Posts Tagged “Education”

08w04:6 Eric Hoffer

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Eric Hoffer | Ronald Gross
(excerpt from The Independent Scholar’s Handbook)
A Hoffer quote from the linked doc: “We went to work and started to build our load. On the docks it’s very simple – you build your side of the load and your partner builds his side, half and half. But that day I noticed something funny. My partner was always crossing the aisle, giving foreign aid to somebody else. He wasn’t doing his share of the work on our load, but he was helping other with theirs. There was no reason to think he disliked me. But I remember how that day I got started on a beautiful train of thought. I started to think why it was that this fellow, who couldn’t do his own duty, was so eager to do things above and beyond his duty. And the way I explained it was that if you are clumsy in doing your duty, you will be ridiculous, but that you will never be ridiculous in helping others – nobody will laugh at you. The man was trying to drift into a situation where his clumsiness would not be conspicuous, would not be blamed. And once I started to think like that, I abandoned him entirely. My head was in orbit! I started to think about avant-garde, about pioneering in art, in literature. I thought that all people without real talent, without skill, whether as writers or artists and so on, will try to drift into a situation where their clumsiness will be natural and expected. what situation will that be? Of course – innovation. Everybody expects the new to be ill-shaped, to be clumsy. I said to myself, the innovators, with a few exceptions, are probably people without real talent, and that’s why practically all avant-garde art is ugly. But these people, the innovators, have a necessary role to play because they keep things from ossifying, they keep the gates open, and then eventually a man with real talent will move in and make use of any technique. Oh, I worked and worked on this train of thought; I was excited all day long, and I have a whole aphorism that came about as a result; when I got back to my room all I had to do was write it down. It often happened to me just that way – and all on the company’s time!”
// I consider this dated but worth considering.

Eric Hoffer | Wikipedia
“Hoffer also took solace in being an outcast, believing that the outcasts have always been the pioneers of society. He did not consider himself an “intellectual”, and scorned the term as descriptive of the allegedly anti-American academics of the West. He believed academics craved power but were denied it in the democratic countries of the West (though not in totalitarian countries, which Hoffer understood to be an intellectual’s dream). Instead, Hoffer believed academics chose to bite the hand that fed them in their quest for power and influence.”

The Eric Hoffer Resource

04w37:2 A Canadian Education

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 37 number 2 (a canadian education)

The article by Alanna Mitchell is on the Globe and Mail site, which recently instituted a registration policy, so you may be prompted. I’ll give you all a chance to register with them and ‘help them help us’ (as they say in their editorial on the subject) before providing a quicky password as I’ve done in the past. – Timothy

——————————————————————— Canada’s public schools attract foreign families willing to pay dearly | Alanna Mitchell
“Young Robert is part of a thriving new market for Canadian school boards, which are following the lead of universities that have long vied for high-paying foreign students. […] Mr. Wilson said Canada’s main attraction is the excellent international reputation of its publicly funded education system. Canadian students do well in international tests — a key factor for foreign parents considering sending their children abroad — and the school system is well-financed compared with other industrialized countries. […] For Robert Sun’s parents, buying a Canadian education for their boy serves several purposes. The first is to expose him to ideas beyond the scope of the Taiwanese education system. ‘Right now it’s a global world. We would like to have our son have a global mind,’ said his mother, Rebecca Tsang, 46. It’s also a great way for him to perfect his English, and with the Mandarin he already knows, he should be positioned well to find a good job, she said. Another big draw for Ms. Tsang and her husband, Frank Sun, 55, who jointly own a trading company in Taipei, is that the Canadian public-school system teaches children to think deeply and creatively, rather than the tough-minded rote learning that takes place throughout East Asia. “

Canada in the 24th Century | Timothy B. Brown
“A national effort began in the 22nd century to make Canada the higher education center of the world. A tremendous effort was put into motion at that time to attract great thinkers to Canada to teach, to build facilities which would draw students from around the world, and to build a worldwide reputation for superb education and positive results. Canada correctly recognized the economic potential in being a leader in education. Othe r nations eventually began sending students, as a matter of national policy, to Canada, not wanting to be left behind in the thinking of the age. By the end of the century Canada had achieved its goal and remains the uncontested master of higher education on Earth. ”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 07 September 2004 @ 4:52 PM

04w37:1 No School and Zell Miller

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 37 number 1 (no school and zell miller)


Against School | John Taylor Gatto
“I taught for thirty years in some of the worst schools in Manhattan, and in some of the best, and during that time I became an expert in boredom. Boredom was everywhere in my world, and if you asked the kids, as I often did, why they felt so bored, they always gave the same answers: They said the work was stupid, that it made no sense, that they already knew it. They said they wanted to be doing something real, not just sitting around. They said teachers didn’t seem to know much about their subjects and clearly weren’t interested in learning more. And the kids were right: their teachers were every bit as bored as they were. […]After a long life, and thirty years in the public school trenches, I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress our genius only because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.” Article Date: Sept 2003

Sen. Zill Miller Interview | Chris Matthews & Zell Miller
This is the interview everyone is talking about; the actual challenge occurs at a bout 06.39. Requires Windows Media Player 9 (available here for OS X) and good bandwidth.

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emailed by Timothy on Monday 06 September 2004 @ 9:01 PM


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Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 10 number 1

I now find myself trying to please an audience; even though I know some of you personally, I also know I have never met some of you lucky enough to be part of this club. I say this because today’s selections border on being boring, but are paired as examples of the evolution of our language.

Article One discuses the new standards imposed by the infamous American SAT test (and this dear folks I thought would only be interesting to one person I know, but I had to tell myself, ‘if it’s good enough for her it’s good enough for the rest’). Because the SAT’s aren’t an issue in Canada I found it a bit of a yawner, with its tone is somewhat haughty and mocking. However, the impression it left on me is how it illustrates what we consider good writing to be (and thus, what constitutes a good read) has, along with the lexicon and pronunciation, changed over the centuries. I was also left with the impression that such changes are marked by certain individual styles, whose novelty becomes influential.

The second article is etymological: the question of why The Passion of the Christ is called such. There are a lot of articles out there on the film The Passion of The Christ and its supposed controversy, but I’ve been sparing you them since I find many of them slanted and unfair. But I am no censor: if you’re really interested contact me and I’ll send you some links. (Hint: there’s a lot on, including a great critique by Christopher Hitchens posted this past weekend. The best thing I’ve read about the film is a partial translation from a French newspaper available here).

Another note: due to server issues I have been unable to update my website (including the goodreads archive index) for the past month, but hopefully things will be back up and running in the next week or so. – Timothy


Would Shakespeare Get Into Swarthmore? | by John Katzman, Andy Lutz and Erik Olson
“How several well-known writers (and the Unabomber) would fare on the new SAT […]
Reader’s evaluation: This essay is poorly organized, with only one paragraph (though, to Mr. Shakespeare’s credit, the topic sentence does speak to what the rest of the sentences in his one paragraph are about). It is riddled with errors in syntax, incomplete sentences being the most noticeable problem. Although his supporting sentences are vivid in their description, they are vague and general, not true examples. And he unfortunately spells ‘honor’ with the extraneous ‘u.’ Grade: 2 out of 6”

Why Is It Called The Passion? | Sam Schechner
“The simple answer is that the English word passion referred to Jesus’ suffering long before it evolved other, more sultry meanings. Today, the word still refers to Jesus’ torments, as well as to retellings of the crucifixion in the Gospels and elsewhere, even in pieces of music. (Before Gibson’s Passion, for instance, there were Bach’s Passions.) But the Christian meaning and its modern, carnal cousins are not entirely unrelated. In fact, the more common meanings of the word passion—strong emotion, zeal, and sexual desire—grew organically from the Christian sense over the course of several centuries. ”

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emailed by Timothy on Monday 01 March 2004 @ 3:03 PM