[lit-ideas] Re: Friday Poem & Pedagogical Conundrum

  • From: wokshevs@xxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2007 18:45:11 -0230

Quoting Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>:
> As for running the kilted mile, it turns out that I sent in my entry
> form after the deadline. Maybe next year.
> http://www.phga.org/cgi-bin/display.cgi?page=2007games
> Robert Paul

Fortunately, Erin and I were able to squeeze in our entry form for mixed
table-tennis just under the wire. (Ever wonder what "mixed" could possibly mean
in this day and age?)

Turning now to a slightly different matter. About a week ago, maybe two - I've
lost my bearings thanks to 130 students in in 3 sections of 2 courses in the
Summer 6-week semester - RP sent me a personal message, actually intended for
the list, in which he adminishes me for thoughtlessly asking after the correct
spelling of "synchronycitous." It was, no doubt, a sound and memorable
understanding of the problems Plato had bequeathed to us that motivated his

For present purposes, I will not delve into those intricacies. What I must say,
however, is that I do not own a Nimbus 500 computer equipped with the latest in
spell-checking capability. THus, I am left to rely on my own understandings of
things. And on that basis, the only way I have of learning the correct spelling
of "synchronycitous" is to ask "What is the correct spelling of
"synchronycitous"? Even though, from the perspective of the serenity and
omniscience of the realm of Platonic forms, it is impossible to ask such a
question. (Commentary on whether and why this is indeed the case is welcome.) 

What is the moral of the story you ask, after having pondered its intricacies
over a few drams of the 12 yr. old Cragganmore (which is a single malt whiskey,
btw, of considerable popularity in N. America, though clearly not in all
quarters of the continent ... ahem)? I think it's this: One can learn only by
asking the questions that one finds oneself with. Whether the questions are
logical, possible, conceptually in order or not, woefully confused, is a matter
of secondary importance to the educator. We must begin with where the student
is at. The trick, of course, is not to also end up there at the end of the

RP know all is, of course, as he was and is an educator. But perhaps he
disagrees with me on one or more minor points?

Returning to a wonderously sun-splashed deck just north of downtown St. John's,

Walter O.
"I will survive" (isn't there a song like that?)

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  • » [lit-ideas] Re: Friday Poem & Pedagogical Conundrum