Category Archives: Education

Putting words to good use

Here’s a project I wish I thought of first. (Actually, I did around the time that I dreamed up this site a few years back but not to this extent.) Here’s the premise, they take song lyrics and analyze them by date, region content and a whole lot of other things. Then you can find out things such as who was the first artist to product place a shoe or how long did it take for the word shorty (showdy or showdee depending on where you are from) to be used across the coast.

It’s has a lot of promise and I hope that it exceeds its funding or if it doesn’t continue to look for funding because I really like this project.  It’s good to see a creative way of using Hip Hop that isn’t being utilized anywhere else. I’m sure there will be others that will come along and still this idea and use it in other forms of music but I hope it’s this project that spins off into other genres. 

Pledge you support today as there are only a few more days left to donate.  There are incentives depending on how much you donate from chocolates to beta or lifetime access to the site.  I’ll be pledging my support because every dollar counts!

World AIDS Day 09

Today is World AIDS Day. Millions have it and of those many don’t know. Education is the key to prevention and eradication. If you’re not at high risk, inform someone who might be.

I know it’s not as trendy as Breast Cancer these days but it does still exist.  Millions all over the word get infected and die every year.  It’s not something that is genetic so it can be stopped.  Help fight the disease, find a cure and cause it’s prevention.  Visit the site above and get involved so that we can say we wiped out a disease in our life time.

Common Sense, Manners and Home Training

You’ve heard it several times in your life about someone’s kids;  "They have no home-training." Do something stupid and someone may say; "You have no common sense!" Say or do something rude and very quickly; "You have no manners!"  All are usually followed by "Didn’t your parents teach you?" Hopefully they did or will if they haven’t.

After dwelling on it for a bit I started to wonder who created these rules and when? Who decided that I should hold the door for someone behind me to be courteous rather than shut the door quickly for fear that they may be out to get me? That I should help an old lady across the street rather than continue to my destination and face being late thus inconveniencing another person?  Well it seems that society does as a whole.

Though society makes the overall judgment on how we behave, parents individually determine what to teach their children.  If you think "Please" and "Thank you" are a waste of breath because people are typically ungrateful, fine don’t teach these rules to your kids. "What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine" so I don’t need to tell my kids that they need to ask before taking something from someone else. There is no difference between inside voices and outside voices because I can’t hear when people whisper.

Some of these rules exist to keep you in compliance with the law while others are opinions on how others want you to behave around them. Whether you agree or not can save you from glaring looks, whispers and unwanted comments.  I can also go as far as save your job, relationship or get you out of trouble with the law with a lesser or no penalty at all.

So what makes sense so common? Why does everyone know that green means go and red means stop or that you’ll get burned if you touch a hot stove?  One word, experience. No matter how many times you tell a child that a stove is hot, they don’t believe you until they actually touch it and feel the heat.  Sure they’ll point to it and say the word hot but it doesn’t really hit home unless they have experienced hot versus cold. 

We assume that everyone knows the difference between hot & cold and shouldn’t be surprised that the stove is hot to the touch.  Too many times we make assumptions about how people should conduct themselves.  Even worse, we impose our own judgments on others and then shun them when they don’t live up to our unknown expected standards.

Until we are born with an instruction manual or all parents are give the same copy of the Guide to Life there will be no common sense. Home training will always exist but it will always be different ways to going about it and will results will not always yield the same behavior in children. Manners will always differ per family structure thus conflicts are inevitable. Until we all agree on what is acceptable without compromise, home training, manors and common sense will be a paradox.

Good-bye Summer, Hello School

Labor Day marks the beginning and end of many things; it’s the unofficial end of summer, it’s the end of Reggae Season; here in the northeast the weather changes; and of course it means that school is starting (or in some cases has started) and not a moment too soon.  I’ve never been a big advocate of promoting school but after the things I witnessed this summer from our youth and some adults, I am now because we are in serious trouble!

Let’s start with the most reason incident which will sound like it came right out of a school book. Note: These are actual accounts. The names will be changed to protect the innocent even though they should be singled out and publically humiliated for their ignorance.

Xavier (a 16-17 year old in New Jersey) is selling a bag of oranges for $6.20.  Paul gives him $20.25 (that’s a $20 bill and a quarter). How much change should Paul expect back from Xavier?

Before I give you the glaring answer, let me explain exactly what happened. Xavier took the money and entered $6.25 in the register which told him to issue $0.05 back in changed. Confused by his error, Xavier closed the register drawer. Not able to open it himself, he called for his manager.  With the drawer problem now solved we are back to the math. Still perplexed, Xavier quickly wiped out his cell phone, opened the calculator then returned the proper change?I don’t think this one needs to be explained.

I saw a documentary called Superhuman: Genius which featured a child prodigy artist. Her artwork was absolutely amazing for someone of her age. During the program her parents mentioned that sometimes she would paint for 14 hours a day and produce a master piece. The alarming thing she mentioned was not that she was home-schooled but that she was only taught subjects that interested her.  This excluded math.

 

When I was in school, I also wished I could only study the subjects I wanted and that others were useless because they had nothing to do with my primary focus.  I now realize that those other subjects are what made me into a well rounded person.

A co-worker of mine whose is from another country and speaks English as a second language has a son, who only speaks English, in a local day care program. He came to me one day and started counting in Spanish. I found this strange because his parents are not from a Spanish speaking country.

I will quickly say that I have nothing against people who speak Spanish. My beef here is with the education system itself. Who decided that Spanish is the second (or third) language for this child? In this case, the child doesn’t speak the native language of his parents but knows some Spanish. My question is "Why not Italian, Danish or Portuguese?" I say these languages specifically because the US has never faced these countries other than in the Olympics or soccer (I’m no history buff so I may be wrong). Is this because Dora and Diego are so popular? Since when did commercialism determine what we taught our students?  It just went by another name, propaganda.

This leads to our last topic:

President Obama plans to address our nation’s students in an address at the beginning of the school year.

Of course this is not without controversy. Some parents don’t want their kids to hear him speak. Some say it’s a political campaign in disguise targeted at children (as if most will be able to vote in the next election). And others don’t want the black President to speak to their children, but they don’t want to admit that is the case. I’ll let the news organizations handle this one as you’ll hear plenty about this in the next couple days.