Dwight School Faculty Reading discussion

Excellent Sheep - No Spoilers :)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 17, 2016 08:44AM) (new)

I read this book over spring break and thought it was really compelling - read about half of it aloud to my (willing) wife (a college professor) and will reread my many highlights in August. I think he has a lot to say about the current culture of elite education.

I don't think everything he says applies to Dwight, but I do think we see the 'trickle down' effect he describes emanating from the most competitive and rigorous schools. He has an excellent chapter on the role of the teacher and another on the purpose of college - which I think should be required reading for any college-bound student.

I heard the author speak at Trinity (they invited him to speak to both students and parents). It was standing room only. His message was pretty harsh and I was expecting parent pushback, but they overwhelming confirmed what he described.

Look forward to discussing this with others in August. Enjoy!

- Andre Theisen (8th Grade English / Social Studies)

message 2: by Bethany (last edited Jul 05, 2016 06:55AM) (new)

Bethany (bkmartin) This wasn't my summer reading choice, but after reading Andre's comments, I decided to take a look.

I agree with Andre that there is certainly a lot worth considering and discussing in this book.
One thing I think it would be beneficial for us to take a look at as a community is Deresiewicz's discussion of service on pages 142-144. I wasn't at the MYP meeting where service learning was discussed, so I don't know how that conversation went, but in the library I often overhear conversations about college from the 11th and 12th graders. For the most part service is discussed in two ways: meeting CAS requirements and as a way to make your college applications look better, with an air of "what a great thing I'm doing".

Earlier this year I read an article entitled "Why Service-Learning is Bad" by John W. Eby, one of the things that stuck with me from that article was Eby's statement, " Too often service-learning reinforces assumptions of persons who need help that they do not have the resources to solve their own problems. It communicates to communities that they too are
deficient and that the answers to the issues they face must come from outside. Service-learning tends to skew programs toward the needs of students rather toward the needs of communities. It often ameliorative rather than oriented toward change of social structures. It puts band-aids on deeply rooted problems and gives students an inadequate understanding of service" (4).

The question is how to we as a community address these ideas with our students? I know I didn't do a particularly great job with my advisees on our service day this spring.

On a completely unrelated note, as a librarian I loved Deresiewicz's quote from page 168- "A real reader creates her own canon, for it consists precisely of those books that she has used to create herself".

Happy reading!

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