Sketch Outlines: 10 points total
Responses: 20 points each
Total Final Exam Value: 70 points
Choose any 3 of the following questions and write 300- to 350-word responses for each (about a page and a half)
Preparation: You will type your responses in MLA format, and upload them between May 14 and May 19. Be sure to put your sketch outlines and three responses all in one file that you can upload to Canvas.
Plan a main point and type a brief outline for each response. Your responses need to be detailed, organized, and unified. A works cited page is not needed. Read over your work to make any necessary changes to grammar and mechanics.
Objective: Your responses will be evaluated on your ability to accurately and thoroughly analyze and interpret the selected readings and other sources from the course. You also need to use textual support (quotations, paraphrases, and summaries) from the related readings.
What to use: You need to use your outlines and the readings.
This final exam prompt
Your typed outlines
Textbook and copies of the readings
Your own notes or other writings (essays, A&Rs, activities) on the readings
If you cannot find your copy of a reading or link to a TED talk, ask me for help.
Extra Credit: There are two Kahoot quizzes that you can complete for up to 5 points extra credit each to review the readings for the final. These Kahoot quizzes will expire at 11:00 p.m. May 13.
1) Ken Robinson in his book Creative Schools explains, “Propositional knowledge is sometimes called knowing that and is distinguished from procedural knowledge, or knowing how” (77). Do most public schools today adopt a balanced approach of both knowledges? Explain what they do and what Robinson thinks that schools should do with these knowledges. Consider what he suggests when he claims that “our communities depend on an enormous diversity of talents, roles, and occupations” (17).
2) In his book Creative Schools, Ken Robinson makes a case to reform the current U.S. public education system. What does he outline in the current system as some contributing problems? At the core of his reform, he offers that, like so many other things in people’s lives “that [they] can personalize” (83), the U.S. public education system would benefit students if it were personalized. What aspects does Robinson describe that would be involved in personalizing education?
3) Diana Kendall in her essay “Framing Class, Vicarious Living, and Conspicuous Consumption” predicts that “…there is a good chance that the United States will become more class conscious and that people will demand more accurate assessments of the problems we face if more middle- and working-class families see their lifestyles continue to deteriorate in the twenty-first century” (480). What does she claim in her essay is the current perception of class, and what does she mean that people’s quality of life may “deteriorate”?
4) In the dialogue recorded by Plato between Socrates and his student Glaucon “The Allegory of the Cave,” Plato begins with an analogy (or allegory) in which he likens human knowledge to visual sight in an underground den. Locate Plato’s interpretation of this allegory. What points does he derive from it? (Interpret the main points that Plato is making with his lesson.)
5) Zen parables provide lessons, stated morals, but these lessons are often implied. In the three Zen parables “Muddy Road,” “A Parable,” and “Learning to Be Silent,” which parables include an explicit lesson? Which require the reader to deduce a lesson? Is it possible to deduce more than one moral from a Zen parable? Write at least one or two lessons for each of these three parables.
6) John Taylor Gatto claims in his essay “Against School” that “maturity has by now been banished from nearly every aspect of our lives” whereas in his speech “Advice to Youth” Mark Twain provides advice in a satirical manner by suggesting young people to “be respectful to your superiors, if you have any” (365) and to read only “good [books that] are the sort for the young to read” (367) meaning for youth to break from reading the conventionally recommended, morally right texts and dare to read the controversial texts. If, as Gatto claims, students are “bored”, then what affect would Twain’s advice have on them? Also, bring to mind what Dillard’s mother would say about boredom and Twain’s advice as she is characterized in Annie Dillard’s memoir excerpt “From An American Childhood” considering that to her mother, “Torpid conformity was a kind of sin; it was stupidity itself” (51).
7) In his 2014 TED Talk “Changing Education Paradigms,” Ken Robinson expresses his concerns about cuts to the public education system when he claims, “The arts especially address the idea of aesthetic experience… in which your senses are operating at their peak, when you are present in the current moment, when you are resonating with the excitement of this thing that you’re experiencing, when you are fully alive.” He goes on to discuss a study with divergent thinking, which he explains, “Isn’t the same thing as creativity [but] the process of having original ideas that have value… to think laterally, to think not just in linear or convergent ways, to see multiple answers, not one!” Propose that if the arts were reinstated and emphasized in schools’ curriculum how they could stimulate and sustain divergent thinking in school children. Give a few concrete examples. Explain why divergent thinking would benefit students and their learning.
8) In Stephen King’s book excerpt “From On Writing”, he is taught by his editor John Gould, “Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out.” What is the lesson that King learns here? Moreover, Vladimir Nabokov in his lecture “Good Readers and Good Writers” asserts, “the real writer… has no given values at his disposal: he must create them himself. …Every great writer is a great deceiver, but so is that arch-cheat Nature. Nature always deceives. The writer of fiction only follows Nature’s lead.” What would Nabokov argue is the responsibility, if any, of the writer to his or her reader in consideration of the lesson Gould taught King?
9) Eudora Welty in her essay “One Writer’s Beginnings” suggests, “Children, like animals, use all their senses to discover the world” (512). If this is the case, then explain how Welty would respond to Ken Robinson when he asserts, “Play in its many forms has fundamental roles in all phases of life and especially physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of children” (94). In fact, Michael Chabon in his essay “Kids’ Stuff” proposes that writers should captures child readers when he suggests, “Let’s [writers] blow their little minds” (535). What is the significance of addressing the ways by which children naturally learn and how, if those ways are fostered, children’s sense of self would be shaped as they enter into adulthood?
10) Virgina Woolf implores, “For surely it is time that the effect of discouragement upon the mind of the artist should be measured” (527) in her essay “In Search of a Room of One’s Own”. Explains who she means by “the artist” and “measur[ing]…the effect of discourangment.” What is the problem and what is her two-part solution? Also, if Ken Robinson is concerned that “the problem with conformity in education is that people are not standardized to begin with” (36), who, in the context of Robinson’s text, is the “artist” and what would Woolf say “conformity” does to this artist?
11) Brent Staples in his essay “Black Men and Public Space” writes about learning that his appearance can adversely affect people around him, “and I soon gathered that being perceived as dangerous is a hazard in itself.” How does he “alter public space”? Furthermore, Toni Morrison in her essay “Strangers” concludes that “…routine media presentations deploy images and language that narrow our view of what humans look like (or ought to look like) and what in fact we are like.” What role may media play in affecting how people react to others based on racial appearance?
12) Richard Wilkinson claims in his TED talk “How Economic Inequity Harms Societies”, “We worry more about how we’re judged and seen by others, whether we’re regarded as attractive, clever, all that kind of thing. The social-evaluative judgments, increase the fear of those social-evaluative judgments.” How does a society’s wide economic gap allow social evaluative threats to have a harmful effect on that society’s health and its people’s quality of living? Could these treats and their ensuing damaging effects be mitigated? If so, how so?
13) Nicholas Carr in his essay “Is Google Making Us Stupid” is concerned that the taking in of reading content via the Internet is altering readers’ abilities with comprehension and patience; “our ability to interpret text, to make the rich mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged” (327). Why is he concerned that people’s reading patterns are altering? Vladimir Nabokov claims that “curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only reread it…[readers] must have time to acquaint [themselves] with [the text]” (517). What would Professor of Literature Nabokov say in response to Carr’s speculation that “[people’s] hyperactive, data-stoked minds will spring a golden age of intellectual discovery and universal wisdom” (331), and is Carr himself convinced of this speculation?
14) In his essay “On Dumpster Diving,” Lars Eighner shares his realization “that ideas are immortal, but certainly mental things are longer lived than other material things.” What is he saying about “ideas” and “things”? Considering that he could be proposing that thoughts and insight are far more valuable than material possessions, what accountability does media hold? “In a mass-media culture such as ours, the media do not simply mirror society; rather, they help to shape it and to create cultural perceptions,” is Diana Kendall’s viewpoint in her essay “Framing Class, Vicarious Living, and Conspicuous Consumption”. Consequently, does media framing represent a skewed or actual view of life, and is all media the same? If there are reliable sources of actual life, would that be enlightenment? Of enlightenment, Plato in the dialogue “Allegory of the Cave” shares that “…the bewilderment of the eyes are two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from out of light or from going into the light.” Do people look to media for the light or for the dark?
15) What does Mellody Hobson propose when she implores of her audience, “It’s time for us to be comfortable with the uncomfortable…” in her 2014 TED talk “Color Blind or Color Brave”. Should people openly discuss race? Why do some avoid race and claim to be “color blind”? Consider what Henry Petroski in his book excerpt “Falling Down Is Part of Growing Up” asserts about perfection and mistakes when he affirms, “Somehow, as adults who forget their childhood, we expect our constructions to have evolved into monuments, not into mistakes.” Perhaps Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, in their essay “The Elusive Theory of Everything”, make a far-reaching point when they maintain that “…diversity is acceptable, and none of the versions can be said to be more real than any other.”
16) Alice Walker in her essay “Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self” experiences a parallel between her inner self and her perception of her outer self. Her perception of her outer self is a source of deep anxiety for her at times throughout her life due to the “accident” that occurred when she was eight. At one point when she is feeling this anxiety, she realizes, “And I suddenly remember that I have [made peace with that]. I remember” (26). What was the accident, why does its results cause her deep anxiety, and what does she mean when she says that she “remembers”? In another parallel, B. White in his essay “Once More to the Lake” apprehends that he “missed terribly the middle alternative” (68), so he “[begins] to sustain the illusion that he was I, and therefore, by simple transposition, that I was my father (67). Compare and contrast the emotional elements that both Walker and White feel in their parallel experiences.
17) Anna Quindlen surveys gender roles in her essay “Between the Sexes, a Great Divide” concluding that, “Prejudice is evil and can be fought, while difference simply is” (73). What is she saying here about “prejudice” and “difference”? Moreover, Roxane Gay in her essay “A Tale of Three Coming Out Stories” shares the conflicts that gays experience when making their true selves know. She claims that heterosexuals have the privilege of privacy and entitlement since their lifestyles fit the norms, but for homosexuals, they bear the burden of “forg[ing] inroads on [other homosexuals’] behalf” (82). She claims that high-profile gays who come out bear “a greater obligation that must be met beyond what that person might ordinarily choose to meet” (79). What is this extra burden that Gay identifies? Where so “prejudice” and “difference” play a role in this “obligation” to “forge inroads”?
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