Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Part of the reason I’m so cynical about these newfangled products and whatnot is because I grew up in my grandparents’ home, and they had some pretty conservative ideas.

Like eat your damn peas.

And stop shufflin them feet.

And walk like a prince or you’ll get treated like trash.

That kind of conservatism. The kind that was based on giving and getting respect, supporting local, mom-and-pop grocers, listening to and respecting your elders and NUMBER ONE, ABOVE ALL, EATING WHOLESOME FOODS.

Always choose fruit over candy. Never buy a packaged product when a fresh one is available. Chocolate bars do nothing for you. Pickle everything. Fast-food isn’t food. Learn to cook. Forget to eat out. Dessert isn’t necessary. Vitamins and minerals are. Don’t watch TV all day. Go outside and play. The world is your gym and your determination is your gym pass. Swim. Run. Climb. Cycle. Make friends. Play.

This wisdom had followed me into adulthood and I think often about how fortunate I was to have grandparents like mine. While my friends ate junk food and instant meals, I was in heaven, though I had no idea. I thought all those kids were lucky to get fast food and preservative-laden, heart-stopping, likely-to-survive-nuclear-holocaust edible garbage. I didn’t realize that the diarrhea-inducing pondscum they were eating was collateral damage from a dual-income family who had no choice but to throw quick meals at their loved ones before rushing out the door in order to keep up with their subdivision suburban mortgages and SUV car loan payments.

The truth is, my grandparents were TRULY conservative- they were conserving all they could! They had only one car, a tiny, fuel-efficient vehicle. They rarely used indoor heating. Their pension income may have been low, but their consumption was also quite low. They truly embodied the doctrine of non-materialism, a doctrine which is a dirty word in many 21st-century discussions on economics.

In Korea, I’m pampered. There are these guerilla gardening grannies who will take fertile land in the hills and just plant stuff. Then they come down to the open market and sell everything from grains and beans to fresh fruits and vegetables.

With plenty of westcoast seaweed and kelp, there are enough b-vitamins and iron to forsake most traditional protein sources. If you just cook at home in South Korea, you have the option to eat a healthier and more economical diet than many places on earth.

There’s only one problem. No one is a peninsula entire of itself. Industrial pollution still affects us all, the quality of the food we eat, and in turn the quality of the lives we lead.

There’s nothing conservative about environmental destruction. Or supporting Monsanto. Or opposing climate science and the post-carbon movement. That’s just ignorance.

Who would have guessed that what’s good for the body is good for the environment, and vice-versa?

My grandparents would have. They’d have told me that was good old fashioned common sense. I think they’d be proud that I was interested in keeping things wholesome. I think they’d agree that we deserve better.

Better than what?

Proctor and Gamble

http://www.wastedocumentary.com/procter-and-gamble-greenwashing-green-busines/

Coca-Cola
http://scienceblogs.com/primatediaries/2010/03/11/coca-cola-in-india-good-till-t/

Pepsico
http://www.infochangeindia.org/environment/news/pepsi-introduces-alien-algae-that-could-harm-native-biodiversity.html

Kraft
http://www.unitetheunion.org/news/cadburyworkerstakestandagainstkraftmondelezhumanrightsabuses/

Nestle
http://www.phdinparenting.com/blog/2010/10/5/good-nutrition-nestle-is-part-of-the-problem-not-part-of-the.html

General Mills
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christina-pirello/general-mills-declares-wa_b_474937.html

AND THE LIST CONTINUES!

We’re reasonably smart monkeys. We have the Internet. Just stop using what these guys are making as best as humanly possible and encourage others to do the same.

THE POWER IS YOURS!

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Have you noticed your teacher standing in front of the class and lecturing continuously for long periods of time while you, the student, begin to grow bored and lose the ability to focus or retain any of the knowledge that is being imparted? Does your teacher grow angry and heap useless and damaging amounts of psychological torment on you while your brain, starved of stimulation, attempts to learn something else from your surroundings? Does your teacher reward students who are willing to lifelessly stare straight ahead of themselves, unmindful of the serious psychological damage that can come from non-interactive learning? Perhaps your teacher suffers from a common illness that is devastating our classrooms and causing students to hate learning. This disorder is called ARD, or Attention Requirement Disorder.

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I feel like this guy. On the right, that is.
–from http://assets.fundoofun.com/bollywood

Once you have diagnosed your teacher as having this unfortunate malady, beware that you might not be taken seriously by professionals. The reason your teacher has developed this behavioral disorder is because it is quite probable that s/he has been rewarded in the past for tolerating and accepting attention requirement as a legitimate teaching method. As with Attention Deficit Disorder, this affliction is behavioral. Once the victim of this disease has been diagnosed, the bulk of the treatment must be behavioral. Drugs should only be prescribed as a final remedy, but know that prescriptions do not solve the problem in the long term.

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Notable ARD victim, Mr. Snape. Class, say hi to your new chemistry teacher.
–from http://img.moviesunlimited.biz/

It has been speculated that media such as video games, graphic novels and high-intensity action films have contributed to ADD by splitting the mind’s attention, creating rapid response reflexes and destroying its ability to concentrate. Think about this for a moment. We’re making the argument here that modern technological and creative advancements have sped up the brain’s functions beyond the point that they can be considered productive. Does this mean our brains are failing, or that our idea of “being productive” is problematic? I do not recommend that we bring video games into the classroom. I simply suggest that we work WITH cultural and technological advancement rather than working AGAINST it. Big businesses in video gaming are profiting from an increase in human brain activity. Why can education not benefit from this discovery as well?

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No, I did not write this article just to make use of my extensive collection of sexy teacher pictures. Heh-heh…
–from http://pcdn.500px.net

The best behavioral treatment for ARD is the following. We must begin by becoming teachers to attack ARD at the root. We must plan interesting activities that stimulate thought. We must as teachers keep our introductions short and our interactions with students relevant. Here’s why: If students turn into zombies, simply watching, listening and taking notes, we as teachers will be quite easily replaced with television screens and robots. There’s no perceptual difference between a teacher suffering from ARD and a robot. Not to students. If you want to keep your job, you will follow these simple steps:

1) Prepare. Have a bag of tricks at your disposal at all times so that if your introduction is not effective, you can switch gears.

2) Interact. Make groups with your students and give them a relevant activity. Visit each group to keep them on track. This is possible with a classroom of up to thirty students (six groups of five students each), but anything past that is difficult and ineffective. Therefore, lobby your education board for smaller class sizes.

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I love teachers who love teaching. Doesn’t everyone?
— from http://marvelousmisadventures.typepad.com

3) Focus on topic-changing minds, specifically. If you’ve noticed that some students have a hard time staying on topic, it is possible that they exhibit characteristics of ADD. That said, attention levels naturally vary, and the benefit of giving increased attention to unfocused students is monumental both for them as individuals and for our future society at large. Before we rush to involve clinical psychologists in our affairs, let’s try the behavioral approach, which begins in the classroom.

4)  Stop talking about bad students. Realistically, a truly bad student is a violent one. Students who cannot keep from speaking up in class, or are more interested in cell phone video games, are not bad. Unfocused, perhaps. Uninterested, certainly. Here’s the thing: Teachers must get past their hurt feelings and take proactive steps to give students a reason to pay attention. “Because I said so” is not a good reason. If we mistake compliance for morality, we need only scan a history textbook to find out exactly how ethical compliant societies in the past have been.

When you spot ARD, consider that the sufferer of this common disorder has feelings, and those feelings can easily be hurt. Do not rush to bring their disorder to their attention. Simply try to understand this menacing affliction and do your best to help your fellow students who may not understand why their teacher is behaving in such an erratic and undisciplined way. Forming study groups with your fellow students will both allow you to retain the material your teacher could not effectively explain, and also give you a chance to discuss how you are responding to your teacher’s disorder. Besides that, the teacher will get the impression that you are fantastic students, which in reality, was true all along.