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April 23, 2008



Great post Tom. I've been feeling the need to include more challenging stuff in my reading recently too. Looking for those dissonant voices action because that's where the learning emerges. Trouble is they are hard to find in the edublogosphere (YUK that's not a word!)
Instead I've found myself watching a BBC series about schools in China. Their methods are so far from all I see as important and yet there is undoubtedly powerful learning going on. I need to think more about this..

Amy Gahran

Thanks for writing this, and for linking to my post. I think you're on the right track. I'll conduct a similar homophily self-audit -- although I'm sure it won't be pretty...

- Amy Gahran

Nancy Riffer

I like your blog because you stimulate me to new learning. Clear, provocative ideas. This issue reminds me of doing diversity training and asking a group how many are racially prejudiced. Those who are most aware of racism are the one's to raise their hands. Similarly, in this post, you are questioning your openness because you are aware of closedness. You help us stretch.

One important experience I learned from about my assumptions was being a part of the board of a group formed right after 9/11 and listening to Muslim women. WTB.org I heard a woman describe her experience growing up without a father because he was killed by the Israelis. A woman from Iraq cried when she was asked where she was from. I discovered most of the Muslim women did not judge even though parts of people's stories were outside what was acceptable for themselves.

My learning challenges usually come from hands-on experience. I wonder whether reading "ideas" different from my own could be a source of learning. My guess is that real people telling personal stories is the more powerful for me.


Thanks to all of you for your encouragement. This idea has stuck in my mind as well, not just for a single blog post. Nancy's experience is just the kind of thing that helps us detect those blindspots. The question I'm sensing from everyone though, is how to increase our exposure to such challenges and then use what we've learned.

Michele Martin

Tom, thank you for pointing me to your post. I think you and I are on the same journey right now of recognizing that homophily can be be both a powerful way of bringing people together and learning from them, but that it can also be an equally powerful way of dividing us. I love your idea of a sort of homophily self-assessment. I think that it's a good first step for all of us to consider if we hope to really reap the full benefits of a networked world. We're strong on the bonding capital, but need to be looking more at what we can do to build bridging capital in our social networks. I look forward to seeing where this leads.


i believe the old adage is that when you enter a new culture the first person you meet is you. it's what one chooses to do from here that opens the mind and enlarges the circle of learning and cultural awareness.

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