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bill cormeny

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About bill cormeny

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  1. A rather simple exercise for students should involve them in an event.A sporting event is fine, a notable local event is great,a school event or presentation. You can also have them create an event themselves since they often torture their parents with surprises,or tease their pals with outrageous behavior. After the event,you can have them interview four people. The father,mother,sister or brother,the neighbor,the schoolmate,the people at the scene. How do the witnesses describe the event? What record do they leave of the event?phone messages,taped recordings,written accounts,newspaper accounts. What is an event? Did it happen? Why is the timing important? How is it related to the assignment itself? Would it have happened if it had not been assigned? Was it an accident?Is it mysterious or unsolved? For example, as a sports writer one might wonder how the home team was defeated so handily by the idiots at the other school.
  2. bill cormeny

    A Corrupt Democracy

    Eliot Janeway wrote a wonderful book called the Unseen Revolution.In this work he opened several doors. It would be wise for many people in this discussion to reread this work since it clearly shows how problems arise without the intervention of malicious greed. Most questions surround a conflict over who should guarantee the security of the poor,sick and tired old men and women. Should it be private insurers or public insurers? In our world of longer lives,and more positive beliefs concerning our wealth and its ability to ease pain and suffering we should be clearer in our goals. Certainly another problem in all discussions lies within the corruption and inscrutability of the accounting profession. How can we even estimate what is wrong with the country when our accountants will not refrain from voodoo procedures?
  3. bill cormeny

    New Ways of Learning: Volunteers Needed

    I found my own interview techniques regarding the Depression and World War II involved an analysis of other interviewers and their techniques. Making up a list of possible questions and then discussing the merits of each question helped the students observe everyday life and the problems one would have if their father were away,if they had to ration gas or food stuffs or metals. The best aspect of this interview was the ability and ingenuity of the students in finding substitutions for products and procedures.
  4. bill cormeny

    Do we live in a democracy?

    Democracies, monarchies,aristocracies,oligarchies and theocracies have problems with size. We have four levels of democracy in California----- Neighborhood,municipality,state,and national. The farther away you are,the less control you have over the money leaving your pockets and the greater the anger that someone is getting it,and it isn't you. Well, we have enough democracy to stop anything from happening. Currying the majority's favor is difficult and humorous at the same time.All you have to do is look at fashion and listen to music to recognize the limits of the majority and its fickleness. It's one reason we like elites to tell us if the creative juices are not acidic or caustic. I think the best lesson lies within any classroom. See if the classroom has an orderly system of rule.If it doesn't ,why doesn't it. Madison's Federalist Paper #10 is a great place to begin because he's extremely skeptical about logic and political rule.
  5. bill cormeny

    The Ritalin Effect

    Everyone should reread Brave New World.It's message is as true today as it was when first published.With recent politically correct attitudes we could also add Fahrenheit 451 we could have a discussion about ritalin. Evidently schools cause illness,something known by many observers in the past,and presently practiced by the American airline industry. One size does not and will not fit all,no matter how cheap the solution appears. In the past educators accepted a very high rate of failure in elementary,secondary and higher education. Leaving no child behind also means not allowing anyone to escape. Devil's Island seems a dream to many children going to horrible schools,filled with irate teachers and students. Only psychiatric inmates feel less freedom. You shouldn't have to make the schools the place where young people "pay their debt to society."Listen to Calvin more,and give more credence to the concept of gifts,and the other wonderful proverb: Everyone should serve as an example,even if it is a bad example.
  6. bill cormeny

    A humorous look at retirement from teaching

    The rewards of teaching and encountering educated peers every day is fairly difficult to replace. The single minded nature of creating curriculum or studying a topic you know something about,or at least can fake knowing something about and getting paid cannot be replaced.Now I have to fake knowledge,but I don't get paid and it's not the same. However,I have found many joyful moments as I have applied myself to interfering in areas which I have no knowledge whatsoever.I am learning about many topics I should have known. Arrogance is far harder to displace. Being in control is also difficult,but quite entertaining since you have a pension. When you've got your health and a check you are in pretty good shape. I do feel sorry for those teaching in horrid situations.My heart goes out to them.I was so fortunate and so was my wife. We had wonderful students.But, we also had more attorneys toward the end of our careers. Take any dish,add dirt to it,and you have education with attorneys.
  7. bill cormeny

    What is the value of homework?

    It seems we think you should work within time limits and some compensation should be adjusted.If we spend ten hours doing homework,then we should get ten hours pay,just like adults do. First, some students will spend 10 hours doing something,some students will spend 10 minutes and accomplish the same thing. Second, if you hired someone who took ten hours to do l0 minutes work,you would seriously think about replacing him or her. Lastly,let us hope students get the message,one in Chinese proverbs-- The slow worm must get up early. I could never gauge who was getting the most out of homework,I do know some of my students were getting alot out of it since they enjoyed the subject matter and wanted to learn more. As a failed botanist,geologist,and musicians I found myself lacking ambition to excel in these topics. I felt as if I were taking my head and placing it on the pavement at a rapid pace.
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