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Archive for the tag “pedagogy”

Time to Go

Knowing the time to gois a more deeply philosophical topic than it might seem at first sight. And that sneaky postaday poster person has tried once again to lead us astray by throwing in a couple of semi-red herrings. At a party? Meeting for coffee? Oh, no, my dear friends. To plumb the depths of this topic would be to strain, indeed were it even possible, to breach the limits of blogdomhood!

But not wishing to push that ephemeral envelope so nigh upon the witching hour, and being in part a brass tacks kind of guy, I will limit myself to a few of the more practical and obvious observations.

At a party depends upon whether or not one is the host. If one is the host and it becomes to tedious, one just leaves (perhaps to meet someone for coffee–see next). Assuming that the party-goers can be expected to refrain from an unreasonable trashing of the place. If this is not the case, merely release the attack dogs. Which leads to the alternate case. If one is not the host, it is most definitely time to go, and I cannot stress this point too strongly, as soon as the attack dogs have been released. At least this has been my own experience.

Meeting for coffee assumes that the individuals are congregating in neutral territory. Depending upon circumstances this can be quite exhilarating. Proper etiquette demands that one remain at the coffee shop no more than 2 hours after closing. If it is cold outside, one might even be inclined to play a little game of chicken to see who wimps out and leaves first. (Among those who study game theory, this is known as a losing game.) At indoor locations that operate on a 24-hour basis, e.g. Norms, the results are quite unpredictable and many positions turn out to be non-winnable.

Speaking of games, when an ancient master from Japan wields his board of 361 points and mystic bowls filled with black and white, it is most definitely time to Go.

Lastly, in this brief tour, when a toddler of un-self-assured training says it’s time to go, well then dear reader, it’s time to panic.

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If I could change how schools work…

O sing to me sweet Muse bedecked in green

And with thy shepherd’s crook do guide my thoughts

To ancient times, when Socrates did sway

Athenian minds away from Sophists’ tricks.

On marbled steps disciple’s keen attention

Turned on every word he spoke and still

More sharp detractor’s tongue was dulled in time

By ‘s wit with wisdom honed to perfect edge.

None! took he student but they who willing come

To dialogue and through hard questions grasp

That deeper methodology by which

Mere facts alone should never dare to raise

Themselves in thoughtful competition. True

Learning’s to show in thinking, how to think.

 

Defmacro in the house, yo!

O the joys of lisping around. Having made it (almost) through chapter 8 in PCL, I am jumping back to LoL. Perhaps I am too picky or my mind-set is just being obstinate, but I have to say that I am struggling with all these lisp tutorials. They start out easily enough and then all in one chapter, the kitchen sink comes flying out of nowhere. Two chapters about macros, well before much to do with lists. Macros are extremely important, but I think that there are other items that ought to come first in a budding lisper’s career.

Another thing that does get on my nerves, and this seems to be endemic to certain veins of books that Explain Hard Things, is the Look How Clever I Am moments, or when in a more jovially tolerant mood, the “Cutsy Effect.” As an example, and not to pick on PCL–it just happens to be handy and relevant: Why, O Why! would the first serious macro example be one wherein there is no body to the macro?

This is part of a larger pattern fueled in part, no doubt, by the need to impress, and includes other such terrors as: All the examples (and I have several elementary student math texts in mind here) show only one way to solve the problem, use the pattern or rule, &c., and then the very first and most of the rest of the exercises can’t be done the same way and/or need information that comes several lessons later!

Perhaps much of this is subconsciously done. This leads to self-reflection. Where is it that I *gasp* maybe, might, do (but oh no! never ever!) the same thing? When explaining, writing, speaking, showing, demonstrating “stuff” I know like the back of my hand? Especially the “stuff” it took me a long time to learn? Sigh.  Well, just wait till I write my book. . .

The Battle of the Books Rages on:

LoL:5 (preparing to outflank) PCL:8

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