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April 29, 2006

Make space for silence in discussion

If students fidget, talk or walk out of class, the guide advises seminar
leaders not to "manage" such behaviors, but to explore their underlying
causes. Instructors must remember that to such characteristically
American cultural beliefs as the importance of morality, rationality
and personal responsibility, there are equally valid alternatives that
must be respected.

Instructors must be wary of spurious objectivity, such as a 0-100
grading scale; much better is a 0-5 scale, or, best of all, a check,
check-plus, check-minus scale. And finally, if students do not
contribute to discussions at all, seminar leaders should "make
space for silence."

-- from SAGES (this supposedly stands for Seminar Approach to
General Education and Scholarship) at Case Western Reserve
University (now referred to as Case, after their consultant
concluded that all great universities have single-word names)
sent me a packet of information on the university's new showcase
undergraduate seminar program.

April 8, 2006

On being afraid

War on terror is not about stopping you
from being afraid, it's about making you afraid.

-- George Lakoff.

April 1, 2006

Slippery slope

This isn't just a slippery slope.
It's a toboggan into chaos.

-- FRANK RICH (NYT), January 22, 2006.