Tag Archives: professional development

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.

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.

Cultural Literacy: Lenin

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on V.I. Lenin

Did you know that his real name was Vladimir Illyich Ulyanov? You can see from his patronymic that his father was named Ilya Ulyanov. Interestingly, given Lenin’s later revolutionary activity against the Russian state and its underlying structure of rank and status, Ilya Ulyanov was elevated by dint of education and talent to the position of Active State Councillor, which endowed him with the status of hereditary nobility

Lenin’s older brother, Alexander Ulyanov, on the other hand, fell in with the Narodnaya Volya, which attempted on March 1 1887 (six years to the day after the assassination of Emperor Alexander II) to assassinate Emperor Alexander III. Alexander Ulyanov was arrested, tried, and hanged along with his four co-conspirators for this failed plot.

If you find typos in this document, 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.

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.

Term of Art: Antonym

“Antonym: One of two words or other expressions that have opposite meanings: fast and slow, hot and cold. Some words are antonymous in some contexts but not others: straight is the opposite of bent/curved, but is the antonym of gay in the context of homosexuality. Linguists identify three different types of antonymy: (1) Gradable antonyms, which operate on a continuum: (very) big, (very) small. Such pairs often occur in binomial phrases with and: (blow) hot and cold, (search) high and low. (2) Complementary antonyms, which express an either/or relationship: dead or alive, male or female. (3) Converse or relational antonyms, expressing reciprocity: borrow or lend, buy or sell, wife or husband.”

Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005

Book of Answers: Willing Suspension of Disbelief

“Who coined the term ‘willing suspension of disbelief’? Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his critical treatise Biographia Literaria (1817). Coleridge used the term to refer to the ‘poetic faith’ of a reader in accepting imaginary elements in a literary work.”

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

David Hume

Like most of the material on philosophy you’ll find on this website, I wrote this reading on David Hume and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet for one of three students I served over the years who took a keen interest in philosophy. Hume is an important figure in the history of philosophy, which was the primary criterion as I labored to produce material that would keep said student or students engaged.

These documents, however, may be useful for professional development. Hume did, after all, write on issues of importance to educators, particularly in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. And for our own purposes, and perhaps for students with an interest in it, Hume’s work on skepticism is not only important to an understanding of teaching and learning, but also a cornerstone of the Enlightenment.

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.

Term of Art: Expository Writing

“expository writing: A term that refers to informational writing typically given during the first year of college to prepare first-year students for academic writing. Generally, entering first-year students will take at least one semester of expository writing. Some colleges require a two-semester sequence of expository writing courses.

In some cases, students with writing problems may be required to complete developmental or basic writing courses before they can enter the expository writing course.

Expository writing includes description, comparison/contrast, definition, classification, argument, process analysis, and cause-and-effect. These types of writing or rhetorical strategies may be taught using models and examples, and as ends in themselves, or as strategies to use within informational essays that include a number of different patterns.

In general, the goal of teaching these types of writing patterns is to provide a foundation for the kinds of text-based writing required in specific academic disciplines.

Expository writing may be contrasted with expressive writing or the personal essay, in which students are allowed to focus on their own experience, perceptions, and memories. Much more than expressive writing, expository writing may pose problems for individuals with learning disability who may find it difficult to organize ideas, support main ideas with details, or apply paragraph and essay structures.”

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