Monthly Archives: March 2008

Pragmatism

While reading The Grapes of Wrath with my class this month, I introduced the idea of pragmatism to the students. I used the two primary facets of this philosophy to help analyze the novel. These two characteristics of pragmatism are: 1) truth is mutable, and 2) things become true by verification (experience).

If truth is relative and ever-changing, then there are no absolutes.

With this in mind, I just saw a film which epitomizes this philosophical position: Gone Baby Gone. I can’t say much or else the surprises are given away, but watch the film and decide what you would have done at the film’s conclusion. Please let me know in a reply. I’d love to hear read your thoughts.

If you do post anything about the ending, please begin your post with the word “Spolier,” so others know whether or not to read any further.

Where is the Joy of Reading?

According to a new study in a Washington Post article:

At a time when more authors are writing more books for young people, fewer children are reading for pleasure. A recent study by the National Endowment for the Arts showed that the percentage of 13- to 17-year-olds who read daily for fun dropped from 31 percent to 22 percent between 1984 and 2004. The amount they read for school has not changed.

Oddly enough, this is what a group of middle and high school teachers discussed at a recent alignment meeting. My position, however, was quite unpopular with the district office leaders. Continue reading

The Ever-Popular Blueberry Story

“If I ran my business the way you people operate your schools, I wouldn’t be in business very long!”

I stood before an auditorium filled with outraged teachers who were becoming angrier by the minute. My speech had entirely consumed their precious 90 minutes of inservice. Their initial icy glares had turned to restless agitation. You could cut the hostility with a knife. Continue reading

Hmmm

In a study researchers found:

Students who receive comprehensive sex education are half as likely to become teen parents as those who get none or abstinence-only sex education, according to researchers at the University of Washington. What’s more, teens who had comprehensive education, which typically discusses condoms and birth-control methods as well as abstinence, were no more likely to engage in intercourse than peers who were taught just to say no to sex before marriage, researchers said.

Only one word comes to mind: “Duh!” Did this really surprise anyone? More comprehensive education leads to better decision-making? You don’t say?

Teens are going to have sex if they want to do so. The big difference is how much information they are provided to protect themselves. Remember this frightening finding?

I’m Awful Sometimes

I sat in a three-hour union meeting with ESPN’s updating scoreboard open in the background of my computer. Even though the meeting was a good one, I just couldn’t keep myself from keeping track of March Madness. I’m just as bad as my students sometimes.