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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: Education
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0628  Monday, 4 March 2002

[1]     From:   Andrew Walker White <
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        Date:   Friday, 1 Mar 2002 14:12:01 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0607 Re: Education

[2]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Saturday, 2 Mar 2002 10:35:13 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0607 Re: Education

[3]     From:   Ruth Ross <
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        Date:   Sunday, 03 Mar 2002 09:42:52 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.0607 Re: Education


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <
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Date:           Friday, 1 Mar 2002 14:12:01 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 13.0607 Re: Education
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0607 Re: Education

Dr. Hawkes takes me to task for referring to my native land as a
linguistic monoculture -- but were he anywhere near a newspaper, he'd
find that the good people of Iowa are pushing hard for English as the
"official language" of that State.  Laws like that tend to put the
damper on bilingual and foreign-language immersion courses, especially
at the grade-school level.  And English-only laws are very popular,
nation-wide.

I meant exactly what I said; monoculture, as in, no diversity, no desire
for diversity, and bans on diversity whenever it rears its ugly head.
Just because we are a nation of immigrants doesn't mean we have bothered
to embrace the many languages of our ancestors.  With the noble
exception of certain schools in Oregon (and so-called "magnet" schools,
American code for "rich folks and whites only"), students have no access
to any language other than English until way past the age when they can
easily learn it.

And as any biologist can tell you, monoculture is a prescription for
death in any biosystem.

sic semper americani.

Andy White

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Saturday, 2 Mar 2002 10:35:13 -0000
Subject: 13.0607 Re: Education
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0607 Re: Education

"Obviously Shakespeare didn't see the value in a university education
and look what he did", writes Brian Willis. Why do you think so? Just
because somebody excels in intellectual achievement without getting a
university education, that does not mean that they weren't spitting
chips their whole life wishing that they had had the opportunity. Ben
Jonson certainly resented his dad for pulling him out of Westminster
before matriculation, and cherished his honorary degree when he finally
got it (after some string-pulling) later in life. Surely the
anti-university feeling that comes through in a play like Hamlet
suggests that Shakespeare protests too much against the idleness of
university education? I fear Brian Willis's assumption says rather more
about his own "pull-the-ladder-up behind-me" attitude to the
availability of Higher Education than Shakespeare's.

m

[this post was made possible by a generous grant from the Arts and
Humanities Research Board of the British Academy, not to mention
countless cheques from my Local Education Authority during the period
1995-1998, without which my intellectual life would have been
immeasurably poorer]

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ruth Ross <
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Date:           Sunday, 03 Mar 2002 09:42:52 -0500
Subject: 13.0607 Re: Education
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.0607 Re: Education

I remember a Folger Shakespeare Library seminar conducted by Peggy
O'Brien wherein she said that Shakespeare's grammar school education was
so much better and thorough than children receive today that he could
have been awarded a Bachelor's (or even a Master's) degree based on the
subjects taught and the rigorousness of the curriculum. As a high school
teacher, I can attest to the paucity of retention and effort that
students possess today. The first question they ask when I assign a book
is, "Is there a movie of this book?" and I see the yellow and black
covers of Cliff's Notes hidden in their book bags. They have superficial
knowledge, quite literal, and don't really know what it means to read
inferentially. I work quite hard to help them acquire this skill, with
varying results.

Also, they are not fascinated by words. When I tell them that
Shakespeare coined many words we use today, they're astounded. I have no
training in Latin, yet my interest in etymology (and great age) has
given me tools to parse new words for their meanings.

Ruth Ross

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