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Old 2013-09-08, 13:30   Link #30541
EscapeReality
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Exactly why I said people should read in their own time.
The education system is supposed to open up opportunities for the students. Most high-schoolers aren't going to go the library and pick up Animal Farm or something and read it if their schools don't require them. But if they are given exposure first, they might be able to relate to the concepts in the novel, find it fascinating, and develop a liking. That way, they will read fiction on their own. Still think it is important for the curriculum to have more of these fiction books.
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Old 2013-09-08, 14:50   Link #30542
Solace
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Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
Spell to speak instead of speak to spell; the reason why these people suck at such iterations is because they talk more than they write. Usually it is a habit brought forward from childhood.

If they can't be bothered to pronounce words properly, smack them.
To be fair to non-native English speakers, there are some rather obscure and wacky rules in the language that even native speakers get wrong. Plurals tend to be one of them. Blame it on the fact that the language is like the Borg of verbal and written communication, assimilating everything into its own culture.

One thing I agree with Ledgem on, is that a lot of literary works, especially older ones, don't just demonstrate proper usage of language, but a mastery of them. Not every work, but toss out a popular writer from history and you'll find a level of intelligence and eloquence that is often only matched by their clever social commentary. There is a reason people remember Twain or Dickens. Heck sometimes you'll find it in Playboy articles.

There's a lot of trash too, of course, but there's a reason someone like Hemmingway or Shakespeare is taught. It's not just the quality of the written word, but the content as well. To see it as "fiction" and thus unimportant because it won't get you a job really undervalues why they've had such cultural relevance long after the authors have passed away.
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Old 2013-09-08, 15:36   Link #30543
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by Solace View Post
There is a reason people remember Twain or Dickens.
Plenty of reasons they say the classics are what people wished they'd read, rather than what they wish to read, too.

90+% of kids don't need to read the greatest masters. They need to read competent craftsmen of the written word writing about something that will interest them. And for those who do need to read the masters - well, plenty of libraries around.
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Old 2013-09-08, 17:18   Link #30544
EscapeReality
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Plenty of reasons they say the classics are what people wished they'd read, rather than what they wish to read, too.

90+% of kids don't need to read the greatest masters. They need to read competent craftsmen of the written word writing about something that will interest them. And for those who do need to read the masters - well, plenty of libraries around.
True, not everyone needs to, but those 90% still need a good bit of literature exposure - else we're creating a robot population.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World

This book has some good points - look up the part about Fordism. Scientific education is not adequate alone. I still think this curriculum shift will be detrimental to student growth.
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Old 2013-09-08, 19:07   Link #30545
Irenicus
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I always thought the whole point of the literature class in school, aside from old school generational cultural transfer (preserve the Canon!), as well as the exposure of ideas -- conceived back when education was believed to be more than skills and jobs -- is to teach the critical thinking skills in a roundabout way.

How to read, to understand, to grasp the nuances behind text communication, and finally, to interpret the texts and develop conclusions beyond the limitations of rote learning.

Of course, literature is just one of the many ways this skill can be taught, if the most obvious one for educators in traditional settings. I'm sure young science nerds with not a literary bone in their body also developed similar skills, in different contexts (i.e. the scientific method). For the Telegraph article though, the move from fiction to nonfiction would not change things very much if the Ministry robots have enough taste to choose the better sort of nonfiction writing as opposed to the masses of drivel out there, thicker in nonfiction than in fiction necessarily because some nonfiction "writers," bloggers, journalists, politicians, celebrities, etc., don't deserve the writer moniker in the slightest.

As for how important this skill is, witness how people write in the Internet. I do not mean Ledgem's point about the grammar, though that too is a point of interest, but how carelessly, and worthlessly, are their murky thoughts thrown out for all to see; how little critical thinking and self-consciousness lies behind a forum post, a comment, a blog article, or, more disturbingly, a journalistic piece; how difficult it is to engage a mind that does not seem to work the way yours do.

This assumes, of course, that literature classes in school the way they're being taught even help with this necessary skill development in the first place. I'm not sure they do.

Interestingly, I do admit that I like a fiction piece (books, stories, or otherwise) much, much more when, regardless of whether I'm reading it for a class or not, I act like I'm just enjoying the thing and schools and tests can go screw themselves. It is also how I "do" history. (Test? What test? Do I look like I care?) Moreover, I reserve the right to hate on a piece of fiction, so-called classic or not, objectively "good" or not, and rant and rave about it to my heart's content. I suspect many students instead feel compelled to "read to the test" and to be forced to "enjoy" a classic with naturally disastrous results.

#ivorytowersnob #englishmajorminor
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Old 2013-09-08, 20:58   Link #30546
ganbaru
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Yen sags on Tokyo Olympics win, China data seen lifting Asia shares
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...96S00E20130909

Australia's new government aims to re-boot mining boom
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...98503J20130908

Longer wait for China residency permits irk foreign firms
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...9870FT20130908
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Old 2013-09-09, 05:21   Link #30547
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by EscapeReality View Post
True, not everyone needs to, but those 90% still need a good bit of literature exposure - else we're creating a robot population.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World

This book has some good points - look up the part about Fordism. Scientific education is not adequate alone. I still think this curriculum shift will be detrimental to student growth.
Doesn't matter. They'll never get any benefit from reading something they don't want to read.

What they need to do is read something that will interest them. As long as it's relatively well written (at least for grammar...), it doesn't matter if it won't be remembered a century or even ten years from now. Or next week. It doesn't matter if it would only interest teenagers instead of, you know, crusty old literature professors.
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Old 2013-09-09, 07:05   Link #30548
SaintessHeart
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Doesn't matter. They'll never get any benefit from reading something they don't want to read.

What they need to do is read something that will interest them. As long as it's relatively well written (at least for grammar...), it doesn't matter if it won't be remembered a century or even ten years from now. Or next week. It doesn't matter if it would only interest teenagers instead of, you know, crusty old literature professors.
But what would? Given the relatively short attention span due to information overload these days, it would be hard to find something to interest that bunch of kids.
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Old 2013-09-09, 07:14   Link #30549
Seitsuki
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I have to draw the line at that, or you end up with these 'progressive' classes which have no exams/assessments so that everyone's a 'winner' and all you do in class is daydream all day so that no one feels like they're 'not doing well'.

School isn't meant to be interesting, it's purpose is education. And it ain't proper education if you're enjoying it too much.
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Old 2013-09-09, 07:27   Link #30550
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeReality View Post
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/b...urriculum.html

Came out a few months ago, but worth a discussion:

At least 70 percent of books in curriculum is to be made non-fiction.
Having used to hate fiction, I would have to say that I changed my mind about the merit of reading novels after starting to watch anime. If one simply absorbs facts, won't he simply become a reservoir of information instead of a living, feeling being? There are human insights that cannot be revealed through simply reading textbooks. Along with this reduction of literature comes a reduction of emotional/mental maturity and creativity.
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
I generally hated the books I read for school anyway. People can read fiction in their own time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
I also had to read a number of classics. I didn't necessarily find them interesting or even enlightening, but what I did get out of them was learning how to write. The expression of ideas, the usage of grammar and vocabulary beyond spoken words; these are things that you can only get by seeing them in usage.
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Originally Posted by Lord of Fire View Post
And all the things you talked about, I didn't really learn through reading. I was taught when to apply what tense and what word to use for certain sentences, with some examples to demonstrate them. However, by that time, I was already a fluent speaker and had already learned most of the basics via bilingual letters I frequently received from my American relatives when I was barely able to read. Watching English shows did the rest.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
I always thought the whole point of the literature class in school, aside from old school generational cultural transfer (preserve the Canon!), as well as the exposure of ideas -- conceived back when education was believed to be more than skills and jobs -- is to teach the critical thinking skills in a roundabout way.
This really should have been a standalone thread rather than a discussion buried in the News thread, because there are a range of issues and a variety of angles to consider. To put it broadly, what is the point of studying the Humanities (eg, ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, religion, music and theatre) in modern education?

An even broader subject: What is the point of formal education today?

There are many things I'd like to add but life, unfortunately, is getting in the way. Hopefully, the topic would get the attention it deserves if it gets its own thread.
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Old 2013-09-09, 07:34   Link #30551
SaintessHeart
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
An even broader subject: What is the point of formal education today?
Stupid question. Job creation for all those 'A' Level students who can't make it into national universities and have no money for private ones, and don't want to sign on plus no real skills to go out there to earn a living with. *sarcastic*
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When three puppygirls named after pastries are on top of each other, it is called Eclair a'la menthe et Biscotti aux fraises avec beaucoup de Ricotta sur le dessus.
Most of all, you have to be disciplined and you have to save, even if you hate our current financial system. Because if you don't save, then you're guaranteed to end up with nothing.
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Old 2013-09-09, 09:06   Link #30552
Shyni
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Speaking of school, China thinks about whether to ban homework and replace it with field trips and "hands-on" stuff.

http://news.msn.com/world/china-mull...student-stress

Quote:
A new proposal from the country's Ministry of Education seeks to alleviate the burden on students by banning written homework in elementary schools.

Instead, the new guidelines suggest replacing homework with field trips to museums, libraries and cultural facilities and to improve students' hand-on capabilities through handicrafts or farm work.
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Old 2013-09-09, 10:24   Link #30553
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
But what would? Given the relatively short attention span due to information overload these days, it would be hard to find something to interest that bunch of kids.
There's always something. Harry Potter at one time, and then there's been Twilight... (I did say quality didn't matter as much as it was made out to do.) The point, really, is to get them started. Give them a little bit of curiosity and have them decide what they want to read.

And if they really, truly, don't want to read anything... maybe have them watch instructional videos on burger flipping, I don't know.
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Old 2013-09-09, 10:33   Link #30554
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I think the old classics have their place, and still have value in demonstrating some of the the core strengths and capabilities of the written word (i.e. how stories can convey ideas and themes through symbolism, metaphor, etc...).

While I admit I found them largely boring as a teenager, I'm glad in retrospect that I had to read Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies in high school. These are great books for showing teenagers how fiction can be used to convey certain political or philosophical viewpoints. Reading these sorts of books sort of prepares the mind for richer and more influential narratives like 1984.

However, I think these old classics should be complimented with more modern and popular fare, such as the titles Anh_Minh suggested. Being a big comic book fan honestly contributed to my appreciation for reading and writing as much as any book I read in school did.

Mary Poppins is famous for saying that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Giving kids some purely entertainment-focused reading in school to compliment the older classics will, I think, give kids a greater overall appreciation for reading and writing. You don't want reading to feel like a 100% chore to kids, or they'll never develop an interest in it.
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Old 2013-09-09, 11:08   Link #30555
Anh_Minh
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Yeah, well, I read Balzac, Flaubert and Maupassant as a kid, and fuck if I know what they were trying to convey.

Which I suppose says a lot either about how timeless and universal their works were, or how well they conveyed anything but tedium.

Last edited by Anh_Minh; 2013-09-09 at 11:55.
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Old 2013-09-09, 11:45   Link #30556
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Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
How to read, to understand, to grasp the nuances behind text communication, and finally, to interpret the texts and develop conclusions beyond the limitations of rote learning.

Of course, literature is just one of the many ways this skill can be taught, if the most obvious one for educators in traditional settings. I'm sure young science nerds with not a literary bone in their body also developed similar skills, in different contexts (i.e. the scientific method).
Literature brings emotions and other non-rational aspects of humanity into play in a way that science cannot. I remember Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment opening up parts of the human psyche my then teen-aged self had only begun to comprehend.

I was unusually blessed to attend a high school with a lot of very bright kids and very effective teachers. My junior year English class was one of the formative experiences of my life. We read Strunk and White's little gem The Elements of Style and spent two weeks debating whether John Ciardi's detailed approach to poetry in How Does a Poem Mean? took all the beauty and meaning out of the art form. Of course, we discussed the usual array of literary works as well.

We also had to write a whole hell of a lot, and grading was strict. I stopped using comma splices by the end of the first marking period sophomore year when they brought me a F for grammar. To this day I can sometimes agonize over which conjunction to use.
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Old 2013-09-09, 13:41   Link #30557
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Originally Posted by Shyni View Post
Speaking of school, China thinks about whether to ban homework and replace it with field trips and "hands-on" stuff.

http://news.msn.com/world/china-mull...student-stress
So they finally realized, that it is hard to rule over people that are well educated. (Maybe they try to outpace certain western democracies where education is split in "elites" and "the future servants" - Sometimes I hope I just see things, I am just a conspiracy theorists... I just hope my crazy ideas never come true ).
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Old 2013-09-09, 14:27   Link #30558
SaintessHeart
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So they finally realized, that it is hard to rule over people that are well educated. (Maybe they try to outpace certain western democracies where education is split in "elites" and "the future servants" - Sometimes I hope I just see things, I am just a conspiracy theorists... I just hope my crazy ideas never come true ).
Considering how they tried to copy many ways of Singapore's governance in order to "fast-track" their economy, it isn't very surprising that the size of their country would see more downsides than us.

Our governance DOESN'T work at all. It looks so good because it is ridiculously micromanaged in such a small city-state.
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When three puppygirls named after pastries are on top of each other, it is called Eclair a'la menthe et Biscotti aux fraises avec beaucoup de Ricotta sur le dessus.
Most of all, you have to be disciplined and you have to save, even if you hate our current financial system. Because if you don't save, then you're guaranteed to end up with nothing.
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Old 2013-09-09, 15:09   Link #30559
ArchmageXin
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,3625334.story

George Zimmerman threaten father-in-law with a gun.

*Facepalm*
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Old 2013-09-09, 16:05   Link #30560
EscapeReality
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Originally Posted by Shyni View Post
Speaking of school, China thinks about whether to ban homework and replace it with field trips and "hands-on" stuff.

http://news.msn.com/world/china-mull...student-stress
This is pretty drastic...wonder why so little resistance against the new change. A key part of Chinese culture - for a long, long time (pretty sure since imperial times) - is standardized testing, after all. Few years ago when I went back to China, score-comparing was a big deal and no one seemed to mind. Why the change of heart?
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