Monday, December 6, 2010

Education -- your culminating thoughts.

Throughout the term, your have read the assessments of many writers regarding "what is wrong with" public K-12 education in America today. Some of these problems include over-scheduling (boredom-promotion), over-reliance on standardized testing, segregation by class and race, and the persistence of a school "track" system that produces a workforce in line with students' parents' socio-economic status. Now, I want you to think about (and then answer) this question: if a student succeeds in getting to college, however many of the above-named problems might have hampered his/her education experience up to that time, are all of those problems non-existent in the college setting?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Let's talk about the environment . . . again

Hi students. As I've been reading through your final papers, I have been impressed with the variety of topics you've taken on. Many of you have discussed problems with American education, a few have discussed various conceptions of the American family, and a few of you have tackled issues related to the environment. I want to ask you all a question inspired by some conversations in my American Nature Writing class today. Do you think "natural resources management" is an oxymoron? Can "wilderness" places be managed? In a corporatized, industrialized society like ours, how do we perform "cost-benefit analyses" on our uses of natural places and resources (meaning, how *do* we do this and how *can* we do -- and potentially justify doing -- this)? Some deep issues to ponder as we head into the final week of classes!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Final Papers . . .

Because I am always thinking about your writing, I am curious about two things. A) In what ways has your writing changed this semester and how has that change come about? Has it been a positive change, do you think? B) As you are working on your final paper, what is your biggest worry, in regard to your writing of your paper? What do you think you still "don't know how to do," as it were?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

As we sum up . . .

Which sequence from our class this semester -- family, environment, education -- did you find most compelling? Why? What ideas were you introduced to for the first time within the sequence that you found most interesting?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Marriage is for...

In our discussions of the Prop 8 readings, we have discussed some of the reasons people use to support of Prop 8. Often, supporters contend it will help to "protect the institution of marriage" (language that is often used in this debate). As you see it, what IS the role, in modern American society, of the "institution of marriage"? How has this role changed over time? Or has it?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Extended families...

In Roger Jack's "An Indian Story," what many roles does his aunt play in his life? What sort of message does his text send about stereotyped American family structures and those who do and do not represent/embody them? What is the value, to him, of his aunt as guardian and culture-bearer?

Friday, November 5, 2010

What we really miss . . .

According to Coontz, what DO we really miss about the 1950s? Do you think, in America at present, that we are still nostalgic for the '50s? Are YOU nostalgic for a particular time in American history? Why? In regard to the American family, do you think future generations might look back in an idealized or nostalgic fashion on today?