Think About It

He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, July 30, 2012

A New School Term Approaches

One more day off and then we welcome a new term. 

It's been awhile since I've updated this blog, but the time has come to update it again. On Wednesday, school's back in session. That means it's time to, sorry, I meant teach students again. For those who know me, let me just say that last comment wasn't mine. The demons made me say it.

I am soooooo excited that school's back on. More writing for everyone! Yes, just to re-introduce myself, I'm an English professor. I live for the written word. I'm experimenting this term with this blog. My intention is to write a continuing commentary on how things are going from day to day.

Depending on how much trouble I get into (lol), we'll see how that goes. OK... that's all for now.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Re-Defining The Purpose of Papi Sezs

I have been focusing on my other writing endeavors lately, namely my Mall Demons Urban Fantasy Series. But I think this is the right time to re-define the purpose of Papi Sezs. It served as a great way to communicate with students.

That I believe should not change. What will is the focus. Instead of merely addressing topics related to communications and critical thinking, I want to broaden things a bit.

In a sense, the name of the blog, Papi Sezs, will not have to change because I will still be "sezing" things. So students get ready. Here comes Papi. LOL.

Friday, April 8, 2011

What is the difference between hearing and listening?

Do you know? Here's a little something to focus your thoughts - Chinese character for listening.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Strategies For A New School Term...And Getting That Degree

There's nothing so exciting as starting a new school term. Really! It ranks up there with, oh, I don't know, March Madness. Who are you picking to go all the way?

OK, maybe a new term isn't as exciting as the best college hoops of the season. But if you're paying for your education, then you really should get excited about a new term. Think about it. It means you're one more term closer to graduating. Think longterm goals here.

Nowadays - especially here in the United States - we have trouble staying focused on our longterm goals - like getting a degree. Trouble is we often don't see the connection between our daily actions and our longterm goals. So... here are a few suggestions for students. These are only a few and definitely not all the possible suggestions for academic success. If you have some ideas to share that might help others make the grade, share them in the comments below.

Here are my suggestions (now, I've gotta check out the brackets):
1. Get your textbooks and start reading - There's no better way to fall behind in class than to avoid reading your books for class.
2. Go to class - OK, this is another way to fall hopelessly behind in class. And when you're there, be prepared to learn. Be quiet so you don't disturb other students. Take notes. Ask questions.
3. Form study groups - This always helped me. It helps you make time to study, and gives you a friend to talk to about the ideas you're learning about in class.
4. Clear your schedule - I know, this one is tough - especially with March Madness going on. But if college is a priority, you must spend more time sitting at a table or desk studying than sitting at a sports bar eating nachos and downing brewskies while watching the game. Your friends may try to influence you to drop the books and join them, but resist!
5. Rest - Now that I'm older, I understand the wonderful benefits of rest. It's hard to learn when you're constantly tired. We all have busy schedules with work, family, etc. It may be a challenge, but find the time to let your body recharge.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Plagiarism Is The Devil

As much as we may not like writing papers, I believe we hate researching even more. One lesson I learned after writing for a daily newspaper and the Internet for more than a dozen years is that without facts you have no story.
It doesn't matter how pretty the words are if the content is not there. That's where research comes in. But since some student writers despise research (or more to the point, they despise the time and effort required of researching), they "borrow" what others have written.
Now, there's a right way to quote, paraphrase and summarize someone's work in your paper. It simply takes time and effort. Sorry, no way around that.
In the coming weeks, I'll discuss plagiarism in more detail and add more links to resources student writers can use when working on their papers.
For the moment, check out the Newsreel at the bottom of this blog page. It's displaying real news stories from around the globe on the topic of plagiarism.
After scanning a few of these headlines and stories, you should get a feel for how serious an issue plagiarism is in the real world.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Poll Results In: People Don't Like Writing School Papers

OK.... we didn't really need a poll for that. The more specific question (even if it was just for fun) was this: "How much time do you spend writing a paper?"

After counting all three responses (I almost had to use both hands when counting), here are the results:
Paper? What Paper got two votes
About 15 minutes got two votes
About an hour got one vote
Several weeks got NO VOTES

By that overwhelmingly lopsided poll result it's clear that we like avoiding the pain of writing papers for as long as possible. This was all for fun and games, but like all tasks that take hard work and sacrifice, I'm sure the truth is in there somewhere.

It takes discipline to force ourselves to set aside our fun-loving tendencies and embrace the responsibility of doing our homework.

As students approach a new term or semester, they must ask themselves if they are prepared for the sacrifices that must come when seeking a college degree.

I made a mistake my first semester of college over 20 years ago. I spent more time having fun and failed my classes. It was a waste of my time and money. What kind of student are you? What is your idea of a good student? What is your idea of a bad student?

If we're truly honest with ourselves, we probably resemble both the good and the bad. We're a little of both.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stop Staring At Plato's Cave - Being a Slave to....

The question is not whether we are looking at the cave wall, believing it to be reality, it is whether we are going to stop looking at it.

Once we stop, can we accept the more real outside world, which is the true (albeit harsher) world, or will we run back into the cave out of fear of accepting the truth?

Watch the following videos (They are short enough to repeat if you must).
In the first video, ask yourself what the cave might symbolize. Also, answer these questions:
What are the images on the wall?
Who could the people manipulating the images be?
What might the chains symbolize?
What if you were the one released?

For more on Plato's Allegory of the Cave, see the texbook, Thinking Critically, 9th Ed., by John Chaffee.
Discussion about this topic is on p. 189
As you explore the questions above, consider the following questions taken from the Thinking Critically text:
  • Explain how the images projected on the back wall of Plato's cave are similar to the images we see on television or in newspapers, magazines, and books **AND THE INTERNET**.
  • Why do the people in Plato's cave believe that the perceptual images they see projected on the wall are "real"? Why do many people who watch television and read information sources uncritically believe that what they are viewing or reading about is "real"?
  • At the start of our journey from the dark depths of ignorance toward the illumination of understanding, it is essential to recognize that the perceptions we encounter in our daily lives are often incomplete, inaccurate, and distorted. Explain why.
  • In Plato's allegory, discarding ignorant beliefs and embracing the truth can be a disturbing process because we are forced to see things objectively, as they really are, rather than shrouded in bias and distortion. Describe an experience of your own in which achieving a knowledgeable, truthful insight was a disturbing experience.
Here's another video to consider as you explore your answers to the questions above

Everyone believes something. Everyone has a philosophy of life (Chapter 12).

"The challenge you face is to create a coherent view of the world that expresses who you are as well as the person you want to become." - Thinking Critically, p. 430