I finished the nine hour audiobook Ratchedemic in three days. I could not stop listening and marvelling at the metaphorical use of a ratchet to comparatively discuss the loosening of teaching and learning in order to create more equitable student-centred environments. I started listening again tonight.
Dr. Chris Emden takes definitions and expands them for empowerment – take the term “ratchet” where he blends the urban vs literal vs metaphorical mechanical device that allows movement in only one direction.”The ratchet is designed for the hard to reach”. It is a historical examination of cultural improvisation and reactions to systemic oppression. To be ratchedemic is to change this and allow freedom of expression in all forms.
In chapter eight, he uses a medical condition as analogy. Agnosia – Usually, one of the sensory modalities is affected. For example, a patient with agnosia may not be able to identify a cup by sight, although they may be able to tell its color and identify it by touch by its shape and texture. He then suggested a new diagnosis a “cultural agnosia” – “this affects those who can witness the phenomenon but not explain what it is.” They can visually see Black students but cannot see the brilliance and genius they express.
He goes on to say that educators who are not comfortable with who they are may have “a ratchetness achievement gap”. Here is my acrostic poem celebrating this book and working to fill my own gaps with knowledge and celebration of the “ratchedemic”.
Teacher: An acrostic to myself
Realize your eyes deceive you. Look differently.
Acknowledge that you might not know. Look again.
Take the time. Slow down.
Cultivate curiosity before judgement.
Hold. Hold it all. Hold your tongue. Hold space. Hold them in the centre.
Examine yourself and be responsible for all that you do.
Trust that your students are geniuses already.
Thank you, Dr. Chris Emden.
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