Throughout the year, outside forces of marketing, media, and politics tempt our susceptible human nature to focus way too much on appearances and rob ourselves of a much richer inner life. C.S. Lewis addressed this tendency throughout his works, but especially in The Chronicles of Narnia.
Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman stirs my thinking about education and long-term flourishing in fresh ways. The play has been a close companion from my first reading in college and through much of my teaching career. Although it’s a tragedy, it makes us keep thinking about the problems that can get in the way of pursuing the grace of everyday experiences and relationships. So, here are three takeaways from two rounds of reading the play with students this fall.
For me, Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis reads like an existential parable about how people can lose their humanity by mindlessly going through daily life and relationships. I don’t want that to happen to any of us in real life. It’s one of those stories that I use with the students and simultaneously use to warn myself away from just going with the flow of public school teaching.
As educators and thoughtful human beings, we really should be subject-centered and thereby more relationally-minded in our teaching, living, and pursuit of long-term flourishing. That sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true and helpful. Under the influence of poet Rainer Maria Rilke, Parker Palmer explains in The Courage to Teach that subject-centered teaching is the best way to approach teaching and learning. Rilke and Palmer are just a few of the many thoughtful writers who compel me to assert that good subject-centered knowledge rightly guides better relationships.
Some students find it interesting to consider how the Protestant Reformation and its context can connect to science fiction and fantasy. With the second season of The Mandalorian starting on October 30th, I thought it would be a good time to excerpt a bit of historical theorizing from a previous post from not so long ago or so far away…
With the challenges of teaching a semester’s worth of upper-level high school English knowledge in a quarter, I’m painfully aware of too many inputs and outputs in a teacher’s life; hence for this week, I have a blog entry about the length of a Tweet. Life & learning continue.
I thought the 2016 presidential debates were embarrassing! After last week’s presidential debate, one of my junior students told her mom that we have much better debates in our classes. Nevertheless, there still are many pockets of excellence and signs that we can do better. Samuel J. Adams of The Dispatch points to data suggesting “that mostContinue reading “Who’s Afraid of Talking about Political Rhetoric in High School?”
In this short post, I bring a tentative conclusion to my segments on rational ways of knowing: Many of our best uses of reasoning recognize the limits of our reason.
The title says it all.
In philosophy since Descartes, western civilization seems to have lost its ability to understand the value and nature of philosophical common sense. In our time, the motorcycle repairman, philosopher, author, scholar, and tinkerer Matthew Crawford can help us do some much-needed rethinking of our philosophies of knowledge, ethics, attention, and learning in the light of reality and in the pursuit of long-term flourishing.