Tag Archives: professional development

Inclusion (n)

“The practice of placing students with disabilities in regular classrooms in accordance with federal law. To the maximum extent possible, students with disabilities are supposed to be educated alongside their peers in regular education classrooms unless ‘the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily’ (P.L. 94-142020 U.S.C 1412 (5) (A)).”

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

Hamlet’s Blackberry

About ten years ago, when I still listened to National Public Radio regularly. I heard William Powers interviewed. He was discussing a research endeavor at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy that resulted in report he titled Hamlet’s Blackberry. Over the years, I meant to read it. Then, in 2010, he expanded the original essay and published it as a book.

But the original essay, at 75 pages with the works cited page, is still available at no cost under the link, if you search “Hamlet’s Blackberry PDF,  The Death of Paper.

I have a particular interest in the history of books and book lore, including changes in printing technologies, I had an interest per se in this piece of writing. For educators, I think this is a good read because it says some things we need to know about the reading and reception of texts.

And Mr. Powers is a fine stylist, so this is a quick and breezy read about a subject that is, by any measure I appreciate, quite profound.

Virtue (n)

[This year, for the first time in my teaching career, I am co-teaching a senior English Language Arts class. Our first mission is to help students produce a college application essay. I’m making up a worksheet for students to use in attending to the implications of this quote for composing this essay.]

“A virtue is a trait of character that is to be admired: one rendering its possessor better, either morally, or intellectually, or in the conduct of specific affairs. Both Plato and Aristotle devote much time to the unity of the virtues, or the way in which possession of one in the right way requires possession of the others; another central concern is the way in which possession of virtue, which might seem to stand in the way of self-interest, in fact makes possible the achievement of self-interest properly understood, or eudaimonia. But different conceptions of moral virtue and its relation to other virtue characterize Platonic, Aristotelian, Stoic, Christian, Enlightenment, Romantic, and 20th-century ethical writing. These divisions reflect central preoccupations of their time and needs of the cultures in which they gain predominance: the humility, charity, patience, and chastity of Christianity would have been unintelligible as ethical virtues to classical Greeks, whereas the ‘magnanimity‘ of the great-souled man of Aristotle is hard for us to read as an unqualified good, Syntheses of Christian and Greek conceptions are attempted by many, including Aquinas, but a resolute return to an Aristotelian conception has been impossible since the emergence of generalized benevolence as a leading virtue. For Hume a virtue is a trait of character with the power of producing love or esteem of others, or pride in oneself, by being ‘useful or agreeable’ to its possessors and those affected by them. In Kant, virtue is purely a trait that can act as a handmaiden to the doing of duty, having no independent, ethical value, and in utilitarianism, virtues are traits of character that further pursuit of the general happiness.”

Excerpted from: Blackburn, Simon. The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Terms of Art: Readiness

“The degree to which an individual is prepared developmentally to learn a new skill. Readiness is a term often used in early education to describe a child’s acquisition of prerequisite emotional, social and cognitive skills for academic learning.

For example, reading readiness would include pre-reading skills such as letter identification, print awareness, and rhyming. When a child has demonstrated mastery of such skills, that child would be ready to learn to read.

However, the concept of readiness can be applied to any stage of learning. For example, readiness for algebra must mean an individual has mastered certain mathematical calculations.

Normal three- to six-year-olds acquire academic and social readiness naturally when brought up in a literate environment, but developmentally delayed, learning disabled, or environmentally deprived children may need extra training or early intervention to prepare them for learning. Early school failure or unnecessary referrals can be prevented with some extra attention in early education to bolster children’s readiness for school.”

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

Paideia Program (n)

“An approach to teaching developed by philosopher Mortimer Adler that combines coaching, lecturing, and Socratic dialogue as teaching methods to encourage deep thinking about such traditional subjects as literature, mathematics, science, and the performing arts. Adler’s Paideia Proposal, and Paideia Problems and Possibilities are rooted in the social, political, and educational philosophy of Aristotle.”

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

Freud’s 3 Elements of Personality

Id * Ego * Superego

“Sigmund Freud conceived of the personality as consisting of three interrelated influences. The Id is a person’s natural instincts and desires, such as to procreate, to eat and to survive. The Ego uses reason to mediate between reality and the Id, so one might say that in today’s world I can only afford two children, or there are six people needing to eat so I can’t have the whole chicken. Lastly, there is the Superego, akin to the conscience, and thought to originate as an internal version of what parents, school, and society teach. This introduces the concept of ‘I should’–for example, share my good fortune with those less fortunate than myself.”

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.

Infinitive (n)

“The non-finite verb that has the uninflected form of the verb: be, say, dig, make. The form may be used alone (the BARE INFINITIVES I made him tell the truth). The bare infinitive is commonly used after a modal auxiliary verb (be after the modal may in We may be late) and after the auxiliary verb do (I did answer your letter, They do know the difference). It is also found in the complementation of a small number of main verbs such as have, let, make, see, and hear (I had Tom paint the fence; The soldiers let us pass; They need us to leave). In some instances, either type of infinitive may be used: Steven helped Susan (to) teach the children good manners; What Sidney did was (to) help Justin with his homework. The to- infinitive has a wider distribution as the verb in an infinitive construction: (1) It may be a subject (To meet you was a great pleasure), though a variant with postponed subject is more usual: It was a great pleasure to meet you. (2) It may be the object in various types of verb complementation: I hope to see Judith and Percy soon; I asked John and Joyce to come to my party; Jeffrey and Rosalind want me to be there. (3) It may be introduced by a wh word: Anton and Stella asked me what to advise their elder son. (4) It may function in various semantic classes of adverbial: To set the alarm, press four digits; He grew up to be a fine man; To be frank, the meeting was boring.”

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