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Currently Browsing: Everything Else

Yes, Virginia, There Still is an Education for the Aughts

I’ve undergone a bit of rebranding and started up a few new projects – had to go on a posting hiatus.

But I decided to push the button on the left, so the Aughts will resume tomorrow.

If You Don’t Laugh at the McCain Toddler, You’re Un-American

I don’t care what side you’re on – this is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in months. If I can laugh at it, you certainly can.

john mccain toddler running around

My Favorite Fictional Teacher

Entertainment Weekly has a time-waster series on the best fictional teachers.

My favorite fictional teacher is Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan.

Redesign and a Note to the Blogosphere

I’m working on a redesign, so posting will be light.

In the meantime, here are a few things that you, as a blogger, can do to make our lives as readers a little easier:

  • Let us subscribe to comments. We’re a lot more likely to discuss something if we can keep up with the discussion. Reloading a page 20 times a day to see if there’s anything new is a real pain. If you’re using WordPress, consider a plugin like Subscribe to Comments.
  • Publish a full RSS feed. I use Google Reader to keep track of over 400 blogs. Publishing a full feed instead of just a few sentences – or even worse, just the title [this means you, Teacher Magazine] – makes it a lot easier to keep up. If I wanted to load a page to read every article, I wouldn’t bother using an RSS aggregator.
  • Check your feed’s formatting. Rule #1: Subscribe to your own feed. You’ll see how it appears for other people, too. If your feed mashes together paragraphs into one huge block of text, no matter how long the article, consider checking that formatting. We want to read things smoothly and easily, not sift through text.

And a couple smaller things:

  • Don’t use CAPITAL LETTERS for EMPHASIS. Using the right words in a well-constructed argument makes THIS TACTIC irrelevant. Furthermore, it’s an offensive gesture. Do you really think your readers are too dumb to seize on key words and recognize their importance? If you NEED to do this, you’ve failed already. The alternative – and it’s a good one – is to use bold sparingly to catch attention.
  • Strikethroughs. This unbearably banal charming addition to the blogosphere irks me. We have no gripe when it’s used properly as a copyediting mark; it’s instructive and honest, two pillars of blogdom. However, most of the time it’s used to denote cheap snark and cheaper sarcasm. There are less obnoxious ways to go about this.

Any others?

Spanish Teachers Unite to Tackle Serious Issue: NFL Player’s Jersey Number

chad ocho cinco

Apparently this was on Deadspin, but I read the education sites each day before I hit sports, so I’ll tip the hat to Mr. Russo.

The Bengals wide receiver formerly known as Chad Johnson legally changed his name recently to Chad Ocho Cinco to reflect his jersey number of 85 – and now “Ocho Cinco” will appear on the back of his jersey in place of the old “Johnson.” Cue the outrage!

Rubes like me don’t know much about Spanish. We just know that Teddy Roosevelt whooped the Spanish single-handedly and that a lot of people in California [like Spain, another foreign country] speak their language. I’ll do my best to sum up the gripes detailed by these scholars of the language – consider this testimony fair warning.

Here’s the meat:

Why is Carlson, and many other Spanish teachers so upset? “Ocho cinco” actually means “eight-five”, while “ochenta cinco” or “ochenta y cinco” would be the correct formations of 85 in Spanish.”

Yes. Yes, I follow. The question I’m having trouble with is…

… so what? Another scholar explains:

Aaron Carlson, Spanish teacher from Kearney, Nebraska explains: “Chad’s little prank is making it difficult for us to effectively teach numbers. Students think that we are teaching them wrong because this clown can’t use a dictionary.”"

I wouldn’t call a legal name change a “little prank,” but Kearney is entitled to his mouth-frothing.

Take a step back, Mr. Carlson. Is Chad Ocho Cinco’s football jersey the highest hurdle you face as an educator? If so, don’t let the education world know – your school will get about 40,000 applications for its next job opening.

Perhaps Kearney and others could use this as what the proper ed-school graduates and certified teachers – not me – call a “teachable moment.”

Really, how often does grammar in any language come up in pop culture? It’s a fairly interesting bit – taking 3 minutes to describe how “ocho cinco” reflects the “8″ and “5″ on his jersey and not the cardinal number “85.”

This might be one of the few times when I’d argue that the discussion would facilitate engagement among students, and that the engagement would be a valuable thing.

Chad Ocho Cinco seems to grasp the gravity of the issue:

“I really don’t care, you cant stop me either way,” related Ocho Cinco. “Maybe next year I’ll go with Acht Fünf. That’s some German right there.”"

As soon as these teachers pound out a solution to this intellectual rift, they might want to tackle two other problems in high school education.

1. High school teachers don’t know basic English, as evidenced by the mean GRE Verbal score of 484.

2. High school teachers don’t know basic math – algebra and geometry – as evidenced by their mean GRE Quantitative score of 576.

Both of these scores are well below the mean. Verify it here [PDF] at your leisure. I recommend you take solace in knowing that your bosses aren’t any better off.

Good job, guys. The grammar myth of The Ocho Cinco Jersey? Consider it busted.

Hell, the Spanish teacher article is probably a fake, but since I read 20 real education articles a day this ridiculous, I’ll treat it as true.

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