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Comment from: Aunt B'Ann [Visitor]  
Aunt B'Ann

Diana, I think you’re probably doing a much better job teaching than I ever did. Congratulations on the way you handled the problem. Hope the student who “didn’t get it” is really willing to try, and that he/she will, eventually, see what you mean!

Keep up the good work, dear!

Oh–and has your father, or anyone, told you that we now have RUNNING WATER at the hill???

08/25/07 @ 23:50
Comment from: [Member]

Good morning, Aunt B’Ann! :)

I heard running water was being installed, and checked out the pics on the website of the showers and such going up. Y’all are finished, then?

I’ve been questioning the way I handled the problem, frankly. I think the two “rabble-rousers” had a good point, although they voiced their disagreement in an inappropriate setting–something we’ll talk about tomorrow when I see them again.

I’ve wondered if history or science or math profs deal with similar issues, but I doubt it. Here’s why: literature is something we (presumably) read for pleasure. When a student must read it for more than that, particularly when he must seek something he isn’t yet convinced is there or should be there ("deeper meaning"), he balks. I think this is entirely natural. I also think the question of why it has to mean anything more is entirely natural. Heaven knows I asked the same question for years…until I saw deeper meanings and more utility in literature myself.

I now seek a way to share what I see so such questions won’t come up.

One way or another, if I answer any question a student asks with “because I said so” or its equivalent, I realize it’s because I don’t have an answer I’m comfortable with (and because I don’t want to admit I don’t have a good answer). “Because I said so” may be good for toddlers and small children who don’t have powers of reason, but it’s only alienating to adults.

I think I’m going to change their assignment, based on my thoughts concerning their questions (and some reading I’ve done) this weekend.

Love you much. :)


08/26/07 @ 09:55
Comment from: Aunt B'Ann [Visitor]  
Aunt B'Ann

Love you, too, Dear One!

As for the project being finished, no, it isn’t, yet! The well is dug and the pump installed. (The man who did the drilling was killed in a freak accident last week and was buried yesterday.) The concrete for the bathrooms and showers was poured on July 4, and the walls framed out the next day. The roof lacks 2 pieces of tin, which are up, but not fastened–it started raining too hard, and Uncle Charles and Allen(?) Terry(?) whichever one it was–decided that it was time to quit work. And no one has worked on it since.

But sometime within the next couple of months, we expect to put the walls up and the septic tank in. Everything needs to be ready by next reunion. The thing holding everything back, now that Uncle Dale is out of the hospital and doing so well, is the lack of more money to get the things needed to finish it. But we’re going to do another CD in October, and the money from that will go toward the project. So……

Changing the assignment shows that you, too, are willing to go in a new direction. And that your lesson plans are not “set in stone"! Keep up the good work!

08/26/07 @ 23:17
Comment from: Hinermad [Visitor]


It sounds like you’re hitting your stride as a teacher - not that you had a bad pace in your first year, but it’s plain you’re not going to settle for coasting along at “good enough” minutes per mile. I’ll say it again: your cadets are very fortunate.

Don’t be too hasty to assume that profs in the hard sciences don’t run into the occasional hard nut. A friend of mine attended a class - I think it was math - where the teacher asserted that any statement was either true or false. One student insisted, loudly and often, that sometimes one just didn’t KNOW if a statement was true or false, that sometimes the truth was uncertain. The concept of intrinsic truth was completely lost on him.

That might be an extreme case, and I’m sure the potential for DGIs (Don’t Get Its) is higher in your field because much of the work involves personal interpretation. But I guarantee that every teacher, no matter the subject, runs into that at some point.


08/31/07 @ 08:34
Comment from: Daddy [Visitor]  

Thats one thing that makes bible teaching so extremely interesting. Some people just don;t get it, others get something that conflicts with everything, including the passage in question. It happens in all, and I do mean /all/ fields of study. I continue to be proud of you. Sometimes just facing the problem when it occurs, as you did, is a good way to handle. other times, as you have suggested, move on to something else, and let them chew on it for a while. Sooner or later, you will be the one they remember, not because they agreed with everything you said, but because you made them learn to think. That’s what edu is all about, in the long run.

08/31/07 @ 12:43
Comment from: [Member]


It sounds like the student in the math class was a militant agnostic regarding truth: “We can’t know so the statement is neither true nor false.” Which, as you point out, misses the point. Of COURSE the statement is still either true or false, even if we can’t know.

Such a position (I can’t know, so I won’t take a belief stand on the issue) regarding anything strikes me as slightly hypocritical, albeit unintentionally so. None of us can reasonably assert that we know everything about anything, and yet we still routinely believe or don’t believe based on available information (and often, faulty logic, but isn’t that part of being human?). Why would anyone suddenly draw the line on any given subject (such as the existence of God, or the truth/untruth of any given mathematical statement) and state that they don’t know and therefore can’t say whether they believe or don’t? (Of course, if you cann0t affirm that you believe X, you don’t believe; it’s really pretty simple.) And regarding intrinsic truth, to me it’s self-evident that any given statement is either true or false–even if I, as a mere human, may never have enough information to know which it is beyond the shadow of a doubt. The best I can do with any given proposition is to gather data and make a judgment call (and be willing to change my mind given additional data).


Interesting that you should bring up the bible in a discussion of literary interpretation….

I’ve found over the years that studying the Bible is much like studying any other piece of literature. Some people “get it” (agree with my interpretation, or at least acknowledge they see how I got my interpretation); others don’t “get it” (they have a different interpretation that I didn’t see at first, and/or that I disagree with); and some see conflict everywhere while others argue for harmonization. Frankly, the more I study literature, the more I cannot understand how anyone can look at any piece of literature–the bible included–and insist he has the “right” interpretation. Even literature by known authors that is read in the same language and in the same period and location in which it was written is subject to gross disagreement regarding the author’s intent and meaning; with ancient works of literature like the bible, however, the problem is logarithmically compounded because it was written by numerous anonymous authors all from different times and places and it’s been copied and translated through several languages before it comes to us. To read such a book and believe one understands its intent or meaning is, indeed, an act of purest optimism.

That reminds me of the age-old question: Can we all understand the bible alike? I learned when I was young that if we understand it, we understand it alike. That logic seemed straightforward to me then (at the tender age of 9), but now I’d like to look closer at the argument.

In the argument “If we understand the bible, then we understand the bible alike,” the hidden premise is that there can be only one (right) way to understand the entire “book.” Thus, we assume all the original authors meant for their writings to be combined and interpreted in “harmony” with the other writings that the Catholic church decided to include, which is a huge leap in the first place. Further, the argument assumes/implies that “understanding” consists of getting out of the book what the authors meant us to get–not our personal interpretations based upon our education and experience. That is, the argument conflates the two distinct levels of “meaning” in literature–what the author intended and what the reader understands. To assume the two are the same for any book by anyone at any time in any language is, again, highly optimistic, to say the least.

I guess what I’m saying is that the question, from a literature interpretation standpoint, is misleading. Of course we CAN understand the bible alike, but there is no guarantee that we will, and no way to determine–when we disagree–who is “right” and who is “wrong.” For that matter, two views may be in conflict and both be right because the various books and authors touted different beliefs and had different (possibly unharmonious) intentions.

In the field of literature, the conceit of “knowing” what the author meant and being able to differentiate his intent from your “private interpretation” is very thin ice indeed.


09/02/07 @ 11:00

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