Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Art and Craft’ Category

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.

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

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

 

Read Full Post »

We were walking in the woods yesterday, along an old rail-line that echos the banks of a local reservoir and park.  There were some art installations on display, but the real show was the back-lit splendor of the beechwoods.

beechwoodsblazing

As we walked along, bittersweet breezes sent leaves skirlling downward.  I caught an oak leaf and stuck it in my hat.  I caught an ash seed and made my own little tableau…

yellowredleaves-ashseed

Read Full Post »

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 11.10.51 PM.png

Read Full Post »

If Xeno was a persian lion.png

From a 1500s book of Five Poems, or The Kamsah available online through the British Library. This beastie is looking up at a running hare, and reminds me of Xeno.  Although this scan doesn’t show it to best effect, the ink is gold.  In the next image, you can see where silver ink had been used on the stag’s horns, but centuries have tarnished those sections black..

Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 1.13.48 PM.png

 

Read Full Post »

image

I’ve never tried sleeping on this rock, but it does regularly get anointed with oil.  Call this offering ‘The first fruits of lunching’, as this oil is from each jar of peanut butter I open here. Yes, I know you’re supposed to stir it in….but we don’t need those calories, and the peanut butter works just fine without the separated part.

I think the local squirrels are more impressed by my actions than any Deity.  But you never know….

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »