Week 5 – Informative Interrogatives

Who?   What?   Where?   When?   Why?   How? Interrogatives, in the gentler sense of the word, have to be my favorite sentence purpose.  Interrogatives (questions) are the bedrock upon which relationships are formed and eventually mature.  Through the use of interrogatives you uncover the priorities, values, heart and mind of another person (and many times yourself).  How are you?  What is your favorite ________? Are you all right?  Is there anything I can do?  What would you do if __________? Do you know _______? Do you like ________? Have you ever _______? May I help? Questions like these, enable us learn about the one of whom we are asking the questions.  In my mind, when a person uses questions like these it reveals an other-centeredness.  Someone that cares about hearing others and not just being heard.  Ahhh… good communication is key for healthy, strong relationships, isn’t it?!? Do you understand? Jesus masterfully used interrogatives to reveal the understanding, motives and heart of others, especially the religious leaders.  I find the use of interrogatives in order to check understanding most fascinating!  Jesus had a disarming yet authoritative way of weaving interrogatives into his teaching to keep the student/person engaged and their mind actively focused.  Here are some examples from the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7): You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gathers do the same? Look at the birds… Are you not worth much more than they?… Why are you...

Edu-tainment vs. Stick and Sand

In our generation, there has been a turning tide, a tide that has been eroding true education. In a desire to be brief, let me cut right to the chase. In short, I call it “edu-tainment.” What do I mean by edu-tainment? Let me expound… Edu-tainment replaces modeling, dialoguing and thinking with flashy tools or games, thus leaving the student in a passive state of receiving stimuli, but not really processing and owning the material or skills needed for a successful learning journey. Classical educators have referred to this approach as filling a bucket, pouring information into or around a student (the bucket) until they can’t take any more. The student is viewed as a passive receiver – a bucket. Long term this edu-tainment or filling-focused approach is very unsatisfying for the student, leaving the spirit of the student disengaged, which eventually leads to disinterest in life’s great learning adventure. Classical Conversations programs, tutors, and parents strive to light the fire, to engage the student in learning process. This is primarily through modeling, working alongside the student with extensive dialogue and encouragement, and finally the student working through their studies more independently and confidently because they have had a sound model and encouraging mentors. Now is there anything inherently wrong with tools? Of course not, but they should never replace discussions and engaging the student’s brain in the thinking process. As a parent-teacher, it is easy to be fooled into thinking we are “teaching” when in fact we are simply gratified by the impressed excitement around our tool (or perhaps the quantity of worksheets we have completed), while leaving...

Ode to Essentials

EEL is like language “structure” (the building)IEW is like language “arts” (the décor) EEL teaches language building blocksIEW teaches writing and expression building blocks EEL teaches detailed analytical thinking and romance language structure.IEW teaches techniques for written expression EEL focuses on the micro level – sentences to words and to revealing the underlying vocabulary code of language building blocks – learning syntax, structure and sentence components.IEW focuses on the macro level – to topics to paragraphs to sentences – focus is on ideas and information being well expressed. EEL is more comfortable for some students – as it is more exact and structured – some students find success here more quickly than others. There is a “right answer”IEW is more comfortable for other students – as it has more room for expression, creativity – some students enjoy success here quicker than other. IEW talks about using prepositional openers, adverbs, quality adjectives…EEL defines the vocabulary used in IEW and writing techniques… EEL teaches me to thoughtfully read God’s word, to make sure I understand who or what a pronoun is referring to, what the verb tense indicates, and more – important points as I seek to apply God’s promises, instructions, and imperatives to my life…IEW teaches me how to paraphrase God’s word, and eventually retell the truths I have mediated upon … What is EEL? CC’s Language and Grammar curricullum – The Essentials of the English Language GuideWhat is IEW? This is Institute for Excellence in Writing approach to writing. EEL and IEW complement each other wonderfully… And we haven’t even spent time talking about the fun arithmetic...