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October 23, 1986 - Image 37

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-23
Note:
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0

"Mostly I'm mad because it
wasn't my fault," says Glonek,
whose school offered the sub-
ject only at an honors level.
Some administrators fear
that reliance on the SAT and
ACT is unfair to blacks, who
historically have scored poorly
on standardized tests. "[Those
tests] are culturally geared and
racially biased," says USC bas-
ketball coach George Raveling,
reflecting the view of many so-
ciologists. "They've been used
for years to keep blacks out of
education, voting and jobs."
Maybe next year: One hard-hit
player is the top football pros-
pect from the state of Alabama,
Pierre Goode, who passed his
ACT on the third try-only to
have the score thrown out by Redshirt:l
test administrators because it
showed too high an increase from his pre-
vious attempts. When Goode took the test
for a fourth time, he scored a failing 7 (out
of a possible 35) and admitted later that he
guessed at most answers each time he took
the test. Alabama accepted Goode on full
scholarship anyway, but he'll have to
watch from the stands this year as his team
fights for a bowl berth without him. If

STE
Notre Dame's Foley (left), who pushed cars for exercise, now pushes a pe;

Goode-who comes from a town half the
size of his freshman class-makes a 2.0
average, he can play next year.
Other low-scoring black athletes may
never get a chance to play or, consequently,
to learn, since colleges may withdraw
scholarships. Syndicated columnist Carl T.
Rowan finds that sentence too harsh: "Of
those 206 kids who flunked Prop 48, 100

may be using their athletic prowess to be-
come the first 'somebodies' in the histories
of their families. Aren't they deserving of
some remedial courses, some tutoring,
some minimum chance to show that with
real support they can pass as well as play?"
GOREsoHA CKETT ivith KEITsH ARRISes Jr-.
iSothBd, JAN C R A w F O R Di Tuscaloosa,Ala,
- and LIsAGISSsisnCoral Gables,Fla.

though he discourages discipleship. "Bob
is the most important figure in Harvard
undergraduate life," claims Larry Ronan,
a medical student who spent six years as a
section instructor in Coles's undergrad-
uate courses. "He helps you map out ques-
tions but doesn't answer them for you." In
fact, declare many former students, Coles
creates a spiritual sanctuary like no
other on campus. "Other teachers ask you,
'How are you going to understand this or
that text?' " explains Ronan. "Coles con-
fronts you with challenging books and
asks, 'In the face of what you have read,
Says a former student:
'Coles confronts you
with challenging books
and asks, "In the face of
what you have read,
how are you going to
live your life?"'

how are you going to live your life?'"
Coles helps some students find answers
outsidetraditional academe. Oftenheholds
seminars in hisliving room, toget freshmen
away from the classroom atmosphere. At
the Harvard Medical School hespendssum-
mers-withoutpay-guiding med students
whodonatetheir timetoneighborhoodclin-
ics for low-income families and the home-
less. He has also carved out a niche in Har-
vard's Graduate School of Education for
doctoral students who want to combine his
kind of documentary fieldwork with the
more traditional social sciences.
Among Coles's proteges is Tom Davey,
who used his clinical methods to examine
the political identities of children on
both sides of the Berlin wall. Another is
Jan Linowitz, who came to Harvard from
Brown after reading "Children of Crisis."
Under Coles's direction she mapped out a
graduate program combining literature,
child-development and public-policy ques-
tions. "Most graduate schools want you to
focus on tidy, narrow issues," says
Linowitz, whose dissertation compares
how the United States and Europe deal
with immigrant orphan children from
Asia. "Coles shows you how to deal
with broader questions in an interdisci-
plinary way."
Coles's authority in the classroom de-
rives in large part from his intimate under-
standing of how life is lived outside acade-

mia's citadels of privilege. His own method
of doing research-he calls it "field-
work"-is to spend weeks at a time with
children in their homes-eating, talking,
praying and watching television. He finds
he works best with preadolescents who are
neither too shy nor too anxious to impress.
He listens, observes and analyzes their
drawings and paintings, then relates the
observations to wider issues of class, race,
religion and the historical moment. Coles
purposely does not read up on a foreign
country until after his visits; this way, he
believes, children become his teachers-
about themselves and their social milieu.
Rare trust: "Bob's tools are innocence and
anxiety," theorizes his wife, Jane, a former
English teacher who for years was his sole
'companion on the road (the couple have
three sons, one a first-year medical student
at Georgetown University, one a junior at
Harvard and one in high school). With
these attributes, he has developed a rare
capacity for gaining a child's trust. "Coles
has this uncanny knack of listening to chil-
dren and being able to elicit their deepest
thoughts," says South African economist
Francis Wilson, a close friend. "He also
watches them very closely and establishes
nonverbal communication. In this way he
gets himself right inside the child's experi-
ence ofaviolent situation and can transmit
and interpret the child's feelings."
Coles's two recent books display both the
OCTOBER 1986

is now available
in hardcover.

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42 NEWSWEEK ON CAMPUS

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