Category Archives: Reference Materials

This category includes materials excerpted from a variety of reference books, as well as other material used as reference sources such as learning supports and style sheets.

Agitprop (n)

Political agitation and propaganda in literature, music, or art, especially pro-Communist doctrinairism.

‘I wonder if I should try to climb on the Women’s Lib bandwagon. First, I would have to change my name—Isabel Fairfax lacked the necessary agitprop crunch.’ Florence King, When Sisterhood Was in Flower.”

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

9 Muses

“Clio * Euterpe * Thalia * Melpomene * Terpsichore * Erato * Urania * Calliope * Polymnia

The nine muses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (the goddess of memory), were a favourite subject for Roman artists and much depicted in mosaic and fresco, or carved in marble to grace the praesidium of a theater.

Clio, the muse of history, is represented with a stylus and a scroll, or after the Renaissance, with a book, a laurel crown, or a trumpet; she is easy to confuse with Calliope, who often has the same attributes. Euterpe, muse of lyrical poetry, bears a flute. Thalia, muse of pastoral poetry and comedy, carries a comic mask and sometimes a viol.

Melpomene, muse of tragedy, is associated with a mask, sometimes embellished with a fallen crown, and holds a dagger. Terpsichore, muse of joyful dance and song, often holds a lyre, as does Erato, muse of lyrical love poetry.

Urania, muse of astronomy, is normally shown consulting a globe of a compass. Polymnia, muse of heroic hymn and eloquence, possesses a lute and a solemn expression that outdoes even those of Clio and Calliope.

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.

Heinrich Heine’s Prescience

Dort wo man Bucher
Verbrennt, verbrennt man auch em Ende

Wherever they burn books they will also, in
the end, burn human beings.”

Almansor: A Tragedy 1. 245 (1823)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

The Algonquin Wits: Franklin Pierce Adams on Dissembling

“’Big wars, says the Herald Tribune, in our nomination for the year’s Half-Truth Prize, ‘are very costly to the losers.’”

Franklin Pierce Adams

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

Minaret (n)

“A tall, slender tower attached to a mosque and from which the muezzin calls people to prayer from one of its several balconies. It may be either rectangular or cylindrical in plan. Seville’s Giralda tower (12th century) was once a minaret, later redecorated in Christian styles.”

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

Teachers’ Affects and Learning

 “…This all means that how teachers look and sound when talking to students can be quite revealing. Participants were asked to rate teachers’ perceptions of students to whom they were speaking with brief (ten-second) audio and video clips. Though the clips only focused on the teachers’ behavior and did not show the students, participants as young as fourth grade were able to successfully differentiate between two types of students being addressed by the teachers: those who were considered to be ‘high’ achieving and those who were ‘low’ achieving (Babad, Bernieri, & Rosenthal, 1991). The teacher interacted with the ‘high’- achieving student more positively than with the ‘low’-achieving student. With less than half a minute of observation, our perception of how others, in this case teachers, feel about students can be readily identified.

As the authors point out in the discussion of their findings, with only ten seconds of film footage, there was barely enough time for teachers to utter more than two words; thus truly it was the manner in which the teachers addressed the students and not the content of their discussion that affected the ratings of how the teacher felt about each student.

Though these findings may seem to speak directly to the so-called expectancy effects, namely the finding that how students perform in class may be largely influenced by how the teacher feels about them (Rosenthal & Jacobson, 1968), our focus here is more upon student comfort than academic performance. Now more than four decades after Pygmalion in the Classroom thrust the idea of teacher expectancy effects into the professional and public vernaculars (Rosenthal & Jacobson, 1968), there is still a fair amount of controversy regarding just how strongly teacher expectations of students affect intelligence and performance (Jussim & Harber, 2005).

Rather than wade into these murky waters, we will instead focus on the indisputable points that because detection of emotion is instinctual, teachers must be incredibly careful and conscientious about how they deal with students in a classroom, particularly those who are ‘easy’ and those who are seen as more ‘challenging.’ Given the fact that teacher interactions with students influence how those students are perceived by their peers (Birch & Ladd, 1998), the case for conscious monitoring of behavior cannot be overstated.

It is recommended that educators plan ahead for interactions with students they may consider more trying or challenging than others. Just as the successful teacher plans for contingencies such as having extra supplies for students who may forget of be unable to afford their own, so must she also plan ahead for the possibility of questions, to which answers have already been provided, or other solicitations that could possibly evoke even subtle expressions of exasperation or annoyance.”

Excerpted from: Rekart, Jerome L. The Cognitive Classroom: Using Brain and Cognitive Science to Optimize Student Success. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2013.

Book of Answers: The Front Page

“What is the setting of The Front Page? The 1928 play about newspapers by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur is set in Chicago’s Criminal Courts Building.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.