August 27 - September 3, 2017

200th newsletter!

Some great reading this week.  I'm particularly struck by the number of articles this week that criticize (directly or indirectly) the current age of identity politics in education. They do so through a range of examples: the personal essay, novelists and self-knowledge, free speech, and contemporary liberalism.  It seems to suggest a diffusion of the sentiment.

Another interesting pairing: the feature article on memorizing poetry and the review of how people used to read aloud and in public more often than we do today. Surprising reflections on the role of literature in our lives.

These are but a few.  Many great selections this week. Enjoy!



"Memorize That Poem!" New York Times
"The truth is that memorizing and reciting poetry can be a highly expressive act. And we need not return to the Victorians' narrow idea of the canon to reclaim poetry as one of the cheapest, most durable tools of moral and emotional education -- whether you go in for Virgil, Li Po, Rumi, or Gwendolyn Brooks (ideally, all four)."

"Think For Yourself." Princeton
"Thinking for yourself means questioning dominant ideas even when others insist on their being treated as unquestionable. It means deciding what one believes not by conforming to fashionable opinions, but by taking the trouble to lean and honestly consider the strongest arguments to be advanced on both sides of questions--including arguments for positions that others revile and want to stigmatize and against positions others seek to immunize from critical scrutiny."


Adolescent Risk Taking: Natural Exploration, Not Lack Of Control PsychCentral


A Case For K-12 "Microcredentials" Educause

A Concise Description Of/Argument For The Mastery Transcript Educause


Kids' Books Have More Moral Impact When Characters Are Human Guardian

The Case For Board Games As Conflict Management Training Quartz

Ending Behavior Rewards Dramatically Improved Student Motivation KQED
"Now only did the children shrug when the rewards disappeared... they also welcomed the character-infused approach to learning. Teachers overheard students talking about being responsible and respectful. Kids who ordinarily kept quiet in class volunteered frequently, and more stepped up to help their classmates."
Fun Friends Or Supportive Ones? When In Need, Kids Are Strategic Stanford
"The researchers found that individual were more particular about whom they included in their trust networks compared to groups related to fun and excitement. In those selective trust networks, freshmen were more likely to include highly empathic students."


How We Remember Space: The Hippocampus And The Case Of H.M. NYRB

How Social Cues Shape Our Learning - When When From Robots New York Times


Play As Driver Of Creativity And Fresh Thought Farnam Street

In Support Of Cultural Appropriation New York Times


4 Principles For Curriculum Design NPR

2 Questions To Imagine A Future Curriculum EdWeek


"Us And Them" - A Podcast About America's Cultural Divides Us and Them

ACLU Speaks Up About Defending Free Speech New York Review of Books

A Critique Of Identity Politics Chronicle of Higher Education
"A whole scholastic vocabulary has been developed to express these notions: fluidity, hybridity, intersectionality, performativity, transgressivity, and more. Anyone familiar with medieval scholastic disputes over the mystery of the Holy Trinity -- the original identity problem -- will feel right at home."


Emoji Poetry Contest: Read The Emojis, Guess The Poems Paris Review

Mary Shelley Wrote A Plague Dystopia Set In 2100! Smithsonian


"4 Charts On How People Around The World See Education" Pew Research


We Must Define "Violence" To Understand If Speech Is Violence JStor
"What, then, is the meaning of a word? If you were one of Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophy students, this question would have occupied the preponderance of your term, as it did Wittgenstein's academic life."


Job Perks That Matter Most To Employees Gallup


"Radical Candor" - A Guide To Giving Good Feedback Radical Candor

Emerging Research Less Sanguine About "Personalized Learning" Brookings
"This problem of replication and scale-up speaks more directly to the question of whether personalized learning holds promise to dramatically improve educational outcomes for all students. If effects diminish when implemented more broadly, it will not have the magnitude of impact that many are hoping to see."


15 Tips On Writing Op-Eds... From A New York Times Editor New York Times

Be More Precise: Replacements For 16 Boring Words Global Dig. Cit. Found.

Some Insight Into How People Used To Read: Aloud, Together Spectator
"It has long been thought, for instance, that the print revolution of the 18th century resulted in a shift from oral to silent reading, from shared reading to indulging in a book of one's own, as books became more available to a wider range of people while leisure time also increased... On the contrary, reading aloud remained as popular as it had ever been because it was sociable and gave participants a glancing acquaintance with books that might otherwise take weeks to read."
Personal Identity Vs. Stoicism In The Personal Essay Boston Review
"This brings us back to the personal essay. More than a fad and more than a form, we might think of the personal essay as a contract between reader and writer... impossible, or at least impossible to derive pleasure from , without particularity and concreteness--a sense of reciprocity and respect... What we see in many personal essays today is not the shattering of language, but the shattering of a pact."
Orhan Pamuk On Students Knowing His Work Better Than He Does LA Times
"The things [novelists] mean to describe and express when they write, the territory they wish to cover, may be very different from those elements that readers and students focus on.  The author of a novel is not always the best placed to interpret it, and eventually others may become more familiar with the text than he is."


Periodic Table: A Haiku For Every Element [Interactive] Science

Some Really Neat Machine Learning Work With Images Medium

"Letter Home From Wolfram Camp" Wired


Horizon Report: Emerging Trends In Education And Tech New Media Consort.

Audrey Watters On The Horizon Report Hack Education

Many Lessons Learned From Researching Coding Bootcamps Medium

How Coding Bootcamps Relate To College Degrees Inside Higher Ed


What Happens When Teachers Are Tech Brand Ambassadors? New York Times

Is The Conversation Pit Poised For A Comeback? Quartz

A History Of Zork MIT Technology Review

Charlottesville Superintendent On How They're Starting The Year Pacific Standard
"Atkins is asking teachers to pay close attention to the age of their students, as well as to how much exposure they may or may not have had to the violence."