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An educated mind is an opened mind. An opened mind is a liberal mind. Teachers don't have to intend to create liberals, it happens naturally.

On the inside:

  • Levels of Knowing
  • Links to other education-related stories.
  • As always, the topics will be whatever you want to discuss.

Door's Open...

Levels of Knowing

I got into a philosophical/ethical discussion a couple days ago.  As it turned out, I was apparently the only participant who recognized that's what the discussion was about...at least from my viewpoint.  As far as the other participants were concerned, they had a weapon with which to attack one of our candidates and they wanted to use it regardless of whether it might be inappropriate ethical behavior.  Except that they didn't seem to understand that ethics might be involved.

When this sort of thing happens, I tend to move into teacher mode.  I've been a teacher most of my life after all (31 of 59 years).  I tried to explain that the situation needed to be discussed, not the individuals currently involved in the situation, in order that we might discover what might lay hidden in the shadows and maybe become better humans.  I was called a "condescending prick" for my troubles.

Even here?  Even at Daily Kos we don't want to learn to become better people?  We don't want to investigate our existence and what causes us to behave as we do?  Trying to initiate such a conversation is "condescension?"

I don't want to revisit that particular discussion.  I've tried to initiate it quite a few times and it always gets derailed.  What I want to ponder is the concept of levels.  At least that's what I call them.  I'm a mathematician-type philosopher so I've never been really interested in what some old-time philosopher decided to call what concept.  I call them levels.

I learned about levels from my mathematical education.  Nobody taught me about them directly but once I learned, I found that I could discuss them with other mathematicians, that indeed I now was a mathematician rather than a student of mathematics.

I learned that on the surface there were problems that needed solving.  But those problems could be grouped according to type...and in so doing, structure could be abstracted.  Solving a problem within such a structure provided a more general solution.  Knowledge increased.

But then the structures could also be grouped according to type.  And techniques that worked to solve problems in one structure might lead to the construction of analogues in a similar structure.  New solutions from old, so to speak.

Then I began to recognize that even the structures I thought dissimilar had commonalities.  Investigating those commonalities led to my Ph D thesis.  It's in an area of mathematics that is a hybrid of algebra, topology, and category theory, called torsion theory, which starts with the central question of how one might work with fractions if a*(1/b) and (1/b)*a do not necessarily provide the same result.

The weird thing is that the concept of levels spread contagiously.  If mathematics has levels, so do other disciplines.  And the disciplines can be categorized and analyzed for structure.  And so on.  And we start seeing the structure of knowledge.  Maybe.

Or maybe we restrict ourselves at the start with those little Real World™ problems and never go here, never view them in the abstract because we would rather float on the surface than delve deeper...to this place of levels.

Or maybe I'm just a condescending prick.

--Robyn Elaine Serven
--Bloomfield College, NJ

Education Round-up:  I've categorized.

For examples of People Teaching, please visitPhilosophy and PoliticsStories:  Ourselves and OthersFreedom on CampusNCLB/Department of Education/Standardized Testing/AssessmentMoneyAction, Advocacy and Information

I'll be hanging around most of the day, actively waiting for your comments (actually, I'll be working in another program, but I'm close by), so at least one person will be here to discuss whatever anyone wants to discuss.
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Every Saturday I'll post a clean slate, around 12 noon EST.

Originally posted to Robyn's Perch on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 08:56 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Hey, That's My Line!! (12+ / 0-)

      Great diary rserven, tipped and recc'd...

      On the mathematical subject, I've always scored high on math and pattern recognition testing, and I would love your opinion on my theory about politics, social issues and pattern recognition.

      People often tell me, "Gee, I can't believe I didn't see what you're pointing out..." to which I can only say that I see everything in pattern form, or mathematically, if you will...so, when something doesn't compute logically or chronologically, red flags go up and I'm like a pointer-dog...

      I call it my Snark-Meter...trigger my snark and something doesn't add up...

      "We are all of us broken, only some more-so than others..." TMWNP

      by TheManWithNoPoint on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 09:32:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Having taught logic... (4+ / 0-)

        ...and how to prove things for more than two decades, I recognize bullshit when I see it.  It gnaws at me when I start seeing the hand-waving. :-)

        •  there are experts (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          abbeysbooks, rserven

          there is a body of knowledge, and that knowledge has history, but it's usually overlooked. Take our space program, the ones who invented it knew the history cause they made it, their followers were students, who weren't necessarily the same sorts of people, and they didn't necessarily take the time to learn it the way the first ones did, and so they make mistakes they can't see coming.  I know someone who once worked for Bechtel Corp as a project secretary for a coal power plant, and the next one used the first design, and then made the same corrections they'd had to make to the first one, which makes sense only if you can see that if they 'improved' the design to rule out those first errors, they wouldn't know where the new ones would be.  Today we have politicians that doesn't know the history of the republic, and so they make mistakes, in lots of ways of course, but in either trying to 'fix' nothing, or in changing it so the new problems won't show up right away.  And we have a public that has no clue what it would be like to have their home invaded, and charges trumped up and fines levied by corrupt bureaucrats, and so they think losing our privacy may be worth it, for some abstraction they also haven't thought over very carefully. Our public is busy disagreeing on minor points while our nation is changing in ways that will create new problems no one can fully anticipate.  This is no time for individualism, it's like the bridges falling, we need to make corrections to protect all of us, but if we throw out the structure, like Bush showed with his hasty and unconstitutional tribunals, we're going to be lost, or loster.    

          •  The big difference... politicians have an agenda (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            abbeysbooks, rserven

            much different than someone trying to build a better mine.

            Inside a specialized field, like mining or rocket building, there is a constant need for improvement if the field is to evolve to a higher level.

            The history is a learning tool for the future.

            Descartes said: "Every problem I solved became a tool for solving the next problem."

            Politicians largely ignore the past and are therefore doomed to repeat past mistakes.

            It's rough out here on the campaign trail: kissing hands, shaking babies. ... Pat Paulsen

            by Trim Your Bush on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 12:27:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  science (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rserven

              has gone so far toward solving problems, just think of paint, and face creams, and the products they make can be judged, either they're better or they aren't, either they work or they don't.  Is' very sad that we don't have standards for politicians, they're often the kids we didn't like very much in junior high, they were ambitious and had poor social skills for same age peers, they were already more interested in powerful people, at that time usually adults, so they seemed liked kiss asses, and they were interested in being in charge.  I don't think we're tapping the right sorts for social service.  

          •  I agree with you and thanks for this diary (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiaD, rserven

            Now I have an explanation for knowing what I know way ahead of the curve. I never can explain it to a lower level of consciousness. I have come to think that becoming liberal is simply another level of consciousness. I used to be a Randian desciple in the early 60's, so I remember being otherwise, and I remember exactly the moment of change to another level.

            I was in graduate school in psychology and fighting for my intellectual life. I had stumbled out of ed classes to a different atmosphere where there were no hard core boundaries. Someone had set up an early psychophysics experiment on flicker fusion. A certain brightness of light flashing on and off at increasing rates will eventually create the perception of a steady light. The brighter the light, the faster the rate of change to produce a continuous light.

            So I sat in the darkened room with other grad students and for me it was really something. The light flickered, went faster, and when you saw it steady you raised your hand. So the hands were counted in increasing numbers as the rate got faster. I was wearing hard contacts then and my vision was chrystal clear, so the rate was going pretty fast before I saw it as steady. But I noticed that hands were going up as those who perceived the light to be continuous before I saw it that way.

            So in one mille second of intuition I saw my absolute Aristotle Randian structure crumble into the dust on the floor. If people couldn't agree at just which second a light became continuous, how could they possibly agree on any absolute abstract concept? Well they couldn't said I to myself. And so that was the end of my Randianism.

            Graham Greene (I think) talks about Catholic theology and beliefs the same way. If you doubt and disbelieve one part of it, then the whole crumbles. This helps me to understand the present pope. If he modernizes in any way, then crumble, crumble begins. Just not eating meat on Friday for all those centuries, and then to change it shakes the faith. All those people who confessed their sins of eating meat on Friday and now it's OK? I won't get into birth control at all.

            So I see almost everything as levels of consciousness. My best friend in Philly is a mathematical topologist who works at the theorem level and we can always talk about anything at all. Now I understand why from your diary.

            It is easy to mistake recognized expertise of knowledge as wisdom. But in studying a little bit of Chinese I learned that the character for wisdom has within it the characters of:  sun  ( associations: open; clarity; male; penetration; ) bright moon (associations: female; cyclical; phases; light in the dark; fecundity; birth; death; oppositions and paradox) the listening ear (open listening; hearing; non-judging; sensitive gradations of sound and voice ) generalized knowledge (associations: four corners; all directions; east west north south; ) and so on. There are more and anyone can add more free-associations to each separate character to increase their level of understanding of the true meaning of wisdom. It's not about looking up the word in an etymological dictionary as in English. It is right there in front of you to see in Chinese. If you have the desire to see. Anyone can see the character of wisdom with clarity and penbetration if they so desire. But sit someone down and make a lesson out of it and you get resistance.

            And resistance comes from psychoanalysis and Freud. How to acknowledge resistance, respect it, work with it and aid it in dissoving when it no longer is required as a defense. And there are levels and levels of resistance. To be dissolved. Or not.

            I was working with a co-counseling group and one woman had an ongoing problem with the fact that she came from a wealthy family who wanted to give her and her husband money all the time that she wouldn't take. The money had been made in a business (forget) that had questionable ethics for her. so this day as always she wandered in her associations to the money problem. After a bit I said, How wonderful! You can take all that money and launder it clean again! What will you do with it? Her associations had always been with the ethics of her personal use of the money, not in cleaning it up.

            Battering rams do not work. Comedy does because it intersects at two different levels and explodes the boundary. Why Colbert and Stewert are our best news analysts. Facts and reasoning have well structured defenses. In laughter there is a crashing of the gates. Schizophrenics in treatment with analysis get well when they begin to laugh. So the analyst gives them interpretations that make them laugh.

            I had one threaten me once. I was afraid and got a big friend to sit in the waiting room. On the couch my patient said that if I thought the guy out in the waiting room could protect me I was very mistaken.

            I told him that if he moved so much as his little toe off the couch I would bash his head in. (I am just 5 feet tall.) He roared with laughter, the first time in five years!

            Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

            by abbeysbooks on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 01:14:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  main reason I left (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              abbeysbooks, rserven

              Graham Greene (I think) talks about Catholic theology and beliefs the same way. If you doubt and disbelieve one part of it, then the whole crumbles. This helps me to understand the present pope. If he modernizes in any way, then crumble, crumble begins. Just not eating meat on Friday for all those centuries, and then to change it shakes the faith. All those people who confessed their sins of eating meat on Friday and now it's OK?

              Made NO sense to me. And why if the pope had so much gold & his own freaking city did he need a 10%tithe from my babysitting money?

              The hippies had it right all along and it's about time the media, the politicians, the culture as a whole sent out a big, wet, hemp-covered apology.

              by RiaD on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 01:25:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Amazing what crumbles one's beliefs (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RiaD, rserven

                when one thinks. My belief in God crumbled one afternoon after a Western Civilization lecture on Christianity being an eclectic religion as it pulled from the mystery cults and paganism in order to appeal to all the people in the Roman Empire which was crumbling. A sort of jack of all trades theology. So that made sense to me.

                And then I saw that if Chrisianity was made up, then a belief in God was too.

                Goodbye God. And then I began to talk with a divinity student in the grass outside my dorm and he tried to argue me out of it. No way.

                At four, I think it was and in the summer my best girlfriend told me she had lost her first baby tooth and had gotten a dime for it under her pillow.

                Wow, I said. The Good Fairy left you a dime?

                No, she said. It's really your parents that leave you the money under your pillow.

                Oh, Beverly I said, that means there's no Easter Bunny and no Santa Clause either.

                Yes there is! said Beverly and she broke out in tears and ran home crying. So I walked back up the hill to my house. And when I got in the door my mother was all upset saying, Why did you tell Beverly there's no Santa Claus. So I told her the story and then said, "Is there a Santa Claus?"

                My parents were big on telling the truth so she wouldn't lie and went into the spirit of Christmas euphenism thing.

                But it seems I was doing scientific thinking very young only school washed it out of me until I was 29 in graduate school in psychology and fighting for my intellectual life. I had burned all my teaching bridges behind me for insubordination of sorts. What a fucking waste of time.

                I remember asking my English teacher, "Were Lancelot and Guinevere having an affair?"

                She turned red and couldn't answer.

                Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

                by abbeysbooks on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 02:46:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  A multi-comment :-) (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              abbeysbooks, RiaD

              The array of topics you address is quite interesting. :-)

              I am especially happy to consider the Chinese character piece.  I plan on investigating that further.

              Robyn

    •  What's wrong with being nuts? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      abbeysbooks, RiaD, rserven

      Depends on the type of nuts, I'd say.  

    •  Very fine line between brilliance and insanity... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      abbeysbooks, RiaD, rserven, plf515

      Pick any ten well-known artists/musicians/etc.  Were they at any time in their lives accused of having lost touch with reality?

      My Al Gore The Assault on Reason diary series is in hiatus while I recover from two surgeries.

      by algebrateacher on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 01:01:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I might be! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rserven

      Would you take a look at this if you get some time. I'd really like your opinion.
      Thanks

      The hippies had it right all along and it's about time the media, the politicians, the culture as a whole sent out a big, wet, hemp-covered apology.

      by RiaD on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 05:36:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am on my way out (17+ / 0-)

    but this sounds like it could be a very interesting conversation.  But I'm not sure in what way it could be interesting, since I only have a vague idea of what your 'levels' are.  

    I wouldn't be able to follow the math, that's certain, but you say they are more widely applicable....can you expand? Perhaps using some field that is more common knowledge among us kossacks?

    Oh and, you've never condescended to me, or I'd be pissed.  Since you don't want to revisit the conversation you refer to, I won't go search for it.  But if (as seems likely) you behave with others as you do with me, I think it's the other people who have the problem, not you.

    •  Aha! moments... (11+ / 0-)

      ...often occur when one realizes that what was learned in one area applies to another.  Since I'm a mathematician, my insights tend to have a mathematical bent.  I can't look at them necessarily from another viewpoint.

      But I know that what abstracting requires.  If, for instance, someone wants to attack one of our candidates using a certain meme (a word I am extremely unfond of), wouldn't it seem appropriate to examine the meme to see if spreading it represented ethical behavior.  Is it fair?  If the candidate to whom it is being applied was removed from the situation and replaced by someone whom we know nothing about, would it be appropriately non-racist, non-sexist, non-heterosexist?

      I'm big on critical thinking.  I like it when people seem to be exercising some...like the ability to follow what they say to long term conclusions and the ability to look at statements from multiple points of view.

      •  Hello (7+ / 0-)

        I've mostly 'seen' you at top comments & I think this is the second time I've read your diaries. Mostly I didn't stop in because I'm not a 'real' teacher (we're all teachers, right?), have never been to college & don't much like poetry. I am however, a liberal & have an inquiring mind, I'm still evolving. In TC everythings pretty light so I got the wrong impression of you. I wish I'd come here sooner, even if I feel very ignorant.
        Anyway, hello.

        The hippies had it right all along and it's about time the media, the politicians, the culture as a whole sent out a big, wet, hemp-covered apology.

        by RiaD on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 10:38:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My Mom says that I am the only one of her (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        abbeysbooks, rserven, plf515

        children who, when coming home from college on breaks, would discuss what I'd learned and how it all connected to what I already knew.

        Of course, I'm the only one of her children who is left-handed.

        Just sayin'.

        My Al Gore The Assault on Reason diary series is in hiatus while I recover from two surgeries.

        by algebrateacher on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 01:06:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  haha! (16+ / 0-)

    well, if it's any comfort, of those i've seen labeled "condescending pricks" here at dKos, i'd say 95% of them are among my fave posters here.

    so give yourself a big old pat on the back for that.

    i have a sense of what that's all about, but won't go into it here. suffice it to say, my suspicions are it arises from the self-esteem movement and a - um - failure of - um - rigor in our schools. but that's only one theory and i think we covered it pretty well last week.

    now, as for me (hehe), just finished my first week of classes and have ended up with some pretty interesting observations.

    in two of my courses, i'd say that 50-60% of the students are black, another 20% Hispanic or Latino, 20% Indian and a few scattered White students here and there.

    and i was struck this week by the realization of how sweet my students are, and a sadness that so many of them would strike fear into the hearts of so many Americans, were they to run into them on the streets.

    they did brief life histories this week, as well, and some are coming from very rough circumstances. it did me proud, though, to read on paper after paper a determination to make it - with making it meaning GETTING AN EDUCATION AND DOING USEFUL THINGS IN LIFE. very much against a kind of American norm and very different than my former school, where i would read things like "i am determined to buy a classic Ford Mustang and soup it up!" or "oh, i want to move into a McMansion in such and such a suburb!"

    these guys have very different goals - and they're thinking longterm, too.

    and they're determined to get an education.

    i love my college. and it's barely a week in, and i'm already so proud i could bust of my students!

    •  I like the description of your students. (7+ / 0-)

      I hope I will be able to say the same about mine. :-)

      Teaching is so much easier when students have goals beyond getting a grade in the class.  I think when they do have such goals, it allows the investigation of the Why? questions.

      And it's there that investigation of those levels I mentioned above can begin.

      Robyn

    •  Always over 90% Latino in my classes and in my (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      abbeysbooks, rserven

      District.  Most of the other 10% are a broad mixture of Asian.

      Actually, I don't see that other 10% much in my classes now that I don't have "honors" classes anymore.

      Read into that.  Yep, that's right.

      My Al Gore The Assault on Reason diary series is in hiatus while I recover from two surgeries.

      by algebrateacher on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 01:11:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Show the movie Freedom Writers (0+ / 0-)

      it's great. I used to also show Los Olvidados a B&W film in Spanish with English subtitles by the great one and only Buneul about throw away boys in Mexico or someplace in Spain. Dazzling. My students always wanted to see it again. They loved talking about it.

      I also always had them write on a 5X8 card what their thoughts and feelings were about each class. Then (with permission) I would read some of them aloud to the class. Mostly the negative ones about the class and me. This allows them to get out the negativity so the creativity can begin. It also just about eliminates dropping out as they get to say right away what they don't like instead of leaving the class to show you. I would in the first class get them to have a partner and if they weren't going to be in class they were to notify their partner ahead of time. It was the partner's job to get them to come. Meaning the most important part of their life right now is about being in class. If they didn't come and didn't call their partner, I would (in those days no cells) step out of the class and call them and get them to come even tho they would be late. Now with cells you can do it right there and the class can listen to you work with their resistance to coming.

      This was at Community College in Philadelphia. Also the first day I asked them what they wanted to learn in this class. They finally got to their hostility and gave back, You're the teacher, teach us. I'd love to teach you but I need to know what it is that you want to learn. Then they begin to develop their ability to ask questions that have been stifled for so long. (You know, just shut up and listen as Cat Stevens says in his song.)

      Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

      by abbeysbooks on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 01:29:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  LOL (15+ / 0-)

    Or maybe I'm just a condescending prick

    That is really funny on several different levels.
    Keep up the good work Robyn.

    The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same." Carlos Castaneda

    by FireCrow on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 09:07:50 AM PDT

  •  NCLB questions.... (8+ / 0-)

    First, hello, this is my first visit to Teacher's Lounge...in one of the diaries linked above there was a comment to the effect that Hillary Clinton's vote for NCLB harmed special needs children and further, the omission of that fact somehow lessened the quality of a diary focused on HRC's help for special needs children.

    Can anyone opine as to the accuracy of that claim? Also, perhaps more generally, (silly question coming...) is there a consensus here as to how to judge NCLB as an election issue? I noticed that all (?) of the Democratic candidates propose changes to NCLB rather than elimination or replacement...should I care?

    I will be grateful even if the answer is to Search w/ NCLB tag but I'm lazily asking anyway...

    Thanks.

    Still uncommitted, undecided...enjoying the dates; not ready for the ring or uhaul.

    by kck on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 09:26:09 AM PDT

    •  One big problem with NCLB is that, (9+ / 0-)

      like most Repup initiatives, it was not fully funded. Unfended mandates are a bad thing in general.

      •  None of the federal initialtives has ever... (6+ / 0-)

        been fully funded, not even the original ESEA of 1965. There's a difference between what is approved and what is allocated and there is usually a side divide. PL 94-142 which led to IDEA has NEVER been fully funded, regardless of the politics of Administration. The reality is that public ed, like most services for the public good are the first to be cut.

        The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

        by Edubabbler on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 09:41:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, IMHO NCLB (13+ / 0-)

      is fucked up, down and sideways.

      But what do I know; I'm just a parent.

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 09:37:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One place to look for lots of info (9+ / 0-)

      ...is in the diaries of teacherken, who has written repeatedly about the real-world effects of NCLB on both students and teachers.

      There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. -Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

      by slksfca on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 09:40:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't write more about NCLB... (6+ / 0-)

      ...because I'm a college professor and we have been able to fend it off for now.  I'm hoping we can continue to do that at least until I retire.

    •  Sorry for the late check-in... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      abbeysbooks, RiaD, rserven, kck, plf515

      ...but I'll take a stab at answering your question about NCLB and SpEd. I'm an elementary school principal.

      My experience has been that one of the harmful effects of NCLB vis a vis special education is in the fed's EXTREMELY narrow interpretation of what would constitute valid and reliable assessments for special needs students. Their guidance to states has been very much in favor of a one-size-fits-all approach to special education assessment, which flies directly in the face of the "I" [individual] in IEP for the special needs student.

      When a student, for example, is determined to qualify for special education because of a specific learning disability (the most common qualification) in reading (the most common subject area), generally speaking BY DEFINITION this student is not performing at the expected standard in reading achievement. Normally, under the process of formulating the child's IEP, the team of parent and educators determines as best they can the child's rate and level of learning; what interventions and modifications etc. will best benefit the child; what the child's annual goals (achievement and other) should be, given the unique needs and circumstance of the child; etc. etc.

      But all of this planning can fly in the face of a system that says, nope, everyone has to take the same tests under the same conditions or it doesn't even COUNT as a test for the child. The system then fails to support the child because it all becomes geared toward making sure that a school can meet its Adequate Yearly Progress goals, and not about how the CHILD can meet HIS/HER goals. It doesn't matter what the IEP team, which includes the parent, thinks are appropriate goals for the child. NCLB says all students have to meet the SAME goals, regardless of students' special needs.

      And, of course, if enough special ed students fail these identical measures (which is likely, given that a plurality of SpEd students are identified with disabilities that by definition negatively impact their academic achievement), the school is labeled as failing, funds can be withheld, programs can get decimated, etc. etc.

      I'm all for engaging and inspiring all students to achieve challenging goals. But if a student has a specific, identified disability, it does the child a disservice to use a one-size-fits-all measure to determine whether or not that child is succeeding in meeting his/her goals. If a child truly has a disability, what we can teach the child is how to use his strengths and how to adapt to his challenges as he navigates the world around him. NCLB ignores the individual needs of the child in favor of bumper sticker slogans and forces all children into the same box. Simply using identical assessments with everybody does NOT give students equal access and opportunity to a quality education.

      Whew, I feel better now. There's my .02, which as usual is more like a buck fifty.

      :-)

      There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. --Benjamin Disraeli, cited by Mark Twain

      by sheba on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 11:25:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You wrote: (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sheba, abbeysbooks, RiaD, kck

        Sorry for the late check-in

        We never close.

        Thank you for your invaluable participation.  We often need as many viewpoints as we can get.

        •  thanks... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          abbeysbooks, RiaD, rserven, kck

          You are indeed a gracious hoster of thoughtful commentary. I greatly appreciate the valuable forum you provide on a regular basis, even though I lurk far more than I post. For that I do apologize.

          (In this case, I was simply afraid that the person who was looking for some real answers was hardly served by my tardy response.)  ;-)

          There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. --Benjamin Disraeli, cited by Mark Twain

          by sheba on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 11:59:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think it is a way to eviscerate the special ed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kck

        programs from schools as their results drag down the averages. At one of the rural schools in MO that failed these tests, I called up and told him this was a great opportunity. All those students whose parents wanted them elsewhere would be gone. I could give him a program that would accelerate his reading scores and math (Dienes influenced) and wouldn't cost him anything in materials except zeroxing by teachers. I would teach them to do it and wouldn't charge for doing so.

        He said, "We are getting a new textbook series that we like very much that is going to get our students back on tract on the test scores."

        Same old, same old. Rote rote rote, march march march.

        Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

        by abbeysbooks on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 01:43:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks so much, sheba. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sheba, rserven

        I have a much better understanding now of the particular impact on special needs students.

        I'm not sure I will consider that a politician (e.g., Edwards, Hillary) who voted for NCLB is responsible for "harm to special needs children" but at least now I have a handle on how the program had impact.

        Worth way more than a buck fifty even!

        Thanks.

        Still uncommitted, undecided...enjoying the dates; not ready for the ring or uhaul.

        by kck on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 03:16:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Death by Algebra. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      abbeysbooks, rserven, kck

      I wrote a diary about scores and math earlier this year:

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      I am working on a follow-up diary now that the 2007 scores are available.  I stand by what I wrote earlier...

      My Al Gore The Assault on Reason diary series is in hiatus while I recover from two surgeries.

      by algebrateacher on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 01:15:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The answer to NVLB lies in the work of: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rserven, kck

      Montessori; Neill at Summerhill; The Waldorf Schools; John Holt; Herbert Kohls for starters.

      Now tht NCLB is law, what it does is frame the educational debate in such a way as to preclude ever getting to what is really important in the learning process. It is an iron curtain against understanding. A fog over what questions really ought to be asked about education.

      Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

      by abbeysbooks on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 01:33:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is one fine list (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        abbeysbooks, rserven

        of authors!

        •  And I have loved every one of them (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rserven, plf515

          They make me feel so absolved and they verify me in the face of all opposition to my views on education.

          Have you ever played with the Montessori materials. They are so beautiful.

          And did you know Anne Frank went to a Montessori school in Frankfurt I believe?

          The last comment we have of hers was in observing the Gypsy children going off to the gas ovens:

          Their eyes, did you see their eyes?

          And if you have ever looked at Gypsy children's eyes, you know exactly what she meant. Even under those conditions she was observing. Not unlike Bruno Bettleheim in his camp.

          Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

          by abbeysbooks on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 02:53:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Gee (6+ / 0-)

    I wish I had more teachers like you when I was in school.

  •  Our ARC advocate and I met (13+ / 0-)

    with the mediator for our dispute with the school district over our son's middle-school placement yesterday.

    The mediator seemed bemused by the District's continued insistence that where our son attends school is inconsequential to the "placement" decision, especially as we'd provided ample documentation that he would be harmed by removal from the K-8 program where he attended elementary school, to attend a stand-alone middle school with over 600 students, where he knows no one, is unfamiliar with the building, etc.

    But, in any event, this is mediation, so the mediator can't tell the District that they are full of shit and order them to administratively change his "school of choice" attendance there (meaning we have to provide transportation), into an IDEA placement necessitated by his disability (as we contend, and which requires the District to provide transportation).

    One of the things the mediator suggested I cogitate on is how to respond to the idea that our son will, eventually, have to come out of the more protected environment of the K-8 program to attend high school, where he will face many of the same challenges -- so why not just do it now?  Because the mediator -- and the advocate -- both know that question will be asked, and that I will be accused of being an over-protective "helicopter parent".

    Last night as I was lying in bed, it struck me exactly how to respond to that.

    In brief -- how shockingly cruel it is for people who are supposed to be looking out for the welfare of children, as their chosen profession, to believe that it is appropriate to dump a child with autism and it's attendant pragmatic language and social disabilities; who is, by his very diagnosis unable to naturally navigate the complexities of the school social milieu; especially in the middle school years which are the most difficult for any child.

    Yes, it's not just ill-informed, it is cruel.

    And, in any event, our son will not be facing the same challenges when he enters high school.  For one thing, he won't be switching from a special education classroom to full inclusion, as he is now.

    Further, when he goes on to high school, he will be attending the same school where his brother will be a senior.  The school where he is feeds into that high school -- the majority of his current school peers will also be attending that school.  We will have had an opportunity to have him visit the high school, get to know the layout of the building, and meet the teachers, as part of transition planning.  He already will have become accustomed to changing classrooms and teachers for different subjects.

    But all in all, I am truly shocked that district administration so routinely thinks it is appropriate to do "shock therapy" on a disabled child.  What fucktard thinking.

    Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

    by Frankenoid on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 09:36:21 AM PDT

    •  Fucktard is right. (8+ / 0-)

      Sad to say, this is so typical. You have to keep being the "mom from hell" and threaten legal action.

    •  A difference which occurs to me... (7+ / 0-)

      ...is the level of maturity of the students.  Can one reasonably expect middle school students who don't know your son to act like students he has known all his school life?  Or to act like high school students?  I don't think so.

      Middle school students are very good at "cruel."

      •  The idea that the transition to (5+ / 0-)

        elementary to middle school is the appropriate time to institute so many changes is just fucked on so many levels.

        Alas, I'm afraid the District's bull-headedness has little to do with what is appropriate for this kid, but their fear that should our child get a bus, other children that have been in the same program also would qualify for a bus.  That shouldn't be a consideration at all, but it is.  The ARC advocate says the District is making representations in our case that are diametrically opposed to what they say in most cases; then again, the situation is diametrically opposed to most cases.

        Usually parents are trying to to get additional services for their child, or are advocating for a placement which differs from that recommended by the IEP team.  There, the district shrugs their shoulders and says "wish we could help you, but placement decisions are up to the IEP team".

        In our case, the IEP calls for transportation and indicates that our son needs to stay at the school he's at, even if there isn't a "center based program" there for the middle school grades.  So now the district is saying that which school a child attends is a purely administrative matter, and not under the purview of the IEP team.

        Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

        by Frankenoid on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 10:06:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Try being a conscious teacher in the system (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rserven

      and it goes on all day and night and holidays and summers for you. Until you finally get the idea that that's the way it's supposed to be and look for a way out.

      Fortunately you can think and stand a good chance of beating them at their own game. Pity the poor parent with less going for them than you have. They don't stand a chance. And neither do their kids.

      Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

      by abbeysbooks on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 01:56:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know that we have a (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        abbeysbooks, rserven

        great advantage because of who I am, where I work, and what I know.

        Even the most basics: that I know how not to lose my temper, how to present myself as reasonable -- as the ARC advocate said, I'm easy because he usually has to spend a great deal of time coaching parents on how to behave in this type of setting.

        Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

        by Frankenoid on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 04:56:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Having been a therapist for many years (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          plf515

          I know that that part is a huge part of their problem. They just have no social behavior that can get them what they want.

          Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

          by abbeysbooks on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 05:24:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Actually, I *look up* to you, (8+ / 0-)

    Robyn. Voluntarily. You have so much to offer. I look forward to reading this every Saturday morning.

    I am starting a new job! Inner city HGT (Highly Gifted & Talented) middle school Math. We may strike soon! Oh Lordy, what a mess high stakes testing has made of our schools! Polarity isn't restricted to DC. NCLB has send the polarity in DC all the way down to where it is creeping into the classrooms. Two camps. Whole-child vs. Score Well On Standardized Test. Oh my.

    Oh yeah ... and the Math Curriculum at this level these days? All About Money (Business Math) and Engineering Math (Read $$ for Big Business). So it looks like the value of your knowledge (ha!) is increasing, Robyn, as any type of Math in which Big Business cannot find a way in which to make a Big Profit will become extinct.

    "Never trust the teller. Trust the tale." --- D.H. Lawrence

    by Spoonfulofsugar on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 09:36:42 AM PDT

  •  NCLB rhetoric (4+ / 0-)

    I'd love to read your thesis. When I am not teaching or working in the public schools, I conduct research using discourse and frame analysis, which essentially looks to uncover different levels of meaning within language. For instance, right now I am tracking the discourse in the Paige and Spelling's speeches regarding teachers. I want to understand what the discourse says and implies (for instance, the implication of calling the NEA a terrorist organization). In the scheme of things, it might look like mental masturbation (OK, it is), but what I am finding is how the discourse effectively diverts attention from the real issues. The discourse blames teachers, then puts all the pressure on the kids, presents NCLB as the means to an equal education, even though there is nothing "equal" about the law itself.

    I could go on, but I'd rather dig into the diaries you've listed here.

    The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

    by Edubabbler on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 09:52:35 AM PDT

    •  I'm not sure my thesis would be... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annetteboardman, abbeysbooks

      ...all that interesting except to an extremely select few. :-)

      The framing that bothers me most is the notion that teachers are replaceable commodities rather than human beings charged with passing on the knowledge of humanity to the next generation.

      I fling my students, like peas, into the future so that they may push the boundaries of knowledge further than I have been able to do.

      •  Don't sell it short (5+ / 0-)

        One of the things that a retired colleague reminds me about math is that people are afraid of it because they don't understand it conceptually. While I can't tell from the teaser you've given us, it sounds like you might present a means to help students who are afraid of the language of math to understand math at its most basic.

        As for kids as widgets, I have one piece in review about that, and am working on another one this fall. Drives me nuts. All kids are the same. Right. There's a great bridge in Brooklyn I'd love to sell you.

        The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

        by Edubabbler on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 10:05:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In person... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          abbeysbooks

          ...I have been known to hold people spellbound explaining mathematics to them, even if they don't have much background.  What that meant professionally for more years than I care to think about was that I was given the task of teaching either perspective elementary school teachers or "Math for the Liberal Arts."  

          •  Teaching math to prospective elementary (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            abbeysbooks, rserven

            school teachers ought to be a specialty of both math and education; in my opinion, one needs to know a lot of math to teach even elementary math well.

            But that's because I think that math should be taught as a participatory sport, rather than an exercise in memorization and a test of how much drudgery one is willing to put up with.

            How do we know that square root of 2 is irrational?
            How do we know pi is transcendental?
            Why is a negative number times a negative number a positive number?
            Why does the fundamental law of arithmetic work?

            (I know the answer to the first and third)

            •  If by "The Fundamental Law of Arithmetic"... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              abbeysbooks, plf515

              ...you mean the propostition

              The set of integers is a unique factorization domain.

              I could teach that to you from scratch in not too many weeks.  :-)

              [Different people have given the "fundamental" adjective to different theorems].

              π is transcendental takes longer, since a working knowledge of calculus is necessary.

            •  I agee (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              abbeysbooks, rserven, plf515

              I know that teaching math to prospective eled and secondary teachers doesn't necessarily enable you to spend the time thinking about the really deep questions that plague math, but we really need people who can make math accessible to all students. And the only way future teachers are going to learn how to do this is if we have profs who can really teach, and I mean REALLY teach.

              The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

              by Edubabbler on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 11:40:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  you might be interested in OMLI... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                abbeysbooks, rserven, plf515

                aka the Oregon Math Leadership Institute, a five year project in which K-12 teachers, and their administrators, have been focused on becoming better math educators. Every year for the past three years, some of my teachers have been going to "Math Camp" at Oregon State University for three weeks, taking two college-level mathematics courses as well as a collegial leadership course each summer. By the end of the first three years of the project, these K-12 teachers have completed courses in Number Systems and Operations, Algebra and Functions, Geometry, Measurement and Change, Data Analysis and Probability, and Discrete Mathematics from university math instructors. As an administrator, I attend one week each year, where I learn a little more math and I learn to be better at collegial leadership, constructivism & inquiry, and issues of status and power in the classroom, among other things.

                One interesting outcome of this project that was unanticipated but welcomed has been the impact on the college math professors who are carrying out the content classes for the teachers. As the K-12 teachers have focused on fundamental changes in their instructional practices to make math accessible to everyone, so, too, the math professors have found themselves changing their instructional practices as well. After all, if constructivism, inquiry, group work, exposing students' mathematical thinking, focusing on instructional strategies that help students to foster justifications and generalizations, etc. are good for kids, why wouldn't they be good for adult learners of mathematics, too?  :-)

                There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. --Benjamin Disraeli, cited by Mark Twain

                by sheba on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 12:19:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  See my above comment on Dienes (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rserven

                Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

                by abbeysbooks on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 02:21:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  This is what Dienes did. He was a theoretical (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rserven, plf515

              mathematician who worked at a theory level who reached middle age and decided he had done his best work. (Math people usually do their best  when they are very young.) So he turned his attention to math ed. I heard him speak at Temple U in the 70's on a program with Emmi Pikler from Hungary. Two revolutionaries for sure.

              Dienes:If I had my way I would offer a math cafeteria. That way the student could discover the new math. There is no reason to study math beyond third grade, as everything the average person needs for life can be learned by then. Afterwards math becomes like music, art, to study for its beauty and intrinsic structure.

              Ha! We are not taking jobs and money from this guy. He had a lab school at the University of Cherbourg in Canada and he started 3 year olds in logic, algebra, geometry, etc with play materials. After they had the concepts, the axioms were explained in a few days. By the time they were 10 they were scoring perfect 800's in the SAT's.

              This is the model and it works. That day he had been at the Temple lab school working with inner city Black kids and having difficulties. Then he remembered how kinaesthetic they were so he began teaching complicated structures to them that day through a sort of in and out the windows sort of dance movement. And it solved the problem.

              He said teachers have to be taught how to keep their hands off, while they play with the materials. His grandson is carrying on his work. And Alain Schremmer in the math department at CCP in Philly has worked with the Dienes materials.

              So all you administrators here, what are you waiting for?

              This beats NCLB into the dirt. Forget those tests and give them the SAT's. That should show them. The best math school in the world in the 80's was in Switzerland and the 12th grade students were still using calculators for multiplication tables that American kids are still forced to rotely recite. It's our culture, stupid!

              Somewhere I have an article on Math Phobia altho not on this hard disc.

              Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

              by abbeysbooks on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 02:19:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Now that's a book you should write (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rserven

            Like Mathematics for the Millions.

            Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

            by abbeysbooks on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 02:05:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Love the title (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              abbeysbooks, rserven, plf515

              And will have to look up Dienes to share with my administration students this fall. It sounds so much better than Everyday Math, which once again, has nothing to do with the concepts behind math, nor does it make it real for kids. You really do need to make it hands on. Learning how to bake, play an instrument, draw to scale, all requires math, and yet, we don't teach it that way.

              They used manipulatives in some schools in which my students work, but with mixed results. But I think that might be because the teachers didn't get enough time to play and learn before they thought about how they might use the new strategy in their classroom (or whether it was appropriate for their students, etc.).

              I hate drive-by professional development!

              By the way, this is all coming from a math phobe who learned to love math when she got to calculus. There's something so much fun about calculus.

              Off to Lowe's for stuff for the garden (must keep the dogs out).

              The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

              by Edubabbler on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 02:36:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Just a thought (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annetteboardman, abbeysbooks, rserven

    I don't want to revisit that particular discussion.  I've tried to initiate it quite a few times and it always gets derailed.

    It might be interesting to understand why that happens and I doubt that it has little to do with logic. I think it might have more to do with the nature of the internet. That is one guess but it's the best I have for the moment.

    "Freedom of speech isn't something somebody else gives you. That's something you give to yourself." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

    by brenda on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 09:54:10 AM PDT

  •  In my teaching... (10+ / 0-)

    ...I use a variety of interlocking or interpenetrative taxonomies, the result being analogous to the moire patterns that emerge when two or more screens are superimposed.  I'm a music teacher by profession, but I find that the notion of a meta-taxonimical moire is epistemologically and pedagogically productive (and yes, I actually talk like this; academic English is my mother tongue).

    One very productive categorization strategy in my work is to divide musical problems into three areas: physical/athletic, patterning/perceptual, and aesthetic/artistic.

    Most real-life musical problems combine these areas in varying degrees, and thus are in a sense epiphenomenal to the interaction of smaller, category-restricted problems; it is axiomatic that when a mistake resists corrective action (try to fix a problem and it gets worse or changes into another problem) it is the result of two or more smaller problems' effect on one another.

    Example:  A musician plays a scale up and down over two octaves: C D E F G A B c d e f g a b c b a g f e d c B A G F E D C.  ...and there is a drastic increase in muscular tension right around the octave point on the way up.  This causes a timing problem, making the flow of notes irregular rather than smooth.

    One part of this problem is athletic: keeping a continuous flow of motor impulses going to the playing hands.  But simply practicing it over and over as an "athletic" problem won't work.  Why?  Because the other part of the problem is perceptual: the musician has a default rhythmic perception of groups of four.  If we group the scale in fours, the simple ascent/descent contours become harder to perceive:

    CDEF GABc defg abcb agfe dcBA GFED C

    The musician thus has two separate impulses which work against one another: a four-based patterning and a scalar patterning.  Until these are resolved, there will always be a conflict at points where the two patternings do not reinforce one another.

    The solution is to learn a different "athletic" pattern which avoids default quaternary ordering:

    1234 123 1234 123 1234 123 1234 123 1

    CDEF GAB cdef gab cbag fed cBAG FED C

    (Four groups of seven, followed by the final tone.)

    Notice that the need for a new athletic pattern only emerged when we study the perceptual component of the problem.

    This is a simple example.  In real-world music-making, music-teaching and music-learning, the problems are often extremely complex, involving interacting sub-problems on multiple levels.

    I have had success in teaching areas outside my primary domain through applying this tripartite taxonomy.  For example, learning to read a poem out loud with expression, enunciation and feeling is a process of problem solving on athletic, perceptual and aesthetic levels: Athletic, because there are a lot of words that must be pronounced correctly (thus being a sort of figure-skating act for the tongue, lips and larynx), perceptual, because depending on how one parses a line it can make different kinds of sense (or no sense at all), and aesthetic (because a poem is nothing if it does not trigger both verbal and non-verbal responses).

    It is important to recognize that these three areas of understanding are only effective when they are superimposed on other, domain-specific, areas.  By themselves they are empty vessels; linked with the particulars of a given area of knowledge they are very powerful conceptual tools.

    Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

    by WarrenS on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 09:57:21 AM PDT

    •  Thank you hugely for this. (5+ / 0-)

      It makes total sense to me.  And it is a superlative example of looking at the layers that I was trying to hint at.  

      Abstract the problem.  Look at the structure.  Reconceptualize.  Now I want to spend time trying to see how a similar approach would apply in my art, in my writing, and in my thinking.

      I have a "break" that has always bothered me.  When working on prose, my poetry and graphic creations almost cease.  It's like two parts of my brain cannot simultaneously function.

      •  You wrote: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        abbeysbooks, RiaD, rserven

        I have a "break" that has always bothered me.  When working on prose, my poetry and graphic creations almost cease.  It's like two parts of my brain cannot simultaneously function.

        If you treat your prose as an athletic event, that means you have to practice reading it aloud.  Observe what happens in your mouth as you project particular consonant clusters, diphthongs, etc.  Often you'll find that parts of your writing which seem obscure are in fact physically hard to say.

        I believe it was William James who said that all creativity is in essence analogy.  Here is where the aesthetic levels of understanding are crucial; when we change the analogical referent for our expression, our sense of both what we are trying to say and how we are trying to say it are transformed.

        And now I must go back into the woodshop; I have a batch of tricky cuts to do before lunch.

        Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

        by WarrenS on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 10:21:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  cool (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      abbeysbooks, rserven, WarrenS

      but wouldn't the athletic bit depend on the instrument?  

      and, if so, how would you get to know enough about each instrument to know which parts of which problems are which type of problem?

    •  Lovely lovely analysis n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rserven, WarrenS

      Anyone who has been tortured, remains tortured. Primo Levi The Drowned and the Saved

      by abbeysbooks on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 02:27:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll be sorry I asked this, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    abbeysbooks, plf515, mommyof3

    I've never heard of torsion theory, and I'm sure it's over my head, but doesn't the example you gave

    a*(1/b) ≠ (1/b)*a

    violate the associative law of arithmetic? Isn't that, um, unlikely?

  •  Recommended. (5+ / 0-)

    And it gives me great pleasure to update your tags now that you are on the recommended list.

    The great tragedy of Science, the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. T. H. Huxley

    by realalaskan on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 10:09:59 AM PDT

  •  Great diary. Thanks. (7+ / 0-)

    In my category of religious studies, I teach what amounts to ancient literature.  The "levels" concept definitely operates in the process of reading.  I face constant resistance when trying to move students to another level.  They just want to know "what it means."  When I take time to deal with how a story works, they get frustrated, but eventually some of them begin to see that "what it means" is connected to "how it works."  I try to stay away from what a story means, because once we have extracted a meaning from a story, usually in the form of some proposition (a moral to the story) then we throw the story aside and are through with it.  The story was just packaging for the principle we extracted.  Circling back to how the story works keeps it alive and in front of us.  It is not just packaging.  I know people tend to hate literary theory, but it has been a fascinating so-discipline for me.  I suppose this is similar to asking how a math problem works, rather than simply being interested in what the answer is.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 10:19:50 AM PDT

  •  a good diary to read... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    abbeysbooks, algebrateacher, rserven

    ...today, which I am spending with STL and generics :}

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