Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bits and Pieces

More wandering around blogs...

MFS at Mental Multivitamin talks about choosing to find joy in life:

Life is often hard, but it becomes waaaay more difficult when I focus on all that can and has made it hard...

And my choice when confronted with life's difficulty is to remind myself of its possibility. Writing about the books that we're reading or the music that we're playing or the birds that we're seeing, the museums we're visiting or the Shakespeare we're enjoying or the discoveries we're making, in fact, chronicling the reading, thinking, learning, and just doing that defines this family is rather like a long-needled immunization against the soul-sucking nature of some aspects of the quotidian (e.g., the unceasing need to wash dishes, fold socks, provide meals, and even, some days, work) as well as some of the more difficult problems life can assign (e.g., automobile accidents and work deadlines and budget concerns).

Again, I find myself appreciating the way MFS views life.

On a completely unrelated note, I found an interesting article on Teachers Unions and Teaching Quality posted over at Education and Homeschool News briefly discussing performance pay for teachers.
The teachers’ unions contend that the profession is self-selecting — that is, underqualified teachers leave the classroom before reaching tenure. But Reeder points to a North Carolina study that concluded: Teachers who left the profession early actually scored higher on teacher licensure exams than teachers who stayed in teaching. And a Harvard University College of Education study concluded: “Teachers with high IQs were more likely to leave teaching at the end of each year of service than those with low scores.”

Following their link, I read Performance-Pay for Teachers: Designing a System that Students Deserve. "This first-of-its-kind report written by a diverse group of expert teachers from across the United States proposes radical changes in the way teachers have been traditionally compensated."


And, again unrelated, some time ago my friend, Heather, at Becoming posted a link to this excellent article by Micheal Flaherty, the president of Walden Media. In it, Flaherty quotes C. S. Lewis:

Those who say that children must not be frightened may mean two things. They may mean (1) that we must not do anything likely to give the child those haunting, disabling, pathological fears against which ordinary courage is helpless: in fact, phobias. His mind must, if possible, be kept clear of things he can’t bear to think of. Or they may mean (2) that we must try to keep out of his mind the knowledge that he is born into a world of death, violence, wounds, adventure, heroism and cowardice, good and evil. If they mean the first I agree with them: but not if they mean the second. The second would indeed be to give children a false impression and feed them on escapism in the bad sense. There is something ludicrous in the idea of so educating a generation which is born to the…atomic bomb. Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.

Flaherty goes on to describe the vision of Walden Media, which has produced Holes, Because of Winn Dixie, Bridge to Terabithia, Amazing Grace, Charlotte's Web, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:

We wanted to create a company dedicated to recapturing imagination, rekindling curiosity, and demonstrating the rewards of knowledge and virtue. All of our films would be based on great books, great people, and great historical events. They would be made by the best talent in entertainment and they would all be linked to educational materials developed by some of the best talent in education. We were taking Henry David Thoreau’s famous advice—to march to the beat of a different drummer—to Hollywood, which is why we decided to name our company after Thoreau’s most famous book, Walden.

The article in its entirety is worth reading!

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