Some ask why.

November 13, 2017

Some place, in the nether regions of my files and stashes of papers I deemed had import and relevance, is a quote that, in essences, says: 

            “We study Mathematics for reasoning, precision, and logic;

            Literature and Language for expression and perspective;

            Science for exploration and understanding;

            History for reflection and prediction; and

            Rhetoric to identify fact from fiction.”

I wish I had this quote to give it proper due, but alas, I can’t find it. 

The point of this quote, to me, is we are exposed to many things, most of which we accept at face value, but there should still be that drive to know the why. This quote gives me the why of learning. 

This quarter, vocabulary and novels are taking up the majority of the time in classes. One emphasis we are focusing on with vocabulary is how words have come to mean what they mean. We do this by studying the roots, prefixes and suffixes to see how a word breaks down. By picking out parts, we then build a reservoir of word parts that can be brought forward to apply to other words and perhaps then garner a more exact meaning. 

The same is done with the novels we are reading, although the bits we pick out lend more to understand our participation in society and life. 

As we read, I ask students to question what is going on in a story, to question why the author is having the character go through their conflict. In other words, I ask students to gain perspective by examining the perspectives of others. 

For as the quote said, we study literature and language for expression and perspective, and – to know the why.

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