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Week 2 The Good Life

Page history last edited by Andrea Brownstein 15 years, 9 months ago


Early Visions of The Good Life

August 22 - 26


Monday. Pleasure & Gratification

Discussion of gratification/happiness exercise.

Utopia comments. We will return to this book in two weeks.

Homework for Wednesday. Read The Garden of Eden, pp 9-12, Utopia Reader.


Tuesday. Utopia

The need for a utopian vision

Homework for Thursday. Read Hesiod, pp 6-8, Utopia Reader.


Wednesday. Eden

= Discussion: What are the elements of an edenic place?


Thursday. Hesiod

= Discussion. Hesiod and parallels with Eden


Friday. Recap

= Working vocabulary for the week

= A 10-Minute Paper

= Homework for Tuesday. Read Vergil (pp 8-9), Prester John (pp 14-15), and Cockaigne (pp 71-76), Utopia Reader

Comments (5)

Andrea Brownstein said

at 1:01 pm on Aug 27, 2008

Discussed assignment #1, returned with comments. Some Quick Fix hints and a discussion of the use of "to beg the question."

Andrea Brownstein said

at 1:01 pm on Aug 27, 2008

Discussed the gratification/happiness assignment. noting that happiness tends to be momentary, while gratification endures. It need not be a grand gesture either; in fact, it could be that familiarity with the person makes it more significant. Comment that philanthropy can be boring led to general discussion of how long we wait to decide whether something is boring, including a digression into "The Awakening" and the idea of the book (and why guys should read it). Once student said that philanthropy was not a "natural instinct" because success in life meant the survival of the fittest. Another student noted that the term referred to reproduction, not combat.

Andrea Brownstein said

at 1:18 pm on Aug 27, 2008

WEDNESDAY: "Our Utopian Classroom"
Classrooms as they are known to us share these characteristics. They are organized & learning-focused but not relaxed and sometimes stressful, because there is time consuming work, tests in which judgments are made, students are talked at by teachers, mistakes can be ridiculed, teachers exercise their power over kids. In short, frustrating!
Learning we loved. Often when young and judgments were softer; teacher & students explore together; subject had meaning; there was discussion, hands-on or visu learning; the challenge was manageable ("I was freaking out the whole time but I was okay.") Often connected to life experiences rather than book learning alone.
Our Utopian Classroom ought to have: discussions, freedom of discussion, variety of activity. To be continued....

Andrea Brownstein said

at 11:03 am on Aug 28, 2008

Completed our discussion of Our Utopian Classroom; look for the link under the bigger heading "Student Worlds" in the sidebar for complete description. We agreed to revisit our plan in early October to consider whether we have made progress toward our goal.
Began discussion of Garden of Eden; will finish tomorrow.

Andrea Brownstein said

at 3:11 pm on Aug 29, 2008

Discussion of Garden of Eden centered on the importance of working confidentlyl in the world poised against protecting people against sadness and pain. "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise," but are there times when it is better to be ignorant? People cherish the ability to choose but we need to know the consequences, know our options, know that sometimes there is hard work before we can know our choice was right. Question: should happiness be ranked above reality? Talked about home schooling as a modern example of people being protected from knowledge of the world. Some felt this meant they would not fit into society when they finally joined the world. Is this inability to fit in a handicap or a benefit? Ended the class with a brief writing opportunity to comment on the first few days of class.

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