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.

Lu Hsun

Lu Hsun: (also romanized as Lu Xun; pseudonym of Chou Shu-jen, 1881-1936) Generally regarded as modern China’s finest writer. Born to a family of traditional scholars, because of the death of his father and a decline in the family fortunes, he was sent to a school that taught Western technical subjects. He later studied Western medicine in Japan, but soon realized that his people needed more than physical healing. He quit his medical studies and turned to literature, returning to China to use his writing to expose the superstitions and injustices of the early Republican period. He his best known for his two collections of short stories, Nahan (generally translated as Call to Arms), published in 1923, and Panghuang (Wandering) published in 1926. His story “A Madman’s Diary” (“K’uang-jen ji-chi) vividly and painfully chronicles the growing realization of the cannibalistic, “dog-eat-dog” nature of Chinese society. “The New Year’s Sacrifice” (“Chu-fu”) is an account of a modern intellectual’s disturbing and eye-opening return to his traditional home for the New Year’s festivities. Painfully aware of the limitations of literature for effecting real change, in 1926 he stopped writing fiction altogether. Translations of his works include Diary of a Madman and Other Stories (1990), The Complete Stories of Lu Xun (1956-60), and Selected Stories of Lu Xun (1980), as well as his seminal scholarly work, A Brief History of Chinese Fiction (1959).

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

The Algonquin Wits: Dorothy Parker

“Reviewing a book on science, Mrs. Parker wrote, ‘It was written without fear and without research.’”

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

Magic Realism

“Magic Realism: Deriving from the metaphysical period of Giorgio de Chirico (see METAPHYSICAL ART) and related to surrealism, magic realism translates everyday experiences into disturbing images by curious juxtapositions of sharply painted elements. Balthus and Peter Blume are magic realists. Also called precise realism, sharp focus realism.”

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

Term of Art: Pacing Chart

“pacing chart: A graphic representation of time on task that describes what students and teachers will be doing during a course of study. The pacing chart is a customized guide that some teachers use to plan instruction in each subject and to ensure that they teach the essential skills and knowledge of each topic within a specified period of time while meeting the requirements of state standards.”

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

A Participial Phrase at the Beginning of a Sentence Must Refer to the Grammatical Subject.

[If you want this as a learning support in Microsoft Word, it’s under that hyperlink.]

“11. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.

Walking slowly down the road, he saw a woman accompanied by two children.

The word walking refers to the subject of the sentence, not to the woman. To make it refer to the woman, the writer must recast the sentence.

He saw a woman, accompanied by two children, walking slowly down the road.

Participial phrases preceded by a conjunction or by a preposition, nouns in apposition, adjectives, and adjective phrases come under the same rule if they begin the sentence.

On arriving in Chicago, his friends met him at the station.

On arriving in Chicago, he was met at the station by his friends.

A soldier of proved valor, they entrusted him with the defense of the city.

A soldier of proved valor, he was entrusted with the defense of the city.

Young and inexperienced, the task seemed easy to me.

Young and inexperienced, I thought the task was easy.

Without a friend to counsel him, the temptation proved irresistible.

Without a friend to counsel him, he found the temptation irresistible.

Sentences violating Rule 11 are often ludicrous:

Being in a dilapidated condition, I was able to buy the house very cheap.

Wondering irresolutely what to do next, the clock struck twelve.”

Excerpted from: Strunk, William Jr., and E.B. White. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. New York: Longman, 2000.

One Way to Think about Teaching Social Studies

“Social scientific research is and always will be tentative and imperfect. It does not claim to transform economics, sociology, and history into exact sciences. But by patiently searching for facts and patterns and calmly analyzing the economic, social, and political mechanisms that might explain them, it can inform democratic debate and focus attention on the right questions. It can help to redefine the terms of debate and focus attention on the right questions. It can help to redefine the terms of debate, unmask certain preconceived or fraudulent notions, and subject all positions to critical scrutiny. In my view, this is the role that intellectuals, including social scientists, should play as citizens like any other but with the good fortune to have more time than others to devote themselves to study (and even to be paid for it—a signal privilege).”

Piketty, Thomas. Trans. Arthur Goldhammer. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2014.


“Vignette: An ornament of leaves and tendrils; the flourishes around a capital letter in a manuscript; a small decoration or embellishment found in beginning or ending sections of a book or manuscript; a small picture or illustration not enclosed by a definite border but shading off into the surrounding page.”

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