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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Learn to Love Learning...

I said on an earlier post that I was "saving" my "Made in Italy" Moleskine notebooks and using the "made in China" cahiers instead. This morning, at 5 AM, I completed another middle-sized cahier. Of course, the trick now is to type it all up without trying to revise it at the same time. I think that's the most difficult part of the process: typing from what you have written long hand and not get discouraged because your stuff just "sucks" compared to other things you've read. One has to continue reminding one's self that successfully published authors have a gamut of editors and line/proof readers, etc., that do excellent work on the finish product. Keeping that in mind, I will forge forward with the revised and newly written parts.

"The Aeneid" seems to me so much more vivid than the first time I read it. I think the first time I had problems understanding point of narrative view, character development, etc. This time around, the first chapter of the story, "The Coming of Aeneas to Carthage," seems so much more controlled and formulaic. Aeneas' motives appear clearer to the reader of, perhaps, not the best of translations (done by J.L. Mackail), and the trajectory from Troy to Carthage much more vivid in its description of the storms and trials of the voyage. I hope to get into the middle chapters by the end of the week.

This week is the Standardized Testing Week at the Academy. I am not very hot on those tests, as conventional wisdom dictates (and I approvingly repeat) they prove nothing. Learning at this stage is not about learning for fact, but learning to become a life-long learner... to enlarge our humanity by engrossing ourselves in the best books ever written and the greatest ideas ever collected. Keeping this in mind, then, tests prove absolutely nothing, and, what is more, they are put together by two types of individuals who have little or nothing in the way of "investment" in education. The first of this group is the "life-long administrator," who has "put in" the bare minimum time required in the classroom (the trenches) before moving on to "giving orders about curriculum, etc." The second of these is "the politician," who can only substantiate his "effective" educational policies by the use of some objective, standardized test result. I can hear him/her now: "During my administration, high school students scored higher on the standard battery of tests," etc., etc., ad naseum. If you think I am a little bitter about this, you haven't heard the first or last of it from me, believe me. I am not here to promote "pie in the sky-highly verbose-catch phrase" ideas, but I would love for nothing more for students to come here to learn how to love learning... that's the key to a successful academic life. We mustn't forget the virtuous and humanist twist of things. I hope all of this becomes clear to those in charge.

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2 Comments:

At 2:50 PM, Blogger Suzan Abrams said...

An inspiring post as always, JCR. A pleasure to read and I shall have to catch up on your other entries as well.
How exciting that you're doing so much writing and reading. For me too, there is such a need to absorb ideas especially that of philosophers and the ancient classics. I didn't have this penchant a few years ago but I do now.]
Remember film shots of all those writrs in the '50s who typed stories on to their manual typewriters and crushed dozens of papers along the way.
Keep on JCR. I've no doubt you'll get there in the end.

 
At 10:17 AM, Blogger Suzan Abrams said...

Hi again JCR.
Have a happy Easter weekend and here's looking forward to your next post with your writing/reading endevours.

 

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