Saturday, September 27, 2008

Multiple Intelligences

Here is my reply to a question in my ESL class.

Which of the intelligences do you use most in your instruction? Will this change now that you have discovered the benefits of teaching through all nine intelligences?

I teach in a small school,=) and read aloud to my students about two hours a day. This reading is often interrupted with conversations and questions on the topic. The children are then allowed to study according to their study plan that they have created. I find that my visual students often use this time to express what we have been reading and discussing visually. I, also, have a musical student who will often make up songs on the keyboard to go with our studies or he will ask me to look up music from a certain area or region for him to hear. For instance, with the Olympics he spent time creating what he thought Chinese music might sound like and then he asked me to find some traditional Chinese music along with what their instruments looked like. After we listened to this, he was surprised at how different his idea as to how it would sound was from what it actually sounded like. We then had a discussion on the difference and why it was different where he got to analyze the different sounds and different musical patterns. I like to allow the children this freedom and will continue to do this as it allows them to learn using their strengths. I will still read to the students about two hours a day even though it is mostly verbal, because of reasons too numerous to state here. (Here as in the assignment, but not here as in on this blog=)).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Just Questions, No Answers

Do we have the right to pass laws that regulate moral issues? If we do have a right, then what happens when the higher percentage of people become wicked and pass evil laws? Also if we do have the right to pass laws to regulate moral behavior is it then up to the majority of people to do this, or do a few judges get to decide? Will passing laws help the people to stay righteous longer? If we do not have the right, then should we have laws about sex and minors, child pornography and other moral issues? If we pass no moral laws and let anything go within society, will this mean our ultimate decline? Should there be criteria, such as, as long as it doesn’t infringe on someone who doesn’t consent it’s fine? If this is the case does the government have the right to say that I have to wear a seatbelt and that I can’t buy milk from my neighbor? Doesn’t this take away my right to choose? How does me buying milk from my neighbor infringe on anyone elses rights? What is the role of Government anyway?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

What is Truth?

The Great Debate as most of you know is what Mortimor Adler said is a conversation going all the way back through time and recorded in classic works of literature. He called this a conversation and believed that when we stopped as a nation entering in to this conversation is when our educational system began to fall apart. This conversation has one main question; Is this true? We read Socrates and ask, did he come to the correct conclusion when he decided that if his country was the greatest country in the world and decided he should die, that he should submit to this. We ask Victor Hugo should a man really be able to leave behind his labels that the government says he should wear. We ask John Locke why a man has a right to property, and we even ask does he really have this right. We ask this and a thousand more questions and then we ask, why. We then read what these authors say and we discuss these questions with our friends and with our mentors. This is how we gain an education. This is how we become a thinking people, capable of judging what is good and bad and what is true. Will we disagree? Of course, and that is okay. We should disagree and we should discuss our disagreements.

This is in sharp contrast to a system that says, we will decide for you what is true and then we will put you in the system and rank you according to how well you have digested and agreed with what we have decided. Don’t ask questions unless you are told to and don’t have any ideas of what you want to learn other than the ones we have included in our standards for today. And this continues on for most of us through college, unless we jump ship.

I happen to believe the former is a better education and am currently having a really hard time trying to stay on the latter as I work towards my teaching credential, because of course I can’t possibly be a good teacher until I am properly stamped. I have three and a half classes to go and am so ready to be done so that I can again ask why, and feel free to disagree with ideas I come in contact with, of course I do disagree often, but don’t say anything on graded assignments. The ungraded discussions are a different story=).

This is why I read in my spare moments. I would grow stale if I didn’t. I read Howard Gardener-who I often disagree with, I read Louis L’Amour-who has sound principles, but I still find myself wondering why his characters do certain things, and I read many other authors. Then I take my readings and discuss them. I recently found this website where they are doing the same thing. A group of people get together read an article or a book and then go on the radio and discuss it. Fabulous! Of course, these are mentors and thinking people, so they disagree, feel passionately and make one think. I love it.