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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thomas J. Neuville: Rules For Radicals 4 - A Workshop Process

Thomas J. Neuville: Rules For Radicals 4 - A Workshop Process

Rules For Radicals 4 - A Workshop Process

Creating a Community Action Session

Creating an interactive and high-energy session makes social change agents of all participants. The session title; Rules For Radicals; Waging Peace For Full Inclusion builds expectation even as potential participants consider their roles. The facilitator’s role is to develop and evolve a significant, citizen-centered innovation relating directly to full inclusion. The session format is based on the triangulation of three critical components (Alinsky’s tactics, Guidelines of inclusion and peaceful resolution) with a nucleus of participant affinity and need.

Purpose and Structure

1) The interweaving of guidelines for full inclusion and peaceful resolution with Alinsky’s tactics.

2) The connection of the session calls for action from participant experience, in order to create post-conference activity.

Agenda and Process

The history of equity, diversity, social justice and inclusion is replete with stories and example centered on people taking action that is within their experience. The session; Rules For Radicals; Waging Peace For Full Inclusion triangulates the methods of the pragmatic radical Saul Alinsky, guidelines for full inclusion, and elements of peace with the capacities of the workshop participants. The information is applied to those most at risk of exclusion, and people most vulnerable to segregation and isolation due to social devaluation. The tactics are founded on the principles of adult education / participatory action which result in high degrees of collaboration, shared learning and the creation of new knowledge. The narrative disseminated and generated throughout the event is targeted at creating post workshop participant action that breaks down institutional barriers to inclusion.

How the issue is presented and discussed

The interactive and participatory learning environment created by this workshop results in participants clarifying their own connection with inclusion and designing local action for change. The agenda and processes are:

1) Presentation and discussion of Alinsky’s 13 tactics. (15% of total time)

2) Presentation and discussion of Inclusion guidelines as they interact with

Alinsky’s work. (15% of total time)

3) Discovery process of group experience, local needs and participant definitions

of material presented. (35% of total time)

4) Creation of 2 or 3 individual actions to be taken at home. ( 35% of total time)

“The citizens concerned with quality learning and inclusive environments are numb, bewildered, and scared into silence. They don’t know what – if anything, they can do. This is a job for today’s radical – to fan the embers of hopelessness into the flame to fight.” (Alinsky p.194).

The workshop is designed for people who are concerned about the segregation and isolation of large groups of people within our society, and who want to take new and effective actions that place people who are most at risk on a trajectory of community, contribution and wholeness.


Facilitation is the sustaining of opportunities, resources, encouragement and support for the group to succeed in achieving its objectives through enabling the group to take control and responsibility. The facilitating leader is a facilitator with a vision. The use of facilitation finally answers the question of how to motivate people. The answer is not about motivation, but is rather about inspiration. To produce or arouse a strong feeling is the only direct path to quality, effectiveness, health, profitability and personal well-being.

General Facilitation Guidelines

Beegle, Gwen & Neuville, Thomas 2005.

1) Open with participant comments, input and questions. This clears the emotional way and opens up.

2) Lead specific assessment discussions with “what did you think? This starts from the spot the participants are at.

3) Publicly list responses. This allows for participants to develop to the next level of knowing by letting go. It also generates material for further analysis.

4) Set up seating for participant interaction and relationship building (e.g. circle). Among other advantages this form leaves spaces for the facilitator to enter.

5) Adopt a friendly and professionally familiar affect. This invites trust.

6) Make use of small groups.

a. Everyone will have an opportunity to teach and learn.

b. Productivity and work output increases.

c. Gives participants varied opportunities for hand-on experience with tools.

d. Guards against drift.

7) Create and re-create context, foundation, purpose and focus (this is a particularly

critical skill and pays attention to the moving target of developmental learning).

8) The facilitators must distribute themselves equitably about physically. Moving about with complete coverage allows relationship building and works best in u shapes or circles.

9) Make use of self-reflection relevant to the content as a public or private activity. This develops the ability to analyze, discover common ground and build steps toward practical generalization.

10) Refocus and restate with respect to participant language in order to build knowledge on focus area as well as enhance depth and meaning. Taking a persons statements and sometimes ramble and repeating it back in clear concise content specific terms builds individual and group understanding and offers to the person what they know.


The move towards inclusion and peace is blocked by false vision. The intent of the processes of inclusion, peace, and Alinsky’s tactics is to get a glimpse of what is most valuable about inclusive communities. With an increase in sight may come a positive institutional bias toward community, reformation and, perhaps, revolution evolves while creating space for citizens to gather and put together the steps they need for inclusion and peace. Whether systems change, people gain in belonging, or we simply get to know each other, the action of coming together is worthy.


Alinsky, Saul (1971). Rules For Radicals. Vintage Books, New York, NY.

Covey, Stephen (1989). 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Simon & Schuster, New York, NY.

Henderson, William (2005). Personal communication. Patrick O’Hearn School, Boston, MA

Neuville, Thomas (2000). What are the Main Concerns Related to Students With Disabilities as They Transition From Secondary Schools to Adult Life? UMI Ann Arbor, MI.

Peterson, Michael & Hittie, Mishael Marie (2003). Inclusive Teaching; Creating Effective Schools For All Learners. Allyn & Bacon, Boston, MA.

Rogers, Will (2005).

Samuel, Bill (2005). Friends (Quakers) and Peace

Henderson, William (2005). Personal communication. Patrick O’Hearn School, Boston, MA.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rules For Radicals 3

Tactics from Rules For Radicals

“Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul…”

Thomas Paine

As quoted in Alinsky 1971

Saul Alinsky wrote the book Rules For Radicals (Alinsky, Saul, 1971). The time is right to remember and implement his tactics for social change. The dominant ideological strategy employed today for students who are most at risk of exclusion is a higher order and more complex system of exclusion than has ever existed before. This paper promotes the use of Saul Alinsky’s 13 tactics for success in implementing inclusion for vulnerable people in everyday life. Understanding and using Alinsky’s 13 rules with a view toward action and high-energy systemic change will cause positive change.


Rules For Radicals, Saul Alinsky

We will either find a way or make one. --Hannibal

1) Always remember the first rule of power tactics: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks your have.

2) The second rule is: Never go out side the experience of your people.

3) The third rule is: Wherever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.

4) The forth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.

5) The fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.

6) The sixth rule is: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.

7) The seventh rule: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

8) The eighth rule: Keep the pressure on.

9) The ninth rule: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

10) The tenth rule: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.

11) The eleventh rule is: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.

12) The twelfth rule: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.

13) The thirteenth rule: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rules For Radicals 2

The Ingredients of Peace

The clarity of the emerging inclusive movement has primitive theological roots. The actions call for clarity and must literally give testimony to non-violence and peace. Peace is a required ingredient here due to the need for radical tactics. Those who are convinced about the moral correctness of inclusion (convinced inclusionists) may start by making a declaration that notes that exclusion and harmful conflict proceeds from the passionate and overmastering desire to apply segregating scientific methods to a perceived need to cure (professional lust). In this context, professional lust refers not particularly to sexual desires, but more broadly to covetousness and greed. Greed is a subtle unconscious collection of power and control. A person steeped in professional lust may come to see that they themselves are future fodder for the “curemasters” of elder care. In this sense, (s)he that lives by professional lust, shall perish by professional lust. A convinced inclusionist will cause individual and institutional inclusivity not by might, nor power, but by peaceful and community spirit.

The fact that people who act toward inclusion are peaceful (pacifists) does not mean they are passive. The gentle battles for institutions of inclusion are battles fought with the spirit of pervading thoughts of welcome, not weapons of secular science. Led by the spirit of gentle battles for inclusion, all schools would be transformed (Samuel, Bill 2005)

The Ingredients of Peace

1) Hospitality:

“We must be ever vigilant that our egocentrism, our strong adherence to how things are properly done, and our clannish need to protect our group does not interfere with our obligation to love another as ourselves” (Fennell, Nancy 2005. Hospitality in The Manner of Friends. Friends Journal, October 2005).

a. When a guest walks through the door, some reflection or revelation of spirit has arrived in the midst. A gift has been sent.

b. Offer an open and hospitable space where strangers can cast off their strangeness and become fellow human beings (Nouwen, Henri. Reaching Out).

c. Start by making an honest appraisal of what is being done about hospitality. Hospitality involves action, it is doing three actions;

i. Preparation

ii. Sharing

iii. Serving

2) Justice

a. The quality of being just.

b. Equitableness that is characterized by the quality of being fair or impartial.

c. The moral principle determining just conduct and conformity to this principle as manifested in conduct, just conduct and treatment.

3) Equality

a. The state or quality that tends to result in privilege being dispensed in like quantity, degree and value.

4) Institutional structures that expect and develop:

a. Peace Builders

A Peace Builder is one who "does good things" on a small everyday level to make the world more peaceful (e.g., the child who returns a lost wallet to its owners or befriends a new student.)

b. Peacekeepers

A Peacekeeper is one who protects the rights of others by peacefully enforcing the laws and rules we live by; e.g., the teacher on recess duty, the corner police officer, the umpire in a baseball game, even a comic book hero.

c. Social Activist

A Social Activist is one who takes a stand against social injustice in an organized way to bring about a more just and peaceful world.

d. Visionary

A Visionary is one who inspires others with his/her vision for a more peaceful future; e.g., certain writers, artists, musicians and religious leaders, such as Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr.


Recall the face of the poorest and most helpless person you have seen and ask yourself if the next step you contemplate is going to be of any use to that person.” M.K.Gandhi

a. Nonviolent action is a technique by which people that reject passivity and submission, and who see struggle as essential, can wage their conflict without violence. Nonviolent action is not an attempt to avoid or ignore conflict. It is one response to the problem of how to act effectively in politics, especially how to wield power effectively. (Sharp, 1973, p. 64)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rules For Radicals

Rules For Radicals: Waging Peace For Full Inclusion.

We live in times that call for change and improvement. Much like the 1960’s and the 1920’s before that, but in our times, the specific changes called for are unclear. The move towards inclusion and peace is blocked by vision that is not so muddied as it is false in its clarity. My colleague David Schwartz says that we live in a world that is consistently projecting clear messages aimed at creating a loss of vision to human realities, while, at the same time convincing the viewer they can see clearly. Will Rogers said; “It’s not what people know that scares me, it’s what they know that just ain’t so” ( I am sure that this is quite relevant today and that David Schwartz hit it right on the head when he says that we are visionless but are certain that we can see. By creating space for citizens to gather together and incorporate the steps for inclusion, the Ingredients of Peace and Saul Alinsky’s Tactics, our collective vision will return and result in reformation, and perhaps revolution.

The dominant ideological strategy employed today for students at risk of exclusion is a higher order, more complex system of exclusion. Full inclusion is not getting more likely; we just talk as if it is. Students with disabilities are not getting better equipped for life; it just looks as though they are. Schools and teachers are not improving processes and strategies; they just believe they are. In the virtual world of, “things are not as they seem”, the time is ripe for a blast of peaceful tactics. The time is now to do what we can, with what we have for the realization of full inclusion.

Steps Toward Inclusion

Perhaps the steps toward inclusion are straightforward and obvious: Simply stop excluding people in the first place. However, exclusion as an idea has had the opportunity to institutionalize itself in the hearts, minds and hands of professionals, parents and even the students. Exclusion has won by convincing us it does not exist. Few would agree that certain students have been shut out and kept out from consideration and privilege. The lack of exclusionary vision calls for the following ten steps to be overtly institutionalized. These steps have been created through conversation with friends like Bill Henderson (2005) in Boston and writings from colleagues at the Whole School Consortium such as Michael Peterson (2003). The steps are not meant to be all-encompassing or immediately understood. Individuals and groups must work together in order to generate new steps and cause sufficient insight to take actions that are relevant to them.

10 Essential Elements of Mindful Inclusion

1) Seek first to understand, then to be understood (Covey).

We have such a propensity to sprint in, to fix things up with first-class counsel. But time and again, fail to take time to analyze, and to truly and deeply recognize the person and circumstances first.

a. Understand Authentically.

If you wish for effective relations and influential communication, you first must understand. It is not merely method. Method alone will generate a sense of betrayal, manipulation, and veiled motives. Create an atmosphere of well-being to encourage people to reveal themselves and thus be understood, and to encourage both seeing and being seen.

b. Empathetic Listening

You have to construct the competencies of empathic listening on a foundation of disposition that inspires openness and trust. The emotional bank accounts that create commerce between the hearts must be built.

2) Create Collaborative classrooms (Attachment A) and Democratic Processes (Attachment B).

a. Authentic genuine learning communities.

b. Age appropriate Popular Education.

3) Schools should not be a factory for the factory.

a. Compliance and conformity should not be the primary objective.

b. Use resources and professionals that understand the intent of standards and standardization and center methods on unique people, places and cultures (a capacity building ecology).

c. Educational purpose should be built on nurturing healthy people, not willing workers (i.e. “They must be prepared for the real world”).

4) Remember that robustness abounds. (Attachment C)

a. Robustness as the most common variable toward a contributing person.

b. Extreme measures are required to overcome the institutionalized personal impact of exclusion.

5) If you live there, you learn there.

a. Create responsible districts and open schools.

b. There should be no third party sub-contracted responsibility.

6) Be a “committed inclusionist” (Samuel, Bill 2005).

a. It will take great fervor and clarity to overcome the forces of segregation and separation.

b. Hatred is an unconscious driving force behind segregation and congregation.

7) There must be teachers who work from their head, heart and hands.

a. Feel it: working from foundations of meaning and from their hearts.

b. Know it; knowing the right tool for the right job, which is used in the extraordinarily right way (e.g. Differentiated Instruction). Head.

c. Do it: Seeking evidence of becoming, belonging and learning. The former maybe exemplified by a new phrase, “Those who can do, really teach well”.

8) Work to create a culture and then enhance it and renew it by building capacity.

a. Institutional, student and professional learning and growth are symbiotic (Attachment D).

9) Work to immerse in and emerge with the deepest gift and contribution that each person has to offer (theory of Supreme Excellence Attachment E).

a. Discover with passion.

b. Discover with commitment.

c. Discover with creativity.

10) Engender a comprehensive all-embracing disposition that provokes;

a. Hard work.

b. Flexibility.

c. Trying ideas that are consistent with positive means and meaningful ends.

©Neuville 2005

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fundamental Assumptions

As Special Education is founded on the biological scientific model the assumptions carried by professionals are aligned with a biological / medical model of production. The doctors, who ran the institutions, defined the best procedures to serve (cure) the "patients". Following world war I & II the newly skilled doctors returned with a zeal to carry on what they learned curing the wounded. The result was a strong, assumption creating,  foundation for Special Education and rehabilitation. A minority force, social rehabilitationists, saw the environment as in need of repair and advocated for such improvements as public awareness and environmental accessibility (a robust component of this group are made up of conscientious objectors serving in institutions---watch for future blog). The resulting set of beliefs, assumptions and scientific ideals was a biological model with social agendas. This model is the core of the Special Education field today and represents the core of the problems. 

When PL 94-142 was passed in 1975 improvement was generated not toward new models and ways of knowing. Improvement was generated within the narrow confines of the biological model. In some ways the new law cemented a set of assumptions and beliefs that have become an unconscious battle cry for well educated and skilled practitioners. When these assumptions are articulated and challenged as assumptions and not personal identifiers (professionals may declare; "this is who I am") true progress will be available. Just what are these well established assumptions that are now held as truths?

Monday, May 25, 2009

What every educator must know is contained in this graphic. A trilogy is soon to be published that will explain the theories and processes.
Please do not copy or reprint this graphic or it's contents.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Holding One Another

The Special School that holds the child,
The nursing home that holds the elder,
The prison that holds the troubled.
Have put our souls on hold as they eat up the opportunities to hold one another.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Just a thought that has more to do with labor than memorial, but then Memorial day feels often more like labor day.

For Those Interested in Making a Difference 

Facilitation is the sustaining of opportunities, resources, encouragement and support for the group to succeed in achieving its objectives, and to do this through enabling the group to take control and responsibility for the way they proceed.  The facilitating leader is a facilitator with a vision.  The use of facilitation finally answers the question of how to motivate people.  The answer is not about motivation.  It is rather about inspiration.  To produce or arouse a strong feeling is the only direct path to quality, effectiveness, health, profitability and personal well being.  I have never been successful in generating high sustainable levels of motivation as a leader.  I have been able to create authentic environments that reach into individuals and free what is best about them.  We who are living in environments that inspire have virtually been able to do away with regulatory quality checks, abolish watch dog forms and reporting mechanisms, and focus on doing the job right rather than short term concerns of profitability, quality control, or human resource management.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What Every Educator Must Know

As an educator each teacher must attend to fundamental foundations of learning environments, the competencies of designing and maintaining coherent models of service and supports, and understand strategies of causing formal tools (e.g.IEP) to be in service to the first two (fundamentals & coherent models).

This brief statement is focused on attending to fundamental foundations of learning environments. What every educator must know is that there is an umbrella theory which holds two foundational strategies. The Main Concerns theory asserts that qualkity learning environments start when whole attention is turned to the Supreme Excellance* of the student as a base for the design, creation and implementation of Democratic Processes and Symbiotic Relationships. The Main Concerns theory must be understood and implamented prior competently actualizing coherent models and engaging formal structures and regulations.

The Theory of Supreme Excellence. The cause of supportive and nurture based education is understanding the student’s spirit and essence. This act of understanding leads to a reliable guide of the students divinity (interests) and will reveal the required functional skills which will be embraced by the student.

Based on Herzberg’s theory, students are not motivated by higher grades, special privileges, or grade level advancement. Students are motivated by expectations of success at challenging assignments. A teacher reports that the students primary concern is to feel that they have control in the advancement of their own destiny. It is the teacher’s job to provide opportunities for students to achieve so they will become motivated. The theory of Supreme Excellence requires opportunity be based on the individual talents and divinity of the student. Herzberg asserts that 80% of satisfaction comes from achievement, the task itself, responsibility, advancement and growth. . When a teacher was talking about Larry she could see that his obsession was a solid factor in his learning. If he is interested he is able to find information and learn it according to the teacher.

Seymour Sarason (1993) points out that one truth of education is that we view children as in need of taming. The data reflected this, as some professionals would say that, especially during the transition years, the children must learn what the real world is and how to deal with it. “Where students are” is ignored and “what students are” is something we should fear and therefore, tame or extinguish, according to Sarason. Sarason further asserts that the result is we have classrooms in which students are passive, uninterested, resigned, or going through the motions, or unruly, or all of the above. The Theory of Supreme Excellence is supported by Sarason’s work. Are teachers getting lost in the details of daily living? Viewing peoples actions, interests and behaviors as only relevant to the present. Better for the students and us is to see the three dimensions of behaviors actions and interests of past, present, and future. What people do, say and dream now are communications of desired futures based on past experiences and the truth of the soul (destiny).

A three part trilogy will soon be published as a guide for educators.

*Term indicates that which makes up a persons individual identity and path of destiny (Neuville, Thomas, 2000)

Saturday, May 16, 2009


While preparing for a course scheduled for the fall of 2009 I reintroduced myself to the concept of positivism. In so doing I found great understanding of the tensions I live with.  Positivism is (according to a doctrine contending that sense perceptions are the only admissible basis of human knowledge and precise thought and that the application of this doctrine in logic, epistemology, and ethics supersedes theology and metaphysics and depending on a hierarchy of the sciences, beginning with mathematics and culminating in sociology. It is the culminating in sociology that impacts the field of education and particularly special education.  All of this came about sometime between 1900 and 1950 and promoted attention to actual practice over consideration of what is ideal. Further the practice must be based on what is knowable from a strictly quantitative perspective.

Positivism elements are considers of lessor import knowing through relationship, experience or observation of the environment. Unless one is counting things relevant to those areas they are of little concern to the educator trying to improve the target (student).

No wonder I have difficulty communicating with some of my peers as they are sure that what I offer and the theories of practice I teach have no basis in reality or knowledge. Tom Srtic is the man to speak with or read if you are looking for substantial insight into this ( 

Sadness washes over me as I see clearly that I am speaking a foreign language and inviting people into a strange culture when I give evidence that suggests the source of teaching is to be found in relationships, environment, cultures and the mix of all of those. This is good news however as I now have been reminded of a plethora of resources that can be offered to teacher candidates and injected into the academy at multiple points of entry.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Integration not Inclusion

Yesterday I heard a women give testimony to the legislature against a funding bill. She was not actually against the financial expenditure aimed at Special Education. She was opposed to the bias for educating children with disabilities in the general education environment. She spoke of the need to remain true to the federal law (IDEA ) which calls for the placement decision to be with the IEP team. The women referenced "advocates for inclusion" as a pejorative.


This is a common refrain and it is time to uncover the bias in that statement. What a century of social research tells us is that one becomes a participating and contributing member of society when one is integrated. The act of integration being defined as personal social integration and societal participation (Wolfensberger, Social Role Valorization 1983)* is the key to being a healthy and productive citizen. 


What we have now is an unemployment rate that is 59% higher than the rate of nondisabled workers ( The median adjusted family income for disabled workers is about half of the median for others aged 18-64 ($13,323 compared with $24,487) []. So if we consider the success of education for citizens with disabilities the long term result is marginalization in multiple respects. 


The sacred IEP team, which I support in theory, is a clear victim of socio-cultural bias. And what aggravates the outcome are high levels of consciousness. Special Education is a support and a service, not a place. When the evidenced is used over the bias children with disabilities will join their peers and have equal opportunities. The children without disabilities will also rise up as a diverse methodological classroom is good for all.

Social Role Valorization (SRV) is the name given to an analysis of human relationships and human services, formulated in 1983 by Wolf Wolfensberger, PhD

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Coming together

I can see, and more importantly feel, that the cultural rift in the United States is closing. I do not wish to project unbridled hope so let me just say that a new rift, likely many rifts, are on the horizon. but for the moment let's stick with the idea that the old one is closing. 

I just came from a graduation keynote that was inspiring in that it was given by one who is identified as a Bush conservative and spoke to Obama liberals. Not that he intended to cross boundaries. The messages of community building and power coming best from groups of people speak equally to communitarians of yesterday and faith based services of, also yesterday. The multiple crisis' of the moment are driving us to actualize the saying, "act locally and think globally".

Friday, March 13, 2009

The shift to tactics

I have been expereincing the shift to tactics. That is people (professionals) are making use of the hiding place of tactics over doing the right thing or even the important but lower level ultimate outcome. More of this will follow but for now let it be known that many guardians of the status quo are running to the hiding place of "I just have to complete the task". Competent, expereinced, incharge professionals stated to me the other day that they understood that the most important outcome is to get children educated in ordinary palces....BUT....they where just following orders to complete the tasks. They held no responsibility for the more important outcomes of children having more desirable futures and are waiting for authority to direct them. I'll end this thought knowing that further development is in order. I'll simple say one word as a source of thought...Nuremburg.