Imagined Conversations: A Review of Why School?

In This Essay

Why School? : Reclaiming Education for All of Us by Mike Rose
Letters to a Young Teacher by Jonathan Kozol

I first learned about Why School? : Reclaiming Education for All of Us while listening to Marketplace on NPR back in August. I ordered it from Amazon.

I tore into it immediately. I have been thinking about it since then. I had been a bit afraid to review it too quickly.

Mike Rose covers a lot of topics in his slim 169 pages. But his essays are broad, each like an introduction to the topic rather than like tightly argued persuasion piece. And therein lies the value of these essays.

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Weekly Review: September 25th to October 1st

Today I’m launching a weekly link review, in which I’ll publish newspaper, magazine, and radio stories related to literature, education, psychology and neuroscience. Bear with me as I get the style down and while work out a few bugs, like how to link items in the table of contents to the full page so that you can jump right to any title that catches your fancy.

These Things Caught My Eye

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Of Steppenwolves and Hedgehogs

by Matthew Koslowski on September 16, 2009
in Essays

One night in May while walking around the MFA, I was reunited with some old friends. Though the paintings and sculptures have settled here in Boston and need to be visited in person, I had pictures of many of them, just like having photographs of friends in an album.

A few weeks ago, I was again reunited with an old friend while pawing through boxes of books that I have not unpacked.

But this friend, this dear old friend who reached out to tell me my own story, who I called godfather, was always with me. With me when I moved to Ohio for college. With me when I fled Ohio for Chicago. And with me on my return to Massachusetts and Boston.

That this friend, Harry Haller, did not have pride of place, that he was packed away in a box embarrasses me not a little. He should have sat always at my right hand.

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The Songs of Solitude of Rainer Maria Rilke

by Matthew Koslowski on August 19, 2009
in Essays

In This Essay

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, Stephen Mitchell, trans.
The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke by Rainer Maria Rilke, Stephen Mitchell, ed. and trans.

One evening in May, I went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The galleries were not what I remembered. Due to construction of a new wing, pieces of art were removed and yet, even beyond that, the very air of musuem seemed disturbed. Nonetheless some much loved pieces were still there as well as new pieces to be discovered.

Walking among Monet’s Haystacks was walking with an old friend who hasn’t changed over the years, who has something new to reveal to you if you’ll only just listen.

Dante was my guide in three galleries. He found me by himself; I found him consulting with Virgil; and I stumbled upon him in glory beside Beatrice and turned away to give him privacy. And, then later, I was granted an audience with the divine Beatrice myself.

Discovering and standing before two paintings by Pieter Claesz was stumbling into a cathedral and listening to a wise, learned priest deliver a firey sermon about the vanity of the physical objects of this world.

My only disappointment was that the Greek and Roman galleries were closed. I had hoped to listen to the wisdom of stones and perhaps hear one state simply, “Du mußt dein Leben ändern.”

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Testing, Assessment, and Feedback

by Matthew Koslowski on July 29, 2009
in Essays

In This Essay

Never Work Harder Than Your Students & Other Principles of Great Teaching by Robyn R. Jackson
Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes by Alfie Kohn
“Feedback as Assessment” by Grant Wiggins

In order to begin sailing at Community Boating, a member needs to earn the Solo Rating. To earn that members need to demonstrate:

  • that they can rig the mainsail on a Cape Cod Mercury by rigging a boat in the slip;
  • and that they have an understanding of how boats move and of the right of way rules by passing an oral quiz, the Solo Test.

Everything one needs to learn to pass the Solo Test is taught in Shore School.

Shore School is a one hour lecture on sailing. A classroom lecture. On land. With a whiteboard. In a bay with wide garage doors that open onto the Charles River and the fleet of boats and, at least we hope, sunshine. Shore School is considered one of the more difficult courses to teach.

Last Thursday, July 23rd, I attended a seminar, “Classroom Management/Learning Styles” at Community Boating so that I can teach Shore School as well as Rigging. Marcin, the seminar presenter, spoke about the teaching style of several of Community Boating’s Shore School teachers. One stood out.

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