Category Archives: Quotes

Quotes, from a variety of sources, related to teaching and learning–somewhat more loosely defined than in other categories on Mark’s Text Terminal.

The Pentagram—Solomon’s Seal

The five-pointed star, the Pentagram, was a symbol of absolute authority to the Sumerian civilization of Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), as early as the third millennium BC. It represented an additional axis or the royal authority reaching out to the four corners of the earth. Later, in classical Greece, it was used as a mystic symbol by Pythagoreans and in early Jewish lore it was associated with Solomon’s Seal, a magical signet ring of King Solomon which gave him the power to command demons and speak to animals. (Confusingly, Solomon’s Seal can also be depicted as a hexagon.)

This Seal of Solomon was revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims. Indeed an interlinked ribbon version—known as the Seal of Solomon—is used on the Moroccan national flag. Medieval astrologers interpreted the pentagram as a symbol of the five wounds of Christ. However, the symbol dropped out of Christian use, having been co-opted by medieval necromancers and modern witchcraft.

Renaissance occultists made a distinction in the star’s orientation. When pointed upwards the star was good, symbolizing spirit presiding over the four elements of matter. Pointing down it was evil—the sign of the goat of black magic (whose face could be drawn in the star or its beard and horn suggested by the points). Wiccans have adopted the symbol (in its good form) as their emblem, and it is widely used by neo-Pagans, often as a pentacle, within an enclosed circle.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

High Renaissance Art

“High Renaissance Art: Climax of Renaissance art, ca. 1495-1520. In the work of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo, Italian art attained the High Renaissance ideal of harmony and balance within the framework of classical realism.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Term of Art: Year-Round Schooling

“year-round schooling: A modified school calendar that gives students short breaks throughout the school year instead of the traditional three-month summer break. Year-round calendars vary, sometimes within the same school district. Some schools use the staggered schedule to relieve overcrowding; others use it because they believe the three-month break causes students to forget much of what they learned the previous year. Some schools are on a single-track schedule, in which all students are on vacation at the same time, whereas others operate according to a multitrack schedule, which allows students to take their vacations at different times during the year. Advocates of year-round schooling claim that it saves money, maximizes use of facilities, reduces vandalism, improves student retention of academic content, and reduces dropout rates. Critics contend that the intensive use of school facilities creates maintenance problems and extra expenses (e.g., air-conditioning in the summer); that multitrack schedules cause difficulties for family vacation schedules; and that scheduling extracurricular activities is complicated when team members attend schools in different cycles.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Culture and Anarchy by Matthew Arnold

“Culture and Anarchy: (1869) The full title of this work by Matthew Arnold is Culture and Anarchy: An Essay in Political and Social Criticism. Arnold felt it was necessary to shake the members of the Victorian middle class, the ‘Philistines,’ out of their smug complacency, and to show them the need for incorporating ‘sweetness and light’ (a phrase taken from Swift’s The Battle of the Books) into their daily lives. The book is known for its definition of a three-tier class structure of Barbarians, Philistines, and the Populace. Arnold also opposed Hellenism, which is concerned with beauty, knowledge, and imaginative free play, to Hebraism, which involves ethics, responsibility, and self-control. He felt that society was too Hebraic, and should show greater respect for ‘culture,’ which he defines famously as a canon of ‘the best that has been thought and said,’ but also as an action, ‘the study and pursuit of perfection.’ He believed culture should be disseminated throughout society with an aim toward social equality, though his own elite position blinded him to biases about race, sex, and class, and the destructive homogenization implied by his claim that individual perfection depends on the realization of the state as the ideal expression of community.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

The Devil’s Dictionary: Libertarian

“Libertarian, n. One who is compelled by the evidence to believe in free-will, and whose will is therefore free to reject that doctrine.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000. 

Cannonball Adderley

Cannonball Adderley: (orig. Julian Edwin) (1928-1975) U.S. saxophonist, one of the most popular jazz musicians of the 1950s and ‘60s. Adderley was born in Tampa, Florida, and worked as a music teacher before moving to New York in 1955. Arriving shortly after the death of Charlie Parker, he was hailed as Parker’s stylistic successor. He performed with Miles Davis from 1957 to 1959, then led an ensemble with his brother, cornetist Nat Adderley (1931-2000). Also influenced by Benny Carter, Adderley’s playing showed a strong blues inspiration, and his music in the 1960s reflected the introduction of gospel-music harmonies. He died following a stroke at age 46.

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Term of Art: Cognitive Style

“cognitive style: The preferred way an individual processed information, usually described as a personality dimension that influences attitudes, values, and social interaction. Unlike individual differences in abilities that describe peak performance, styles describe a person’s typical mode of thinking, remembering, or problem solving. Having more of an ability is usually considered beneficial, while having a particular cognitive style simply denotes a tendency to behave in a certain manner.

Field Independence/Dependence A number of cognitive styles have been identified and studies over the years; field independence/field dependence is probably the most well known. Individuals view the world in different ways. Those who are called “field-dependent” perceive the world in terms of larger patterns and relationships, whereas those who are “field-independent” perceive the world in terms of discrete elements–they look at the pieces that make up the whole.

Most schools in Western culture favor a field-independent approach, rewarding students who tend to work and organize information on their own. These learneer are objective in that they make what is being studies into an object to be analyzed and understood.

Studies have identified a number of connections between this cognitive style and learning. For example, field-independent individuals are likely to learn more effectively by studying by themselves, and are influenced less by social reinforcement.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

Write It Right: Both Alike

“Both alike. ‘They are both alike.’ Say, they are alike. One of them could not be alike.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. Write it Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2010.

Fin de Siecle

“Fin de Siecle: (Fr., end of century) Art of the end of the nineteenth century, also known as decadent art, which was created under the influence of the Aesthetic Movement in the style of Art Nouveau. Particularly associated with the highly stylized, black-and-white illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Term of Art: Adjective

“adjective: Defined traditionally as a word added to a noun, which characteristically denotes a property of whoever or whatever is referred to. One function therefore is as a modifier: e.g. tall in tall men is an adjective modifying men. Another is in predicative position: e.g. that of tall in These men are tall.

Adjectives were included in antiquity in the same part of speech as nouns. Distinguished in the later Middle Ages, as ‘nouns adjective’ in contrast to ‘nouns substantive’; and so called, still, in the early decades of the 20th century.

An adjectival element is on either forming or having the role of adjectives: e.g. -less in clueless is an adjectival affix; English participial adjectives in -ed, such as interested in very interested, have been called ‘adjectival passives.”

Excerpted from: Matthews, P.H., ed. The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.