Friday, November 5, 2010

Some random thoughts of kindness and teaching...

A day or so ago my wife and I watch a DVD, "Julie and Julia."  As critics have said, it was a delightful show with good acting and a theme to keep you interested.  Although I am not Italian, I was raised in the Italian part of town and enjoy good foods and eating.  During one trip to Paris to attend a conference, I enjoyed a Bistro and everyday good food of the French culture.

There was a small section in the movie that I felt quite close to as Julie (Amy Adams) is blogging about her culinary trials and tribulations and writes,  "Is there anyone reading this?  Is there any one out there?"  Ahhh, Julie.  I know the feeling.

If on cue, I received an e-mail from Kaitlyn Cole who works with  She pointed out that her organization recently published "20 Essential Books on U.S. Education Policy."  She thought my readers might be interested.  I agree.  You can see the list at: .  I was a little concerned that if I looked at the list of books I might feel left behind--I do get overwhelmed with my readings at times.  But it is a good list in as much as a couple of the books I once housed in my library.

One of the books I actually read and made use of.  It is "The Homework Myth" by Alfie Kohn.  So I went to my bookshelf and looked for it.  Not there--probably loaned it out and it hasn't come home.  But I remember it.  Mr. Kohn (and I) dislike grades and grading and.....Homework.  I haven't read the most recent research on homework but I suspect it will be saying the same thing.....that homework does not increase knowledge or grades.  That is a generalization since I believe that small doses of homework and for specific reasons beyond just doing it might show value.  But by and large homework just tires us all out and the teacher still have to correct and grade it.  Mr. Kohn has a website:

I use to tell my parents at the first PTA meeting my thoughts on not sending homework home and I was surprised to find most were acceptable to this policy.  Many European countries do not send home assignments but I have not done my research on this for some take me with a grain of salt.

However, my point being that this is an interesting list on the blog.  Kaitlyn--thank you for the headsup e-mail.

Then following Kaitly's note, I got an e-mail from Emma Taylor at pointing out an article on "10 Shocking Stats on the State of the U.S. Education."  It would be interesting to check out some of the statistics that the article quoted.  For example, 43 percent and 53 percent of eighth graders receive inadequate music and visual arts.   My initial thoughts was that this seems low--I would suspect 60 to 70 percent of eighth grade students receive little or no instruction in music and art.  But I am a biased ex-music teacher.  You can find the complete article at  .

One of these days I am going to do several blogs on distance learning.  I am a believer.  And have taught for an on-line university.  

I am also looking into bullying.  It seems to be a popular topic these days.  But it happened in my classroom.  I don't think it will go away without education and supervision.  Parents, you can help on this.

I would like to thank Julia Child for teaching me how to make an omelet.   I use to fuss and worry and carefully tilt the pan and raise my blood pressure when making an omelet.  Then one day I watched a video of Julia making omelets--many of them.  Some of them actually landed in the stove.  But she'd pour the eggs in the pan, shake the devil out of them and then plop them onto the plate.  I tried it and it worked.  Thanks, Julia.  You're a good teacher.

Have you thanked a teacher today?

No comments:

Post a Comment