If you get a chance, check out this short article in Forbes from 2011: "Why Trying to Learn Clear Writing in College is Like Trying to Learn Sobriety in a Bar." While Ellsberg creates a strawperson about humanities professors (or presents a blanket/hasty generalization), especially because he's speaking from the viewpoint of an Ivy League grad, it's a damning portrait that provoked and will probably continue to provoke responses. Thanks to Dr. Kim of Pros Write for passing this along on 12/12/12.
I rarely talk about my work on this blog because I usually don't want to "go there." In general, I've wanted PlannedOb to be a place for my other interests in life. However, this week provided the highs and lows of what I do. My group of first-year students, as a whole, did fine jobs on their final portfolios, which made me feel good about what they learned this semester and their prospects next semester. One group in my other class, however, did a half-assed job on their final report. In fact, when I met with two of the group members on Thursday, I told them that if I were to receive a report like theirs in a business setting, I would start thinking about ways to fire them. A finals week of pumping sunshine and bringing the pain.
Some people like to use online systems to sort out their schedules. I, however, am old fashioned. On Wednesday, I bought a new weekly planner and perused 2013 wall calendars. Take that 21st century practices. Huzzah to old technology.
My son, in his ongoing quest to repeat all kinds of stuff he hears, was funny Thursday morning when shot out his index fingers at Mrs. Nasty and said, "What's happenin', hot sauce?"
I finished David O. Stewart's American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America a little while ago. I highly recommend the book if you're someone who likes reading about history. Aaron Burr, what a character. He was a fellow who was close to becoming President of the United States over Jefferson in 1800, and then after he was no longer Vice President and after his duel with Hamilton, he hatched a plan that he thought would separate the western part of the US to become its own country along with acquiring grand chunks of Mexico and Florida. And he got off. He beat the rap at his treason trial (thanks, in part, to Chief Justice John Marshall). But the biggest villain might have been General James Wilkinson. Stewart's book reads like a cross between history and detective work because Burr, a highly successful lawyer, was smart not to leave solid records of his true intentions. And when he did leave records, his intentions to various people provide mixed messages. Burr was known to repeat the maxim, "Things written remain." Indeed.
Now it's on to shuffling my reading life among Everyday Genres: Writing Assignments Across the Disciplines by Mary Soliday, The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us by James W. Pennebaker, and The Beautiful Wishes of Ugly Men: Stories by Adam Prince.