Category Archives: Essays/Readings

This category describes readings of any kind for either teachers or students.

Term of Art: Psychosocial Stressor

psychosocial stressor: n. Any life event or change, such as divorce, marriage, bereavement, loss or change of a job, or moving house, that causes stress and may be associated with the onset or deterioration of a mental disorder. See also adjustment disorder.”

Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Malediction

“Malediction (noun): An invoking of evil or harm upon somebody or something; pronounced curse; evil talk or slander. Adjective: maledictive, maledictory.

‘He caught up the empty pewter mug at his right and threw it at the clumsy lad with a malediction.’

Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

Historical Term: Realpolitik

Realpolitik: (Germ., politics of realism) Term coined in 1859 by the liberal journalist and historian Rochau, to describe Bismarck’s policy. Bismarck believed that a naked struggle for power and a ruthless pursuit of self-interest were the only realistic options for a great state.”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.

Gordie Howe

It’s hockey season again.

Last year, while working in Springfield, Massachusetts, and a particularly dysfunctional school, I was interested to learn that many of my students were interested in and followed hockey. This was partly due, I guess, to the presence of the Springfield Thunderbirds, a minor league hockey team; it was also due to the fact that several girls I taught actually played the game themselves.

So, one of the things I developed for these students is this reading on hockey legend Gordie Howe and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. I have several more hockey-related readings and worksheet, so if this sport is of interest to your students, be on the lookout here.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Jerome Bruner on Narrative

“A ‘story’ (fictional or actual) involves an Agent who Acts to achieve a Goal in a recognizable Setting by the use of certain Means. What drives the story, what makes it worth telling, is Trouble: some misfit between Agent, Acts, Goals, Settings, and Means.”

Jerome Bruner

The Culture of Education

Excerpted from: Wiggins, Grant, and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 1998.

The Three Stooges

Because one seldom has a chance to see real genius at work, this reading on The Three Stooges and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet might be a salutary antidote to that deficit.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Small is Beautiful

Small is Beautiful: An influential book (1973) by the German-born British economist E.F. Schumacher (1911-77), subtitled ‘A Study of Economics as if People Mattered.’ Schumacher argues in favor of small-scale institutions and sustainable development, and against capital-intensive, high-tech solutions, especially in the Third World. The title phrase has entered popular usage.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.