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Intellectual Superchunk

April 12, 2009

First of all, the appearance of a new EP from Superchunk has dominated my listening for the past few days, even with an abundance of other great new and old tunes out there.  Going back 20+ years to my days in NC, this is a band responsible for many excellent nights of simply the best rock and roll madness, bliss, and beauty.  From nights at the Cat’s Cradle to the Lounge Ax (RIP) (shout out to Rodney) this is a band I’ll never tire of and hope to see on the road some time soon.

I’ve been loving Wells Tower’s collection of short stories, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.  Even the NYT featured a story about him today.  I haven’t been this excited about a short story collection since I first read Breece D’J Pancake.  To me, those will never be equalled, but who in their right mind would try to rank short stories anyway.  I highly recommend both.

On another reading note, I’ve been inspired by an early book by Henry Giroux, Teachers as Intellectuals.  By no means is this to be understood as teachers parading around in elbow patches with Irish Setters at their side writing for the Ivory Tower elite (redundant?).  Rather it’s a challege to reconsider the political and social extremes in both sides of the education debate, to find ways to a discover and employ a pedagogy that weds theory and practice to empower students to “think and act critically in the struggle for democratic social relations and human freedom.”  For me, if this isn’t what I’m having my students do and think about in my classroom, why are they there?  Furthermore, I’m inspired by the way Giroux speaks about not only validating students’ beliefs and values, but also challenging them and giving them the opportunity to reconsider them through different lenses (my terminology).  In the coming weeks as my seniors articulate a personal philosophy then bounce it off of classic philosophical texts, fiction, and the experiences and ideas of their peers, I’m hoping they’ll begin to approach Giroux’s lofty yet essential ideal for the goals of education.

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