Group Identity (Conclusion)

Photo by Miguel Henriques on Unsplash

And here we are – the conclusion of a speech I gave in 2007. I have spent the past ten installments expanding on my thoughts and experiences from fifteen years ago. I enjoyed the process because I could directly see how so many of the problems we are seeing in education today were obvious much longer ago. And seeing where we are today, I would have to say that my concerns were warranted!

This will be the last installment, and I look forward to hearing others’ thoughts on this topic and on what they are seeing in their children’s and grandchildren’s schools. Thank you for joining me on this journey!

If you would like to go back to the beginning, you can find the FIRST essay in the series here.

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Group Identity (Part Nine)

Removed from many curriculum – as “unreliable”

This ninth installment of my series on education and the focus of group identity is particularly important to me. Only because I feel so strongly about this topic. I am completely opposed to the idea that students can only relate to literature written by authors of the same ethnic background and gender as they are and to literature written about people just like them. And although I used to lecture my students about this topic fifteen to twenty years ago, I am completely shocked at how this idea has become so mainstream today.

So let’s get into it…

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Group Identity (Part Eight)

A book with important lessons for students

I didn’t realize that this commentary would turn into so may individual installments. I am already up to the eighth! But I have definitely been enjoying going through this speech, which I gave at a conference in 2007. It has reminded me of many of the experiences I have gone through in my decades of teaching. 

This installment will continue with a discussion of the curriculum and more specifically what happens in classroom instruction when an institution focuses on group identity. If you want to go back and start from the beginning, you can access the first installment here.

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Group Identity (Part Six)

This is the sixth installment in a series of essays on group identity on college campuses that comes from a speech I gave back in 2007. You can find the firstsecondthirdfourth, and fifth here. In this essay, I will continue discussing what happens with a fixation on group identity, problems I saw playing out 15 years ago. And these problems have only increased since then.

This installment begins with how group identity damages relationships between students. The speech is rewritten in the indented sections, and I interrupt periodically with my current comments about what I wrote so long ago. 

Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash
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Group Identity (Part Five)

I don’t seem to have photos of me teaching, but here is a staged photo of me grading papers (while on the phone??) for an article about my writing.

This is the fifth installment of a series of essays on group identity on college campuses that comes from a speech I gave back in 2007. You can find the firstsecondthird, and fourth here. I will continue discussing what happens with a fixation on group identity, problems I saw playing out 15 years ago. And these problems have only increased since then.

This installment continues with the discussion of the detrimental impact group identity has on the relationship between faculty members and students. The speech is rewritten in the indented sections, and I interrupt periodically with my current comments about what I wrote so long ago. 

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Group Identity (Part Four)

Another not-very-good photo of me speaking at a conference!

This is the fourth installment of a series of essays on group identity on college campuses that comes from a speech I gave back in 2007. You can find the firstsecond, and third here. I will continue discussing what happens when the educational system develops a fixation on group identity, problems I saw playing out 15 years ago. And these problems have only increased since then.

The fourth installment begins with how group identity damages relationships between faculty members. The speech is rewritten in the indented sections, and I interrupt periodically with my current comments about what I wrote so long ago. 

Continue reading “Group Identity (Part Four)”

The Damage Wrought by Group Identity on College Campuses

Today starts a multi-part series on some of my experiences as a college professor. I found an old presentation I gave in 2007 called “The Damage Wrought by Group Identity on College Campuses.” In this series, I will be breaking down that speech, providing some background information on my points, and updating my thoughts on the topics discussed.

This introduction is the first installment.

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The Zipper

For a moment, all I wanted was to be a kid again. To have no fear. To live in the moment. To scream out loud. To ride…the Zipper.

Every year, the local parish where my children attended preschool throws a fall festival, complete with carnival rides, a silent auction, and goofy games. One year, winding our way through the crowds, I saw towering above the horizon, a ride I recognized from my own teenaged years: the Zipper. Lost for a moment in the past, I am desperate to ride it!

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1970s Adventures with Cats

Our cat Sockie

Pets were a huge part of my children’s lives. We were the proud owners of, over time, lizards, frogs, fish, tortoises, rabbits, birds, a snake, a dog, and, of course, a cat.

During my own childhood, my family had two calico cats, both of whom lived for 18 years. The first joined our household when I was only two or three years old, before my sister was born. Her name was Pannie. Fairly obviously, my parents gave me the honor of naming her. Considering that when my own daughter was three she wanted to name her newborn brother “Swimming,” I don’t think Pannie was such a terrible choice. 

Once my sister was born, the story I recall is that she pulled Pannie’s tail or inflicted some other injustice on her, and Pannie turned around and scratched her, as cats will do. Pannie’s punishment was to have her front claws removed, a procedure many today would consider cruel but one that she did absolutely fine with. In fact, for her entire life, she was an indoor/outdoor cat, and she never had a problem. So I’m glad my parents made that decision rather than to get rid of her. I cannot imagine my childhood without Pannie.

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Thoughts on Simplistic Thinking

Goby the Fish

I can think specifically of a few times when teachers worked to indoctrinate me.

The first time was in elementary school. Those were the days when anti-littering propaganda… well, littered school hallways and classrooms. And yes, I was one of those kids who, under the age of ten, was out in the streets lecturing people for littering, yelling out the car window from the backseat at passersby who dropped cigarette butts or napkins on the sidewalk, picking up pieces of trash and railing at the ilk of those ruining our world. I must have been adorable.

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