I’ve learned many useful things from my students through the years. Last fall, Peter Jackson from my Senior English class drew my attention to the the term “Steel Man”. I’d understood the concept it represented, but not encountered the term; as often, however, having a name for something makes it easier to handle and promote.… Continue reading A Rhetorical Superhero
I have to date remained silent here about the COVID-19 pandemic, because for the most part I haven’t had anything constructive to add to the discussion, and because I thought that our parents and students would probably prefer to read about something else. I also try, when possible, to discuss things that will still be… Continue reading Unprecedented?
I’m one of those aging folks who still remember the original run of Star Trek (no colon, no The Original Series or any other kind of elaboration — just Star Trek). It was a groundbreaking show, and whether you like it or not (there are plenty of reasons to do both), it held out a… Continue reading Mr. Spock, Pseudo-scientist
I rather like Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. I should also admit that I’m not a hard-core devotee of mysteries in general. If I were, I probably would find the frequent plot holes in the Holmes corpus more annoying than I do. I enjoy them mostly for the period atmosphere, the prickly character of… Continue reading The Sherlock Holmes Law
I’m not a mathematician by training, but the language and (for want of a better term) the sport of geometry has always had a special appeal for me. I wasn’t a whiz at algebra in high school, but I aced geometry. As a homeschooling parent, I had a wonderful time teaching geometry to our three… Continue reading Reflections on Trisecting the Angle
The liberal arts are, to great measure, founded on written remains, from the earliest times to our own. Literature (broadly construed to take in both fiction and non-fiction) encompasses a bewildering variety of texts, genres, attitudes, belief systems, and just about everything else. Like history (which can reasonably be construed to cover everything we know,… Continue reading Crafting a Literature Program
The Greek philosopher Aristotle thought widely and deeply on many subjects. Some of his ideas have proven to be unworkable or simply wrong — his description of a trajectory of a thrown object, for example, works only in Roadrunner cartoons: in Newtonian physics, a thrown ball does not turn at a right angle and fall… Continue reading Causes
On average, my students today are considerably less patient than those of twenty years ago. They get twitchy if they are asked merely to think about something. They don’t know how. My sense is not that they are lazy: in fact, it’s perhaps just the opposite. Just thinking about something feels to them like idling,… Continue reading Time to Think
When our kids were younger and living at home, they also frequently had dishwashing duty. Even today we haven’t gotten around to buying a mechanical dishwasher, but when five people were living (and eating) at home, it was good not to have to do all that by ourselves. But as anyone who has ever enlisted… Continue reading Autonomy of Means Again: “Best Practices”
Many in the field of classical education tout the use of the Socratic Method, by which they seem to mean a process that draws the student to the correct conclusion by means of a sequence of leading questions. Whether it’s valid pedagogically or not, however, we mustn’t claim that it’s Socratic.