Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How Not to Motivate Students Pt 3

Pedagogically Correct Volume 2, Issue 7
February 25, 2008

"Pedagogy": The art and science of teaching.
:: Calling All LifeLong Learners: Learn Science the VanDamme Academy Way!
:: Recommend Pedagogically Correct to five friends, get Lisa VanDamme's e-book, "Reclaiming Education," for free!
:: Announcement: Pedagogically Correct Blog


In Part 2 of this letter, I described the approach to motivation taken by advocates of classical or traditional education. Most educators of this tradition appeal to duty, and not to the interests of the child, as the source of motivation. The child is to rise above his own interests, and fulfill his moral obligation to learn.

There is another school of thought that advocates appealing to the child's interests-his fleeting, short-range, childish interests. To the extent that there remains any real academic content in today's schools, I would say this is the primary form of motivation offered. This is the view, in essence, that to make the drudgery and labor of learning palatable to a child, you must offer him immediate rewards for enduring the process. These rewards must tap into his current interests, his childish values, so that he has a clear and present reason for doing the tasks he is assigned.

A wildly popular example of this approach is the "Book It!" program established by Pizza Hut in 1985 and promoted in teachers' colleges to this day. This program, which has been used in 900,000 classrooms by 22 million students, offers children certificates for a personal pan pizza in exchange for meeting a monthly reading goal. In 1992, The Wall Street Journal reported a growing number of such incentive programs in an article titled "For Some Students, the Value of Learning is Measured in Pizzas and Parking Passes." The article quotes a New Mexico English teacher, who says, "It's a terrific idea. Those students who wouldn't ordinarily work for academic achievement are now getting something tangible to work for." It describes the array of reward programs, which offer students everything from a day off, to free food, to orthodontic discounts, to cash.

A 2005 Associated Press article reported a shocking example of this approach, of tapping into teenage values to motivate learning. According to the article, school officials in Baltimore spent $2 million developing a reading program called "Studio Course," which "uses teen magazines, places grammar on the back burner and lets students write about whatever they want." The curriculum includes a teen magazine that defines a noun as "stuff" and a verb as "what stuff does," as well as Cosmo Girl, which at the time when the article was written featured such articles as "Five Hot New Kisses" and "Flirt Better."

This approach, of indulging a child's immediate desires in order to get him to perform academically, falls in the subjectivist tradition. The message sent to children about why they should succeed in school is that it is entirely subjective-that it will get you what you happen to want right now, whatever that may be, whether pizza, video games, money, or lessons on kissing.

So, in education today, there are: first, the Waldorf types who evade the problem of motivation because they evade the responsibility of education; second, the Catholic school types who proclaim education a moral duty; and third, the public school types who think gold stars and pizza provide the only compelling reasons to learn.

Next week, I will offer a rational alterative to these disastrous answers to the question of motivation.





Calling All LifeLong Learners: Learn Science the VanDamme Academy Way!
Now Anyone Can Understand The Fundamental Principles of Science Better than Most Scientists
"Fundamentals of Physical Science: A Historical, Inductive Approach"
By David Harriman, Historian and Philosopher of Physics

Learn all about it at our brand new website.

Here's what other Pedagogically Correct Readers are Saying:

"I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in physics, and I was amazed at how much I learned from David Harriman's course. This course stands head and shoulders above any other course or textbook I have encountered."

"It's perfect for someone relatively new to physics like myself; it's perfect for even advanced people who want a deeper historical perspective than is usually taught...I found Mr. Harriman's physics course to be an exciting walk through the fascinating world of physics."

"I think this type of course is needed for everyone, as in my experience, it's so far above the courses I've had throughout my life as far as the actual transmittal of knowledge is concerned...In short, this course has made science and math much more intelligible for me, and was completely worth the time and cost - I highly recommend it."

I was a physics major when I entered college, yet I can easily say that my actual understanding of physics is much greater as a result of this course than I can credit to any other class I've taken.

www.vandammescience.com

With this course you will:
* Finally understand the world around you, the world of science and technology, in a way you never thought possible. (No, you don't have to be a math wiz.)
* Learn the thinking methods of the greatest minds in history.
* Understand what all those physics equations and formulas you once memorized really mean.
* Be inspired by scientists' amazing 2500-year quest to unlock the mysteries of the physical world.
* And have a great time in the process!

All thanks to a one-of-a-kind science teaching methodology available in no other course or textbook.


www.vandammescience.com


Recommend Pedagogically Correct to five friends, get Lisa VanDamme's e-book, "Reclaiming Education," for free!
Lisa VanDamme's educational career began when a group of parents, disillusioned with standard public and private schools, hired her to educate their children. In 1998, she chronicled her successes homeschooling and explained the methods that made them possible in a lecture, "Reclaiming Education." The audience, fascinated by her insights about education, and inspired by the stories she told, gave her a standing ovation. In 1999, she made "Reclaiming Education" available in written form, to the delight of thousands of readers. Since 1999, the essay version of "Reclaiming Education" has been unavailable. Until now.

For the first time in almost 8 years, we will make this remarkable work available. And we are giving it away for FREE as an e-book to those who help us grow Pedagogically Correct by recommending it to their friends. Just send enter the email addresses of at least five friends who might appreciate an invitation to receive PC--along with a brief personal note, or our standard note below. We will not add anyone to our email database without their permission.


Click here to refer five friends and get your copy of "Reclaiming Education."

Announcement: Pedagogically Correct Blog
www.pedagogicallycorrect.com
Check out our 'blog, which will contain much (but not all) of the material we sent out in our newsletters. Spread the word!



Happy Learning!

VanDamme Academy--Experience the Power of a Real Education



VanDamme Academy
email: custserv@vandammeacademy.com
phone: 949-581-1881
web: http://www.vandammeacademy.com

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Personal Note on Blogging and Objectivism

Recently there has been some discussion on HBL about the need for Objectivists to spend less time bemoaning the sad state of political affairs and more time introducing Objectivist ideas to young people because they are the future of this country.

I agree with one caveat: posting on bad ideas can be a good thing if it is shown why the ideas are bad. For example, it is a good thing for a doctor to advise a patient on all the bad physical consequences of being an alcoholic or doing drugs. People need to be aware of the threat to their physical well being. So people also need to be made aware of bad ideas that may imperil the well being of their mind thus threatening their survival ability.

I have tried to point out a number of bad ideas on my blog and frame them so the reader could know why they're bad. But I have decided the HBLers are right. More advocacy of good ideas is sorely needed. And I agree further that the main target of those rational ideas should be the young. Now I already do a little bit of this even though I've barely posted on it before. I recently left a few paragraphs in the comment section of an op-ed in the student newspaper Iowa State Daily of that University. I occasionally write op-eds to the local Detroit newspapers. Sometimes letter writers say they are students or otherwise give away their age so I know some young folk read the editorial pages. I have even dropped off a few papers introducing the Objective Standard to a few local libraries, one of them a junior college.

In any event I have decided to visit a few more student papers and see about posting there. In this vein, The Undercurrent, a student newsletter which is delivered to a number of universities nationally, has a new blog which I have added to my blogroll. I highly recommend it. But the best way to get to young minds is to buy books, lectures and interviews on CD and tape from the Ayn Rand Book Store. It's a win/win situation. You get more in-depth knowledge about her philosophy of Objectivism and ARI uses the profits to place more books into classrooms.

This blog of mine is a part time effort. I'm retired from plastic injection molding but not from life. I have a few other irons in the fire. Advocating Objectivist principles is not the only reason I blog. I also want to get better at writing which requires getting better at thinking. Blogging plus ARI has really helped that. I plan to stay the course. I enjoy it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Bullseye

A few days ago the U.S. shot down a dead satellite. I thought it was a good demonstration of America's technological prowess. It sent a message that if anyone has any ideas on putting weapon satellites in orbit against us, we can shoot them down with precision from anywhere on earth and at will.

I don't know if the military's excuse of public safety was the real reason or if they thought this particular satellite would make for some PR saber rattling. After all, it was last year that China shot down a satellite with a missile which may have sparked the need for a little target practice of our own. IIRC, wasn't it Bill-I feel your pain-Clinton who declassified guidance missile technology and gave it to the Chinese (or was that sold it to them for $3 million or so)?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thoughts on the Meat Recall and Regulations

The Monday Feb. 18th 2008 Detroit News carries an Associated Press report by AP writer Greg Risling. Evidently the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) has recalled 143 million pounds of beef processed at the Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. on the basis of a video showing cruelty to cows who could not stand up. Law forbids the slaughter of 'downer' animals for fear that diseased meat may get into the food supply.

I'm not going to argue the pros and cons of this particular case. My point is that many people will use this incident as evidence to support the idea that we need regulatory agencies like the USDA to keep us safe. I say just the opposite is true. We would be much safer in an unregulated economy where the commodity of safety is provided by the market. In point of fact, the USDA did not protect the consumer in this case. It happened despite the regulatory agencies, despite the fact that a USDA inspector was there for a few hours every day. Why did regulators fail? Because they are not self-interested, they have nothing to gain by doing a great job and nothing to lose by doing a poor one. In a laissez-faire economy, producers would have everything to lose from a bad reputation and everything to gain from a good one.

Government regulations are a violation of peoples' rights first and foremost. Morally they are wrong. They represent the starting of the use of force against producers and consumers by 1. destroying the need of consumers to focus on the reputations of businesses and 2. by encouraging producers to be concerned with following certain rules rather than following reality as dictated by the market. For a good essay on the perils of regulation I recommend Alan Greenspan's 1963 essay "Assault On Integrity" in Ayn Rand's book 'Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal' which can be had in most bookstores or here. Yeah, that Alan Greenspan. His misadventures at the Fed do not detract in any way from the truth of what he wrote in 1963:

"Protection of the consumer by regulation is thus illusory. Rather than isolating the consumer from the dishonest businessman, it is gradually destroying the only reliable protection the consumer has: competition for reputation."

I wondered how this meat incident would be greeted in a laissez-faire economy. First, it would be all over the news wires and tv news programs pretty much as it is now. People would immediately stop buying their meat also as they are now doing. But there would be no regulatory agency to slap the wrists of the CEOs with fines or to lock up a few workers and that would be the end of it. Oh no. Once people lose confidence in the company's reputation for safety, investors would see no future for the company and would pull their money out. In short, the company would face bankruptcy. To save itself, the company would have to mount a massive pr campaign to assure the public it had corrected the errors and installed procedures for keeping 'downer' animals out of the food supply. If no one was made sick or died, it might work. Maybe. But if casualties occurred, the market could be very unforgiving.

Sure, the CEOs could declare bankruptcy, shut down the company and open up under a new name. But they would have to spend years developing a good reputation with the public. And the new company could easily be killed with a few magazine article statements to the effect that "New CEO Mr. Smith was the CEO of ABC company which went bankrupt due to a food safety scandal." If Mr. Smith succeeds in the new company, he will have earned it by establishing a good reputation with the public over time instead of having the aura of respectability bestowed on him instantly by meeting some government requirements. Today, shysters can easily open a company, meet government requirements and under an unearned aura of acceptability, fleece consumers. Without regulations, such hustlers would not be so easily disguised.

It is true that some of the regulations make sense like the one about keeping downer animals out of the food supply. One might wonder where would the impetus for instituting those procedures come from in a completely free society. Well, I can see where banks and insurance companies and competitors and the plain desire for a good reputation would encourage such good behavior. Imagine for example, a company that puts together a short documentary on how it runs its meat business and emphasizes how it keeps downer animals out of the food supply. If this in any way boosts its income, you can be sure that competitors will hasten to put out me-too ads. Don't we see this all the time now? As soon as some money making thing hits the market it is immediately followed by a half dozen copies.

I can't predict exactly how a free market would function. The above are approximations but I think very realistic ones. In closing I'll say that a regulated economy is a dumbed down one and a dumbed down one is an unsafe one.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Announcement

Dismuke at Radio Dismuke is back blogging again. He has two posts so far and I recommend both. His post of Feb. 14th announces his return to blogging on a more regular basis as well as the widened focus he intends for his blog. As a hint of what's to come, his post of Feb 15 has two short videos of the Nicholas Brothers, a tap dancing duo from the 30s and 40s who were really quite good. So, if you like the music from the 20s through 40s, his site is a great place to go. I for one will be stopping by a bit more often now.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Good Posts on the Net

J Kendall at Crucible and Column links to a Forbes magazine article by Paul Rubin, professor of economics at Emory. Mr. Kendall tells about a quote from the article:
But here was the item I found astonishing. While many think doctors forego less expensive generics, in favor of newer drugs that are incremental improvements over them, the reality is that newer drugs are more cost effective!

"...new drugs lead to better health outcomes. They keep people out of the hospital. A 2007 study by business professor Frank Lichtenberg of Columbia University estimated that a prescription for a new drug (5 years from FDA approval) costs an average $18 more than an older one (15 years on the market) but reduces other medical costs, including hospital and office visits, by $129."
It is indeed refreshing to see a reasoned defense of the doctor/pharmaceutical company relationship. However, though Mr. Rubin presents good practical arguments, he does not offer the moral argument, namely, that doctors and drug companies have the right to do business with each other in a way that is mutually beneficial to each so long as no one's rights are violated.

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J Kendall also has a post on the book 'Journals of Ayn Rand' in which he presents examples of her writings as she developed her scenes and characters. Fascinating stuff. While I have a copy of most of her writings, I don't have that one. J has inspired me to put 'Journals' on my wish list.

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Darren at Darren Cauthon has a good post on the evils of democracy. Evidently, the mayor of Kansas City and the council wanted light rail for the city. After the issue was voted down by citizens 5 times, it finally passed on the 6th try. Will there be any more voting on the issue? Darren explains:
With a tiny majority of voters who bothered to vote in that election, they finally had what they needed. They declared that the public had finally spoken, and they wanted light rail!

But what about all of the past elections where it was voted down? That’s the past!

But what about what they want today? Should we continue to vote on this as we have in the past? No, the public has spoken!

But what about the rights of those citizens that might not want to pay for a light rail system? Tough, the public has voted!

This is what happens when individual rights are put up for vote. Rather than persuade you to voluntarily contribute to something, people can go to your neighbors and try to convince them for your help. And in the same way that proponents for things like these don’t care for your opinion, they don’t really care for the opinion of others, either. They want light rail, not your opinion. So long as they get 51% or more at one point in time, and they suddenly have the mandate to use the government’s power to do what they want — no matter what it costs or who has to pay.
Even with things like this going on around the country, people will still think democracy is a good thing. Sad. This is a good example of the fact that democracy always devolves into tyranny of the majority and by its spokesmen. Darren goes on to point out the proper solution, limiting the government to its proper function, the protection of individual rights.

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Gus Van Horn has an interesting article on lying. He explains how it is not enough to teach a child why lying is wrong, but how it is better to teach him the value or worth of honesty.

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Lastly, Amit Ghate at Thrutch has the good news that the Danish newspaper that printed the cartoons of Mohammed that sparked Riots by Muslims in 2005, has reprinted a caricature of the one with the bomb in the turbin. He says other European papers have done likewise even printing all 12 of the cartoons. They say they are doing it to take a stand for free speech. It can only be hoped that maybe American papers will find some spine as a result.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How Not to Motivate Students Pt. 2.

Pedagogically Correct Volume 2, Issue 6
February 11, 2008

"Pedagogy": The art and science of teaching.
:: Calling All LifeLong Learners: Learn Science the VanDamme Academy Way!
:: Announcement: Pedagogically Correct Blog


Last time, I described the "all day recess" approach of Waldorf-type schools to the issue of motivation, which have children engaging in wood carving, finger-knitting, and movement games rather than learning to read or write because they find the former activities more "personally engaging." This is akin to a mother motivating her picky eater by letting him eat cookies.

This approach is irrelevant to a meaningful discussion of motivation. These educators are not solving the problem of motivation; they are evading it by pandering to the spontaneous impulses of the child. The real issue of motivation is: how do we inspire children with the ambition to master real academic content, to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for mature life? How do we help them to develop a deep and lasting interest the subjects they must study if they are to become informed, intelligent, efficacious adults? How do we encourage in them a love of math and history and literature and English and science?

To this question, today's educators offer two basic answers. The first is the one put forth, implicitly or explicitly, by advocates of classical or traditional education. And their answer as to how you motivate children to master the academic curriculum is, in essence: you can't. The classical educators regard learning as a noble, lofty pursuit that appeals to man's higher nature. It does not appeal to his desires and interests, which are this-worldly and base, but to his intellect, which is above selfish and material concerns. Because the idea of motivation is that the child must be given a personal reason for putting forth the effort to learn, because it suggests that there must be something in it for him, the very concept of motivation would be regarded by such educators as a selfish concept, and as such, at odds with the purpose of education.

The spirit of the traditional, classical movement in education is one of duty. The student is bound by obligation, to his community, his country or God, to develop his character and intellect through the study of mankind's accumulated wisdom. His goal in becoming educated is not a personal, selfish one; on the contrary, the very purpose of education is to help him rise above his childish selfish impulses. In Norms and Nobility, by David Hicks, a popular treatise on classical education, Hicks condemns modern public schooling, saying, "In its utilitarian haste, the state often peddles preparation for the practical life to our young as the glittering door to the life of pleasure; but by encouraging this selfish approach to learning, the state sows a bitter fruit against that day when the community depends on its younger members to perform charitable acts and to consider arguments above selfish interest." By contrast, classical education, he says, aims to "satisfy man's deepest longings to belong, to transcend his disconcerting self-centeredness, to serve the whole, and to know his purposes and meaning within the context of the whole." It is this spirit of duty that yields as the image of traditional, classical education the military taskmaster or the nun with a ruler.

This view of education falls in the intrinsicist tradition. Education, like all other values, is not a value to an individual for a certain purpose, but is intrinsically good-good in itself. Values are severed from reason and from reality, so the child can be given no explanation as to why he should develop his intellect, no this-worldly purpose for doing so. Education is simply a moral obligation detached from his life and his interests.

We have heard the intrinsicists' answer to the question of motivation; next week, we will hear from the subjectivists.





Calling All LifeLong Learners: Learn Science the VanDamme Academy Way!
Now Anyone Can Understand The Fundamental Principles of Science Better than Most Scientists
"Fundamentals of Physical Science: A Historical, Inductive Approach"
By David Harriman, Historian and Philosopher of Physics

Learn all about it at our brand new website.

Here's what other Pedagogically Correct Readers are Saying:

"I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in physics, and I was amazed at how much I learned from David Harriman's course. This course stands head and shoulders above any other course or textbook I have encountered."

"It's perfect for someone relatively new to physics like myself; it's perfect for even advanced people who want a deeper historical perspective than is usually taught...I found Mr. Harriman's physics course to be an exciting walk through the fascinating world of physics."

"I think this type of course is needed for everyone, as in my experience, it's so far above the courses I've had throughout my life as far as the actual transmittal of knowledge is concerned...In short, this course has made science and math much more intelligible for me, and was completely worth the time and cost - I highly recommend it."

I was a physics major when I entered college, yet I can easily say that my actual understanding of physics is much greater as a result of this course than I can credit to any other class I've taken.

www.vandammescience.com

With this course you will:
* Finally understand the world around you, the world of science and technology, in a way you never thought possible. (No, you don't have to be a math wiz.)
* Learn the thinking methods of the greatest minds in history.
* Understand what all those physics equations and formulas you once memorized really mean.
* Be inspired by scientists' amazing 2500-year quest to unlock the mysteries of the physical world.
* And have a great time in the process!

All thanks to a one-of-a-kind science teaching methodology available in no other course or textbook.


www.vandammescience.com


Announcement: Pedagogically Correct Blog
www.pedagogicallycorrect.com
Check out our 'blog, which will contain much (but not all) of the material we sent out in our newsletters. Spread the word!




VanDamme Academy encourages you to forward our newsletter to your friends or post it on your website or blog. If this newsletter has been forwarded to you, you can sign up to receive Pedagogically Correct for free, at www.vandammeacademy. com.

Happy Learning!

VanDamme Academy--Experience the Power of a Real Education



VanDamme Academy
email: custserv@vandammeacademy.com
phone: 949-581-1881
web: http://www.vandammeacademy.com

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Blogroll Additions

I've added a few more objectivist oriented sites to my blogroll. Highly recommended all.

First is Amy who just launched her new blog Kindredist. Amy says "Whimsy and studiousness from a nice lady who lives in Michigan and loves Objectivism." I know this lady and can vouch for that. Good luck Amy on your blogging adventure!

Next is Burgess Laughlin at Making Progress. Burgess posts on history and philosophy and has a book "Aristotle Adventure" which can be ordered at his site. This was an oversight on my part. He should have been on my blogroll some time ago.

Stella at ReasonPharm posts on the field of health and medicine. Her recent post about how thin healthy people are the real burden on health care and fat people are saviors because they presumably die young, is a must read.

Monica at Spark a Synapse has the inside scoop on why the chicken really crossed the road. heh

Friday, February 08, 2008

How Not to Motivate Students Pt. 1.

Pedagogically Correct Volume 2, Issue 5
February 7, 2008

"Pedagogy": The art and science of teaching.
:: Calling All LifeLong Learners: Learn Science the VanDamme Academy Way!
:: Announcement: Pedagogically Correct Blog


The following is from an article featured in the education section of USA Today on January 28, 2008:

"Teachers have long said that success is its own reward. But these days, some students are finding that good grades can bring them cash and luxury gifts. In at least a dozen states this school year, students who bring home top marks can expect more than just gratitude. Examples:

·Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso last week promised to spend more than $935,000 to give high school students as much as $110 each to improve their scores on state graduation exams.

·In New York City, about 9,000 fourth- and seventh-graders in 60 schools are eligible to win as much as $500 for improving their scores on the city's English and math tests, given throughout the school year.

·In suburban Atlanta, a pair of schools last week kicked off a program that will pay 8th- and 11th-grade students $8 an hour for a 15-week 'Learn & Earn' after-school study program (the federal minimum wage is currently $5.85)."

This article, which understandably makes many parents and educators bristle, raises a real and important question: How do we motivate our children to learn? In my lecture "Motivation in Education," I addressed the "cash for grades" and other desperately misguided attempts at motivation. I boiled the motivation theorists down to three essential categories, which I will explain over the next few weeks.

The first category includes those who attempt to create "motivated" students by allowing them to engage in activities of their choice, activities that are inherently enjoyable given their juvenile desires.

The Waldorf Schools, for example, say that until the age of seven, children should be taught no academic skills, including reading or writing. Instead, they are encouraged to participate in activities believed to be natural to their stage of development, such as finger-knitting, storytelling, and movement games. The FAQ section of a Waldorf charter school says that at Waldorf Schools "abstraction and conceptual teaching are kept to a minimum, especially with younger children. In this way children become more personally engaged in whatever they are learning." (emphasis added)

An Atlantic Monthly article praising the virtues of the Waldorf method describes the activities of a dozen fourth graders in the original Waldorf school. "The class was finishing a year-long project: making mallets for wood carving out of stubborn pieces of hardwood, which they were patiently filing and sanding by hand. One boy, who had finished his mallet, was making a knife out of teak, and regularly paused to feel its smoothness on his cheek." The author also respectfully describes the enthusiasm of a 12-year-old Waldorf student in a depressed California town, saying, "[He] sat with me after school, regaling me, in enthusiastic detail, with a creative mixture of Greek and Roman history. The boy could barely read, but he'd been inspired by the oral storytelling that Waldorf teachers emphasize."

These children are-in a sense-"motivated," but motivated to do what?

To say that a person is motivated is to say that he has some drive or desire that incites action. For the purposes of a rational discussion of education, that drive or desire must incite the ambition to learn. It must incite the drive to acquire knowledge-and not just any knowledge, but that knowledge necessary for life as an adult human being.

Motivation cannot be confused with any feeling of eagerness, enthusiasm, or joy independent of the focus of those feelings of the purpose of the action they incite. The manager of a company would not describe his employees as motivated if they were eager and excited to come to work every day so that they could play basketball in the company gym or spread gossip in the break room. A motivated employee is one who is inspired to action consistent with the central goal of his job.

Similarly, it is not relevant to a meaningful discussion of motivation in education to discuss the suggestion that the problem of motivation be solved by offering children a program of all-day recess. This is not a solution to the problem; it is an evasion of the problem.

In the next newsletter, I will describe another theory of motivation-in this case, a wrongheaded and disastrous approach to motivating real academic content.

******************************

Calling All LifeLong Learners: Learn Science the VanDamme Academy Way!
Now Anyone Can Understand The Fundamental Principles of Science Better than Most Scientists
"Fundamentals of Physical Science: A Historical, Inductive Approach"
By David Harriman, Historian and Philosopher of Physics

Learn all about it at our brand new website.

Here's what other Pedagogically Correct Readers are Saying:

"I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in physics, and I was amazed at how much I learned from David Harriman's course. This course stands head and shoulders above any other course or textbook I have encountered."

"It's perfect for someone relatively new to physics like myself; it's perfect for even advanced people who want a deeper historical perspective than is usually taught...I found Mr. Harriman's physics course to be an exciting walk through the fascinating world of physics."

"I think this type of course is needed for everyone, as in my experience, it's so far above the courses I've had throughout my life as far as the actual transmittal of knowledge is concerned...In short, this course has made science and math much more intelligible for me, and was completely worth the time and cost - I highly recommend it."

I was a physics major when I entered college, yet I can easily say that my actual understanding of physics is much greater as a result of this course than I can credit to any other class I've taken.

www.vandammescience.com

With this course you will:
* Finally understand the world around you, the world of science and technology, in a way you never thought possible. (No, you don't have to be a math wiz.)
* Learn the thinking methods of the greatest minds in history.
* Understand what all those physics equations and formulas you once memorized really mean.
* Be inspired by scientists' amazing 2500-year quest to unlock the mysteries of the physical world.
* And have a great time in the process!

All thanks to a one-of-a-kind science teaching methodology available in no other course or textbook.


www.vandammescience.com


Announcement: Pedagogically Correct Blog
www.pedagogicallycorrect.com
Check out our 'blog, which will contain much (but not all) of the material we sent out in our newsletters. Spread the word!




VanDamme Academy encourages you to forward our newsletter to your friends or post it on your website or blog. If this newsletter has been forwarded to you, you can sign up to receive Pedagogically Correct for free, at www.vandammeacademy. com.

Happy Learning!

VanDamme Academy--Experience the Power of a Real Education

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What a Choice!

Well, it looks like it will be McCain on the Republican side. The Dems race is closer and I would probably like to see Obama win it. The thought of voting for Hillary is extremely depressing. So is Obama but less so I think. The choices we're faced with this election are like being asked "what kind of slow torture would you like today sir?"

In my opinion all three of these candidates will increase in a big way the rate at which Atlas will shrug. Hillary's socialized medicine will destroy healthcare in this country by sacrificing the providers. McCain will sacrifice businessmen in general with his tax on carbon use, and his contempt for the profit motive. He's already proven his disdain for free speech with McCain-Feingold.

I think McCain is every bit the two-faced, opportunistic, principle hating, power-luster that Hillary is. He flat out said that McCain-Feingold was not a restriction on free speech. Hillary announced boldy and in advance of the elections, to the producers,IIRC, "We will have to take some things away from you for the common good." Did anybody but Objectivists and a few producers shudder at those words?

I am reminded of Hitler's Mein Kampf in which he said "Du bist nichts, dein volk ist alles", "You are nothing, your race is everything." I wondered how many Germans and others read those words and, unable to think in principles, unable to deduce a concrete example of their meaning, shrugged their shoulders in unthinking complacency only to have their meaning become explicit as they were marched in front of firing squads or into ovens.

No I don't think any of the current candidates plan on erecting any ovens any time soon. But I do see more and more Americans listening to spoken words hoping to detect not a meaning, but a feeling. When Hillary said those words, no doubt some people felt "Good. There'll be more for me." While others may have felt "Well, a little bit more fairness would be nice." Or "It won't hurt to take a little something from them, they can afford it." And so on. When I see all those people cheering her every word and giving her all those states on Tuesday, I see hordes of people who are totally unable to understand that if she has the right to take some things away from any person, she has the right to take everything away from him including that person's life.

It's true that McCain has no use for free speech but Hillary's web site declares that she wants to strengthen hate crimes legislation. Most rational people know that hate crime laws are aimed at controling thought, since hate is an emotion and emotions are the result of values and values are the result of thought processes. Attempts to outlaw hate speech being a recent example of an attempt at censorship.

But I don't yet know. About the only way I'd vote for Hillary is if McCain picks Huckabee as his VP. On this 'necessity' I agree with Gus Van Horn.

I still have more evaluating to do. If Obama gets the Dem nod I'll probably vote for him. Otherwise I might vote for a third party candidate like I did in 2000. I couldn't stand Bush's 'compassionate conservatism' and I refused to vote for an adult 10 year old. (Gore) And boy I'm happy I did. After watching that fiasco with the hanging chads and is that a dimple or not? I'm glad there was no doubt about who I did and did not want for pres.

My hope is that this mess is the darkness before the dawn.

Monday, February 04, 2008

More Leftist Hatred in Berkeley

I know I'm a little late with this but it's such a good cause. Nicholas Provenzo at Rule of Reason has a petition defending the Marines from the attempted ostricism by the Berkeley Cal. city council. Mr. Provenso reports:
I've created an online petition in defense of the Marines against the resolutions of the City Council of Berkeley which declare that United States Marine Corps recruiters are "uninvited and unwelcome intruders" within Berkeley city limits and applauds those who choose to "impede" the Marines in their recruiting mission.
It's time Americans let the Berkeley city council know that they are "uninvited and unwelcome intruders" in America. I recommend signing it. I did and I applaud those who choose to "impede" the Berkeley council's mission.

(You know, in a laissez-faire capitalist society, the government would not be involved in education in any way. All universities would be privately owned and would have the right to refuse having military recruiters on campus if so desired. But this will never occur to the banal bird brains at Berkeley city hall.)

Update; added final comment footer.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Sunday Silliness

Heh. Rational Jenn links to a site where you can see how much and to whom some of your neighbors are donating to political campaigns this election cycle. Jenn advises:
Wouldn't that be a good ice-breaker at parties? "Hey, Bob! I saw you donated $500 to Hillary Clinton! I had no idea you were one of those!" And then smoothly move on to the bean dip, while Bob is wondering if you work for the government or possibly Mitt Romney's campaign.
I can see where that would liven up a party.

I checked my zip code but nobody on my street donated a cent to anyone. If you were to ask one of my mostly lower middle-class, red-neckish neighbors why they didn't donate to a campaign, you would probably get something like "Why should I give some of my hard earned money to multi-millionairs?" Impeccable logic.
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Gus Van Horn links to two quizes also at RJ's. I took the animal one and discovered I'm a groundhog.


You Are A: Groundhog!

groundhogGroundhogs are cuddly-looking and timid mammals that eat mostly grass, seeds, and other vegetation. As a groundhog you will rarely stray far from your burrow and will run in the face of danger, but you will defend their home fiercely from predators. Groundhogs are even given their own holiday in the US, during which a groundhog is said to predict how long winter weather will last!

You were almost a: Turtle or a Bear Cub
You are least like a: Squirrel or a Chipmunk
Take the Cute Animal Test

A tad less flattering than I'd hoped but ok I guess.

There is another which asks which Harry Potter character are you? But I decided not to take that one.

A groundhog?