Tag Archives: education

Overeducated

Overeducated

I rue the day I sent my oldest kid to college,
for ever since he’s been deluging us with knowledge.
From “dermatones” to other concepts we can’t grasp,
his pedestrian lectures make us want to gasp.
He uses words archaic since majoring in Chaucer,
ostentatiously positioning his “cuppe” in his saucer.
He bores us all to death when his golf club raises turf.
He doesn’t raise a divot. Instead he cuts a kerf!
Constantly, he leaves us in a state of consternation
simply by engulfing us in too much information.

 

 

Prompt words today are dermatone, tear, archaic, kerf and pedestrian. Illustration thanks to Muhammad Rizwan on Unsplash.

Knowledge by Committee

Image by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash, Used with permission.

Knowledge by Committee

Any person worth their mettle
would not deign to ever settle
for any type of education
that offered no irradiation

of the true facts of subsistence,
even though at the insistence
of the elected powers that be
to hide the facts of history

and science and of common sense
in order to make kids more dense
to matters of ecology
and climate change and chemistry.

Minds should be buoyant and not settle
on myths of village or of shtetl
in place of those proven by science.
Minds can’t be shackled by compliance

to nonsense garnered from the dockets
of men who seek to line their pockets—
carpetbaggers and buffoons 
who spout untruths and whistle tunes

taught to them by corporations
who feed them piecemeal their orations
that they’re doing for our good
those things in fact which place a hood

over our heads to hide the truth.
When government has grown uncouth,
what’s left except to rail and shout
that we must throw the traitors out!

 

Prompt words today are buoyant, settle, irradiate and tune.

Dumbing Down

photo from Rolling Stone

Dumbing Down

I bailed on calculus but I excelled at long division.
Illustrious in wood shop, I flunked nuclear fission.
Knights in suits of armor were never quite my thing.
I never learned to play an instrument. I do not sing.

My illustrious school career came by fits and starts.
Loved auto mechanics. Couldn’t hack the arts.
I admit I’m not well-rounded. I studied what I liked,
and after school was over, I skateboarded and biked.

I never was a bookworm. I had no use for culture.
I had no fear of teachers who hovered like a vulture.
A comic book inside a textbook made for pleasant reading.
I only paid attention to what I would be needing.

The same is true now that I’m grown. I skip over the news.
I have no need of knowing  about Arabs, Serbs or Jews.
I fixate on my own needs. I can’t bother with the rest.
I read enough to pay my bills and pass my driver’s test.

What more is necessary? I have TV and my phone.
When I am ensconced in them, the world leaves me alone.
I’m tired of ecology and its boring explaining,
so voted for a president who is more entertaining.

Now that news is comedy, it holds my interest well.
Who believes those scientists who ring the warning bell?
When the air’s too bad to breathe, I’ll simply stay inside
watching news on Stuppid  that is more bona fide.

(Click on the Stuppid URL for a list and description of “fake news” news sources and some of the biggest disinformation posts.  Chilling. )

Prompt words today were bail, division, illustrious and armor.
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/rdp-sunday-bail/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/03/17/fowc-with-fandango-division/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/illustrious/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/your-daily-word-prompt-armor-march-17-2019/

Teaching Our Kids to be Violent

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Teaching Our Kids to Be Violent

I’m in a very busy outside restaurant on the plaza in La Manzanilla, Mexico.  To the front and side of me are two long tables filled with 13 adults, children and teens who seem to be members of the same family.  When I first entered, the littlest girl in the family was sitting on the lap of her auntie or her mom, mugging for “sorta selfies” taken by her mom/auntie who was using some app to horribly distort the photos.  All were laughing uproarously at the monstrous images.

Then the child moved to the end of the table, where someone had removed the long cellophane-plumed toothpicks that had held their sandwiches together. Grabbing two of the toothpicks, she proceeded to jab the pointed end of one of them into the arm of one of the young women at the table. 

Waiting for chastisement, I was sorely disappointed, as what I imagine to be an auntie giggled and then grabbed the other toothpick and jabbed her back. Back and forth they went, all of the adults at the table smiling and laughing as though it was the most adorable little performance in the world.  In time, the child went down the table, jabbing with more enthusiasm each time, moving to the other table where eventually she jabbed so violently that the adult slapped her.  She slapped the adult back and a slapping match ensued.  Everyone watched, smiling, giggling. Such an adorable child! 

She moved away from the slapping match and sneaked up on a more elderly member of the party, approaching her from behind to take a hard jab with the point of the toothpick into the flesh of the woman’s upper arm.  The woman jerked away in surprise, slapping at the arm as though she believed it to be a wasp or bee sting.  This brought great peals of laughter from the other table and the child returned to it to take her bows.  

At no point in this crazy string of behavior did any adult ever censure the child or display any emotion other than enjoyment and approbation. I, on the other hand, was totally horrified.  What they were teaching the child was fairly obvious.  They  were well-dressed and sophisticated-looking, modernly dressed—like city folk come to the beach who didn’t actually want to get sand between their toes.  The voices of the seeming other half of their party at the nearby table were louder than theirs—very loud, in fact, to the point that even some Mexican customers accustomed to the general noise of Mexico were glancing over in surprise. But the table where the child sat seemed more refined–in the level of their voices if not in their surprising acceptance of the increasing violence of the formerly angelic-looking little girl.

Was she the heir to a vast cartel empire? Was this part of her education in ruthlessness? Was their glee at her monstrous appearance on the smart phone just a hint of the monster child they would raise to carry on the family business?  As most scenarios begun in restaurants and other public places, this is a story whose ending I will never know. I leave it to your imagination to come up with an ending for yourself.

But I could not help seeing it as a small metaphor for the violence in films and games and sports entertainment that our kids are submerged in every day.  It seems as though movies and TV are resorting to ever more violent and extreme cruelties to keep our interest. War and murder are not enough. Sadistic twists and torture are called upon to keep the audiences and thereby swell the coffers of production companies and advertisers.

Years ago when violence first reared its ugly head on TV, we were told that it was a fantasy that would have no effect on children, but if we look at the world around us, I think this is an assertion that has been proven to be false. As some in our society grow ever more affluent, we grow increasing more dependent on entertainment to distract us from the reality around us, and part of that reality seems, sadly, to be that we are teaching our kids to be more violent.

 

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Continuing Education

 

Continuing Education

It’s true that school is great for teaching gerunds, nouns and clauses.
Also for the how-to-do’s, the whens and the becauses.
And so I don’t regret my years in university
learning of the human mind and its diversity.

Couplets, sonnets, iambs—their knowledge served me well.
Chaucer took me to Canterbury. Dante? Straight to Hell.
Will Shakespeare gave me standards of wit to try to mimic,
and modern poets formed my taste from  Oliver to Simic.
But where I really found a classroom that appealed to me
was after school was over, when I was finally free.
Backpacking was geography: islands, mainlands, seas,
and I learned my geology rock-hunting on my knees.

I learn a little bit of life from everyone I meet—
the art of speech in barrooms, diplomacy in the street.
Biology from baby birds fallen from the nest
and taught to fly from towel racks, their wings put to the test.

All the art I ever studied simply came from looking—
geometry in midnight skies, chemistry in cooking.
And though the internet gives facts in every form and guise,
It’s life that serves us best because it’s life that makes us wise.

 

The prompt word today is educate. This is a rewrite of a poem written over two years ago.

Master of Education

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Master of Education

I happen to have my degree
in learning styles one through three.
We learn by what we hear or see
or experientially.

Hands on, hearing about, viewing?
My best learning style is doing.
Hearing, reading?  Not so much.
I prefer the sense of touch.

My own fingers on the clay
are how I choose to spend the day.
I can’t learn to cut or glue
by sitting here and watching you.

Since I lack sense of direction,
I’ll never find your intersection
if I’ve just seen it as a rider.
I need experience that’s wider.

Everything under the sun
that I witness being done
I have to do myself to learn.
I don’t retain without my turn.

So if I want to learn to bake,
I’ll only duplicate that cake
if you let me sift the flour,
bake the cake and stack the tower,

mix the icing and smooth it on,
then sample it until it’s gone.
Far better, then, than sound or view––
to make my cake and eat it, too!

 

The prompt: What is your learning style?

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/learning-style/

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The wonderful participants in Club Estrella–an equally good experience for counselors and students alike!!!

                    Schooled for Peace, Creativity, Humanity and Prosperity

If I were designing a new school, I would make it as experiential as possible.  Maths would include hands-on experiences.  Children would learn to add and subtract by making change and algebra and geometry would be taught by application to real situations–building or designing jewelry or figuring out how high a wall must be built to block a neighbor’s view. My own education was good, but I never really knew the real purpose of algebra and geometry, even though I won the school math prize!

Chemistry, also, would be taught by showing its application to everyday life–the chemistry of cooking and cleaning, the effect of different fertilizers and pesticides in the garden as well as chemicals in the house.  The interrelation of chemicals and pollution to health and safety would be made common knowledge among students and field trips would be taken to demonstrate the dangers of pollution.

Every student would be taught music and music theory, because I know it has a huge effect on math skills and those skills translate to other subjects as well.  All students would be encouraged to try different forms of art–sculpture, clay and graphic design as well as drawing and painting.  It is my belief that everyone has some artistic skill if they can just find their own particular medium.

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Education should be a dish full of treasures we find it hard to choose between.

Children would be taught a foreign language beginning in nursery school and both boys and girls would take shop and learn basic elements of electricity, plumbing and building.  And, dance.

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But the main thing that I would insist be taught is communication skills.  In every class, group communication would be stressed, and students would be given grades not only according to their own discussion skills, but also in listening and it being responsible in encouraging others to speak.  In  small group discussions, students would take turns recording the flow of conversation, recording how many times each person spoke, how many times they asked questions of other students to draw them into the conversation and in listening skills.  I actually used this system when I was a teacher and it worked remarkably well.  Students developed more respect for each other and there was less bullying when students knew their own grade depended upon including everyone in the conversation and respecting the comments of others.

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I believe in incorporating activities that encourage ethics, kindness and a consideration of the needs and values of other people.  Schools are currently so tied up in standardized testing and performing to a norm that teachers are somewhat hindered in their creativity and the teaching of subjects not directed toward rote learning and performing to purely academic ends, and I think students suffer by this.

Extracurricular subjects often center around competitive sports, many of which are violent in nature and which teach kids to win at all any cost.  Better that they be taught to win at being human beings and to learn to accept the differentness of others.  Perhaps this might help to make a more peaceable world or at the least, a peaceable society.

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Thirty students had thirty different takes on how to create a beautiful mask! (Click to enlarge.)

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Yes, call me a dreamer, but better dreams than nightmares!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The New School.”  You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?

I chose this prompt offered as an alternative to today’s prompt.

Continuing Education

It’s true that school is great for teaching gerunds, nouns and clauses.
Also for the how-to-do’s, the whens and the becauses.
And so I don’t regret my years in university
where I learned about the human mind and its diversity.

Couplets, sonnets, iambs–their knowledge served me well.
Chaucer taught me how to travel, Dante?– to avoid Hell.
Will Shakespeare gave me standards of wit to try to mimic.
And modern poets formed my taste from  Oliver to Simic

But where I really found a classroom that appealed to me
was after school was over, when I was finally free.
Backpacking was geography: islands, mainlands, seas.
And I learned my geology rock-hunting on my knees.

I learn a little bit of life from everyone I meet.
The art of speech in barrooms, diplomacy in the street.
Biology from baby birds fallen from the nest,
and taught to fly from towel racks, their wings put to the test.

All the art I ever studied simply came from looking.
Geometry in midnight skies, chemistry in cooking.
And though the internet gives facts in every form and guise,
It’s life that serves us best because it’s life that makes us wise.

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As I was writing this poem, my house guest came down with this sodden baby bird, rescued from Morrie who had the entire fledgling in his mouth.  It appears not to be hurt, so it is possible Morrie saved it when it was washed out of its nest by torrential rains this morning. Remembering earlier rescued birds, I of course made use of it in my poem.  He’s now nestled in towels in a small cage with a gentle heater blowing him dry.

To read more about the continuing saga of the baby bird, go HERE.

Second Chance

I wish that I’d been wilder and freer in my day.
Had imaginative friends to join me in my play.
I wanted to stage circuses and playact vivid scenes,
but schemes like this were always far beyond my means.
There wasn’t enough zaniness in anyone I knew
to dream my dreams or want to do what I yearned to do.

We’d play school or hospital or house when we were smaller,
but this imagination palled as we grew taller.
I wish there had been classes in writing and in art
to allow  that side of me to flourish from the start.
Instead, I had to search for whatever it might be,
never finding anyone who seemed at all like me.

What was it I was lacking? Where was the rest of me?
I didn’t have a clue about what I was meant to be.
Half of my life I think that I was trying to fit in
to places and activities where I’d never win–
achieving just enough to make my life appear successful,
yet still I felt unsatisfied–unfulfilled and stressful.

Since I was nobody’s mom, nobody’s loving wife,
at thirty-one I ran away to find another life.
I quit my job and sold my house and caught a westbound train.
Perhaps I’d find in water what was lacking on the plain.
So I went to California and took a writing class.
Then another and another, until it came to pass

that I finally found the playmates lost to me in youth.
They were irreverent, creative, clever and uncouth.
Here, at last, I finally felt like I had found it all.
Words were the playthings that we tossed among us like a ball.
My own life now surrounded me–securely, like a bowl.
Here I felt a part of things–a section of the whole.

Later, I discovered I was an artist, too,
All my life, I hadn’t known.  Hadn’t had a clue.
It took someone just guessing and pushing me that way.
Then I had two mediums for saying what I say.
Art filled out the rest of me ’til I was full at last.
It took almost forty years to find how I was cast.

And then all of those playmates lost to me as a child
began to pull me out with them–out into the wild
to paint myself and write myself anew each dawning day–
discovering those hiding parts in what I sculpt and say.
Every day, like hide-and-seek, I find another part–
all those portions of me I’ve been seeking from the start.

I know that second childhood is a derisive term,
but I have found in fact it is the apple, not the worm.
It is the food I feed upon, the fruit I’ve always sought.
It is simply what I am instead of what I’m not.
It’s filled with messy, juicy things like paint and flux and glue.
Explosive things like nouns and all those verbs like “am” and “do.”

What I missed in childhood, I found when I was thirty,
and it was simply glorious: naughty, messy, dirty.
I rolled around in words and paint with others of my ilk–
these artful things more nourishing than bread or mother’s milk.
At forty, fifty, sixty, I’ve become what I can be–
found what I lacked in childhood: friends that are like me!

The Prompt: is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/childhood-revisited-2/