My Best Teaching Is One-on-One


Of course, I team teach and do special lessons, etc.


But my best work in the classroom is after the lesson is over --
going one-on-one,
helping individual students with their assignments.


It's kind of like with computer programs, walking the client through hands-on.
The job isn't really done until the customer is using the program.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

What Is Magic?

Yesterday, I stopped by Kinokuniya (紀伊国屋) on the way home to look at books and materials to use to teach my son the basics of digital electronics. He has some theory, but I think he needs actual experimental results to get real understanding of what's going on in digital communications.

I stopped by the English books section on my way out and Rachel Hawkins's Miss Mayham caught my eye. Not sure why. Ended up reading the whole book in a three-hour tachi-yomi (立ち読み) session.

(What is the English idiom for standing at the rack and reading at the book store? I think there is one that I'm forgetting.)

I was somewhat impressed that the author has the protagonists boyfie (erk) split when he realizes that the way things are going if he is around leads to destroying both himself and her. Also impressed that magic was presented as something that doesn't help people.

So I decided to buy it for my kids. They seem to like stories about teenagers with powers they don't know how to control. (My daughter is into Harry Potter and such, my son is more into Rail Gun, Kino no Tabi, and Psycho-pass and the like. To me, they are much the same story, with varying degrees of violence and being out of control.)

Whatever the reason, I bought it, got home, showed it to the kids. (They were unimpressed. It's still English.)

Noticed and read the sneak preview of the next book in the series. Now I'm de-impressed. What a way to undo a potential good plot direction.

The protagonist is a pushy little teenager who enjoys running things, but has nothing to guide her. She'd make a great politician, I suppose.

And she is also magically endowed with superpowers.

This seems to paint a picture of an empowered girl.

But now it looks like she is entirely dependent on her Oracle. Without him, she is just spinning her wheels. This is not what a truly empowered woman looks like. It's just the same old misogynistic picture -- man in charge, woman doing the hard work. Woman lost without man.

(Sorry to be so critical, Ms. Hawkins.)

I think I would have had Harper and her friends reading David's books and learning to control the power they have been introduced to while David is out of the loop. So much for my ideas.

Well, maybe, when the next book in the series actually comes out in a few months, I'll find that the resolution is not so bad after all. Maybe I'll find that she has the friends discover a way to escape being slaves to deception.

But, magic. Something needs to be said about magic. Too many of our children misunderstand it, and the result is too many books like this series also seems to be.

A famous science fiction author once said, "Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." or some such.

No. It may appear to be magic, when the technological gap is large, but technology and magic are completely different things.

There are three things that are generally referred to as magic, connected by fatal principle.

There are two things which are often confused with magic. Both excel magic, although one is but a part of the path to the other, which is the preferred.

The three magicks are these:
  • The lift of the card,
  • The ability to track the almost perfect shuffle, and 
  • The sense of performance which distracts the audience.
That's technique, observation, and charisma, in the service of illusion.

Magic is illusion -- deception, the promotion of the lie for the magician's advantage.

Technology is often confused with magic. When it is used in the service of deception, it might as well be magic.

Faith is also often confused with magic, but it is the complete opposite.

Unfortunately, many magicians have professed great faith and attempted to use it in the service of deception, causing wars, bloodshed, and much destruction.

This false faith is the false religion which is the target of many scientists derision.

But faith, itself is the motivating force behind any good thing man or mankind has ever accomplished.

It is the faith in the ability to understand that moves scientists to experiment, record, analyze, and share.

And it is the lack of faith in our ability to understand that keeps us enslaved to magic and to false religion.

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