Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

In The Republic, Plato uses an extended metaphor involving prisoners who can see nothing but shadows projected on the cavern wall. They know only blurry outlines of the true objects represented by the shadows, and they pride themselves on how well they can memorize and relate to the puppet shows performed by their captors. If anyone from the outside world were to come down to them and describe color, sunlight,…

Two classic novels returning to Accomack schools following vote

Accomack County Public Schools announced Tuesday that “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” will immediately returned to school library shelves. The books were temporarily suspended on November 29, after a complaint was filed….The Accomack County School Board voted on Tuesday to permanently reinstate the two novels. “These novels are treasures of American literature and inspirational, timeless stories of conscience and bravery,” said Dr. Ronnie E. Holden, Chairman…

Principal fires security guards to hire art teachers — and transforms elementary school

The school was plagued by violence and disorder from the start, and by 2010 it was rank [sic] in the bottom five of all public schools in the state of Massachusetts. That was when Andrew Bott — the sixth principal in seven years — showed up, and everything started to change. “We got rid of the security guards,” said Bott, who reinvested all the money used for security infrastructure into the…

Kristin and Haley’s Discussion on Poe’s “The Raven”

I gave my literature students 30 minutes to come up with a 3-minute podcast in which they demonstrated their ability to have an evidence-based disagreement over The Raven. In the past, at this point in the semester I simply had students record themselves reading a poem, but I decided to get more ambitious this time. While all students turned in a great product, and most students loved the challenge, there…

Practicing Intellectual, Evidence-based Disagreement

This is what a busy literature seminar on evidence-based disagreement looks like. I’ve asked the students to pair up to create a 2-3-minute podcast that demonstrates they can participate in a respectful, evidence-based disagreement over Poe’s “The Raven.” I asked each student to introduce the other student’s position, and to do so respectfully, without caricaturing or demeaning the ignorant or evil jerks whose opinions or values or life experiences dare…