Home » 2013 » July (Page 2)

Monthly Archives: July 2013

Handwriting fluency and the in-class thesis

Handwriting fluency and the in-class thesis

Another reason that I assign a hand-written journal: seeing as you will be tested largely by hand writing essays in class, fluency and practice are crucial.  The journal is a training ground.

From the article:

“Students completed a measure of handwriting fluency and provided samples of writing from exam conditions and a formative class essay. The results indicated that, compared to a class essay, exam writing was constrained by the low level writing skill of handwriting fluency. Surprisingly, it was found that the undergraduates were very slow writers whose writing speed was equivalent to published fluency data on 11-year-old schoolchildren. The relationships between handwriting fluency and writing quality were also very similar to those of published data on 11-year-old children, with handwriting fluency accounting for large amounts of the variance in writing quality and tutor marks for exam answers. The results of the current study indicate that lower level processes constrain the higher level performance of undergraduate students to a significant extent.”

Worth a read if you want to see for yourself.

from the Landy article:

Landy pointed out that in the Gorgias, a stretch of tortured logic leads Socrates to the curious conclusion that “if you want to harm a criminal, the best thing you can do is to make sure he escapes punishment.”
As for the parables in the Gospel of St. Mark, Landy rejects the popular belief that they are there to help Jesus make himself understood. Quite the contrary, they are designed to “keep outsiders out” and to bring those with advanced metaphoric interpretation skills “even further in,” Landy suggests…To get the most out of the text today, Landy said, readers “should try to talk and think in metaphors, just as Jesus is doing,” rather than look for hidden meanings.


This speaks directly to the summer readings, hey?

“Fiction books give a boost to the brain, says Stanford professor”

“Fiction books give a boost to the brain, says Stanford professor”

“Landy’s new ‘formative fiction’ theory advises against a utilitarian search for meaning or information that results in an ‘I got what I need and I can move on’ attitude. His theory implies that readers will get much more out of a text by lingering over passages, contemplating ideas between reading sessions and re-reading passages after some reflection.”

“Your Brain on Fiction”

“Your Brain on Fiction”

“The novel, of course, is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters.”

As if you needed to know.

Crime and Punishment: thinking through and questioning

Nature is what you find in the pristine world: dirt, soil, seeds that are neither sewn nor selectively bred, minerals, the workings of the animal realms.
Artifice is what man makes, whether that is tool or clothing or custom or law or idea.

Stopping at a red light and going on a green: nature or artifice? A hamburger: nature or artifice? Setting aside a hamburger for a loved one who will be an hour late, and not eating it although we are hungry: nature or artifice?

1.  Raskolnikov’s dream: think of the horse as nature and the people as artifice.
What part of nature or the natural world could the horse symbolize?
What part of man-made laws or ideas could the people represent?
Now that you’ve thought that through, flip it: what law or idea or custom could the horse represent?
What natures or instincts could the people symbolize?

2.  Raskolnikov, early on, thinks the amateurish criminal makes many mistakes, and that he – the superior intellect – won’t.  How does that work out for him?

3. How/why does Raskolnikov think he’s a superior intellect?  (You see how that question is answered as the story unfolds, yes?)

As you are realizing, much of what you thought was foreshadowing is being answered as you read: you can go back and answer, or even reformulate, your questions.

4.  Does Porfiry really suspect Raskolnikov? How R.’s thoughts run around and around trying to figure that out! When did you, the reader, become sure of that? Did you get the “I knew it!” feeling?

5. What is fever? How does it work physically and mentally? What causes it?
Raskolnikov spends considerable time in a feverish state: perhaps an hour reading up of fever might be illuminating?

Another reason to pay attention:


Second class!?



Time to step up my game.