Saturday, June 30, 2012

Another Supreme Court Decision To Deal With

I don't know if I can bear much more analysis on the SCOTUS health care decision.  Let it be noticed that Chief Justice Roberts did not say it was a good law, only that the penalty is a tax and Congress can tax.  While I find some of his reasoning convoluted, I also wonder if this is less a gift to the Obama administrative and more of a way to undermine him while at the same time protect his court from criticisms of judicial activism in reverse.

Two days in, I still have three questions that have not been answered since 2010.

1.  Does anyone really know what's in this law? 
2.  How are we going to pay for it?
3.  How, reasonably, can it be enforced and realized?

Perhaps I have not wanted them answered enough, but I'm trying to hear the answers that are given.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Little Randomness

We had to write about our best and worst learning experiences for grad school.  One of the profs pointed out there is no such thing as best or worst, only "valuable or not valuable." 

All knowledge is connected.  All truth is God's truth.  I am learning so much that is connected to other fields.  It's exciting. 

The word "idiot" comes from a Greek word meaning  "a private person."  This is interesting.  In Greek thought, being public meant being engaged, responsible, taking one's part in the polis.  Aristotle, often misquoted on this, said "Man is an animal who lives in a polis"--not just a city, but in the Greek ideal of a city/state where free persons participated in government, etc.  I think a person who cuts himself off from others, who does not take advantage of the mirror and wisdom of others, who does not have a public life, will be an idiot.  He or she will do things that do not take others into account.  What I fear is that we are becoming more and more private (due to technology) and thus more and more idiotic.

I am reading Ann Voskamp's book, and perhaps will do a series of commentaries on it. 

I have reached over 850 posts.

Potty mouth legislators

Coming back from Atlanta yesterday I tuned into NPR and heard an interview with Eve Ensler, the author of "The Vagina Monologues."  (I do not know this work; I do not review works I haven't read or watched, so this isn't about the play.)  Ms. Ensler was quite celebratory, as was the interviewer, over the fact that a female legislator in Michigan used the V word in a speech against some pro-life bill that was being debated, was censured for a day, and then got a group of women together to perform the play on capitol steps.

Good for them.  How special.

However, it seems that these women are all upset because they think the censure was over the use of the word vagina.  If her remarks are read in context, you get a different view. Maybe the male legislators didn't appreciate that they were being accused of rape.  Maybe they didn't appreciate her equating of a pro-life bill with their being interested in that particular woman's sexual organs.  Can you imagine a male legislator saying, in reference to a bill about paying or not paying for prostate cancer screenings,  "I'm so happy you are all concerned about my penis?"

The left is very good at pointless symbolism.


Collaborative Learning



Someone posted this on Facebook (another professor).  I think it is funny because it is true for some people, but not for me.

Collaborative learning can be a disaster or it can be a triumph.  Since I use it a great deal, I will defend it pretty much to anyone.  I think any assignment can be made collaborative; I think people, even introverts, need to be sharpened by the thinking of other people (iron sharpens iron and all that in the book of Proverbs).  Yes, I am reading Quiet and it is good, but introversion is no excuse for not being able to collaborate.   An introvert may only collaborate differently, but a person who believes he or she does not need to collaborate is prideful.    Finally, for better or worse, in the real world of work people have to collaborate at least some, and I would venture that 90% of people really don't know how to do so.  Even if they have worked collaboratively in college, that doesn't mean they were taught HOW to do so.  In our individualistic culture, collaboration is not natural for many.

On the flip side, however, I do understand the visual above.  I am in a doctoral program that is heavily about collaboration, collaborative inquiry, double loop learning, communicative action, etc.  Some of it is a little leftist for my tastes, but I can see its values.  We did collaborative inquiry groups yesterday and it was intense.  We were all quite tired when it was over.  Yet I learned a great deal from it about the process and myself.  It was also challenging--even a little painful to put myself up to that scrutiny.  Not that collaborative work in a college or work setting has to be so intensely personal.  I understand why high achievers (I'm one) do not like group work and how they feel that one or two people often end up bearing the load.  Those people should be held accountable. I know that over the next three years in my doctoral program there will be times I will grow frustrated about a group project.

My point, though, is that throwing students into a group project is not teaching them to do collaborative inquiry or learning.  They need scaffolding or training and time-outs and an opportunity to come fuss at the instructor.  It comes down to whether the instructor just wants the students to learn the material a little differently by talking about it in groups or producing a project as a group, or if the instructor really wants them to learn collaborative skills as well as the content.  As a communication teacher, I fall more to the former.

How to Fight November

I realized a few years ago that when the time changed in the November it began a four-month battle for me. Well, I should say seven weeks, r...