Showing posts from October, 2012

No School: Sweet!

Ok, I'll admit it.  I'm slightly giddy at the cancellation of school tomorrow due to "Frankenstorm" hitting the US's northeast's coast throughout tomorrow.  I'm happy to have the day off but also highly intrigued by the discussing, obsessing, and goofiness of it all.  From the naming of Hurricane Sandy as Frankenstorm (check out the Wikipedia entry) to the continually updates people have received in the 24+ news cycle and the various posts on Facebook and Twitter (#HurricaneSandy and #Frankenstorm), you pretty much have to live in a bubble to not to have heard about it or been threatened by it.  The current trend I'm seeing is people posting photos of grocery stores being completely emptied out because of the forthcoming storm (such as this one).

In similar capacity to what I saw with the great earthquake of New England, I decided to create a facebook page in a similar fashion called:  Thanks Sandy The Frankenstorm, I Don't Have School Tomorrow.  C…

Booked Thoughts: Complete Without Kids

Based upon a recommendation from a good friend, I took the time to read Complete Without Kids:  An Insider's Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance by Ellen L. Walker.  It proved a decent read for those making the conscious decision to not having children or even those who might be considering having kids but wanting to consider all possible options.  I have my critiques of it which will follow shortly, but I first wanted to explore the purpose of such a book and why I am writing about it.  Many friends know that I made the conscious and permanent decision to not reproduce years ago.  I regularly make note of this in various social media and when interacting with people.  Some have certainly accused me of talking about it "too much" and this usually takes two forms:
1.  Thou doth protest too muchThis is the argument that I talk about not having kids and being happy with that decision but really do want them and am pretending or faking myself out to believe I don…

Published Letter to the Salem News

Originally, I didn't think they were publishing this--it was almost 2 weeks ago.  What follows is an response to this editorial column in the Salem News by Jonathan Blodget, Distract Attorney for Essex County, published on October 11, 2012.

Blodgett's words about the perils of texting while driving are worth reading.  But I think most people will read them, say "that's right" and continue to condemn people who text behind the wheel, all the while texting when they drive--because they really know what they're doing. 
It's not that Blodgett's words are meaningless; but in and of themselves, they are irrelevant.  Yes, stop texting while driving is the goal--but what's a realistic route to that goal.

For the rest of the letter, click through to the Salem News.

Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signin…

Teaching: Trying Not to Be Snide, Or, A Battle In My Mind

The student had already tried my patience.  Largely, because less than 24 hours earlier, he was asking for information about an assignment (due in 72 hours) that could be found right under the title of the "Assignment Guideline".  Thus before class as the student approached, I didn't have the best frame of mind (a problem unto itself).  He began asking questions about the assignment; questions that I had gone over in the previous class.  What to cover (also in the guidelines), how to deal with the subject matter (also in the guidelines), and other details.  He kept asking; I kept answering and suddenly, I caught myself (and wanted to smack myself).  This was THE tone.  This was the dismissal.  This was where a student becomes disconnected.  I had to take a step back and reassess what I was doing.

I spend a lot of time with a course, making sure I have everything the student needs in order to properly accomplish the task at hand.  This means generating about 20 pages of te…

Recent Post on LETS Blog: “Surviving” Earthquakes and Viral Education

I heard about it; I did not feel it.  Apparently, I missed the not-so-epic earthquake of New England.  I was in my basement apartment engaged in conversation–I guess I just figured it was the hot air bellowing from me (or indigestion?).  But New England witnessed a 4.5 magnitude earthquake in Maine that was felt down through Massachusetts.

Like many people who missed the earthquake, I found out about it when Facebook updates exploded with references to it.  Dozens of friends were asking Facebook if their world was just rocked.  Enough asked to figure out that yes, indeed, there was an earthquake, even before the official notice went out.  It was pretty interesting to come to Facebook some 20 minutes after the event to discover the event and witness everyone else discovering the event.

For the full article, click on through!

Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to d…

Adventures in Learning: Is Almost All Learning Social?

Previously, I had talked about the nature of wisdom as being centrally located in the realm of the social and less in the head.  Again, as Merriam et al explain, "Moreover, wisdom seems to consist of the ability to move away from absolute truths to be reflective, and to make sound judgments for the common good related to our daily existence, whatever our circumstances" (Pg 356).

As we've delved into thinking about learning, I can't help but think about learning as almost entirely social in many capacities.  I do believe a child left to its own devices (only given the necessary food) is likely to make some sense of the world (i.e. learn) but I tend to think that its sense-making is significantly diminished without the social element.  After all, if we have these mirror neurons, they are very much there in part for us to learn and understanding the world by watching others. Human babies, compared to many other species, are born prematurely without the innate knowledge m…

Tales of Running: Resilience & Mules

When I was young and had to run at sports, I always came in last.  I knew I would never be a winner at running, but I always told myself that compared to most people I was running with, I bet I could out run them.  That is, I told myself (though never ever came close to proving it) that I could have the stamina to keep running long after they had quit.  That's what I told myself, but I'm not sure I believed it.  I told myself that I was a mule--made for long treks while they were gazelles, gallivanting about.  It tended to be self-delusional at best and largely a means of trying to make myself feel superior when I felt anything but.  However, years later, as I enjoy the development and love for running coupled with the accomplishments of this fall of running a 25K, 30K and half-marathon, I feel now more the mule than ever.  I'm still not winning races and I'm coupled with hundreds of other mules as we trot along in these races (most others at faster paces), but I feel …

Tales of Running: That's Gonna Hurt In the Morning

So I know I just ran a half-marathon on Saturday and I should probably give myself some rest.  But I couldn't resist.  I found my body yearning to hit the road again.  Maybe it was because how I felt about the half-marathon or just that I feel a post-run buzz.  It could be because fall is finally here and that makes me happy too.  Or it could be that I ate crappy and was largely sedentary today so I figured this could at least balance that out.

But the run was wonderfully delightful.  A bit tricky for sure; running at night is hard because the sidewalk is not always visible which is even more problematic when running barefoot or with vibrams.  But I totally rocked it.  I ran 4.3 miles.  Not a long run for sure (oh, the amusement of that sentence:  Lance just said 4.3 miles was "not a long run".  Hilarity).  I set a strong pace and did the run in 40:05.  That's a 9:19 mile pace which is ok.  I've done better but when juxtaposed with the run the other day and the f…

Tales of Running: Of Half-Marathons and Mind Games

So there it is.  My half-marathon.  Done.  Accomplished.  Just over a year from the first road race I've every completed.  And it's not that I was worried about doing it--after all, I had the 30K and the 25K behind me.  Getting it done wasn't a  fait accompli but I was definitely confident about my performance.  I told myself that I would definitely shave some minutes off my time.   I was setting a low time of 2:20 and a high time of 2:15.  Neither were hit.  I came in at just under 2:26which was 11:08 miles.  In terms of timing, I did better with the 25K with 11:01 miles.  So clearly, I was wrong.

So why didn't I do better?  There could be lots of reasons to point to:

I didn't train as best I could over the last month.  There's truth in this.  Every week I could have fit in one more run, but told myself I was too busy to do so (despite knowing how much good it does me--even when I'm busy).

I jumped out of the gate too soon.  Again, there's viability here…

Adventures in Learning: Would the Real Andragogy Please Stand Up?

This discussion follows close on the heels of my discussion of is there an "adult learner" post (to which I largely say no).  Thus, if there is no adult learning, I wonder if we can have a theory of adult-teaching (andragogy).  Our look at pedagogy and andragogy seems to bring this point home for me.  In last week’s class (9/27), andragogy was explained as using the leaner's own knowledge and experience to better align with or integrate it with the new information, content, ideas, etc of what the course content is focused on.  Of course, that seems to be realistic way of approaching teaching in general—not just something geared specifically towards adults.  Helping children translate knowledge from something they know to something new doesn’t seem to be a particularly adult-specific approach.  A lot of learning we do with children is analogically based (a good example is how parents try to explain death to a child; “you’re grandmother’s ‘gone away’ for a long time.”)  Ho…

Adventures in Learning: What's Childhood But Another Context

So the questions that I'm grappling with and will continue to grapple with in this course until a solid answer is provided (or mayhaps I go off and write my own article/book) is:  Is there any way of distinguishing the child learner from the adult learner beyond differences of degree--that is , are there any full categorical differences between adult and child learner?  If there isn't, then why are we talking about "adult learning" as all; why isn't it just "learning?"

The point that comes up time and again is that adults have much more experience than children to draw upon.  Experience (which is another word for being conscious of contextual elements of our lives—understanding how we live and move through our lives informing our understanding of the world) is great, but because it is so individualized, it then seems to nuke any cohesion about adults as learners.  At least when it comes to giving the instructor or institute anything definitive to work wi…

Adventures in Learning: Some Reading Responses

So these are some of the smaller thoughts I have about the readings.  I have 2 posts that are forthcoming and likely to be more substantive and critical, but here's something to hold you over in the meantime:
Learning About Andragogy and Its DiscontentsI was happy that Knowles had been taken to task in Merriam.  I couldn't help but think about as I read it, how much he in his writing and direction appeared to be more pedagogical in his approach than andragogical (after all, if a book is a tool of learning, then should there not be some means of changing the tone and approach to meet andragogical approaches--if there is such a thing as distinctly "andragocial").  

Knowles ideas parted ways with me very early.  First, I'm surprise no mention or exploration in the education within the military as there must be substantive information and ideas about how that works (or doesn't?) and what kind of return the military gets from its approaches to training and learning.…