Kevin vs Jeff


In this week’s supplemental readings by Papert, namely Instructionism vs Constructionism Papert mentions two types of makers/learners:

"Jeff is the author of one of the first space-shuttle programs. He
does it, as he does most other things, by making a plan. There
will be a rocket, boosters, a trip through the stars, a landing.
He conceives the program globally; then he breaks it up into
manageable pieces. "I wrote out the parts on a big piece of
cardboard. I saw the whole thing in my mind just in one night,
and I couldn’t wait to come to school to make it work…"

…Kevin is a very different sort of child. Where Jeff is precise in
all of his actions, Kevin is dreamy and impressionistic. Where Jeff
tends to try to impose his ideas on other children, Kevin’s
warmth, easygoing nature, and interest in others make him popular.
Meetings with Kevin were often interrupted by his being
called out to rehearse for a school play. The play was Cinderella,
and he had been given the role of Prince Charming …"

While there do seem to be some biased character judgements against “Jeffs”, what are your thoughts on these personas overall? As I sit trying to identify with either Jeff or Kevin, I’m curious as to how others see the situation and would love to hear some feedback.



Hi Joey, I do agree there appeared to be some bias toward Jeff. For me, however, the bigger picture is not that either character is necessarily more productive or creative than the other; each character took a different approach to the same of building a rocket. In the workforce, we do need a balance of Jeffs and Kevins since both offer unique perspectives for a solution. I suppose this is where the P for peer takes an important role in creative learning.

Thank you for bringing up this discussion point, and I look forward to hearing what others have to say!


This is a really interesting question! That section stood out to me as well. One part that might be important is the paragraph that precedes it:

Our intellectual culture has traditionally been so dominated by the identification of good thinking with abstract thinking that the achievement of balance requires constantly being on the lookout for ways to reevaluate the concrete, one might say, as an epistemological analog of affirmative action.

It also requires being on the lookout for insidious forms of abstractness that may not be recognized as such by those who use them. For example, styles of programming that are often imposed as if they were simply “the right way” express a strong value judgment between the abstract and the concrete ways of doing things.

To me the personas are intended to evoke the feeling of cultural domination of one way of thinking over the other. But as I think about myself, the different personas become more like different facets of a single life. Like he says just above that paragraph

I want to say something more controversial in helping to demote abstract thinking from being seen as “the real stuff” of the working of the mind… For the confirmed bricoleur, formal methods are on tap, not on top.