Excerpts from a conversation with Mike Rose

author of Lives on the Boundary and student comments.

Mike Rose, author of Lives on the Boundary talked  by speaker-phone with students and NSCC faculty Margot Boyer and Jim Harnish from Fall 2005 Coordinated Studies, "Beginnings: Connecting Learning Culture, and Identity." 

The 50-minute conversation focused on topics in education and specifically the connections students were discovering  among ideas in  Rose's book and Paul Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed and bell hooks' Teaching to Transgress.  

Comments from Mike Rose:  

"I have an observation: and I'm not blowin' smoke here when I tell you this -- you guys are impressive! I do this kind of [phone] conversation a lot with folks around the country who are reading something that I wrote -- it ranges from high school students to people in graduate schools but this is really been a memorable one. 

You folks are very thoughtful and I'm very impressed with the kind of reading you have done with this book and the questions you have posed.  

Just about every question you have asked me has sparked a thought, sparked me thinking about some of these issues in a somewhat different way or take.  I want to commend you on that.  It has been a really engaging thing for me and I'm very taken with the kind of reading you are doing of the book and I'm grateful to you for it.

 You've got a really good thing going up there.   I am very impressed with the [Beginnings Coordinated Studies class] materials.  This is a hell of a program you are in.  You folks, man oh man, you go to town with this; you are a good group."

                                                                 --- Mike Rose

 Hand written note received by mail from Mike Rose  

Jim and Margot --

"A tiny memento from Thursday night [table reserved sign from The Vic for Jazz Club] the place where I went to savor the terrific conversation with your class. You all have created a hell of a program at NSCC and this particular class was a joy! What a thoughtful and engaged bunch!.  Please tell them so."  

Reflections from students after the discussion with Mike Rose:  

What an amazing thing it was to talk to Mike Rose about his writings and his life. I was surprised with the fact that he seemed almost as excited as we were to be having the conference. I was also very impressed with the questions that you all came up with and what I learned from both your questions and his responses.  Fellow students, thank you for insight and creative minds.

 I agree that having that opportunity was fantastic. It was amazing to be so connected to the author of one of our texts - most classroom reading is so detached from the person who wrote it that it doesn't seem to have been quite humanly produced.  Reading and speaking to Mike Rose was a terrific way to connect his lessons to my lifelong learning process.  

The Mike Rose call was something I will remember for years to come.  I can't say why, but it gave a whole new appreciation for reading.  The follow through of breaking down the text and getting to know the author....then getting to speak to him was something that seemed impossible.  I always viewed authors as "celebs" that would have no time for common folk.  I know that may sound strange, but I feel like he really valued our thoughts and appreciated our attention to his writing. 

I left  that class with a new experience under my belt.  That is what learning is all about!