‘Trying to Teach’ Tuesday

I’ve been told that reading a book and “listening to a book on tape” are not the same. In other words, if I read a book from cover to cover, I would understand and absorb the material better than if I were to listen to the same words being read to me by another person. Is this true?

Do you or would you allow your students the option of listening to a book instead of reading a book? What’s the difference? If listening to the spoken word is not valid, then why do we sometimes read passages out of books during class and ask our students to listen?

BTW, ALL faculty may comment; including our retired faculty members.

‘Trying to Teach’ Tuesday

Is there such a thing as faculty reading for pleasure anymore?

I ask this question because as much as I’ve try to pick up a new book and read for pure personal  enjoyment, the words on the pages inevitably come back to connect with course content. I am not trying to do this on purpose, honest – I think.

The other day I was in the library looking at the new book selections and checked out Science: A Four Thousand Year History by Patricia Fara. I simply wanted to take a break from reading about art history, a quick break, a cleansing of the literal palate if you will allow the analogy. So what happens? The book introduces ideas that are relevant to the study of art history and immediately I want to incorporate content from the book in future class lectures (it happened as early as yesterday in the classroom).

So I think back and wonder: Was I really trying to get away from the subject of art or was I secretly trying to come at it from another angle? What started as an act of separation from my teaching discipline became otherwise.

Have I (or we) become victims of our careers? Have you read a book lately that was completely unrelated to your discipline? Are you able to read ‘just for fun’ anymore? Are you able to make the disconnect and recommend a book to a family or friend that is totally unrelated to a class you teach?

I school, you school, we all scream for… unschool?

I’m not sure how to preface this but take a look at this report from Good Morning America.

I’m not sure if I would call this objective reporting but it’s worth a look since we may have this minority group in our classrooms sooner than later.

I got a kick out of the b-roll showing the young adults horsing around while the reporter introduces the concept of “unschooling”.  Don’t be fooled by what you see. Keep in mind that this family represents one example of the concept.

Thinking About Maxine Greene, and There She Is

So, the other day, I was poking around in my Nikki Giovanni book looking for the poem in the post below, and I found another one she wrote about an old English teacher of hers who introduced her to this great work, which led her to that one, which led her to poetry, and so on. It’s great stuff. Anyway, while reading that, I started to think about Masxine Greene, who is the person I always think about when the topics of literature, diversity, and curriculum come up. The first time I ever read anything by her, it was over my then girlfriend’s (now bride’s) shoulder, and I was dazzled. It was an excerpt from her book, Teacher As Stranger, I believe, and I was hooked. And then, how weird is this, on the same day, the same, very day, I get an email from this society I’m in about a new issue of a journal blah, blah, blah, dedicated to Maxine Greene.

Like it was fate or something.

Alright, I know, I know…it’s a Philosophy Journal, which is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s called Journal of Educational Controversy, and everybody loves to read about controversy, and, like I said, this month’s issue is dedicated to Maxine Greene, who was unbelievably awesome, and it has great stuff like this in it. (Plus there’s a link to the previous issue which was called, “Schooling as if Democracy Matters” and has an all star philosophy of education lineup, including three of my favorite reads: Bill Ayers, Sharon Todd, and Claudia Ruitenburg)

And it’s free. And it led me to finding Maxine Greene’s Foundation Web site with its sweet library full of stuff that I haven’t read yet (but can’t wait to get into)…

And if you’ve never heard of Maxine Greene, do yourself a favor and check her out.