Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The dreary game of rankings...

Here is a sane view of the race for rankings among colleges and universities. Reed College in Oregon just refuses to submit data, and it hasn't hurt them. (Via Nick Burbules)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Simple Adventure Story?

Our local movie critic calls King Kong a simple adventure story bloated to three hours. Given that Peter Jackson chose to start the film with shots of zoo primates grooming themselves clearly signals it is NOT a simple adventure story about to unfold.

The film brings up many thoughts and does it marvelously. As an animal lover, it tore me up. The role of women and animals in a world dominated by power-hungry men. The intermediate role of the artist between such men, and women and animals. (Thanks to Rita Rud for these insights)

The search for beauty, and current knowledge of animals and their own cognitive and emotional lives.

Oh, and of course, the amazing interpretation of primate behavior by the incomparable Andy Serkis. Here's an interview...enjoy.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Slow Down...

End of the year slow down for me, but alas, I have a chapter to write due in January...why, oh why, do I agree to such over the holiday...well, because it is a fine cast of folks, led by my good friend David Hansen of Teachers College.

Trying to eke out 300 posts by the time my one year anniversary rolls around, heck, gotta check, it may have already done so, I started this ole blog in mid December 2004.

Oh yes, this bit of delightful news from the heartland here. The largest decorated tree in Indiana, I think that is right, used to be called the Christmas Tree, put up in the Memorial Union here at Purdue for two weeks in December. Then to be more inclusive, it was called a Holiday Tree for a number of years. But some protesteth about the "holiday" designation, so it was changed this year to simply the Union Tree.

But wait, a veritable Niagara of emails came in protesting THAT designation, so the Student Union Board caved, and went back to...the Holiday Tree, you say?, alas, it is now called the Christmas Tree! Can you believe it?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"We must complain...

"We must complain. Yes, plain, blunt complaint, ceaseless agitation, unfailing exposure of dishonesty and wrong - this is the ancient, unerring way to liberty, and we must follow it."

-W.E.B. DuBois, quoted in Teaching Toward Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom, by Bill Ayers, page 108.

I rarely sit down to consume a whole book in one afternoon. I am, to use the title of Tim Burke's blog, "easily distracted." But I dwelled some yesterday with Bill Ayers's book on teaching, and really enjoyed it.

It is full of nugget like quotes as above. He is right up there with ole Maxine Greene as an education professor who reads beyond the job, especially in fiction and poetry. It was like spending time with a literate friend in his library, pulling out volumes, and thinking what Jose Saramago, Jean-Paul Sartre, Stokely Carmichael, Nikki Giovanni, and assorted others might say to us as teachers and learners in this dark, accountability laden time, when teaching and learning are narrowed in definition and thought of in cold, instrumental terms more often than not.