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Archive for the ‘Art and Craft’ Category

Some things are more possible when many things are in motion — for instance — if you put two avid readers into one house, there will be bookshelves, but then there will eventually be book gridlock.  All the spaces have been filled, and you can’t sort what’s there easily because there’s no place to put them during the process, other than the floor, and that leads to madness.

And tripping.

And cats perching on the stacks, swatting at you as you go by, because they suddenly think your hamstrings are going to be easier to cut from this new angle.

[Not really]

But behold!  New bookshelves have arrived for Christmas, which frees up space for sorting!

Do I still need 5 years of Specialty Coffee Retailer in hardcopy?  Well, maybe not. 

Do I need the Curriculum guides from that last department?  Oh, hell no.  So there’s 5 more feet of shelf-space reclaimed, and I can think about bringing certain items down from the attic while sending others up there, out of the way, since I’m not going to be teaching freshman comp again anytime soon.

Music for shelfreading: Choral Polyphony.

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Chronicle Higher Ed poster v2

Original source: Chronicle of Higher Education

If you can pinpoint which issue from this summer the original art appeared, so I can acknowledge the artist properly, that would be wonderful!

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MuseOfEpicPoetry

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In a recent interview, I forgot to say what should have been at the tip of my tongue, namely that yes, of course I am familiar with motivating people who are not sufficiently engaged in the tasks at hand in the office: I was an English professor!  Rare is the student among hundreds who really latches onto assignments in freshman comp, eager to push their abilities to research, articulate, and argue according to the conventions laid down by Aristotle centuries ago.

Lady Rhetorica

I didn’t say that.  I didn’t say “I taught required courses for many years before I got to teach classes filled with students who chose to be there, deliberately choosing my sections, my topics, degree track, etc.  I said a few other things, and maybe those will lead to other interesting things; we’ll see where it all leads.  Hopefully forward, but at the moment there are so many, many things looping back again I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m told “no, not now, but later”…

Another example of scenarios looping around [other than Watergate and liberation theology] include the evergreen lament that students “cannot write”, which really is “students do not practice what x person remembers as prose style” and “teachers don’t seem to be making students do what x person recognizes as hard enough work”.  See the latest infuriating article here. That writer is shocked to find ‘little high-quality research’ on teaching writing, but doesn’t look hard enough to see that what she values is exactly what research over the last 35 years very specifically fails to support. In fact, based in part on the compilation of studies by George Hillocks in Research on Written Composition, we used to use grammar-driven writing lessons as our control groups because it was really well demonstrated that those had no lasting effect on writing quantity or quality.  Sentence combining does have evidence to demonstrate its success, but if you aren’t citing the Christensens, you’re missing the connection to both tradition and experiments.

<sigh>  But every so often, the “if only we drilled them on grammar” will come around again, and we’ll need people like George, Mina Shaughnessy, and other dogged, data-driven people to turn that tide back again.

 

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SpringTreeBlossomsI would tell you that “two way streets are two way streets”, in a way more meaningful than “Brexit means Brexit” or “OATH-with-a-blue-colon says away more about that merger than anyone should admit in polite company.”

I would tell you that the sunrise has shifted northwards, such that the glare can still wake me, but I don’t get any of the lovely gold-red glow to go with my insomnia and the boisterous dawn chorus of [possibly tasty] wrens, titmice, and robins.

I would tell you that taxes are preferable to death, at least so long as the arts and sciences still get funding.Purple croci pair.jpg

I would tell you tulips, and daffodils, and finally, blessedly, honeybees and carpenter bees; crinkled green leaves on the raspberry canes and tongue-colored fists of peony leaves punching up at the sky.

I would tell you that I wish people would say plainly what they want other people to know, but I have this fondness for truth, so we might need to edit that wish a bit, depending on who is doing the speaking at any given time.

TulipContortion.jpg

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Well, singing, actually, but you get the idea.  There are many voices that need to be raised up, and many good things to be saved.

And while we’re at it: Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God

 

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