Category Archives: Teaching Literature and Writing

Reviewing a Review: Annie Murphy Paul on Diane Ravitch’s Slaying Goliath

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who watches the watchers?), Juvenal, Satire VI On January 21, 2020, Annie Murphy Paul’s “review” of Diane Ravitch’s Slaying Goliath appeared in The New York Times. Being reviewed in the Times is a big deal.  Such … Continue reading

Posted in Ed Reform, Teaching Literature and Writing, Technology, Trump (Don the Con) | 6 Comments

Why Science Fiction Is Impossible: A Science Fiction Writer’s Confession

When I was still a child, I fell in love with Sci Fi. I stayed up nights devouring stories and then novels by Asimov and Heinlein, Clarke and Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. LeGuin, Poul Anderson, Frederick … Continue reading

Posted in Epistemology, Short Stories, Teaching Literature and Writing | 2 Comments

History of Ideas: Background to Puritan and Pilgrim Protestantism in North America

For some 1,300 years, from roughly 300 to 1600 CE, the Catholic Church, headquartered for most of this time in the city of Rome, was the most powerful institution in the Western world. It was the ultimate spiritual and temporal … Continue reading

Posted in Religion, Teaching Literature and Writing | 4 Comments

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Notes Introducing a Debate Unit on Transformative Technologies

This is a little backgrounder on Shelley’s Frankenstein that I created for a Powerpoint presentation to a high-school Debate class. We were starting a unit in which students would be debating the merits of various emerging transformative technologies. In preparation … Continue reading

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Essential Reading | Book Review

  Diane Ravitch’s Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools In these dark days of Trumpism, reasons for optimism are the spars to which the rest of us, the passengers on the … Continue reading

Posted in Ed Reform, Teaching Literature and Writing, Trump (Don the Con) | 2 Comments

Stopping by School on a Disruptive Afternoon

after decades of test-driven education “reform” Whose schools these are, I think I know. His house is near Seattle though. He will not see me stopping here to watch what kids now undergo. My better angels think it queer to … Continue reading

Posted in Art, Ed Reform, Teaching Literature and Writing | 7 Comments

The Coring of U.S. K-12 ELA Curricula

My entire adult life has been spent sometimes as a writer and editor for various textbook companies and sometimes as a high-school teacher of English, Speech, Debate, Theatre, and Film. For much of my life, I ran a development company … Continue reading

Posted in Ed Reform, Short Stories, Teaching Literature and Writing | Leave a comment

What Should Be Taught in an English Teacher Preparation Program?

Recently, I was teaching in a high school, and a directive came down from our administrators that final exams were to be graded on a curve. In a meeting with the other English teachers in my department, I found that … Continue reading

Posted in Ed Reform, Teaching Literature and Writing | 4 Comments

Approaches to Literary Criticism

There are many ways in and out of works of literature. Here are a few of the most widely espoused. This is by no means a complete list, but it covers many of the most historically influential approaches. Agonistic Criticism … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching Literature and Writing | 2 Comments

How to Prevent Another PARCC Mugging: A Public Service Announcement

NB: Everything said of PARCC here applies, as well, to all the standardized tests in English language arts currently being used by state departments of education. In other words, PARCC is singled out, here, as an example of a general … Continue reading

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