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By: Linda Aragoni | March 23, 2018

In my last blog post, I said talked about the need to believe that every one of your students, whether teens or adults, can and will learn to write competently in your class. 

One of the ways you can make it easier to get all your students writing competently before your course is over is to help them set realistic expectations at the very beginning of the course.

By: Linda Aragoni | January 27, 2017

Curved arrows labeled Education, Economy, and Community chase one another in front of a green triangle.In November, 2015 I began posting a list of resources for folks who want to improve the relationship between rural schools and their communities for their mutual benefit. It's time to revisit the topic. It's still true that, as I wrote in 2015:
In rural communities, schools cannot be considered separate from economic development and community development. The vitality and policies of any one of the three impacts the other two.
And the 2015 description of rural brain drain still is largely accurate. But rural America's problems are getting more attention these days, most notably from rural Americans themselves who are stepping up try to reverse the decline of the rural American economy and prevent the loss of their communities and communi...

By: Linda Aragoni | October 15, 2015

We've all heard gripes about grade inflation. We've all heard gripes about college students' lack of basic skills and study habits. How is it that those two conditions co-exist? Letter A made from a balloon illustrates article on grade inflation That's the question Donald Hurwitz, senior executive in residence at Emerson College, explores in an opinion piece in The Boston Globe this week. I don't think many people in education have stopped to ask that question. If you read Mary Alice McCarthy's recent  influential piece in The Atlantic about America's love affair with the bachelor's degree, you might have noted the anecdote about her nephew who  couldn't march with his college class because he was three credits short.
His adviser pointed out that he had taken the same economics course twice...

By: Linda Aragoni | October 08, 2015

Seen from above, graduate's black mortarboards. A piece by Mary Alice McCarthy in The Atlantic last week has gotten a lot of well-deserved attention. McCarthy's thesis is in her title: "America Needs to Get Over its Reverence for the Bachelor's Degree." She uses the experiences of her two nephews to show two equally unacceptable options for students who don't want to move from the high school classroom to the college classroom. One of her nephews went into a culinary arts training program at at technical college. Then he went to New York City restaurants where he did well and got great experience. All his training and experience afforded him no credit toward the college degree he'd need to work in management, where he'd earn more and which could lead to operating his own r...

By: Linda Aragoni | April 16, 2015

screencapture from top of Guidelines for Reading and Analyzing LiteratureA useful literature resource  is Guidelines for Reading and Analyzing Literature compiled by Dr. Tina L. Hanlon, associate professor of English at Ferrum College in Virginia. Hanlon breaks the process down into five steps, which she presents on a single web page:
  • First Impression
  • Types of Literature
  • Literary Techniques
  • Themes
  • Evaluation and Review
Hanlon uses lists and bullets to guide someone unfamiliar with literary analysis through the process. The resource is appropriate for:
  • AP English Literature and Composition classes
  • IB programs
  • Concurrent enrollment (high school + college credit)  programs
  • College students

By: Linda Aragoni | May 05, 2013

The Plastic Age, a 1924 novel by Percy Marks which became a bestseller, takes a close-up look inside a men's college in the days of  prohibition, jazz, and bootleg whiskey. it finds "The college is made up of men who worship mediocrity; that is their ideal except in athletics." As they near the end of their college careers, the men reflect on what they've learned and find themselves wanting. One says, “Here I am sporting a Phi Bete key, an honor student if you please, and all that I really know as a result of my college 'education' is the fine points of football and how to play poker. I don't really know one damn thing about anything." The men take their questions about the value of college to one of the college's few ...

By: Linda Aragoni | April 10, 2012

David Brooks writes in today's New York Times about the two different economies in the United States. The manufacturing economy is prospering because it has learned to use technology to reduce people costs, boost productivity, and increase profits in the face of global competition. By contrast the economic sectors that don't face global competition—notably government, healthcare, and education—are not prospering. One of the down-stream effects of this economic rift is the rise of the entrepreneurial information worker who sells his/her skills on a job-by-job basis.  The education community at large has not come to grips with the significance of this economic trend.When educators talk about entrepreneurs, most of the time what they hav...
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