t tell them that I think killing is self-defense may not always be morally permissible (a very unpopular view).

I don’t tell them a myriad of other philosophical views that I, reasonably, think I am probably wrong about at the end of the day.

And outside of philosophical views, I intentionally don’t tell them I’m trans.

In philosophy we have a major problem with bias both in the discipline and about the discipline and, historically, this bias impacts facilitators and students.

On their end, if students know that I believe x they are more likely to focus on either a) catering to my beliefs or b) take any criticism of how they formulate an argument to be only due to the fact that I think a different view is more plausible. There is also a tendency to link identities with beliefs and that’s one of the reasons I don’t say anything; why I don’t “correct” for pronouns and have a mixture of “ma’am/she” and “sir/he” floating around the classroom (and email) everyday. The trans*/minoritized identity=liberal=this belief about x is too pernicious to avoid it any other way. That and the fear of being perceived as “forcing my views onto someone’s child” for merely existing is a conversation I’d rather avoid.

While for some folks reading this, it may not make sense to have to hide, obscure, or simply leave out identities, not everyone can do that. There isn’t usually a lot of risk when someone who is in a different gender relationship/partnership mentions that they have wife/husband, for example. There can be tangible risks if you’re in a same gender relationship, a poly relationship, unmarried with a child, queer, etc.

As I said, I wanted to complicate things this week and this is the complication. Depending on your identities, or more accurately the identities that people perceive of you, this “authentic” self sometimes has to be policed by the very person it is supposed to represent.

We can’t talk about our authentic teaching selves without naming the things that we must leave unsaid.

Bridging the Gap

With my audible voice I “use” this silent voice at the very end of the semester to do a consciousness raising activity in what I think constitutes a type of ethical manipulation. Specifically, I use my silence as a tool to get students to reflect on what implicit bias means for them and their communities. During this class we talk about implicit bias, they do iceburg activities with one another naming the identities and histories they assume about their partner, and then they guess things about me. I don’t answer their guesses just as I haven’t answered their guesses during the other weeks.

In leaving a space of intentional uncertainty, my students get to see that not everyone makes the same assumptions about me, and I leave them with the question of which guesses were right, which guesses were wrong, and an invitation to consider what it would have meant if I walked into a space where folks were making multiple, conflicting assumptions. I end by asking them to take with them the question of what assumptions folks make about them and how those assumptions continue to shape their paths in the years to come.

My silent voice ultimately is not the one I speak with, not the one that shows up to facilitate philosophical conversations with students thrice a week beyond being present in absence.

In being silent, and silenced, this part of my authentic self gets used to at least raise consciousness and make a philosophical point that is memorable, transferable, and, just sometimes, world shattering.

It may be silent, but it shapes my approach to teaching as much as if not more than my non-silent voice.


And You?

When we speak about our teaching voices, the kinds of facilitators we are or are working on becoming in the classroom and lab, our approaches, techniques, strengths, oddities, I don’t think we can leave out the fact that some of us, if not all of us, must have dual voices.

Not all of us can be our authentic selves in every classroom without monitoring the plurality of voices that we have; each authentic, real, and felt in a different way.

I have two voices and one of them is silent.

What about you?


In The End

The Set-up:

Let’s play a game. No, but really, go play this for a few minutes in between writing your dissertation, analyzing data, or procrastinating on youtube looking at cat videos (you know who you are…).

The game, called The End, is structured such that it asks a number of questions that philosophy classes might include in their curricula. For example, this game allows you to work through views on what exactly you are (a mind? A body? Both?), beliefs about death, fate, whether it important to have children, alterity, etc.

It’s pretty much this in game form:

While not all encompassing, it serves as a good primer for the types of philosophical questions we might ask in Knowledge and Reality or in a Killing Things course (No creatures, human or otherwise, were harmed in the course except for fictional blue whale, in a helmet, filled with water, on a trolley track…).


Current Approaches:

During my first semester here at Tech and as a TA for K&R, I had my students play the The End at the beginning of the year. But, I never asked them what they thought at the end of the semester and I didn’t ask them to go play it again to see what, if anything, had changed! Alas, I am not currently a TA for K&R and The End doesn’t quite mesh the class I TA for currently.

Lacking a video game analog for Morality and Justice, I have students in all my sections fill in a “I Believe…” form at the beginning of the semester. This form gives them an idea of the types of questions we will be discussing, allows them to share what they think and why (prior to any philosophical reflection), and it gives me a heads up concerning what weeks tensions are likely to run high in each section. If half of the class thinks Bambi is perfect for dinner and the other half are card-carrying members for PETA, the food ethics week is bound to be interesting, for example.

This form is all on paper and, for the most part, I don’t use it again until the last day of class. After reading the pieces this week, I wonder what would happen if, instead of a form that they get back at the end of the semester, they had a character that they had to interact with for the entire semester. What if, as opposed to abstract concepts and relations of concepts that they struggle to link together, they had a center character, an avatar, that they could manipulate, drop into different scenarios, and reflect on critically without feeling threatened? I’ll come back to this in a moment, since I have an idea, but first I want to process through why I think such an approach works in other ways for philosophy and then bring it back to games (video or, as I suspect is more likely, a group RPG).


When In Philosophy…:

In philosophy we deal with a lot of complex, absurd, and downright awful ideas and beliefs. A struggle many of my students have at times (and that I still have) is working through a topic when you feel something personal is on the line. If you are a libertarian for example, and are against both taxes and reparations, it may be difficult to separate out the implications of the arguments we look at that say “hey, you can’t be a libertarian and against both taxes and reparations” from what that would mean for you as a person identifying as a libertarian. As a TA I want to support my students as they begin to grapple with the arguments, give them space to start linking the implications of various views together, and eventually let them reflect on how that applies to their lives; but when everything is personal, as many ethics questions are, I haven’t always had success with this and they haven’t always been wiling to reflect.

One approach I currently have that has worked to open up a space for reflection is to let my students play “games” when it comes to difficult topics:

  • During the week when we talk about abortion, we play a game where students are divided into groups and given a third of a dialogue that contains common (but philosophically problematic) arguments for/against abortion. They are then asked to describe the problems with each of the common arguments and they historically do an excellent job at zeroing in on the problems even for views that they may hold themselves. In fact, I usually have 3-5 students tell me that they realized that their own view is problematic for the same reasons they found the character in the dialog’s view to be problematic. Without prompting, they reflect on what the game meant for their own views while, if it was open discussion, usually the conversation tends to devolve into ad hominems, polarization of views, and defensiveness.
  • For implicit bias week, I have them pair up and do an iceburg activity with one another. They write down all of the assumptions they make about one another, share their assumptions, get to communally guess things about me (it is quite entertaining), and by the end we tend to have an open conversation about the kinds of biases and assumptions we make without the intermediary step of shame and guilt. When I have tried to have more discussion based conversations about bias things have tended to go the “I don’t see color” route and folks get stuck on the carousel of shame. Not so when it’s a game.

Aside from the games, I incorporate two thought experiment animals (Qaly the Koala and Chubby the Whale) in my classes since I have found that they too allow us to have discussions that might otherwise be difficult to process. They also allow my students to visually see representations of concepts (such as validity) and in-text examples that otherwise would be relegated to my badly drawn stick figures on the blackboard. Like the games, I think that Qaly and Chubby allow my students to reach a critical distance from the course material and to conceptualize it in a way that is meaningful, accessible, different, memorable, and ultimately mutable. With this in mind, I want to go back to the games.


Games, much like Qaly and Chubby, would offer my students an opportunity for initial impersonal engagement with philosophical materials and concepts that will eventually come into conflict with one another. In “Four Things Lecture is Good For,” Robert Talbert says that lecture can be great for giving context and to see relations of ideas. I see games as a means to achieving that end. In fact, I wonder if the slightly impersonal nature of the avatar would allow my students to recognize the inconsistencies in the views of the avatar and then later reflect on what that would mean for their own views without feeling threatened or forced to reflect. I wonder if it would allow them to recognize the context of their views and engage with the context and connections more so than traditional methods of presentation.

Concerning personalization of curricula, I think Lacoste (whom I initially misread as Lakatos) is on to something that could be implemented in a philosophical game. While the set up proposed in their article, “Teaching Innovation Statement,” may not work as-is for all classes, I think it is adaptable to the philosophy classroom and a philosophical game. What if, for the subjects a student was actually interested in for a philosophy class, the game spawned additional areas to explore that would go deeper into the questions about, say, the Problem of Evil and the connections that issue has to other areas in the discipline. In current courses we spend a week on each topic at most, but I think a gaming platform would give students the license to continue to explore areas that they are actually interested in and to see the connections they may not have seen before. In seeing these connections, what would it look like if they were building their world with one another outside of the classroom in a forum where they were invested in the communal creation of dialogue and conversation about our more central, sacred, and deeply held beliefs?

Lacking any coding ability, I don’t think a video game like The End is the route I intend to take in furthering the inclusion of games in my classroom. But this idea of a community space and forum where folks are building a community, engaging in intellectual discussion, and being accountable to one another for the space and content has given me an idea of sorts.

The Idea/Initial Musings: 

Most of my students are not philosophers and take the course as a distribution requirement. However, there are groups of students that I can group together based on major or area. With a bit of tinkering, I think that at the least I can sketch easily mutable outlines for the topics that can be personalized to hit on questions that are relevant for their areas and, in being so relevant, make the things we talk about more meaningful and applicable to their lives after the course. This is not a full blown game, of course, and nothing compared to what Mark C. Carnes describes in “Setting Students’ Minds on Fire,” but I think it will lay down some important groundwork for an eventual game.

Starting points:

  • The students will do the “I Believe…” forms just like they normally do but then they will be asked to make an avatar (probably a pretty fantastical one) to use/edit the rest of the semester.
  • Much like they all have personalized validity animals, they will have personalized philosophy avatars. Maybe the validity animals can be companions for their main characters.
  • As we progress through the course and the landscape each week, their avatars will be asked to address this problem, go on that adventure, relate this new thing back to the old thing, and ultimately they will have to decide the path their avatar takes.
  • For certain topics, there will be major specific events or prompts that relate the material of the week to their lives and professions.
  • While not a video game, it can also have additional content that can be co-created by the folks in the class with the facilitator of the course and passed on to the next generation of gamers.
  • They will be asked to contribute content and reflection in a co-authored “rule” book throughout the semester.
  • ??????

I don’t think I can get a more solid sketch of the idea done until after I try implementing a few things this semester (such as major specific prompts to understand the concepts of utilitarianism vs deontology) and see feedback from my students. But, it’s a start.

I Want an Educational System…

“We will not know our own injustice if we cannot imagine justice. We will not be free if we do not imagine freedom. We cannot demand that anyone try to attain justice and freedom who has not had a chance to imagine them as attainable.”                                                                                                    — The Wave in the Mind by Ursula Le Guin (2004, p. 220)



What would a world without oppression look like? What would a world with out gender look like? How about a world without governments, anarchism? How about a world in which women hold positions of power and political rule?

These questions, and more, have been addressed historically, and sometimes only, within the realm of science fiction. Repeatedly, we see questions of dominance, subordination, and alternative possibilities created, destroyed, worked, and rewritten in a genre that isn’t just fiction, but a fiction far removed from the realities and constraints of this world and universe. A fiction in which time travel is possible, dragons fly in space, and tribbles spell trouble.

In science fiction, we find impossibilities and, sometimes, those impossibilities eventually become tangible realities. Some of the notions below will, like science fiction, be engaging in a conversation that may at times be unimaginable for at least some of us. As such, I want to extend an invitation: if the concepts I present, the questions I ask, and the customs I question seem too absurd, then imagine that this too is a piece of science fiction. Start there, and then at the end we can try to re-imagine it once more.

When we think about grading and assessment within the US a common narrative may emerge for many folks educated within this system. As Alfie Kohn points out in “The Case Against Grades” we have a system of assessment that does a very good job at one thing; testing your ability to take a test. I frame Kohn’s paper in this manner as to gesture at the complexity of what is, and is not, tested for within this system and what is, or is not, encouraged among peers.

Pertaining to the testing, it historically is claimed to serve as a fair means of evaluation among and between different individuals; a way to figure out who is the best and most likely to be successful at x, y, or z. It tests, in other ways, how well you have learned the script that is expected of you and compares you to how well other folks have learned the script. Concerning what it encourages, with stakes on the line cheating increases, students truncate their time as to do the work required, and within this framework they are encouraged to memorize what they need to know. They are, more problematically to my thinking, encouraged to be individualistic competitors fighting over a scare resource of jobs, school, and access.

What then doesn’t it test for or encourage? Is doesn’t test resilience in applying what has been learned across disciplines or with respect to problems not included in the curricula. It doesn’t encourage collaboration, to work with and learn from one another, as the norm but rather as the exception.

When we look at goals illustrated, for example, by Donna M. Riley’s piece “We Assess What We Value: “Evidence-based” Logic and the Abandonment of “Non-assessable” Learning Outcomes” (Feb. 2016), it is clear that the assessment based system is not setting people up for success even within the system. Rather, it is setting them up for eventual failure. If, as in engineering and the sciences, elements of collaboration are important for working and living in the “post-schooling” world, what happens when a person who has been raised in an “it’s me against everyone else” world has to suddenly work with people as opposed to against them? What happens when this person is asked to be creative and work outside of the constraints in which they have been taught?

Yes, folks are forced to do group work every once in a while and, as such, may receive some education in collaboration. But note what happens when we step back and look at the interactions inter-group as opposed to intra-group: competition to be the best group. Up additional levels: competition to be the best class, cohort, college, or university. The problem I am gesturing at here is not just with individual lessons, inclusions, or exclusions. It is with the entire system.

Now, by now some readers are wondering “when is it going to go back to the science fiction stuff…that was more entertaining”. Well, I’m getting there, but I had to paint the picture of the world we are about to destroy first.

With the previous (current) world in mind: what would a world without grades and traditional assessments look like?

In keeping with what Marilyn Lombardi says in “Making the Grade: The Role of Assessment in Authentic Learning,” let us imagine a world of the following sort as a first step:

  • Instructors use rubrics created in tandem with those they instruct to evaluate progress and improvement concerning problems, questions, or issues as opposed to self-created (or externally dictated) metrics.
  • Students work in groups on assignments and in addition to being evaluated by their instructor they evaluate one another.
  • Students compile portfolios that serve as a space for reflection on the intersections, changes, and improvements in their work for a project.


Now, let’s add a few other points from Kohn:

  • Rather than receiving grades, students receive feedback and comments on their work.
  • If needed, grades are determined collaboratively with the instructor and the student.


This world is probably still imaginable so let’s get a little more heretical:

  • Get rid of the instructors and replace them with facilitators whose are trained to work with and guide students in the process of investigating various problems, questions, or issues.
  • Most work is now done as group work and peers are responsible for giving feedback to one another about not only their participation in the process but also the outcomes of the process.
  • Facilitators give both group and individual feedback and are on hand to facilitate conversations should tensions arise within the groups.
  • Progress is “evaluated” collaboratively with facilitators and students using continuously revised goals, and hopes, that the student proposed to guide their own improvement.
  • The school day, for at least non-secondary education, includes portions in which older students are responsible for facilitating groups of younger students and in which students of like ages/peer groups are responsible for facilitating conversations and lessons with one another. [1]

Imagine that this is another world: Is it a possibility?

Imagine that it is this world: Is it no longer possible?

If your answer to the second question is “no” then what is it about this world that seems so unimaginable? Is it the lack of explicit authority? Is it the lack of seemingly “assessable” (and comparable) outcomes?

If it’s hard to figure out the “what” underlying the apprehension then let’s approach it through a different, and, political lens. Consider the following poem:

“I Want A President” by Zoe Leonard

In the above poem Leonard asks us to imagine imagine a person, a president, who is very different than any president we have ever seen or, plausibly, imagined before. What is it about our current world that makes imagining a president with the above histories and experiences nay impossible? Might the limitation on *that* imaginatory possibility be similar to the one that whispers “that educational system would never work”?

My reason for this roundabout approach is two fold. On the one hand, as Riley pointed out there are political elements that we cannot forget in these conversations and this is a political poem just as the question of education is a political one. On the other hand,  it can leave us with a starting point:

I want an educational system…

In writing the rest of this poem, let’s imagine the currently unfathomable and attain it.

[1] This approach was proposed by Dr. Naomi Zack (University of Oregon) in conversation with Dr.Matheis.

The (Un)Socratic Method of Philosophy

“He was appalled by the examination system, when it was explained to him; he could not imagine a greater deterrent to the natural wish to learn than this pattern of cramming in information and disgorging it at demand.”
The Dispossesed by Ursula Le Guin (1978, p. 127)

Let us start with a story:

The new Jewish bride is making her first big dinner for her husband and tries her hand at her mother’s brisket recipe, cutting off the ends of the roast the way her mother always did. Hubby thinks the meat is delicious, but says, “Why do you cut off the ends — that’s the best part!” She answers, “That’s the way my mother always made it.”

The next week, they go to the old bubbie’s house, and she prepares the famous brisket recipe, again cutting off the ends. The young bride is sure she must be missing some vital information, so she askes her grandma why she cut off the ends. Grandma says, “Dahlink, that’s the only way it will fit in the pan!” [1]

While this tale, noted by some as a “Tale of the Bungling Bride” trope [2] and stereotype, has religious connotations (the bride, and it’s always a bride or a woman, is usually said to be Jewish) I want to use it in a way that, perhaps, it wasn’t intended to be used. Rather than use it to have a conversation about how to make roasts or the plausible implications of the parable on religious traditions and practices, I want to use it as a frame for a discussion on education.

When I think about my discipline, philosophy, there is a fairly set way that large lectures tend to go. One person, usually a white dude, stands at the front of the room and talks at you about what Plato, Socrates, or Aristotle said for an hour or so. You go home and do something “fun” since reading philosophy is probably not fun and you’re only in the class for a distribution requirement. Then, when it is time for the exam, you write a few essays paraphrasing and miming back whatever it is the instructor said. Unless you continue on in philosophy after that initial class, and even then perhaps only if you specialize in ancient, it is unlikely that you will remember the views all that well. And yet the “talking at” mode continues to be a default for lectures, at least, within the discipline when “dealing” with large groups of seemingly lethargic college students.

It should be little surprise that what I’ve said above is, more or less, taken directly from my past students. In large lecture they are bored. At home they would rather read the sparknotes version of Aristotle’s hylomorphism than trek through page after page (after page) of dry, dense prose. On the exams they want to know what they “need to know” and nothing more and, once they’ve spat it out once, to not have to keep on knowing it.

Within philosophy (and other disciplines of course) I think it is important to have a discussion about how we teach. Within my discipline, the current mode is even how philosophers we read say not to teach it. The Socratic Method is contra the banking method of education that Ellen Langer, Ken Robinson, and Mike Wesch seem to be gesturing at in their respective pieces. And yet, that is the method we continue to use at times. To bring this back to the initial parable, where did we learn that this is the way to do it? More importantly, why do we believe that this is how is has to be done? What would it take for us to imagine, and then create, or maybe to create and then imagine, a myriad of different ways of teaching? While, as with most things, I think that the answers to these questions will be ones that must be collectively discovered, rediscovered, made, and unmade, I have a few initial musings that may be a starting point.

In his TEDTalk, Robinson notes that there are three central traits to humans: we are diverse, curious, and creative beings. Our current model of teaching and instruction seems to be doing a pretty good job at minimizing those elements and forcing students into a shape that works with the system as opposed to reworking and redesigning (or maybe totally scrapping…) the system to put it into the obediential service of the varieties of shapes, sizes, and styles that would be present in our students if it weren’t metaphorically (almost) beaten out of them in K-12 education. To move out of the metaphorical Death Valley of Education, I think that Langer is gesturing at important elements for beginning to tweak the system.

Langer’s construction of mindfulness , in particular, along with notions of frame shift/the “priming” affect would, for philosophy, be helpful in changing the paradigm. [3] As I read Langer, mindfulness constitutes the continuous labor of creating and deconstructing, making and unmaking thoughts, ideas, and persons; a great deal of openness and receptivity; and understanding that there are other perspectives (and I would personally add being open to the possibility that you won’t understand why people with the other perspectives believe what they believe).

When I ask my students to have philosophical discussions one of the tools (or rather games) I have them try out is to pair up with someone who shares the same view about x as they do and then work together to create and motivate an argument against x. For many of my students this is not something they’ve had to do before. In fact, many of them will write that they found the activity very frustrating and it made their heads hurt in their participation page for the day. But usually they start to “get” how arguments and conversations in philosophy are intended to work (i.e., pretty openly) after the activity and they start being much more charitable with views they disagree with. This incorporates the three elements that Langer proposes (somewhat) and while difficult for many of my students it makes doing philosophy “fun” for that day at least (even if it’s also frustrating). It ultimately seems to make them more mindful of how they “do” philosophy.

Their mindfulness extends, sometimes, to the words that they use when they present their ideas. Very often philosophy students will start the semester by using universal statements such as “all x are…” or that “the view for this is y”. Slowly, and sometimes not until the last week, their language can open up and they start to linguistically represent the multiplicity of views even as they argue and motivate the view, or views, they think are correct. And when they meet pushback (it’s a philosophy class; there’s always pushback) they are less likely to default to ad hominems or other so called “fallacies”. Much like Wesch’s child, they show elements of resiliency in response to challenges to their oftentimes deeply held convictions. Much of what I have written here is of course anecdotical. However, it’s interesting to see how some of the smaller things that folks such as Langer intimate can have an impact on students who have been imbedded in an otherwise dry and dusty system.

As I began, I would like to end. Another old parable is that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Maybe the new adage could be: don’t try to lead a horse to water in the first place but, rather, support them and let them lead themselves to the water and choose where to drink. You might have to ask the horse to be curious about what water tastes like, whether different waters taste different, etc. but that’s a separate matter.

That said, try to make sure there aren’t any small birds about or they may try to grab a snack on the way to the water. It turns out the meat eating Horses of Diomedes may have been based on fact insofar as Horses aren’t always herbivores.


[1] “The Pan Was Too Small” by Alan E. Mays in FOAFTale News. June 1996 (pp. 15-16).

[2] See pp. 191-192 in Curses! Broiled Again! (1990) by Jan Harold Brunvand.

[3] The Power of Mindful Learning (1997) by Ellen Langer.

Retrofuturist Twitter: A Ghost of the Present

Imagine the following: the Twitter accounts for the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and other government entities belonging to the Interior Department suddenly stop tweeting and go silent. While, in this alternative present, we still know about some of their historical tweets, tweet battles (should they have had any), and other things that had been documented outside of Twitter itself, their Twitter accounts no longer tweet things about bobcats or bears. There is just the memory of what, historically, they had said.

While this is not, currently, the actual state of affairs, I think we can engage in retrofuturist [retropresentist?] thought and critically ask questions about what such closures would mean. We can also take it a step further and ask the following:

If these Twitter accounts had been for community organizers, anarchists, or folks engaged in anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-____ist work, what would their closure have meant? What would it have meant for pedagogy intended to raise awareness about anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-_____ist work?

With the changeover in US leadership on Janurary 20th 2016, various websites and sources of information have been indexed or, in more polemic language, deleted and replaced with sites that, to some, are quite questionable not only in the content they have on the site, but, and in my view more importantly, for what is missing. I say all of this not to get into a manichnistic argument about the specific events noted above. Rather, the intention here is to ground a discussion about the role of the web as it relates to, and allows relations between, peoples who otherwise may never see, read, or have access to narratives outside of a certain circle and what implication this has for pedagogy and praxis.

In his 2014 article “Working openly on the web: a manifesto” Doug Belshaw makes a point about what, in their phrasing, is “control” over a section of the web. For those who are partial to “control” language, feel free to skip to the next paragraph. I, however, am hesitant to accept this language as I think that linguistically we should be skeptical of language that delineates control over, ownership of, something since, structurally, I think this plays into an “achievement” and individualistic mindset as opposed to a more malleable and open mindset of improvement and communal effort (labor?) in creating and discovering. As such, I wish to understand and parse the events (e.g., the retrofuturist twitter debacle and the indexing of various websites) not through the lens of “control of” but rather as a type of “freedom from control of”. In philosophical terms as a type of negative right as opposed to a positive one. But as I said earlier, those who are partial to “control” language can use it to understand the gist of my points below.

As Belshaw says “services change their privacy settings, close down, and are taken over by megacorps”. The events that transpired in retrofuturist twitter certainly represent a type of limitation, and for some folks perhaps censorship, on what is allowed to be shared on the web and with whom. For these reasons, Belshaw centers their recommendation to “control” part of the web to, at least in part, avoid sudden discontinuations of access. For me, this and other elements of his blog post, specifically as they relate to notions of collaboration, relate to notions found in Campbell’s and Hitchcock’s pieces. Specifically, they relate to notions of connection, collaboration, and mutual labor.

Campbell, in their 2016 piece “Networked Learning as Experiential Learning“, pulls from Kuh to construct an educational praxis informed by  improvement, as opposed to achievement, based learning. In doing so I, at least, see this an emphasis that pushes against individualistic goals and, instead, turns to focus on working with others as opposed to being in opposition, and competing against, them. To relate this back to Belshaw, a community of folks involved in collaborative work would benefit from the negative right mentioned earlier both due to I) being able to make connections and exchange ideas and II) having I without the threat of censorship or passive power limitations on conversations.

For both, the actors or agents are not limited to those with certain degrees or professions; they can be professors, students, or anyone else with access to the internet and a blogging platform. As such, to me at least, these all serve to fight back against myths of scarcity and intrinsic inability, to pull from work by Pharr. A person does not need to be an authority in their field, does not need to have access to legitimized and often corporatized lines of formal publication, to share narratives and/or to be involved in collaborative work.

To speak to the latter notion, for a number of folks, such as for trans folks as explained by Janet Mock, blogs have been an integral way to share narratives and make connections. In fact, blogs and open lines of communication have allowed for capacity building and for folks to recognize and locate others who are invested in the same types of liberatory (or other) work.

As to the former, I want to prompt with a question: What must we believe about someone to consider them to be void of meaningful contribution? While I don’t want to answer this question here, I do want to point to Eric Rofes and the collaborative work he did with school children in the creation of books on death, divorce, and parents written by and for children. What must he have believed to see the school children as creators and authors in their own right and what might this indicate about the structure of our pedagogical praxis?

This brings me back to my initial questions about the implications for social movements and pedagogy. In this blog post, in many ways I haven’t tried to answer my initial question directly and that is very intentional. While I think that pedagogy, especially that which is geared towards informing liberatory praxis, will probably include elements of collaborative learning, the negative right, a shift away from individualistic and achievement oriented goals, and ultimately connections that span both current temporal and spatial limitations, I want to leave it an open question that ultimately may include some of these elements or even none of them. I don’t think that it is a question I, or anyone alone, can answer. Rather, it is a question I think we must work together to answer or, more likely than not, continuously rework an answer to.