#Teaching, #Learning and Revisiting the Oral Tradition

Here is an effective technique for introducing verbal dialog into the teaching-learning experience – taking it to a level beyond what might be considered standard or “normal” in today’s educational practices.

Teaching-Learning-and-Revisiting-the-Oral-Tradition-by-John-MalingThe importance of verbal-monologue in higher learning is again and again proven by the continuing academic tradition of the oral exam and oral defense of thesis. History gives strong support for the role of the oral tradition in teaching and learning, The oral tradition in passing knowledge from generation to generation reaches back into the dim past of human history, before language was written, before texts and manuscripts even existed. The great cultures and civilizations of the ancient world mastered the written word, but the vast majority of the peoples of those times were illiterate and depended upon the verbal-oral tradition for communication and preservation of ideas.

I have survived several oral examinations in subjects necessary in the earning of a Ph.D. in physics, and as a teacher of science, physics and engineering, and chairman of a science and engineering department, oral presentation was a professional necessity and tradition. Nothing fixes knowledge of a subject better than the threat a three to five day regimen of lectures on that subject to dozens of students, month after month and year after year. But those students were in the main engaged in a relatively passive form on learning – listening, taking notes and for some occasional questions of the lecturer. Dialog between professor-teacher and student can be difficult. I have witnessed a forceful and, in my opinion, counterproductive refusals by one of my faculty to entertain questions until the end of his lecture.

Share your thoughts below. What experiences have you had in the classroom with verbal dialogue and discussions?

Who’s In Charge Here Anyway? Part III

Click here to read Part I

Click here to read Part II

As shared in my previous post, I wrote a fourteen-verse poem about the collective indifference our species has for our natural world. In Part I, you had the opportunity to read the poem in full. For future posts, I will continue to take 2-3 verses of my poem at a time to share my thoughts and viewpoints being expressed in that part of the poem.

Let’s continue with the third and fourth verses:

sewage from the sewer pollutes a lakeHow fortunate that the river’s there,
Disposal now requires no care.
Just run a pipe down from the sewer;
The more the people, the fish the fewer.

And so what if they’re fish in there.
All they do is swim and stare.
And do they share our concern’s import?
They’re not really the caring sort.

Maling’s Missives:

Earth moving is now an art form, technologically speaking. Move or remove a mountain; dam or change the course of a river; reroute a rail line or widen a highway. No problem. Any Right of Way can be handled. Eminent Domain solves any and all problems. Progress and profit are key — the really important concepts for a growing culture, civilization and society.

Your Missives:
What do you feel are important concepts for a growing culture, civilization and society?

Outline your thoughts in a comment below.

 

John2005John Maling is an Editor and Indexer. He’s the author of the multi-award winning book, Have Your Ever Held a Mountain? His website is EditingByJohn.com and email EditingByJohn@aol.com.

Who’s In Charge Here Anyway? Part II

Click here to read Part I

As shared in my previous post, I wrote a fourteen-verse poem about the collective indifference our species has for our natural world. In Part I, you had the opportunity to read the poem in full. For future posts, I will be taking 2-3 verses of my poem at a time to share my thoughts and viewpoints being expressed in that part of the poem.

Let’s start with the first two verses:

Squirrel with a nut | Mailing's Missive about the environmentHow dare that tree to grow that way.
How dare the wind to make it sway.
It might bend and then might crack,
And then might fall and break my back.

What makes that squirrel think he’s free
To take my nuts away from me.
And those birds there in my garden,
Peck my fruit and beg no pardon.

Maling’s Missives:

Pollution is with us and has been since the dawn of time, wherever humans have congregated. But now, with world numbers beyond belief and toxic waste a world-wide issue, indifference now can means literally the difference between disease and health, life and death. The difference depends upon the degree of indifference. The human anthill contains a frightening—deadly—force for change.

Your Missives

What meaning do the first two verses hold for you?
Do you feel these two verses only apply in referring to pollution?

Express yourself and comment below.

 

John2005John Maling is an Editor and Indexer. He’s the author of the multi-award winning book, Have Your Ever Held a Mountain? His website is EditingByJohn.com and email EditingByJohn@aol.com.

Who’s In Charge Here, Anyway?

This fourteen-verse poem is a modest and, too simple, understated complaint about the collective indifference our species has for our natural world. Sure, the media and literature is filled with homage to that world, but statistically speaking, our culture, our civilization, is paring away at it, to make room and as insurance against any inconvenience that may endanger our lives or our individual and corporate fortunes. Many more verses are needed to express properly the complaint.

In following posts, I will be taking 2-3 verses at a time to share my thoughts and viewpoints being expressed in that part of the poem.

Express your thoughts and reactions to this poem in a comment below.

Earth being dropped in the trash | Maling's Missives on the environment being affected by pollution

How dare that tree to grow that way.
How date the wind to make it sway.
It might bend and then might crack,
And then might fall and break my back.

What makes that squirrel think he’s free
To take my nuts away from me.
And those birds there in my garden,
Peck my fruit and beg no pardon.

How fortunate that the river’s there,
Disposal now requires no care.
Just run a pipe down from the sewer;
The more the people, the fish the fewer.

And so what if they’re fish in there,
All they do is swim and stare.
And do they share our concern’s import?
They’re not really the caring sort.

Take this stream down by the city.
Fill it in and make it pretty.
When its waters rush on down,
I might by chance fall in and drown.

See that pleasant grassy hill.
Slice it up and make some fill.
Spread the fill on a marshy spot,
And build a box-store parking lot.

What? A wild life sanctuary?
Dear fellow, we need a cemetery,
Or a larger city garbage dump,
Or, better, a sewage disposal sump.

That redwood grew a thousand odd
Just to give me and my friends a job.
So bring in the saws and bring in the axes,
Those bloody trees don’t pay any taxes.

Send a road right through that park.
We’ll show them how man makes his mark.
An animal preserve you say is there?
Just keep in mind: we-do-not-share!

Drill right there, a likely spot
For natural gas which is now quite hot.
Of forest preserves, we have enough;
Pro environs folk, we’ll call their bluff.

Endangered species? My logs are needed.
So strip the lands bare, all acres are deeded.
Our species is dominant; we do as we wish.
Bring on the loggers, this is just their dish.

Arctic wildlife, there’s none to be seen.
A white expanse, windswept and clean.
Just the site for a drill rig hole.
Six more months of oil’s our goal.

An ancient treasure from light from our sun
Feeding ancient forests; an amazing life’s run.
Two hundred million years in the making
And now, here for us, just for the taking.

Don’t rob us all of our God-given right
To irrevocably harvest all wild things in site.
It’s an ownership issue; it’s now My World!
My real estate flag floats high and unfurled.

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Related Articles / Presentations:

TED Talk:
Pavan Sukhdev: Put a value on nature!

The Kink in the Human Brain: Why Are Humans OK with Destroying the Planet?

Top 10 Ways Man Is Destroying the Environment

 

John2005John Maling is an Editor and Indexer. He’s the author of the multi-award winning book, Have Your Ever Held a Mountain? His website is EditingByJohn.com and email EditingByJohn@aol.com.

Maling’s Missives: Can We Talk?

Can We Talk?

The theory of intelligent design, implied in its earlier incarnation, creationism, states that life is too complex and improbable to have evolved in the random manner over time under the governing principle of natural selection postulated by the Darwin-Wallis theory of evolution. The theory of evolution denies, for those believers, God’s role in the creation of life.

This bent towards creationism, for many, depends on a narrow conviction of how God “does things.” Being omnipotent as well as omniscient, he must be responsible for its design rather than that of a mindless process relying on an apparently random sequence of events to create something as complex as life from natural, inanimate materials naturally produced during star creation, evolution and ultimate death.

Intelligent-design believers haven’t given God nearly enough credit for imagination. Needing certainty, and wanting some of the limelight, you believers insist that you have the intelligence and insight into God to see that life must have arisen with direct, possibly constant intervention by the Supreme Being in the manner of Genesis. He would have designed a much more efficient system than evolution, and one where it would be obvious that He was involved, even to our limited (but God-given) human intelligence. We humans would be certain to recognize life as too complex to have happened on the basis of random, low probability processes requiring an incredible length of time.

Those who believe in Genesis and other biblical stories believe them to be the word of God, and except for the Ten Commandments perhaps, written with human help. God was too busy to pen the stories of our human and planetary history, requiring us instead to do it, and, like a parent, giving us childlike satisfaction in shared participation in the process.

But perhaps God was also too busy to devote himself fully to the labor-intensive process of creating our world and life upon it, as we might have done, given the task. God would be acting in the image of man in that case!

Instead, suppose he simply turned life’s creation and evolution over to that leisurely process first divined by Darwin and Russel. Knowing and intending (he being omniscient as well as omnipotent) that his creation, the Universe, a design of his own making involving time, matter and radiation, created with a bang and behaving according to his laws of physics and chemistry, would successfully put the puzzle together, guided in its evolution by his very own, natural (God given) laws. An imperative for life’s creation and evolution was already built into each piece of the puzzle, so to speak. What’s so hard and un-miraculous about that?

In July, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People and Press conducted a poll of two thousand Americans. Nearly two-thirds of those polled said that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools, and 42 percent held strict creationist views, agreeing that “living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”

Conclusion: the monument to and the crowning achievement of creative human reason and logic – mathematics, science, engineering and technology – which alone are responsible for the incredible progress, wealth, complexity, practical knowledge and understanding of our world, is being attacked by forces believing in the supremacy of faith, ideology and miracles. Is this latter what the teaching of creationism, now wrapped in the cloak of intelligent design, will be based upon?

Please show me the curriculum. Then we can talk.

 

John2005John Maling is an Editor and Indexer. He’s the author of the multi-award winning book, Have Your Ever Held a Mountain? His website is EditingByJohn.com and email EditingByJohn@aol.com.