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Thoreau's Walden - an annotated edition

Thoreau's Walden - an annotated edition | valuable resources for teaching |
Thoreau's 1845 experiment in living well, with essays, photos, the Walden Express for students, and links to other Walden pages.
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Should children do chores? are they useful?

Should children do chores? are they useful? | valuable resources for teaching |

Giving kids chores can help foster responsibility and a sense of involvement and self-worth. Chores lists can also breed contempt or at least a source for argument if not handled correctly. Chores should be handled as necessary contributions to the family. After all, if the dishes were never washed, what would ultimately happen? (If your kids answer "paper plates," then you might have some work to do here.) Chores may not be traditional "fun," but they can create a sense of "family" as well helping to learn that keeping a household running involves effort and teamwork. Parents should have their children do chores, but do so in a way so that they don't become a bone of contention and foster arguments or pit parents against kids. Here are tips for making chore assignments.

Involve your kids with the establishment of chores. Don't just assign kids to tasks; present them with choices and ask their thoughts about where they think they can make the great contribution to the family. If the end goal is to teach responsibility and family contributions, then let them be part of the process. Maybe your kid balks about taking out the trash, but actually enjoys setting the table and vacuuming. Parents can lay out tasks matter-of-factly and then dole out the jobs. They then can be rotated if everyone wants the same ones, or agreed to if an equitable division can be worked out. Just like adults, kids may react better to having job duties if they feel their preferences are at least considered and they have some level of control over the decisions made.

Establish quality standards up front. As most parents know, kid chores are often not performed at the same quality standard if they done by an adult. But the lesson here is two-fold: 1) the task is something that needs to be done in the house; and 2) the repetition of the chore should help to improve the quality of work by the child with time. A kid may not rake leaves effectively the first time around, but each time should improve. Parents must establish quality standards so that kids don't just do "minimum effort" and develop the attitude of a slack job being good enough. Quality standards should be coupled with consequences, which is the next point.

Set consequences as a team. A family is a team, and all individuals (as age allows) should pitch it to duties. If someone fails to do a job, it either doesn't get done and affects everyone else, or it can cause a disruption or concern in the household. Children need to first be told why a chore is important and why it must be done. Once a kid understands its importance, he or she should be involved with the establishment of a consequence if it's not done. If a kid chore is keeping his bedroom clean, then a consequence can be as simple as no playing with friends period at their house or yours until it is clean. But parents should be careful to set specific guidelines as to what constitutes a clean room so that there is no confusion or misunderstanding, which breeds unnecessary chore standoffs or issues.

Don't give in to chore battles. It's inevitable that a child will attempt to barter or negotiate why a chore doesn't need to be done--either at all or at the designated time. Parents often err by giving in once or twice only to find their authority is then undermined. Once the expectations have been set, there is really nothing more to discuss. Most likely your kids will spend more time trying to argue about it than it would have to have simply done the chore; a fact you can always remind them of. The key is to not become mad or upset; simply ignore or tune-out grumbles and don't give in.

Spouses must be unified in chore assignments. Mom and dad need to be unified in chore assignments; the same holds true with grandparents or other adults who may be living in the home. If a chore is assigned, then it must be done. Parents must stay united that they all support the chore's assignment. Kids tune in when one parent finds making a bed every morning a "must do" task while another thinks it is no big deal. The lesson from this is that adults who will be involved in chore supervision or consequences should privately discuss their own expectations and ground rules and agree to consistently administer the parameters about the chores.

Stress that chores are part of the family and rewards are not to be expected. While giving an allowance can be tied to be a contributing member of a household (and with that the fulfillment of certain tasks and chores), kids should not be rewarded for doing chores that are part of family business. Kids don't need and don't deserve a quarter, for example, every time they take out the trash. After all, what lesson does that teach them?

Allow kids an opportunity to express their thoughts about chores. Don't punish kids for talking about chores; discussions on the tasks can be good if handled in an appropriate fashion. Keep it positive and to the point.



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OUTLIERS-Malcolm Gladwell

OUTLIERS-Malcolm Gladwell | valuable resources for teaching |

I can still remember the first time i read this book three years ago. What i read was a translation version and i was impressed a lot by the humor and inspiring ideas in it. From that time on, i have been falling in love with books written by Malcolm Gladwell.


1. What is an outlier?

"Outlier" is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience. In the summer, in Paris, we expect most days to be somewhere between warm and very hot. But imagine if you had a day in the middle of August where the temperature fell below freezing. That day would be outlier. And while we have a very good understanding of why summer days in Paris are warm or hot, we know a good deal less about why a summer day in Paris might be freezing cold. In this book I'm interested in people who are outliers—in men and women who, for one reason or another, are so accomplished and so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience that they are as puzzling to the rest of us as a cold day in August.


2. Why did you write Outliers?

I write books when I find myself returning again and again, in my mind, to the same themes. I wrote Tipping Point because I was fascinated by the sudden drop in crime in New York City—and that fascination grew to an interest in the whole idea of epidemics and epidemic processes. I wrote Blink because I began to get obsessed, in the same way, with the way that all of us seem to make up our minds about other people in an instant—without really doing any real thinking. In the case of Outliers, the book grew out a frustration I found myself having with the way we explain the careers of really successful people. You know how you hear someone say of Bill Gates or some rock star or some other outlier—"they're really smart," or "they're really ambitious?' Well, I know lots of people who are really smart and really ambitious, and they aren't worth 60 billion dollars. It struck me that our understanding of success was really crude—and there was an opportunity to dig down and come up with a better set of explanations.


3. In what way are our explanations of success "crude?"

That's a bit of a puzzle because we certainly don't lack for interest in the subject. If you go to the bookstore, you can find a hundred success manuals, or biographies of famous people, or self-help books that promise to outline the six keys to great achievement. (Or is it seven?) So we should be pretty sophisticated on the topic. What I came to realize in writing Outliers, though, is that we've been far too focused on the individual—on describing the characteristics and habits and personality traits of those who get furthest ahead in the world. And that's the problem, because in order to understand the outlier I think you have to look around them—at their culture and community and family and generation. We've been looking at tall trees, and I think we should have been looking at the forest.


4. Can you give some examples?

Sure. For example, one of the chapters looks at the fact that a surprising number of the most powerful and successful corporate lawyers in New York City have almost the exact same biography: they are Jewish men, born in the Bronx or Brooklyn in the mid-1930's to immigrant parents who worked in the garment industry. Now, you can call that a coincidence. Or you can ask—as I do—what is about being Jewish and being part of the generation born in the Depression and having parents who worked in the garment business that might have something to do with turning someone into a really, really successful lawyer? And the answer is that you can learn a huge amount about why someone reaches the top of that profession by asking those questions.


5. Doesn't that make it sound like success is something outside of an individual's control?

I don't mean to go that far. But I do think that we vastly underestimate the extent to which success happens because of things the individual has nothing to do with. Outliers opens, for example, by examining why a hugely disproportionate number of professional hockey and soccer players are born in January, February and March. I'm not going to spoil things for you by giving you the answer. But the point is that very best hockey players are people who are talented and work hard but who also benefit from the weird and largely unexamined and peculiar ways in which their world is organized. I actually have a lot of fun with birthdates in Outliers. Did you know that there's a magic year to be born if you want to be a software entrepreneur? And another magic year to be born if you want to be really rich? In fact, one nine year stretch turns out to have produced more Outliers than any other period in history. It's remarkable how many patterns you can find in the lives of successful people, when you look closely.


6. What's the most surprising pattern you uncovered in the book?

It's probably the chapter nearly the end of Outliers where I talk about plane crashes. How good a pilot is, it turns out, has a lot to do with where that pilot is from—that is, the culture he or she was raised in. I was actually stunned by how strong the connection is between culture and crashes, and it's something that I would never have dreamed was true, in a million years.


7. Wait. Does this mean that there are some airlines that I should avoid?

Yes. Although, as I point out in Outliers, by acknowledging the role that culture plays in piloting, some of the most unsafe airlines have actually begun to clean up their act.


8. In Tipping Point, you had an entire chapter on suicide. In Blink, you ended the book with a long chapter on the Diallo shooting—and now plane crashes. Do you have a macabre side?

Yes! I'm a frustrated thriller writer! But seriously, there's a good reason for that. I think that we learn more from extreme circumstances than anything else; disasters tell us something about the way we think and behave that we can't learn from ordinary life. That's the premise of Outliers. It's those who lie outside ordinary experience who have the most to teach us.


9. How does this book compare to Blink and The Tipping Point?

It's different, in the sense that it's much more focused on people and their stories. The subtitle—"The Story of Success"—is supposed to signal that. A lot of the book is an attempt to describe the lives of successful people, but to tell their stories in a different way than we're used to. I have a chapter that deals, in part, with explaining the extraordinary success of Bill Gates. But I'm not interested in anything that happened to him past the age of about 17. Or I have a chapter explaining why Asian schoolchildren are so good at math. But it's focused almost entirely on what the grandparents and great-grandparents and great-great grandparents of those schoolchildren did for a living. You'll meet more people in Outliers than in my previous two books.


10. What was your most memorable experience in researching Outliers?

There were so many! I'll never forget the time I spent with Chris Langan, who might be the smartest man in the world. I've never been able to feel someone's intellect before, the way I could with him. It was an intimidating experience, but also profoundly heartbreaking—as I hope becomes apparent in "The Trouble with Geniuses" chapter. I also went to south China and hung out in rice paddies, and went to this weird little town in eastern Pennsylvania where no one ever has a heart attack, and deciphered aircraft "black box" recorders with crash investigators. I should warn all potential readers that once you get interested in the world of plane crashes, it becomes very hard to tear yourself away. I'm still obsessed.


11. What do you want people to take away from Outliers?

I think this is the way in which Outliers is a lot like Blink and Tipping Point. They are all attempts to make us think about the world a little differently. The hope with Tipping Point was it would help the reader understand that real change was possible. With Blink, I wanted to get people to take the enormous power of their intuition seriously. My wish with Outliers is that it makes us understand how much of a group project success is. When outliers become outliers it is not just because of their own efforts. It's because of the contributions of lots of different people and lots of different circumstances— and that means that we, as a society, have more control about who succeeds—and how many of us succeed—than we think. That's an amazingly hopeful and uplifting idea.


12. I noticed that the book is dedicated to "Daisy." Who is she?

Daisy is my grandmother. She was a remarkable woman, who was responsible for my mother's success—for the fact that my mother was able to get out of the little rural village in Jamaica where she grew up, get a University education in England and ultimately meet and marry my father. The last chapter of Outliers is an attempt to understand how Daisy was able to make that happen—using all the lessons learned over the course of the book. I've never written something quite this personal before. I hope readers find her story as moving as I did.



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BLINK-Malcolm Gladwell

BLINK-Malcolm Gladwell | valuable resources for teaching |

1. What is "Blink" about?

It's a book about rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye. When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions. Well, "Blink" is a book about those two seconds, because I think those instant conclusions that we reach are really powerful and really important and, occasionally, really good.

You could also say that it's a book about intuition, except that I don't like that word. In fact it never appears in "Blink." Intuition strikes me as a concept we use to describe emotional reactions, gut feelings--thoughts and impressions that don't seem entirely rational. But I think that what goes on in that first two seconds is perfectly rational. It's thinking--its just thinking that moves a little faster and operates a little more mysteriously than the kind of deliberate, conscious decision-making that we usually associate with "thinking." In "Blink" I'm trying to understand those two seconds. What is going on inside our heads when we engage in rapid cognition? When are snap judgments good and when are they not? What kinds of things can we do to make our powers of rapid cognition better?


2. How can thinking that takes place so quickly be at all useful? Don't we make the best decisions when we take the time to carefully evaluate all available and relevant information?

Certainly that's what we've always been told. We live in a society dedicated to the idea that we're always better off gathering as much information and spending as much time as possible in deliberation. As children, this lesson is drummed into us again and again: haste makes waste, look before you leap, stop and think. But I don't think this is true. There are lots of situations--particularly at times of high pressure and stress--when haste does not make waste, when our snap judgments and first impressions offer a much better means of making sense of the world.

One of the stories I tell in "Blink" is about the Emergency Room doctors at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. That's the big public hospital in Chicago, and a few years ago they changed the way they diagnosed heart attacks. They instructed their doctors to gather less information on their patients: they encouraged them to zero in on just a few critical pieces of information about patients suffering from chest pain--like blood pressure and the ECG--while ignoring everything else, like the patient's age and weight and medical history. And what happened? Cook County is now one of the best places in the United States at diagnosing chest pain.

Not surprisingly, it was really hard to convince the physicians at Cook County to go along with the plan, because, like all of us, they were committed to the idea that more information is always better. But I describe lots of cases in "Blink" where that simply isn't true. There's a wonderful phrase in psychology--"the power of thin slicing"--which says that as human beings we are capable of making sense of situations based on the thinnest slice of experience. I have an entire chapter in "Blink" on how unbelievably powerful our thin-slicing skills are. I have to say that I still find some of the examples in that chapter hard to believe.


3. Where did you get the idea for "Blink"?

Believe it or not, it's because I decided, a few years ago, to grow my hair long. If you look at the author photo on my last book, "The Tipping Point," you'll see that it used to be cut very short and conservatively. But, on a whim, I let it grow wild, as it had been when I was teenager. Immediately, in very small but significant ways, my life changed. I started getting speeding tickets all the time--and I had never gotten any before. I started getting pulled out of airport security lines for special attention. And one day, while walking along 14th Street in downtown Manhattan, a police van pulled up on the sidewalk, and three officers jumped out. They were looking, it turned out, for a rapist, and the rapist, they said, looked a lot like me. They pulled out the sketch and the description. I looked at it, and pointed out to them as nicely as I could that in fact the rapist looked nothing at all like me. He was much taller, and much heavier, and about fifteen years younger (and, I added, in a largely futile attempt at humor, not nearly as good-looking.) All we had in common was a large head of curly hair. After twenty minutes or so, the officers finally agreed with me, and let me go. On a scale of things, I realize this was a trivial misunderstanding. African-Americans in the United State suffer indignities far worse than this all the time. But what struck me was how even more subtle and absurd the stereotyping was in my case: this wasn't about something really obvious like skin color, or age, or height, or weight. It was just about hair. Something about the first impression created by my hair derailed every other consideration in the hunt for the rapist, and the impression formed in those first two seconds exerted a powerful hold over the officers' thinking over the next twenty minutes. That episode on the street got me thinking about the weird power of first impressions.


4. But that's an example of a bad case of thin-slicing. The police officers jumped to a conclusion about you that was wrong. Does "Blink" talk about when rapid cognition goes awry?

Yes. That's a big part of the book as well. I'm very interested in figuring out those kinds of situations where we need to be careful with our powers of rapid cognition. For instance, I have a chapter where I talk a lot about what it means for a man to be tall. I called up several hundred of the Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. and asked them how tall their CEOs were. And the answer is that they are almost all tall. Now that's weird. There is no correlation between height and intelligence, or height and judgment, or height and the ability to motivate and lead people. But for some reason corporations overwhelmingly choose tall people for leadership roles. I think that's an example of bad rapid cognition: there is something going on in the first few seconds of meeting a tall person which makes us predisposed toward thinking of that person as an effective leader, the same way that the police looked at my hair and decided I resembled a criminal. I call this the "Warren Harding Error" (you'll have to read "Blink" to figure out why), and I think we make Warren Harding Errors in all kind of situations-- particularly when it comes to hiring. With "Blink," I'm trying to help people distinguish their good rapid cognition from their bad rapid cognition.


5. What kind of a book is "Blink"?

I used to get that question all the time with "The Tipping Point," and I never really had a good answer. The best I could come up with was to say that it was an intellectual adventure story. I would describe "Blink" the same way. There is a lot of psychology in this book. In fact, the core of the book is research from a very new and quite extraordinary field in psychology that hasn't really been written about yet for a general audience. But those ideas are illustrated using stories from literally every corner of society. In just the first four chapters, I discuss, among other things: marriage, World War Two code-breaking, ancient Greek sculpture, New Jersey's best car dealer, Tom Hanks, speed-dating, medical malpractice, how to hit a topspin forehand, and what you can learn from someone by looking around their bedroom. So what does that make "Blink?" Fun, I hope.


6. What do you want people to take away from "Blink"?

I guess I just want to get people to take rapid cognition seriously. When it comes to something like dating, we all readily admit to the importance of what happens in the first instant when two people meet. But we won't admit to the importance of what happens in the first two seconds when we talk about what happens when someone encounters a new idea, or when we interview someone for a job, or when a military general has to make a decision in the heat of battle.

"The Tipping Point" was concerned with grand themes, with figuring out the rules by which social change happens. "Blink" is quite different. It is concerned with the smallest components of our everyday lives--with the content and origin of those instantaneous impressions and conclusions that bubble up whenever we meet a new person, or confront a complex situation, or have to make a decision under conditions of stress. I think its time we paid more attention to those fleeting moments. I think that if we did, it would change the way wars are fought, the kind of products we see on the shelves, the kinds of movies that get made, the way police officers are trained, the way couples are counseled, the way job interviews are conducted and on and on--and if you combine all those little changes together you end up with a different and happier world.



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Ariel-Slyvia Plath

Ariel-Slyvia Plath | valuable resources for teaching |

Stasis in darkness.

Then the substanceless blue

Pour of tor and distances.

God's lioness,

How one we grow,

Pivot of heels and knees! --

The furrow Splits and passes, sister to

The brown arc Of the neck I cannot catch,


Berries cast dark

Hooks ----

Black sweet blood mouthfuls,


Something else

Hauls me through air ----

Thighs, hair;

Flakes from my heels.

White Godiva, I unpeel ----

Dead hands, dead stringencies.

And now

I Foam to wheat, a glitter of seas.

The child's cry

Melts in the wall. And I

Am the arrow,

The dew that flies,

Suicidal, at one with the drive

Into the red Eye, the cauldron of morning.

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Poetry analysis: Morning Song, by Sylvia Plath - by J.R. Lewis - Helium

Poetry analysis: Morning Song, by Sylvia Plath - by J.R. Lewis - Helium | valuable resources for teaching |
Sylvia Plath creates a full scene with her piece, Morning Song. She uses each word to draw a picture of her daily activities. Metaphorically a mas..., J.R.
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What novels would you like to see as graphic novels? | Medical

What novels would you like to see as graphic novels?: Question by The Chief: What novels would you like to see a...

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Talk With Sign Books

Specialist book shop offering a friendly and fast service on all issues relating to deafness, deaf culture and British Sign Language.
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Other People's Children-By Lisa Delpit

Other People's Children-By Lisa Delpit | valuable resources for teaching |

In Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom, Lisa Delpit, a MacArthur fellow and Benjamin E. Mays Chair of Urban Educational Leadership at Georgia State University, provides an important yet typically avoided discussion of how power imbalances in the larger U.S. society reverberate in classrooms. Through telling excerpts of conversations with teachers, students, and parents from varied cultural backgrounds, Delpit shows how everyday interactions are loaded with assumptions made by educators and mainstream society about the capabilities, motivations, and integrity of low-income children and children of color.


Other People's Children is divided into three parts. The first, "Controversies Revisited," includes Delpit's two Harvard Educational Review articles — "Skills and Other Dilemmas of a Progressive Black Educator" and "The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children." In these two essays, along with a third, Delpit explores how teachers, especially those with "progressive" teaching methods, need to examine how they are helping or impeding minority and low-income students' access to the power that mainstream society and institutions have invested in "Standard" English. In Part Two, "Lessons from Home and Abroad: Other Cultures and Communities," Delpit illustrates how her teaching, research, and living experiences in Papua New Guinea and Alaska provided her with the opportunity to "make explicit to myself aspects of my home culture, which previously had been an unexamined backdrop for everyday living" (p. 92) and informed her commitment to working toward an education that promoted liberation for oppressed groups. The last section, "Looking to the Future: Accommodating Diversity," includes essays in which Delpit investigates how classroom practice and teacher assessment and education must accept "that alternative worldviews exist — that there are valid alternative means to any end, as well as valid alternative ends in themselves" (p. 151).


A connecting theme throughout the book is how power imbalances and cultural conflicts within classrooms occur within a larger society that nurtures and maintains stereotypes. . . . [For example], we are constantly told of the one out of four black men who is involved with the prison system — but what about the three out of four who are not? . . . When do we see their lives portrayed on the six o'clock news? (p. xii). . . .

Indeed, in the educational institutions of this country, the possibilities for poor people and for people of color to define themselves, to determine the self each should be, involve a power that lies outside of the self. It is others who determine how they should act, how they are to be judged. When one "we" gets to determine standards for all "wes," then some "wes" are in trouble! (p. xv)


The culprit in these situations is not simply racism, though it certainly plays a part. It is the reluctance of people, especially those with power and privilege, "to perceive those different from themselves except through their own culturally clouded vision" (p. xiv). This inability is particularly destructive in classrooms where teachers view low-income and minority children as "other" and "see damaged and dangerous caricatures of the vulnerable and impressionable beings before them" (p. xiii).

Perhaps most poignant about the essays, and about Delpit's writing of the book in general, is her openness in demonstrating how it is she has come to hold certain ideas about education:

When I consider the origins of my views, I realize that my personal history, by necessity, contributes considerably to my current belief systems. I write from a life lived in many margins, usually while struggling to approach the center of whichever page of my life is unfolding at the moment. It has been that struggle to understand and adapt to various contexts that has led me on the personal journey of discovering other realities. (p. 73)


This personal, reflective tone exemplifies how closely her teaching is tied to her identity as an African American, as a member of a vibrant yet subjugated group. For example, her thoughts about the failure of process writing approaches to provide minority and low-income students with access to the "codes of power" of "Standard" English emerged from her own experiences as a classroom teacher committed to ensuring the success of African American children. She recalls her realization that the progressive teaching methods of her teacher education were not working with her African American students:

It hurt that I was moving away from what I had learned [process approaches]. It hurt even more that I had failed in the task that was most important to me — teaching black children and teaching them well. I could not talk about my failure then. It is difficult even now. At least I did not fall into the trap of talking about the parents' failures. (p. 14)


Her empathy with marginalized populations, such as African Americans, Native Alaskans, and the people of Papua New Guinea, comes from her knowledge that these cultural groups are unfairly oppressed by the ends and views of White, middle-class-controlled institutions. In particular, Delpit expresses concern about schools that place curricula and texts before students and relationships with those students; tolerate rather than embrace the reality of diversity; refuse to acknowledge the politics of education; and consider some children as "our children" and the great majority as "other people's children."


Through her discussions with minority students and teachers, Delpit has identified a "culture of power" that operates in schools and supports dominant U.S. society. In classrooms where White and middle-class teachers regard minority and low-income students as "other people's children," Delpit argues that these teachers repeatedly fail to reveal the rules of the culture of power to students since they are "frequently least aware of — or least willing to acknowledge" (p. 24) the cultural power they hold. As a result, these teachers often impede the academic and social success of "other people's children" who need to survive in a society that demands fluency in "Standard" English for economic and political success. Delpit explains:

Pretending that gatekeeping points don't exist is to ensure that many students will not pass through them. . . . I further believe that to act as if power does not exist is to ensure that the power status remains the same. To imply to children or adults . . . that it doesn't matter how you talk or how you write is to ensure their ultimate failure. I prefer to be honest with my students. I tell them that their language and cultural style is unique and wonderful but that there is a political power game that is also being played, and if they want to be in on that game there are certain games that they too must play. . . . When I speak, therefore, of the culture of power, I don't speak of how I wish things to be but of how they are. (pp. 39–40)


Delpit takes seriously the skepticism of many people of color who have experienced such intense racism in schools and other U.S. institutions that they realize that an educational process created outside of their context "may be designed to destroy the heritage, the essence of who and what we are, to destroy their knowledge of themselves" (p. 78). As a result, she poses the question that these marginalized groups often ask, and that all educators should pose to themselves and their institutions: "Education, literacy — for whom, for what purpose, toward what end?" (p. 78). As one proud parent in Papua New Guinea described her child's success in a preschool that conducted literacy and numeracy instruction in their local language: "When he is big, he will not reject us. It is important to teach our children to read and write, but it is more important to teach them to be proud of themselves, and of us" (p. 89). In other words, education need not come at the expense of one's connection to one's cultural roots and identity. Because this local school "affirms rather than negates a people's knowledge of its culture and heritage" (p. 90), Delpit maintains that it is well-poised to be a success for the people most affected by it — parents and their children.


Yet, even when classes are not formally conducted in students' first languages, teachers can make a practice of understanding the cultures of their students. Given the increasing percentage of students from minority backgrounds in U.S. classrooms — 40 percent by the turn of the century — and the reality of a predominantly White female teaching force, it is essential that in-service and pre-service teacher education prepare these educators to hear and respect the voices of people of color and actively work against oppressive educational practices and ideologies. As Delpit explains,

teachers can . . . acknowledge the unfair "discourse-stacking" that our society engages in. They can discuss openly the injustices of allowing certain people to succeed, based not upon merit but upon which family they were born into, upon which discourse they had access to as children. . . . Only after acknowledging the inequity of the system can the teacher's stance then be "Let me show you how to cheat!" And of course, to cheat is to learn the discourse which would otherwise be used to exclude them from participating in and transforming the mainstream. (p. 165)


When Delpit talks about "transforming the mainstream," she is not condemning White middle-class culture, but the parts of its institutionalized form that sanction the oppression of non-Whites. In her eyes, what is European American is not disconnected, for example, from what is African American or Native American or Asian American: the histories of domination and oppression have placed these cultures in intimate relationship, usually in that of oppressor-oppressed. Therefore, pretending that these histories do not exist does nothing to enable these groups to interact on non-hierarchical terms; rather, it simply ensures that racial prejudice and discrimination will remain "that persistent scourge of American society" (p. 127). As an optimistic educator and U.S. citizen, Delpit proposes that we conceptualize teaching as a profession that actively labors to "recognize and overcome the power differential, the stereotypes, and the other barriers which prevent us from seeing each other. Those efforts must drive our teacher education, our curriculum development, our instructional strategies, and every aspect of the educational enterprise" (p. 134).


Reading Other People's Children makes it impossible for one — as a teacher, administrator, or parent — to see teaching as an apolitical endeavor that has little relationship to issues of liberation and injustice. Implied in Delpit's work is the vision that when U.S. citizens become committed to removing oppression from our daily interactions, we will not let cultural boundaries impede our desire to see all children as "our children," and the future of different groups as part and parcel of the democratic potential of this country. Therefore, what Delpit proposes is that classroom teachers lead the way to offering diverse groups the opportunity to learn about each other without the presumption of privilege or domination by any. She explains,

We do not really see through our eyes or hear through our ears, but through our beliefs. To put our beliefs on hold is to cease to exist as ourselves for a moment — and that is not easy. It is painful as well, because it means turning yourself inside out, giving up your own sense of who you are, and being willing to see yourself in the unflattering light of another's angry gaze. It is not easy, but it is the only way to learn what it might feel like to be someone else and the only way to start the dialogue. (pp. 46–47)



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Notre Dame De Paris 1999 Opera-CD2

Notre Dame De Paris 1999 Opera-CD2 | valuable resources for teaching |

It relates a touching love tragedy between a pretty Gypsy girl and a ugly hunchback man in Paris...

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Legally Blonde 2 - the most memorable scene for me

Elle addressed in the White House about the importance of speaking up. Get involved in the process. "Don't lose our voice, and don't let those who speak for us compromise our voice. Speak up!" Her speech enlightened me about education as well.


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Freeland For Talking » OUTLIERS by Malcolm Gladwell

Freeland For Talking » OUTLIERS by Malcolm Gladwell | valuable resources for teaching |

Have a look at one of my blogs written in Chinese about the book-OUTLIERS.

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WHAT THE DOG SAW | valuable resources for teaching |

From the Press Release:

Malcolm Gladwell's new book, WHAT THE DOG SAW (Little, Brown and Company; publication date: October 20, 2009), presents nineteen brilliantly researched and provocative essays that exhibit the curiosity his readers love, each with a graceful narrative that leads to a thought-provoking analysis. The explorations here delve into subjects as varied as why some people choke while others panic; how changes meant to make a situation safer — like childproof lids on medicine — don't help because people often compensate with more reckless behavior; and the idea that genius is inextricably tied up with precocity.


"You don't start at the top if you want to find the story. You start in the middle, because it's the people in the middle who do the actual work in the world," writes Gladwell in the preface to WHAT THE DOG SAW. In each piece, he offers a glimpse into the minds of a startling array of fascinating characters. "We want to know what it feels like to be a doctor," he insists, rather than what doctors do every day, because "Curiosity about the interior life of other people's day-to-day work is one of the most fundamental of human impulses." Like no other writer today, Gladwell satisfies this impulse brilliantly, energizing and challenging his readers.


WHAT THE DOG SAW is organized thematically into three categories:

Part One contains stories about what Gladwell calls "minor geniuses," people like Ron Popeil, the pitchman who by himself conceived, created, and sold the Showtime rotisserie oven to millions on TV, breaking every rule of the modern economy.

Part Two demonstrates theories, or ways of organizing experience. For example, "Million-Dollar Murray" explores the problem of homelessness — how to solve it, and whether solving it for the most extreme and costly cases makes sense as policy. In this particular piece, Gladwell looks at a controversial program that gives the chronic homeless the keys to their own apartments and access to special services while keeping less extreme cases on the street to manage on their own.


In Part Three, Gladwell examines the predictions we make about people. "How do we know whether someone is bad, or smart, or capable of doing something really well?" he asks. He writes about how educators evaluate young teachers, how the FBI profiles criminals, how job interviewers form snap judgments. He is candid in his skepticism about these methods but fascinated by the various attempts to measure talent or personality.


Malcolm Gladwell selected the essays in WHAT THE DOG SAW himself, choosing the stories and ideas that have continued to fascinate and provoke readers long after their publication in The New Yorker. The book is an invaluable gift for his existing fans, and the ideal introduction for new readers.



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guess the meaning?

Please look at the following word and hold your breath!


Yes! It's an English word!!! a word!!!

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Chapter 9-Technology to support learning

Chapter 9-Technology to support learning | valuable resources for teaching |

     "What is now known about learning provides important guidelines for uses of technology that can help students and teachers develop the competencies needed for the 21 century. The new technologies provide opportunities for creating learning environment that extend the possibilities of old yet still useful technologies-books; blackboards; and linear, one way communication media, such as radio and television shows as well as offering new possibilities. Technologies do not guarantee effective learning, however. Inappropriate uses of technology can hinder learning."

     "Because many new knowledge are interactive, it is now easier to create environments in which students can learn by doing, receive feedback. And continually refine their understanding and build new knowledge. The new technologies can also help people visualize difficult-to-understand concepts, such as differentiating heat from temperature. Students can work with visualization and modeling software that is similar to the tools used in non-school environments, increasing their understanding and the likelihood of transfer from school to non-school settings. These technologies also provide access to a vast array of information, including digital libraries, data for analysis, and other people who provide information, feedback, and inspiration. They can enhance the learning of teachers and administrators, as well as that of students, and increase connections between schools and the communities, including homes."



How People Learn

Brain, Mind, Experience, and School

Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning

John D.Bransford, Ann L.Brown, and Rodney R.Cocking, editors


with additional material from the

Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice

M.Suzanne Donovan, John D.Bransford, and James W.Pellegrino, editors

Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

National Research Council

Washington, D.C.

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Graphic Novels Reviewed, Part 1

Graphic Novels Reviewed, Part 1 | valuable resources for teaching |
Your source for news from the world of literacy..More and more teachers and parents are realizing that graphic novels are an easy way to hook reluctant readers as well as keep older readers engaged. While many readers are familiar with Jennifer and Matthew Holm’s Babymouse series, Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Jeff Smith’s Bone series, and even Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet series, there are more and more graphic novels on a wide variety of topics available for the readers of all ages. If you’re interested in dipping your toes into some graphic novels, check out the books reviewed this week by members of the International Reading Association's Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group, and be sure to visit the informative No Flying No Tights website at The site serves up graphic novel reviews and resources for those who want to be in the know.

Via anna smith
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Thesys International Addresses the Evolving Role of Blended Online Learning at ... - MarketWatch (press release)

Thesys International Addresses the Evolving Role of Blended Online Learning at ...MarketWatch (press release)Our classrooms and the way we teach should be evolving to reflect this shift." Stippick and Dennis' session will focus on defining the hybrid...
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