Category: Education

Basics, Writing, Dialectic, Education, Pedagogy, Philosophy

Simplify Complex Problems Like Descartes

Ever Feel Stupid? Many of us wish we were smarter than we are. Rene Descartes even felt this way:   “For myself, I have never fancied my mind to be in any respect more perfect than those of the generality; on the contrary, I have often wished that I were equal to some others in promptitude …

Basics, Writing, Dialectic, Education

Dialectic: The Second Art of the Trivium

Introduction: What is dialectic? What is logic? The second liberal art is logic or dialectic. Dialectic typically refers to the practice of precise discussion, using a question and answer format with facts or apparent facts, to explain or get at the truth. It has another, less academic, use I’ll explain later. Logic is a more …

Culture, Education, Mindset

Intellectual Weakness

Nobody wants to be weak. Weakness leads to losing. Weakness leads to resentment.[1] Intellectual weakness is perhaps the most subtle weakness. It compounds itself. Physical weakness makes us feel bad. Intellectual weakness makes us feel smug or leaves us unable to see our weakness. There are many ways to overcome this problem, but the first …

Education

Grammar: The First Art of the Trivium

Introduction The first of the liberal arts is grammar. The Trivium Trivium is shorthand for three skills:  grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Together with arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music they make up the liberal arts. In the current year, a liberal arts degree is simply a degree in reading texts and critical theory. What is Grammar? …

Bible, Book-Review, Christianity, Education

Eric Johnson’s Proposal for Christian Reading

  Eric L. Johnson, Foundations for Soul Care: A Christian Psychology Proposal[1] Below is a summary of Johnson’s rules for Christian reading. It’s a useful part of his book. Because these are my own words, anything poorly stated is my own fault, not Johnson’s. The goal of Christian reading, even leisure reading, is conformity to …

Education

Your Calling as a Teacher

One of my favorite lines from classical literature is this brief quote from Socrate’s Apology: For I tried to persuade each of you to care for himself and his own perfection in goodness and wisdom rather than for any of his belongings, and for the state itself rather than for its interests, and to follow …

Rhetoric, Culture, Education, Politics

On making America great again

Together we will make America Great Again, better than ever before. This political slogan is usually viewed as either a Nazi bigot’s racist screed against all truth and goodness or as an aspiration to be achieved in the unholy walls and halls of DC. It’s a phrase and sentiment that is not unique to Trump …

Education, Psychology, Science Fact of the Day

Science Fact of the Day #2: Teacher Somatotype

As in all cases “science fact” is used loosely. The Main Claim About Teacher Somatotypes In Nonverbal Behavior in Interpersonal Relations the authors observed that: “Teachers who are ectomorphic are usually perceived by students as anxious and less composed but perhaps intelligent. The endomorphic teacher is generally perceived by students as slow, lazy, under-prepared, and not …

Education

William Briggs and Monty Hall

William Briggs explains the solution to the Monty Hall problem: Many of you will already know the answer, but read on anyway because it turns out to be an excellent example to demonstrate fundamental ideas in probability. Incidentally, I just did this yesterday to a group of surgical residents [this was in 2012]: you might …

Culture, Education, Philosophy

Paul Graham on what can’t be said

I love ideas, data, speculation, experiments, and plans. I also love arguments, refutations, and attempts at persuasion. And I think what I love the most about the United States is the general legal consensus that outside of inciting people to acts of terrorism, one is allowed to say what they wish without government censure. In …