At what point did art stop being critical and become critique? I need to walk away from a work of art feeling like the materials and the whole of my experience have been changed, alchemically, and given back to me.I need to walk away from a work of art feeling like I’m holding hands, with everybody.
I enjoyed this cool video that creates an image representing a word using the letters in the word itself. The constraint the artist gave himself was to use only the graphic elements of the letters without adding outside parts.
There is a lesson plan to go with this video on the film english blog. It is designed for language teachers and I could imagine remixing the lesson as part of a slamming poetry unit.
The belief in balanced bilingualism holds that a bilingual is like two persons, each fluent in one of the two languages. But more realistically, a bilingual is a person that “languages” differently and that has diverse and unequal experiences with each of the two languages. Bilingualism is not like a bicycle with two balanced wheels; it is more like an all-terrain vehicle. Its wheels do not move in unison or in the same direction, but extend and contract, flex and stretch, making possible, over highly uneven ground, movement forward that is bumpy and irregular but also sustained and effective.
The goal of intellectual education is not to know how to repeat or retain ready-made truths. (A truth that is parroted is only a half-truth.) It is learning to master the truth by oneself at the risk of losing a lot of time and going through all the roundabout ways that are inherent in real activity.
I’d like the sort of school which has fascinating old buildings and cosy little classrooms with wooden bench desks. I want to learn in a building with soul, not the lifeless, faceless portable buildings equipped with nothing but an unreliable electric heater! I’d like the sort of school which has a variety of teachers ranging from the romantic old fools who get all doughy-eyed about literature to the new modern sort who are maths and science geeks and proud to be so.
Sam Sherburn, age 15, year 10, Queen Elizabeth’s high school, Gainsborough
On its best days, my high school reminded me of this, what with our turtle pond courtyards and the layering, over decades, of just these kinds of teachers. The biodiversity of my school’s staff was a great influence and something I missed after graduation. In a given school-day (well, if I wasn’t absent), Rae and I socialized with a kaleidoscope of adults, individual teachers cherry-picked from the different departments and wings of our school for their personalities and unique styles of staking out a domain, whatever that domain might be. It was fun to socialize without stressing out, all self-conscious about my performativity, and it probably goes without saying that this freedom to just “do me” wasn’t possible with peer cliques, whose tribal behavior I scorned at the time. But since you weren’t ”marked” by associations with grownup tribes, I moved freely among groups of teachers, chilling with the individuals I liked who seemed to like me back. The romantic old fools and the new modern sort of teachers created an ideal habitat for the multitudes within my (vast, I tell you) teenage self. Every teacher who generously shared their particular niche with me was sheltering that part of my person from the homogenizing climate of high school. I’m so grateful for their friendship and hospitality.
And… Sam’s spelling of doughy-eyed is perfect.
Naomi Shihab Nye reading a completely-found poem, snippets of her son’s speech before age three.