Thursday, April 28, 2011

Blog Post 14 - Special Assignment - Metaphors

diagram of a pencil with each part representing the ways in which people react to technology in the classroom

In blog post 10 we were asked to discuss a post on John Spencer's blog entitled Don't Let Them Take The Pencils Home. For this week's post we are asked to look more closely at the use of metaphor in John Spencer's blog and the world in general. While reading Spencer's blog for the first time I think there were a few reasons I knew it was a metaphor. First, maybe I'm the only one who's noticed, but, EDM blog post assignments tend to have a common theme. Writing a blog post on integrating technology every week for ten weeks straight leads one to believe that week eleven might have something to do with integrating technology. Second, taken at face value the situation presented in the post is absurd. I refuse to believe that there is a school that discourages the use of pencils in any environment. Third, there were explanations of the metaphor on the page. Located above the body of the post was a link to a post by Larry Ferlazzo where he discusses the study "Mr. Johnson" refers to in his conversation with "Gertrude". The study claims that students with access to computers at home will have lower test scores. You will also notice that, although the blog is written from the point of view of "Tom Johnson" with accompanying old timey photograph, the author is actually named John T. Spencer and you can read his bio. So, there are my reasons for believing this post was a metaphor.
What can I learn from this? In writing this follow up post I have had to examine my own thought processes. Dr. Strange has given those who understood a little food for thought in asking how we know what we know (a little epistemology!). I was very intrigued by this idea. I started with the metaphor and came up with the ideas in the paragraph above. However, I thought I should take this further. I decided to try an experiment and for the last few weeks have been trying be conscious of my grammar. I firmly believe that, in America, speaking standard English as your first language is one of the greatest advantages one can have. I grew up hearing and speaking standard English at home and I don't have to think of specific grammar rules to know if I'm using correct verb tense or sentence structure because I know how standard English should sound. Another part of this experiment is that I am the resident grammar person where I work. At least once a day someone asks me a question about their use of language. For the past few weeks, instead of just telling them the correct word or conjugation I have been going the extra mile and explaining the rule that makes that word or conjugation or pluralization correct. I have found this to be much more challenging. It is a part of my vocabulary that hasn't had much use since eighth grade. Luckily I sit next to my darling sister-in-law and between us we can usually work things out and call them by their right names.

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