I know I have not written recently.
Some exciting opportunities have come my way.
I have been off chasing them.
I hope you are doing well. How did that boat trip go in April?
I just love boats and the water.
I could not think about you without a tinge of covetousness.
Let me go ahead and tell you what has been filling my time and thoughts recently.
International Congress on Medieval StudiesAcademia is about taking the raw materials of facts and data and turning them into the brilliant sculpture of argument and conviction. Click To Tweet
I went to a conference in Medieval Studies!
My background is in Early Christian literature, as you know.
I went on behalf of the publisher I work for.
Conferences are such a marvelous environment.
Being surrounded by learning ad scholars is empowering and inspirational.
I love to cut deep into topics while respecting their general value.
All learning needs the safe environment of the conference to try out new ideas and say “unpublishable” things.
Academia is not just learning, but speaking.
It is about taking the raw materials of facts and data and turning them into the brilliant sculpture of argument and conviction.
I really felt that I re-found my voice while I was there.
I also got some interesting books.
- Commentary on the Psalms by Jerome (Latin)
- Life of Saint Alexis (Old French)
- A Roman Women Reader (Latin)
- Life of Simeon Stylites
- Early Christian Hagiography
- Giving Reason
- A Rulebook for Arguments
- The Annotated Hobbit
Pedagogy of Going DeepWhen he comes to me with his questions and concerns, the knowledge he acquires from my feedback will be twice as valuable and connect with him. Click To Tweet
I am going to be teaching a few courses this summer! I am so excited and cannot wait to tell you more about it!
Right now, however, I am in a course for teachers.
This has really gotten me thinking about how to teach.
Going deep is so vital, especially to avoid boredom or shallow knowledge.
I believe the best way to create depth is by making the topic the student’s own.
In a class, you learn about a topic and you get the general overview.
Then comes the magic.
Now the student can work within that new enlarged world of knowledge.
He can discover new things and use new pieces of knowledge within this world.
For example, if I were to teach about the rise of sensibility in the 18th century, I would then offer my students the opportunity to write in the style or show me how to enliven an existing texts with the hallmark tropes of sensibility.
The student is now using the knowledge he just acquired.
In so doing, he will come up with questions and problems.
When he comes to me with his questions and concerns, the knowledge he acquires from my feedback will be twice as valuable and connect with him.
I would rather go deep through questions and problems than just by me talking more.
“I’m busy”In reading and absorbing myself in historical literature, I have remembered that life did not always run at hypersonic speed. Click To Tweet
So may people have noticed that this seems to be the busiest generation that has ever been.
Hustling and rushing is the norm.
Working for hours on end is expected.
In reading and absorbing myself in historical literature, I have remembered that life did not always run at hypersonic speed.
A desire to regain the peace and quality of this “simpler” life welled up in me.
I am going about this from two perspectives.
1) The sound of silence. A few weeks ago I did a “Dana Girls Week.”
I stopped watching TV, though I allowed myself “radio” in the form of podcasts.
Neil Gaiman gave a great nugget of advice in his Tim Ferriss interview: “write or do nothing.”
This is how my week went.
I wrote or did nothing.
I could hear myself think and found myself less pressured to perform.
Since then I have greatly reduced time on Youtube and have regained much of the peace gained from the experience.
2) Instead of just saying “I’m busy,” I try to define exactly what I am doing.
When I put into words what I am doing, it gives me perspective.
Maybe I am not as busy as I think, or maybe my list is too long and I need to cut down.
Either way it gives me something profitable to say instead of just “busy,” like that is an achievement in and of itself.
I have only scratched the surface.
I do hope to renew our regular conversations as to not let too much time elapse again.