"Reading, writing, arithmetic, and grammar do not constitute an education
any more than a knife, fork, and spoon constitute a dinner."
Did you hear about the student who had amnesia and deja vu at the same
When he sat down to take a test, he remembered that he had forgotten
this material before.
3. "You Gotta Be Kidding Me" Department [back to top]
Gimme an A+ . . . or else!
A high school senior is suing his local school district to get a grade
overturned, a restraining order on class rankings, and $25,000. Brian
Delekta recently filed the lawsuit claiming he didn't receive the grade
he had earned, which he claims will keep him from being class valedictorian.
While taking a work-experience class (working as a paralegal in his mother's
law office) through another school district, his employer-that is, his
mother-gave him an A+. Although his local school district awards grades
on a 12-point scale that uses A+ as the highest grade, the highest grade
awarded by the district in which he performed his internship is an A.
His local district, therefore, gave Delekta an A.
Bring on the lawyers!
You've got to be kidding me.
Source: PEN Weekly NewsBlast
4. Teacher Talk Article [back
What's So Good About Good?
by Chick Moorman
"Bill does good work in science."
"She's making a good effort."
"Good way to do that!"
"It sure was good!"
"How are you?" "Good"
Did you ever get good and sick of "good"? I did. As a classroom teacher,
I got tired of hearing myself say it and watching myself write it. So
naturally it was with a good deal of enthusiasm and good luck that I found
a paper entitled "100 Ways to Say Good."
"This is really good," I thought to myself as I looked over the list
of synonyms prepared by a text book company consultant. "Great, Fantastic,
Terrific, Marvelous, Splendid, Dynamic, Magnificent, Nifty, Supreme, First
Rate, Sterling, Wonderful, Superb, Stupendous," and even "Foxy" filled
the paper. It was clearly a good list.
I used the list to communicate to students how I evaluated their efforts.
I had a good time writing "Meritorious" and "Deluxe" on their papers.
I figured it was good practice as they looked up each new word in the
dictionary. I used the words on report forms that went home to parents.
I added them to my verbal vocabulary and used them with friends and relatives.
I felt pretty good about my alternatives to "good" for a couple of years.
So it took a good while for the questioning to set in, but slowly, over
a period of time, I began to suspect that perhaps all was not good with
"good" or its synonyms.
I first began to question the good in "good" when I saw it on my own
daughter's report card. "Marti is doing good work in spelling. She has
a good attitude. She is doing a good job in social studies. As I read
the report card, I quickly realized it didn't help me learn much about
my daughter or her work in school. Good in spelling? What does that mean?
I had no idea of her accomplishments or her problems. I didn't know if
she learned anything or if she was good to start with. All I knew is that
one person evaluated her as "Good". Compared to what, I wondered? Or whom?
What does "good" mean? I just didn't know.
I recalled the report forms I had sent home to parents as a fifth and
sixth-grade teacher. I remembered the "goods" and "excellents" I wrote
during those years. I wondered if those parents were as confused about
their children's progress as I was about my own child.
I recalled the synonyms I used. The "greats," the "fantastics," etc.,
and I began to sense that as symbols with which to communicate, they didn't
do any more good than "good". They gave no data. They simply labeled.
I hear "good" a lot these days. At the dinner table, "This food is good."
And I wonder, "Is it the taste, or the temperature, or the texture, or
the amount, or what?" So I ask:
"What's good about it?"
"I don't know, it's just good."
"What do you mean by good?"
"Oh, Dad. You know, good."
I turn on the T.V. and listen to the weather person. She says there will
be good weather for the next few days. The sun will be out and the snow
will melt. But I'm wanting to go cross-country skiing. That doesn't sound
like good weather to me. Seems to me the weather just is. It only becomes
good or bad depending on how we view what is.
I'm beginning to think perhaps "good" isn't good enough any more. Maybe
its good days are over.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to find a good replacement for "good."
It took me awhile to figure it out, but I finally got in touch with my
objection to "good." I don't enjoy it because it's an evaluative word
that's used in situations where I want and prefer a description or expression
I don't enjoy hearing the weather person evaluation the weather. "It'll
be a good day tomorrow." Good for whom? For everyone who is listening?
I doubt it! I enjoy the weather person who describes the weather without
evaluating it. "There is an 85% chance of sun tomorrow, with few clouds
throughout the day." Now that's descriptive. Descriptive language enables
me to place my own evaluation on it. I get to decide if I think it's good
When I write a book, give a talk, or develop a photograph, I much prefer
appreciative and descriptive comments to evaluations:
"That's a good book."
These are all evaluations of me and my efforts. I don't value them as
much as I do appreciative and descriptive remarks. I already know if the
photo was good or the writing excellent. What I do enjoy, however, is
for people to share what they appreciate about what I've done or to describe
the parts they enjoy.
"I appreciate the time you spent on that."
"That photo really caught my interest."
"Your book has helped me see that in a new way."
I find it useful to hear where people find meaning in my work, what they
enjoy and appreciate, and what specifically interests them. The feedback
is much more valuable to me than evaluations. It is feedback I can use.
I have been trying recently to eliminate the "goods" from my own language,
to express myself in more descriptive/appreciative terms. I have found
it difficult. I have been amazed at how often and how quickly I say "Good."
It has become a habit, an easy way to comment that requires little thinking
or effort on my part.
I hear myself say, "Good for you" to Matt when he's helped with dinner.
The evaluation is easy. It requires much more time on my part to think
through what I feel is good and share that information. I could say, "When
you help, I get done faster and then I can do some more of the things
we enjoy after dinner. I appreciate your help," or "I really enjoy it
when you volunteer to help." That type of comment gives him real information
or process. He now knows that I liked and why. In addition, he can now
say to himself, "I've done a good job" or "I'm a pretty good helper."
I like the evaluation coming from him rather that from me.
It's easy for me to say, "Good job" to Jenny after she's picked up the
living room. It's far more difficult to take the time to describe her
accomplishments. For instance, I could say, "An hour ago I looked in here
and there was stuff scattered all over. Now, every single thing is in
place. I enjoy seeing the living room this way." Again, my descriptive/appreciation
comments leave the evaluation to her.
I'm finding value in gradually replacing the "goods" in my own language.
And I'm learning that speaking with descriptive/appreciative words is
a skill. I haven't eliminated all the "goods" yet, and perhaps I never
will. But I'm getting better at it. In fact, I'm getting pretty good!
5. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation [back
Just for today could you use what is obstructing to do the instructing?
6. The Teacher Talk Seminar [back
The Teacher Talk System announces the following open seminars:
Achievement Motivation and Behavior Management (K-12)
Lansing, MI March 25, 2003
Chicago, IL March 26, 2003
Atlanta, GA March 27, 2003
The seminars include many Teacher Talk ideas and the Sounds of Spirit
Whispering. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a detailed brochure.
7. Manage Your Subscription [back
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In America one public school student is suspended every second.
Principal Deb Keller of Saint Joseph Academy in Adrian, Michigan, purchased
a copy of "Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit" for
each member of her staff. The book has been the focus of recent staff
meetings with discussions revolving around major principles and application
As a special gift for each teacher, Deb made bookmarks that show the
school logo and contain a quote from "Spirit Whisperers." She used the
"A Spirit Whisperer believes that to teach effectively, she must address
the entire trilogy of a child's mind, body, and spirit."
"Spirit Whisperers care more about a student's attitude and energy than
they do about his ability to memorize."
"Spirit Whisperers believe that all behavior equals a choice and that
'I am' is more important than I.Q."
"Spirit Whisperers are 'way showers.' They show us that education can
be much more than ranking, rating, and judging our unique children."
To find out more about books, tapes, and materials by Chick Moorman,
contact him at (toll-free) 877-360-1477 or on the web at www.chickmoorman.com.
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To find out more about workshops, seminars, and keynote addresses
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