“I don’t view Shakespeare’s work as intimidating anymore.” — midterm reflection from college freshman

“It has made me more confident in myself, and I don’t view Shakespeare’s work as intimidating anymore.” –freshman student reflecting on the first half of my “Shakespeare in Context” course. In lieu of reading comprehension quizzes, I have students post informal responses. They respond to an orientation lecture and each act of the play as they read, and finally they write a brief synthesis paper. That cycle usually takes about…

The difficulty is the point (teaching critical thinking skills differs from teaching facts to memorize)

In the past few years I have seen more students who are very bright, hard-working, and grade-conscious, who are very comfortable when they have a list facts to memorize, or a formula to follow. Rather than thinking of a revision as an opportunity to develop, these students think more transactionally than organically about their learning, and prefer to see revision as a punishment for not getting it right the first time. I see it instead as an integral part of the critical thinking process.

The Measure of a Man (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 9)

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. Data’s autonomy is at stake in a taut, character-driven courtroom drama that resists pandering — no distracting fist-fights or space battles. This episode not only succeeds as a stand-alone meditation on the human condition, it meshes narratively with events from past shows and offers affordances for future story arcs at a time when most TV was purely episodic. “The Measure of a Man,” by…

A tale of two headlines: CNN and Fox shade their reports of UFC crowd’s reaction to Trump

Headlines from CNN and Fox shade in different directions, but both articles agree in substance that Trump got a mixed reaction from the “Ultimate Fighting Championship” in New York yesterday. The Fox reporter carefully cites the phrasing of other journalists who saw the reaction as mixed, as opposed the CNN reporter who confidently describes the boos overpowering the cheers.