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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Re: Education
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0568  Monday, 25 February 2002

[1]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <
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        Date:   Monday, 25 Feb 2002 19:29:07 -0500
        Subj:   Fw: SHK 13.0550 How good are our educations?

[2]     From:   Sophie Masson <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Feb 2002 20:53:43 +1100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0550 How good are our educations

[3]     From:   Andrew Walker White <
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        Date:   Monday, 25 Feb 2002 14:11:20 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0550 How good are our educations?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul E. Doniger <
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Date:           Monday, 25 Feb 2002 19:29:07 -0500
Subject: 13.0550 How good are our educations?
Comment:        Fw: SHK 13.0550 How good are our educations?

Are we about to get embroiled in an anti-American-Education-system
"debate" now? I would ask those of you who are tempted to fall down this
slippery slope that a) The Wall Street Journal, who published this
feature, is hardly an indifferent paper, and b) no evidence has been
given that "academic standards have continued to slip since 1980."

Is it really so hard for any adult to "learn" the names of the six
longest rivers in the world? Is this the sort of thing we want our
children to focus on in schools, or would we rather have them developing
the skills to become curious life-long learners? Wouldn't it be best to
help them to develop their abilities to read, write, listen, speak, and
think? Memorizing the names of rivers won't do much for any of these
skills.

I find this issue to be fraught with mis-information and loaded,
emotional arguments.  Unfortunately for our children and grandchildren,
the people who seem to want to promote the notion that our education
system is so terrible have the ears of our government; hence the
horrendous ESEA recently signed by President Bush -- a new law which may
have devestating effects on learning in America. Rather than tear down
schools, we need to help build them up.

Paul E. Doniger

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sophie Masson <
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Date:           Tuesday, 26 Feb 2002 20:53:43 +1100
Subject: 13.0550 How good are our educations?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0550 How good are our educations?

Absolutely! People impugning Shakespeare's educational standards not
only do not realise that a Stratford grammar school education may well
have been more, in some ways--and certainly in literary and logical
areas--than a modern university degree, maybe even approaching a PHD.
But they also do not seem to get the idea that education does not begin
and end with the formal sort--that once you can read and write(in more
than one language, in WS' case, as well!)and have a curious, quick and
open mind, you can actually _read_ other books, opening yourself up to
all sorts of experiences.

Sophie Masson
Author site: http://www.northnet.com.au/~smasson

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <
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Date:           Monday, 25 Feb 2002 14:11:20 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 13.0550 How good are our educations?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0550 How good are our educations?

Having recently presented a paper on the subject of Shakespeare's
linguistic milieu, and his education, I have to say that one of my pet
peeves is the stereotype of the country bumpkin who got a rotten
education in the "sticks."  Shakespeare never took a single English
lesson in his life, and as numerous books detail, by the age of 13-14 he
would have already had six (count'em, 6) years of Latin under his belt.

We who live in a linguistic monoculture cannot begin to fathom the
effect that a grade-school education, conducted almost exclusively in a
foreign language, can have on one's grasp of language.  What's more,
Shakespeare was not taught "Latin Appreciation," he was taught to use
classical Latin as a model for his own Latin (and English) discourse.

Compare that with our own paltry grade-school system, which (in the US
at least) teaches English alone, and which offers classics of English
literature not as models for imitation, but as useless artifacts to be
read, enjoyed and then put back on the shelf where they (allegedly)
belong.  Americans are great believers in second languages, but only so
long as that second language is English and the benighted heathen who
doesn't know it yet learns fast.

I'm on the verge of posting my paper for commentary, so consider this a
head's up.

Andy White
Arlington, VA

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