Archive for the ‘Education and Language’ Category

2020: Best Wishes   2 comments

Above:  The Middle Oconee River at Ben Burton Park, Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, December 8, 2019

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I find myself at the convergence of turning points as 2019 comes to an end.  On the personal front, I deal with two deaths.  Professionally, I look to the future with a combination of confidence, hope, and uncertainty.  The result will be better than what it will replace, I affirm.  However, I do not know what will happen between now and then.  How long should I remain in Athens-Clarke County?  What I do not know outweighs what I understand.  I know, however, that I must not make rash decisions, especially while I grieve and adapt to my “new normal.”

Experience is a fine teacher.  A wise pupil heeds it.  One lesson experience teaches me is that a grudge is a burden one should never impose on oneself, regardless of how righteous one’s indignation may be.  I acknowledge objective reality.  (Why should I not?) I know that a particular professor at The University of Georgia (UGA) fired a torpedo into the bow of my doctoral program and sank it like the Lusitania.  I also understand that my anger over that example of academic abuse burned out years ago.  Whenever I walk on the UGA campus, I feel simultaneously at home, in a familiar place, yet on virgin territory different from a place I have ever been.  The area does look different than it used to, due mainly to construction on campus.  It is a place I want to call home again.  A relationship, however, has more than one party.

My congregation, St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, keeps providing incentives to remain in town.  I am active in the parish, in which I have found my niches.  The emotional and spiritual support members of the congregation have been providing to me since Bonny’s death has become a source of much gratitude.  I can never repay them.  Perhaps I will have opportunities to “pay it forward” in time, not that I seek grief for anyone.

Praying for one’s needs is not sinful, but being selfish in prayer is.  With that in mind, I issue the following prayer:

May God’s best for each person be that person’s reality.  May you, O reader, receive all the help you need and provide all the aid you should.  May the light of God shine in your life, attract others to God, and strengthen the faith of many.  May 2020, by these standards, be a better year for you than 2019 has been.  May it be a better year for all countries, nation-states, peoples, and refugees.  May 2020 be a better year for the planet.  Amen.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 10, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF KARL BARTH, SWISS REFORMED MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR; AND HIS SON, MARKUS BARTH, SWISS LUTHERAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF HOWELL ELVET LEWIS, WELSH CONGREGATIONALIST CLERGYMAN AND POET

THE FEAST OF JOHN ROBERTS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF PAUL EBER, GERMAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ROBERT MURRAY, CANADIAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Really?   2 comments

I teach challenging courses.  This is appropriate, for I teach at a university.

I have noticed steeply declining grades and quality of writing during the last few years.  I should not have to define words such as “partisan” and “meddling.”  This is interesting, given that most of my students are recent graduates of local high schools with high scores on standardized tests.  I know that the way to such high scores is to teach the tests.

Many of my students blame me for their poor academic performance.  They wish that I would send them notes via email.  They pine for PowerPoint.  Some of them wish I would teach a textbook.  (I assign a free textbook and recommend it as a reference for them, though.)  Some students even ask if they may see the test questions before the test or if they may photograph tests.  I refuse, of course.

To those who blame me for their substandard academic performance and wonder how to succeed, I say, ask the pupils who earn grades such as 88 and 94 on tests.  I say to study well and often.  I say to read a dictionary.  I say to learn proper English.  I say to accept responsibility for one’s own education.  I ask, where do you think you are, your old high school?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 7, 2019 COMMON ERA

Posted November 7, 2019 by neatnik2009 in University of North Georgia

Fourteen Years in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia   Leave a comment

Above:  Clayton Street at College Avenue, Athens, Georgia, May 17, 2008

Photographer = Richard Chambers

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

For a long period of time during my youth, I moved with my family an average of every two years.  My father was a minister in the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church.  Given my background, with its mobility, living in one place (Athens-Clarke County) as long as I have has astonished me.  I have put down roots.

I moved to Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2005, shortly prior to the beginning of the Fall Semester at The University of Georgia (UGA).  My doctoral program in history died prematurely and ingloriously in December 2006.  That affiliation with UGA ended in bitterness and tears, but my affiliation with St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church has been constant since late 2005.  The number of my responsibilities in the parish has increased overall, and I have accepted these tasks gladly.

We do not know what the future holds or should have in store for us, but I do know the following:

  1. I like Athens-Clarke County very much.  It is one of the few places in which I do not feel like a marginal figure, an outcast.
  2. UGA creates the intellectual and cultural environment that makes me feel welcome.
  3. I want to continue to live here for a long time.
  4. I may leave it one day, to pursue an opportunity.
  5. I continue to hope for a professional, long-term relationship with UGA.  I realize that, although my previous applications have not been successful, I cannot succeed if I do not try.  I am persistent.
  6. UGA is a place where I should have a place to make my full-time professional contribution of society joyfully.   If that place is not UGA, it will probably be another college or university.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Objective Reality   Leave a comment

I live in a polarized, postmodern society in which many people want to have not only their opinions but their own facts, also.  This is shameful.  As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, people are entitled to their opinions, not their own facts.  I, as a student of history, rely upon a body of objective evidence.  History, strictly speaking, is the interpretation of that evidence.  Interpretations vary, but the evidence remains.  To quote John Adams,

Facts are stubborn things.

Consider a recent news story from Boca Raton, Florida, O reader.

William Latson, the Principal of Spanish River Community High School, had an exchange with a parent in April 2018.  The topic of the exchange was the state mandate (dating to 1994) to teach about the Holocaust in Tenth Grade world history classes.  Latson told her that, at his high school, that one-day lesson was optional because some parents did not want their offspring to participate.  The anonymous mother replied,

The Holocaust is a factual, historical event.  It is not a right or a belief.

Latson answered her,

Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened and you have your thoughts but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs so they will react differently.  I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee.

Latson has apologized and visited Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The Holocaust was real.  The Third Reich documented it thoroughly.  Survivors told their stories.  Soldiers who liberated death camps saw the evidence.

The Holocaust should fill every human being with moral revulsion.

The unwillingness to admit something documented so thoroughly speaks ill of those who either deny or minimize the Holocaust.

One of the main ideas in the study of history is that we do not have to respect every opinion.  We have no obligation to respect any opinion that depends on fallacies.  Whenever I can contradict someone’s opinion solely by reciting accurate, objective information, I encounter an opinion for which I properly have scorn.  Holocaust deniers and minimizers exist; the Internet amplifies their opinions, unfortunately.  I heap scorn upon them and their counterfactual and anti-Semitic opinions, as I should.

We cannot repeat the past, for time does not play on a loop.  We must, however, be careful not to repeat the mistakes of the past in different circumstances.  The first step is learning the proper lessons from the past.  We cannot do that as long as we confuse the categories of the objective and the subjective.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Abuse of the English Language   1 comment

The blatant abuse of the English

language is, like, you know, a cause

of much irritation–anguish,

even.  This is the truth because,

basically, I’d rather banish,

you know, disrespect for usage laws.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 16, 2019 COMMON ERA

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Originally published at ORIGINAL POEMS AND FAMILY HISTORY BLOG

https://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2019/04/16/abuse-of-the-english-language/

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Posted April 16, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Language

Impact   8 comments

Please, do not misuse “impact,”

substituting it for other

verbs, such as “influence” and “affect.”

Nobody has impacted me, or

else I would have known the effect

of the collision.  No crater

or wedging in someplace, “impact”

is not properly a good verb.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 16, 2019 COMMON ERA

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Originally published at ORIGINAL POEMS AND FAMILY HISTORY BLOG

https://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2019/04/16/impact/

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Posted April 16, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Language

Tagged with

It’s the Thought that Counts   1 comment

“I want to thank you,” the message

began.  I guess something or

someone prevented such a sage

from actually thanking, or

else one poorly wrote that message.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 13, 2019 COMMON ERA

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Originally published at ORIGINAL POEMS AND FAMILY HISTORY BLOG

https://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2019/04/13/its-the-thought-that-counts/

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Posted April 13, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Language