Womack Report

November 20, 2007

Managerial Accounting, November 20

Filed under: Accounting,Notes,School — Phillip Womack @ 5:54 pm

Got our tests back for today. Did pretty well on this one. Perfect on the problems, 83% on the multiple choice. Grades for the class are all over the board on this test. Class average is 69.5. (more…)

November 15, 2007

Marketing, November 15

Filed under: Marketing,Notes,School — Phillip Womack @ 11:17 am

Apparently the prof. was out sick on Tuesday. Something pretty alarming, but he’s back today, and fine. I’ve missed too many of these classes lately. (more…)

November 11, 2007

On the value of directness

Filed under: General — Phillip Womack @ 3:09 am

Had an argument with my brother and his wife tonight.  Content of the argument is irrelevant for the purposes of this post.

However, there’s a point I tried to make there that I think totally went past them.  There came a point in the discussion when they attempted to explain to me, not for the first time, that many people thought the point of english and literature classes was to teach critical thinking.  This is apparently a major topic of discussion in english-specialist circles; “what is the good of what we do?”

I pointed out to the pair of them that this is stupid.  I failed, I think, to communicate clearly.  Failure to communicate is ever a problem when I’m talking to either of them about things they care about.  What they interpreted my comment to mean is “the discipline you’ve invested a large portion of your lives into is stupid”.  This is not what I tried to say.  What I intended to convey was “English and literature classes don’t need to teach critical thinking to have value.  If call a class a literature class, the purpose of that class should be to improve and enhance the students’ knowledge and understanding of literature, not to teach critical thinking, except insofar as critical thinking enhances and improves one’s knowledge and understanding of literature”.

It’s bizarre to me that the literature disciplines would even have a discussion seeking justification for their work.  Honestly, do baseball players have conventions where they argue about the value of baseball playing to society?  Do doctors have heated conversations about the purpose of medical education?

Teaching literature is not dishonorable work.  If people want to know about literature enough to support a market in literature specialists, even a small one, that’s plenty of reason for such a group of specialists to exist.  You don’t need to justify it in terms of some other skill that is taught.  The fact that someone is interested in literature enough that she’d want to study it and then to teach it is all the justification needed for her studies and teaching to have value.  End of story.

It annoys me any time someone tries to tack high-minded rationalizations on things they want to do.  It primes me to believe they’re trying to trick me.  This may be unfair, but there it is.  If you want to do something, pay the prices involved and do it.  If you don’t want to do it badly enough to make the sacrifices needed, don’t.  But don’t make your sacrifices, do what you want to do, and then try to tell me that what you’re doing is really for the good of humanity.  You’re wasting time by doing so.  Wanting to do something, and being willing and able to pay the prices involved, is all you need.

There’s nothing wrong with teaching literature, or learning it.  Far from it; I think literature has a lot of value to people.

There’s nothing wrong with teaching critical thinking, or learning it.  Critical thinking is high up in the list of the most valuable skills you’ll ever know.

Why, then, would you try to hide one behind the other?  If you want to teach literature, teach literature.  Tell people you’re teaching literature.  Design your classes to teach literature as effectively as possible.  The same thing for critical thinking.  If your purpose is to teach critical thinking, set that as your goal, and admit it, and design your critical thinking curriculum to teach critical thinking as well as possible.

If your goal is to teach critical thinking, what you should not do is design a curriculum based around appreciating literature.  That can’t help but be less effective, like attempting to teach a person to type by placing him in a computer programming class.  It might work, but it’s not going to work as well as a solution which directly addresses the goal.

Don’t be ashamed of the things you value.  It’s a waste of everyone’s time.

November 6, 2007

Managerial Accounting, November 6

Filed under: Accounting,Notes,School — Phillip Womack @ 5:37 pm

Last class before the third test. Had a quiz, last one, at start of class. Easy one. (more…)

Banking and Finance, November 6

Filed under: Economics,Notes,School — Phillip Womack @ 3:15 pm

Was slightly late to class. Talking about Chapter 16 today. (more…)

Powered by WordPress