Education

I feel that one of the most valuable things that school could give a student at the time of the education (that is, while in school) is relevance and immediate applicability.

As we have been reading various books on utopias and dystopias in one of my classes this semester, so much of it all has become relevant in my life within a very short time of its initial introduction.  

The struggle one character has with God in this book, and how she finds change to be inevitable (and, therefore, God), applies to my life the week following my reading of it… I can relate to her struggle immediately, and then the change comes up in conversation and contemplation regarding my relationships with people in my life.

I think teachers, schools, curriculum planners aim to have books students read in school to be relevant to the students’ lives, but they often fall short of the mark… they miss the applicability of the ideas and actions somehow, and only assume that this specific struggle must be applicable to all students of this age… and it often isn’t.

From English class, we need concepts, ideas, brainstormed theories that we can learn to apply to any part of life…

For history class, a historical context would be only an enhancement of our understanding of what’s going on right now, what people are discussing from the news, and why it seems to matter so much… we hardly do more than regurgitate facts, and rarely know much about what they really were like or why it mattered to people who lived it (and therefore why it might matter to us).

I today was learning of a book about a man struggling in Russia, and, as I heard the details, I knew it was around the 1920s…, because of the Russian refugees in season four of “Downton Abbey”… there was a story in which I could invest myself, and ideas to which I could relate and from which I could draw my own ideas and conclusions, and the history just kind of stuck with the affinity for the people in the story…

I interested myself with the French Revolution recently, because I discovered the wonder of the film “The Scarlett Pimpernel”… and I remember details about the revolution because of how they connect with the story of the film and its characters.

The actual history became relevant and immediately applicable for me, because of my investment in the film.

The same is so with my investment in “Downton Abbey”.

How could I possibly relate to the Russian refugees or to the French upper class, when I merely read some statements of facts, names, locations, dates, and a summed-up given political meaning to it all?

I guess that’s why I remember just about nothing from my history classes in school…

Perhaps it everybody needs this kind of education, but everyone certainly could benefit greatly from it, I dare say.

You know what I mean?

Post-a-day 2019

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Free thinking

I found myself today wondering on the phrase “The sky’s the limit.”

If, when considering ‘the sky’, we are imagining that 62-75 miles or so (100-120 km, for us nerds) of the earth’s atmosphere – as I think most people do -, it has me wonder two things in quick succession.

First: How old is that phrase?

Then: In what kind of sad and limited mental world must one live to have the sky alone, out of the whole universe (and whatever might be beyond), be the limit of one’s dreams and such?

How could someone have gotten to the Moon with such a limitation on one’s thinking?

It sounds – initially, anyway – like a declaration of near-limitless possibilities… today, however, upon a bit of consideration, I must say that it feels rather restrictive and of a field of rather small thinking.

Is this just a matter of timing, that the moon and Mars explorations hadn’t happened yet, and were still too far into the future for anyone to notice?

Post-a-day 2019

The planets align…(?)

I went to see my friend’s theatre production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” this morning.

Tonight, on the way home, I selected my leisure audiobook (instead of my current school one, for which I must pay attention and make bookmarks in it as I listen to it), because I needed a break from making my brain work extra while driving.

It was the final section of Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath.

The topic – something of which I had no idea until I heard it tonight – was the Holocaust.

Talk about that as coincidence – twice has this book popped up at exactly the right moment of coincidence.

First it was with the actual story of David and Goliath lining up with my Bible reading (which has been going on for years, by the way, and I only just happened to be at that part right as I re-began Malcolm Gladwell’s book [I had switched from the Kindle edition, which had fallen flat due to my schedule, to an audiobook, which had only just become available through the public library]), and now with this play!

Awesome, isn’t it?

And, just for fun, let’s throw in the title of this writing, one which I determined to connect as best I could manage to these coincidences… and which I hadn’t considered as connecting to anything else when I came up with it.

Tonight, as I munched on my dinner and snuggled next to an air heater, I watched the rest of the first episode of “The Magic School Bus”…, which involves the phone-caller at the end complaining about how the map had shown the planets all nicely lined up, and how that was totally not the case almost ever.

That’s a fun coincidence, too, though not quite the same as the other two.

Also, just a fun fact, that episode talked about the nine planets of our solar system, and how ‘Pluto actually will still be inside Neptune’s orbit until 1999.’

!!!!! 1999 !!!!! That’s totally the past

(Obviously, I knew that I was watching an old show, since I had actually seen it when I was a child, but I was surprised at just how old it turned out to be.)

But, it turns out that the show started in 1994, and so 1999 was a little while into the future back then… so was that awful declaration that I ignore about Pluto…

P.S. Talk about diversity: Take a look at that class of Miss Frizzle’s!

Post-a-day 2018

Musicals

“Prince Siddhartha: The Musical”

Go see it – it’s wonderful.

It kind of felt like someone did what the makers of “Urinetown” did, how they took famous bits of other shows and included them in “Urinetown” (e.g. the “Evita” portrait in the mob, or the waving of the flag from “Les MisΓ©rables”), but just taking songs from famous musicals…. not that they stole anything – just that they were inspired strongly by those famous songs, especially in terms of the orchestra’s role and notes.

Nonetheless, it was a nice musical, and I kind of want the soundtrack now, so I can sing all the songs. πŸ™‚

Post-a-day 2018

The Last Samurai… again

I’m not sure that I have ever watched a film with the director’s commentary, but tonight I did.

I discovered the other week, when I’d watched “The Last Samurai”, that the commentary was likely to prove exciting and valuable, and so I kept it on the list of to-dos until I had the time finally tonight to watch it… and I was right: It is spectacular.

I grew up in a world of theatre, often sitting next to a spectacular director, having him ask me questions and tell me little important tidbits about everything he was doing throughout rehearsal and preparation (and everything else, actually), and then, at other times, sitting with my mom as she worked on costuming or props for a show, and sometimes working on sets, myself…, and so I have not only an eye for many things in theatre and film, but also an extreme appreciation for what it takes to accomplish different aspects of a production.

Combining that with my experiences and understanding in Japanese culture, I found Edward Zwick’s commentary beautiful and deepening for the film’s overall power and impact… he and his crew were no surface-level group, but intentional, informed, respectful, committed, and honest workers in the task of making this beautiful, respectful, multicultural film.

Thank you, all of you, for all that you did in making that film. πŸ™‚

Post-a-day 2018

And a dash of Indian

I have an organized (-ish), color-filled explosion of Indian outfits on my bed and desk chair right now, and it feels, somehow, really, really good.

I’ve never even been to India, but I feel this strong connection to many parts of its culture…, my mom was Indian in her previous life, so perhaps I was, too…, or perhaps she merely passed the culture down to me in this life… ;D

Whatever the case, I’m entirely delighted about these clothes, which is why I still haven’t started putting them away, since I pulled them all out to see for the first time this afternoon. πŸ˜›

Post-a-day 2018

Think before you speak

Today, I was the forced object and false source of a race-related disturbance.

And I don’t want to talk about it.

But I do want to share that it happened.

The woman did not hear my giddy excitement as I told my mom what I had just seen while returning from the bathroom, nor that my mom asked me where I had seen them.

The woman did not hear my genuine words of excuse (or my mother’s), immediately following the moment where my pointed arm passed between her eyes and her far-outstretched camera.

The woman did not see that she was almost standing on top of my bag (to which I had just returned after using the bathroom).

The woman did not hear or see any of this – she only saw a pale, blue-eyed, blonde girl ‘get rudely in her way’.

Based on all of the angrily expelled words that were slung like swings of a bat from her mouth, she made some serious assumptions about who and how the ‘never taught any manners’ white girl was.

At first, I made an effort to calm her and to show her how unintentional the act of pointing in front of her was, and that I’d never meant to do any harm or rudeness…, but her irrational declarations and chastisements suddenly became rational, when I discovered that, for her, it was about race, and had nothing to do with what actually had happened.

At that point, I made it clear to my mom, too, that there was no use in discussing anything with the woman – she couldn’t hear us or our words… only our skin.

It saddened me that someone would believe such intense beliefs about me, and especially where we were (a multicultural event), when I am the person I am.

I have more than just friendships to show that I am not what the woman assumed of me, but it seems absurd that I even would have to defend myself on the matter… I just don’t understand why people continue to insist that things like this must be “fought”.

What good was accomplished by this woman’s verbal attack today?

I don’t believe that fighting has ever truly been the answer in history.

It was just a way to get rid of those who saw things differently, but permanently so – it didn’t actually solve problems.

… Anyway… just some thoughts of mine tonight…

Post-a-day 2018