February 9th, 2003

tv // lbd // shoulder touch

Weekend, Meta, Fic.

I've sort of been ignoring my LJ this weekend, I see. Between homework, and trying to keep my brother's teenaged ass from permanently afixing to the seat in front of the computer, and sleeping, and generally feeling bleh...

Watched Meta on Friday and of course, it was wonderful. It's not as nice as seeing episodes first-run on the TV, of course. Damn SciFi and my lack of restraint when it comes to squinty eps. I'm sort of tempted to not watch the finale on squinty, but I don't think I'd be able to avoid the spoilers. But it really was nice seeing it big and everything.

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Weirdly enough (and annoyingly enough, really *g*) I've gotten an idea for an original story. Which is really unheard of, since the only times I've even written original fiction since being introduced to fic has been for class. But I was watching the end of Forever Young (mm, Mel) yesterday, plus a whole lot of news coverage, and it spawned a little idea. And the little idea talked to itself all day, eventually coming up with some main characters, a premise and even an opening paragraph. So when I got tired of working on March 08 last night, I worked on the original idea a little. I think it's going to be hard, because the temptation to be preachy will be great... not to mention the fact that the main character is a woman and those are always the easiest to Mary Sue (inadvertantly or otherwise). But it could be interesting. We'll see.

Meanwhile I'm still struggling with my zinefic, tentatively titled "Perfect World". It's just missing a certain flow, probably because I'm writing it in stops and starts. I think I do the best job when I can sit down over the course of a night, or a couple nights, and just get it all on paper (well, or on screen). I tend to ramble a whole lot, but that can always be cut down later. The problem with this fic is I don't know if I'm already past the point of no return as far as that goes. And it's frustrating as hell, because I know how I want it to go, I know how I want it to end... I just can't get it to sound right. Grr.

Hmm. I need to make some new SJ icons...
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tv // lbd // shoulder touch

Educational philosophy

I've been sitting here, reading my Intro to Ed book and pondering what to post on the class website (which is our weekly assignment) in response to the following question: Our students are becoming increasingly diverse. How well do the different philosophies of education address issues of student diversity? The philosophies are:

Perennialism: Train the intellect through studying traditional, classical works. Lecture. High-structure. Frequent testing. Critical, content-centered learning.

Essentialism: Acquire basic skills and knowledge. Train kids to function in present society. Lecture, question, give feedback. High structure. Frequent testing.

Progressivism: Problem solving. Train kids to function in the real world. Cooperative learning and guided discovery. Democratic classroom environment. Continuous feedback and informal monitoring, as opposed to testing.

Postmodernism: Examine present-day institutions and marginlized people. Emphasize works of marginalized people. Discussions, role playing, simulations. A self-regulated classroom.

So, how do these philosophies address issues of student diversity?

So far on the class message board, there have only been about ten answers, and most people answering don't really know what they're saying. They're just regurgitating phrases from the book that might sound okay if they were being spoken, but when reading them... well, they don't make any sense.

Then you have those who answer with the obvious: Perennialism is the least successful in addressing student diversity, Essentialism more so, Progressivism even more so, and Postmodernism the most successful. The reasoning (if you listen to postmodernists) is that the curriculum that the Perennialists and Essentialists favor has been created by White males who have either no understanding or appreciation for the diversity of other (primarily Eastern) cultures.

Personally, I consider myself to be an Essentialist. But that doesn't mean I think students should only read the works of Shakespeare and other White males to the exclusion of all other groups. I think it's important to impress upon kids that people of all ethnicities and backgrounds and gender can be authors and scientists and explorers and whatever else they want to be. But this is not the same thing as subscribing to Postmodernism, the book definition of which is "contends that many of the institutions in our society, including schools, are used by those in power (White males) to control and marginalize those who lack power (unskilled workers, women, and cultural minorities."

Now, that's a possible philosophy - one I don't agree with, but that's a rant for another time - but I don't see how it's appropriate in schools. Do people really want Black or Asian or Hispanic second graders to be taught that the White man is out to get them? To instill this sense of victimization at such a young age? To eliminate Shakespeare in favor of feminist and minority authors? I simply can't look at that without sensing some kind of social agenda, the kind I believe is harmful to children.

And that's why I favor Essentialism, with a Progressive bent from time to time, perhaps. You teach all students the basic skills that they need to know. You vary the curricula to include authors from many walks of life in order to demonstrate that excellence can be found in many places. You may encounter individual situations where a minority student isn't doing well in class due to cultural factors, and if that's the case, you deal with the individual. You maintain flexibility.

Sigh. I started this rant in the hopes that it would help me better understand the discussion question, but I don't think I've really gotten anywhere. How do these philosophies address issues of student diversity? Oh well. Maybe I'll wait a bit, see who else posts, and hope something they say gives me some spark of an idea.
  • Current Mood
    confused confused
tv // lbd // shoulder touch

The Sam/Jack Fanfiction Awards

For those who don't know, the SJFAs have been wrapped up and the winners announced. Congrats to everyone. We definately had improved participation from last time, ironed out a lot of kinks, and have a few ideas for next year... namely putting in a smut category, Sue ;)

It was interesting, though... we asked for comments or suggestions, and last I checked, nothing had been sent in. I'm not sure if that means we did an absolutely smashing job, or just reinforces my theory that shippers are some of the most benevolently lazy suckers in fandom *g*

After watching all the crap and chaos from other other awards, it's quite nice to have everyone so laid back, however. But then again, we don't have to worry about Danny Worship infringing on the other categories *eg*
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    mischievous mischievous
tv // lbd // shoulder touch

Assessing Your Philosophy of Education

Per my rant on the same subject further down the page... I thought some people might find it interesting to get a feel for what their own philosophy is. Here are the questions. For each, judge it on a scale of 1 - 5

1 = Strongly disagree
2 = Disagree
3 = Neutral
4 = Agree
5 = Strongly agree

1. Schools should emphasize important knowledge more than students' personal interests.

2. Teachers should emphasize interdisciplinary subject matter that encourages project-oriented, democratic classrooms.

3. Schools should emphasize the search for personal meaning more than a fixed body of subject matter.

4. The primary aim of education is to develop a person's intellectual capacity.

5. Schools should emphasize basic skills more than humanistic ideals.

6. Teachers should guide student learning rather than lecture and disseminate information.

7. The best teachers encourage personal responses and develop critical awareness in their students.

8. The goals of education should be similar for everyone; all students should understand the important literature, mathematics, and science of Western civilization.

9. The purpose of schools is to ensure practical preparation for life and work more than personal development.

10. Curriculum should emerge from students' needs and interests; it should not be prescribed in advance.

11. The best education emphasizes the great works in the arts and humanities.

12. It is more important for teachers to involve students in activities that analyze and criticize society than to accumulate a lot of information.

13. Education should enhance personal growth through problem solving in the present more than emphasizing preparation for a distant future.

14. Human nature's most distinctive quality is the ability to reason; therefore, the intellect should be the focus of education.

15. Schools often perpetuate racism and sexism that is camouflaged as traditional values.

16. Teachers should help students learn a common core of knowledge, not experiment with their own views about curriculum.

Now, to find your score for each of the four philosophies:

Perennialism: Add the numbers for your responses for #4, 8, 11, and 14

Progressivism: Add the numbers for your responses for #2, 6, 10, and 13

Essentialism: Add #1, 5, 9 and 16

Postmodernism: Add #3, 7, 12 and 15.

Obviously, the bigger the number, the more prone you are to have that specific philosophy on teaching.

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