Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday English Teacher Weirdness: School Year Prep Edition

Although I've been posting about the debt ceiling and potential default debacle over the past few days, I haven't forgotten that I need to get ready for another school year.  The past few days have given me a few things to think about.

First,  the following statement that author and educator Alfie Kohn made in an Answer Sheet blog interview troubles me.
You can't "motivate" people other than yourself. You can make them do certain things by bribing or threatening them, but you can't make them want to do it. In fact, the more you rely on extrinsic inducements like merit pay or grades, the less interest they're likely to have in doing those things.
I've long believed the statement to be fact.  The problem is act on knowledge that stands in stark contrast to a school, community, and probably national culture that treats grades or other incentives as panaceas.

Next, I think I'll use this Mark White Psychology Today post and its concluding paragraph in my discussion of Polonius's "to thine own self be true" speech in Hamlet.
Before you decide to "be yourself," spend some time thinking about who that is, and decide whether you are living up to your best idea of who you should be—and work on it if you're not. Once you do that, you'll be ready to show that "you" to other people, and you'll do it in the spirit of honesty and authenticity. . . .
For the record, I tell students Polonius reveals that he is an inauthentic windbag when he rattles off his cliches to his son Laertes.

Further, these lines from Seth Godin's re-post about brand mythology should keep me busy in mythology class.
Myths allow us to project ourselves into their stories, to imagine interactions that never took place, to take what's important to us and live it out through the myth.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of entertainment mythological brands. James Bond and Barbie, for example.
But it goes far behond that.
There's clearly a Google mythology and a Starbucks one was well. We feel differently about brands like these than we do about, say Maxwell House or Random House.
Why do Santa and Ronald McDonald have a mythology but not Dave at Wendy's or the Burger King?
Finally, I have to find a way to use this video to answer students who will tell me "Today, I don't feel like doing anything."


I think I'll tell them we can take the day off if they can be more creative Bruno Mars.

Update:  I use Star Wars: A New Hope to conclude mythology.   I would be remiss if I did not offer the following option to some of my artistically inclined students.  A print guide is here.  (HT IO9.com)

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