In New York Times article, “Taking Fares, and Writing in Between,” Rohter (2014) shows how Syrian poet-in-exile Osama Alomar does just that from the driver’s seat of his cab in Chicago. A pile of dictionaries ride along with him in the front seat, and a notebook at the ready. Writer Lydia Davis calls his work “very imaginative and vivid and exhilarating,” and I find his grit and dedication also an exhilarating reminder of what little moments can add up to.
At first glance, the picture below might seem familiar –an old map of the Amazon River and its tributaries. Looking more closely, you may find this map increasingly curious… Armenia? Spain? Athens? Along the Amazon? In fact, this image is from the first text book for American school children, a textbook written in 1824 by feminist and innovative educator, Emma Willard. She created this map and diagram for students to memorize European history, in this case the progression of the Roman Empire, by diagraming that expansion visually onto the course of the Amazon. If you click onto the map below, a link will take you to version of the map that you can zoom into and see much more clearly.
Some LEC students have found it helpful to do thought maps too — of a different kind — as an initial method of visually organizing their ideas. Below, you can find an example of a thought map (about thought mapping) from the internet. Click onto it to find a link.
And here is a picture of Aston Powell, BBA 2015, standing in front of his thought map.
Damon Horowitz, who teaches college-level philosophy courses to inmates at San Quentin State Prison, discusses “right,” “wrong,” and the intersection of real life experiences and Socrates. His inspiring Ted Talk is less than five minutes long, but it leaves a lasting impact.
Virginia Maldonado has lived in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn her whole life. In addition to being a student in the Business Administration Bachelor’s program here at MCNY, Virginia works as a home health aid. After raising nine children, she attests, her work in the home healthcare service has given her the opportunity to continue to deepen her sense of patience.
Studying for her Associate’s degree was challenging work, and her vocal cord seizures added to the struggle. After completing her AA, Virginia felt she’d never return to school. But it wasn’t long before she started to miss being in school, and when she visited MCNY, she knew it was the right fit. Someone she spoke to here had reviewed her transcripts, and upon seeing how well she did as a business student, urged her to enroll in the Business Administration program at MCNY. The fact that this person believed in Virginia instilled in her a confidence that helped her decide to enroll here and continue to achieve academic success in the field of business.
When she first started here, Virginia felt like she was cranking her brain up like an old engine. It was challenging! But it was so satisfying to get positive feedback and realize, “Wow! I’m really doing this! I wrote this essay! I prepared this Business Plan! I’m doing this!” She has not allowed her age to get in the way of her education.
The teachers and students Virginia has encountered here have opened doors for her and inspired her to make positive choices about her education. With their help, she’s developed effective learning strategies that have helped her reach her goals, she’s felt motivated to pick up the phone and get things done. She has felt empowered to not allow obstacles to stand in the way of her success.
In addition to feeling motivated by her teachers and fellow students, when Virginia encounters challenges, she thinks of her nine children. It’s important to her to be a model to them, and to prove to them by example, that it’s never too late to advance your education. She hopes that her own perseverance will help her children believe in themselves and not get discouraged by their age or any other obstacles. Her oldest son is currently working with an outreach program to educate young people about reproductive health and substance abuse, and he plans to stay with the program and enroll in college through a scholarship they offer their employees. Virginia is very proud of him, and she smiles, reminded by his success and her own that “age ain’t nothing but a number!”
What brought me to MCNY was conflict, failure, a lack of confidence, no sense of direction and an overall loss of self. Growing up in Bushwick, Brooklyn, I did not feel that others expected me to be successful and education was not emphasized. I was surrounded by drugs, gangs and violence. In 2013, I packed up and moved to Georgia in an attempt to reestablish my life. I moved into a suburban neighborhood with a friend who was very encouraging about the importance of an education and he took me around to colleges. We had an apartment together, but I didn’t have a driver’s license which was basically a necessity. I decided to come back to New York because of my financial situation, family and the convenience of transportation. I came to MCNY to better myself and to be a role model for my nieces and nephews. My passion for helping people drew me the human services program.
In this article — which may be of specific interest to students in MCNY’s M.S. Ed. program — David Perrin, a high school English teacher in Illinois, imagines what Mark Twain, one of our country’s most important satirists, would have thought about the U.S.’s trend of standardized testing. Referencing a range of people from Louie C.K. to Glenn Beck to Helen Keller, the article also links to two of Twain’s original texts: a parody of a Brooklyn teacher’s misinformed students and an essay skewering public schools for rote teaching methods.
In this thoughtful and funny interview, award-winning Dominican-American writer Junot Diaz discusses his own writing process, the importance of revising and rewriting, his whole-hearted support of young writers of color, and his predictions about the zombie apocalypse.
“I write in order to peruse myself” – Henri Michaux
“Writing can be an artificial arena where we mash the world into a shape we can stand to look at.” –Tim Kreider
From Approaches to What?
…In our haste to measure the historic, significant and revelatory, let’s not leave aside the essential: the truly intolerable, the truly inadmissible. What is scandalous isn’t the pit explosion, it’s working in coalmines. ‘Social problems’ aren’t ‘a matter of concern’ when there’s a strike, they are intolerable twenty-four hours out of twenty-four, three hundred and sixty-five days a year.
Tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, tower-blocks that collapse, forest fires, tunnels that cave in, the Drugstore des Champs-Elysees burns down. Awful! Terrible! Monstrous! Scandalous! But where’s the scandal? The true scandal? Has the newspaper told us anything except: not to worry, as you can see life exists, with its ups and its downs, things happen, as you can see.
The daily papers talk of everything except the daily. The papers annoy me, they teach me nothing. What they recount doesn’t concern me, doesn’t ask me questions and doesn’t answer the questions I ask or would like to ask.
What’s really goind on, what we’re experiencing, the rest, all the rest, where is it? How should we take account of, question, describe what happens every day and recus every day: the banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the infraoridnary, the background noise, the habitual?
To question the habitual. But that’s just it, we habituated to it. We don’t question, it it doesn’t question us, it doesn’t seem to pose a probme, we live it without thinking, as if it carried within it neither questions nor answers, as if weren’t the bearer of any information…What we need to question is bricks, concrete, glass, our table manners, our utensils, our tools, the way we spend our time, our rhythms. To question that which seems to have ceased forever to astonish us…
Describe your street. Describe another street. Compare.
Make an inventory of your pockets, of your bag. Ask yourself about the provenance, the use, what will become of each of the objects you take out…
-Georges Perec from Species of Spaces and Other Pieces published by Penguin Books, 1999
Anyone remember “Reading Rainbow,” the show geared toward getting kids to read? It ran on PBS from 1983-2006, and in 2012 it became a downloadable app. Now it has a funny new Kickstarter campaign, starring its longtime beloved host, LeVar Burton, raising money to improve the app. Check it out below.
In his dynamic and humorous Ted Talk, former Denver Broncos running back Reggie Rivers discusses how to achieve goals through focusing on behaviors that are within our control. It provides some interesting food for thought when considered in the context of the Purpose-Centered Education model of MCNY and the LEC’s goal of setting the groundwork for you to take charge of your education!