Archives for category: education
NF Northrop Frye Statue

Professor Northrop Frye Statue at Victoria College, University of Toronto invites you to sit and have a chat.

“Attending a university for several years is potentially the greatest experience to be ordinarily had in life.”
Alma mater (meaning a nourishing or abounding mother): in taking one’s first degree there’s a genuine rite of passage, an acceptance of a new motherhood in which the maternal spirit is one of companionship rather then protectiveness or externalized authority.”
“Genuine education starts with the passive knowledge of elementary reading and writing and then tries to transform this passivity into an activity, reading with discrimination and writing with articulateness.”
“The ‘basics’ are not bodies of knowledge they are skills, and the cultivating of a skill takes lifelong practice and repetition.”
“Without this background of practice and repetition, one may be able to read and write and still be functionally illiterate.”
“The university is a community in which the intellect and the imagination have a continually functional place and so gives us a sense of what human life could be like if these qualities were always functional in it.”
“What knowledge of the future we have, or think we have, we glean from a study of the past.”
“The book becomes a focus of a community and may come to mean, simultaneously, any number of things to any number of people.”
“Canada is a good training ground for the detachment, without withdrawal, that the university gives, because it is a secondary and necessarily observant country.”

The View from Here‘, Selected Essays by Northrop Frye 1974-1988

https://www.amazon.ca/Myth-Metaphor-Selected-1974-1988-Northrop/dp/0813913691

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IMG_0765To the tune of oxymoronic incongruous\appropriate music, 300 fresh-faced, happy teen-agers in red and white caps and gowns commenced real life Saturday in Pennsyvlania’s Peters Township. The high school band did not give up on churning out Land of Hope & Glory until it lauded every last grad into a seat on the football turf prior to being called to cross the stage to get a handshake and diploma.

Few realized the mind-blowing march music also has words. The setting of majestic trees, and sunshine that emerged late in a thunderous day thrilled us grandparents. We were among thousands of proud family members invited to honor the young ones’ achievements. People on the public bleachers looked on from the other side of the stage.

“Why does Britain Use Our Graduation Song As a National Anthem?” http://www.anglotopia.net/anglophilia/lost-in-the-pond-how-americas-graduation-march-was-actually-a-product-of-england/

1. Land of Hope & Glory was composed by Englishman Sir Edward Elgar in 1901 as part of a series of marches called Pomp & Circumstance. When Queen Victoria died and her son, King Edward VII, acceded to the throne, Elgar was asked to compose appropriate music. The new king liked the section of Pomp & Circumstance we now know as Land of Hope & Glory so A.C. Benson composed words to it.

2. Benson’s words to the favorite stanza which is replayed incessantly are:

Land of hope and glory, mother of the free

How shall we extol thee, who art born of thee?

Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set

God who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.

God who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.

3. It became a very popular patriotic song which Elgar called the “music of a lifetime.” It bragged about England’s three centuries of worldwide imperial conquests. While he was still alive, the lyrics helped Britain win world war one.

4. In the 1920’s Elgar was awarded an honorary degree by Harvard University. At the end of the ceremony, Land of Hope & Glory was played as a recessional. The crowd liked it so much they have played it every year since. Other universities all across the United States followed suit. More and more are playing it until this day. Now it has reached down even to elementary school and kindergarten levels.

5.Vera Lynn’s recording of it stirred British courage as they went on to win world war two. Meanwhile, it was picked up to be played when British athletes won medals at the Olympics. Several football teams in the UK rewrote the words to make it ‘their’ song. It was almost chosen as the British national anthem instead of God Save the King.

6. The BBC philharmonic orchestra in London plays Land of Hope & Glory on its ‘Last Night at the Proms’ every summer. The audience rises to sing the words, waving their union jack flags in an electrifying display of patriotism.

Wild Roots Worth Honoring in America’s Future

Reference: https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-06-17/wild-english-roots-song-youll-hear-every-graduation-summer

1. Nothing is more powerful than being imbued with patriotic emotions in one’s childhood. My mother took me to England when I was four and when I reheard Land of Hope & Glory now, at age 84, I imagined I saw the Buckingham Palace guards marching as the words went round and round in my head. I did not feel vicious, just thrilled, strong and ready to face the music of life, so to speak.

2. Other writers on this subject point out the empowering, stirring music (see links above) casts off and loses its outdated messages of racism and expansionism “in the pond” on the way to America.

3. We forgive our parents’ mistakes and are one big happy family, appreciating our inherited influences and parents’ love and guidance as we set out in our own direction.

4. This was a good message for the grads to absorb on their hopeful, glorious night. Now they commence living in a world made more secure by their maturing emotions and thoughts.

May they be blessed and find wide and mighty opportunities for fulfillment, success and happiness!

Photo courtesy of Observer-Reporter/Washington County News 

Heroes don’t exist everywhere, everyday but they can spring up anywhere, anytime. One of them could even be  you. Eighteen hundred grade-ten students learned this lesson last week at a joyous assembly at Peters Township high school near Pittsburgh, PA. Two of their classmates, 15-year-old Parker and Walter, had played real-life roles of  survivor and hero in a fateful disastrous instant in October.

The Fateful Event

The two best friends were sitting side by side on a bleacher in the local skate park on a Saturday morning. Suddenly Parker turned to Walter and said, “My heart stopped.” When he dropped his phone and collapsed onto the concrete below Walter knew he wasn’t joking. He screamed his head off for help from bystanders and a call was made to 911. Walter told the dispatcher Parker’s nose and lips were blue and the dispatcher said he needed CPR right away. Walter said, “I can do that. I learned it in health class last year.”

For 10 minutes he gave Parker CPR and kept talking to him until the police and emergency workers arrived and took over. With Parker on a stretcher and Walter in a panic the ambulance carried them off. En route Walter phoned his father who rushed to join him at the hospital. Parker was induced into a coma and airlifted to a trauma center. Walter wanted to go with his friend but a nurse convinced him he had done all he could. His father dropped him off at his mother’s where tears flowed freely as she consoled him.

With the help of surgery to attach an AED (automated electronic defibrillator), and rest, Parker recovered and was back at school within weeks. His heart is strong; the cause of his cardiac arrest is unknown. He looks forward to resuming playing soccer.

The Commendation

Emergency workers and police at the scene and doctors and nurses at the hospital showered praise on Walter for his coolness under pressure and trying circumstances. Teacher John Valvala who had taught him CPR was “thrilled but not surprised”, thanked and congratulated him. The chief of the Allegheny County Police department saw this as a chance to show heart and strengthen community. It could be used to inspire other teenagers to play the important bystander role which is as vital as any other to a patient’s survival. He announced in January that Walter would receive a Citizen Service Award. The commendation ceremony would be at the school in co-operation with everyone else who had been involved. This event would attract the attention of the whole community through the media. It was a rare opportunity to put the police in a good light, pointing out what people do that is right, not just what they do that is wrong. The St. Clair hospital announced it would give Walter a Health Hero Award at the same ceremony.

The Heroic Drama & Inspiration

It was an exceedingly happy, inspiring occasion. A roar of thunderous applause and cheers went up from the student body and family members as police and doctors presented the awards and shoulder patches. Parker and Walter modestly thanked everyone else, from friends to GoFund donors, in their speeches. Audience happiness got noisier with each inspiring speech aimed at them. It was deafening when the three personal wellness (health) teachers were called up on stage.

Police superintendent Coleman McDonough said Walter’s extraordinary act changed his life forever and changed all of us. One person who is here wouldn’t be. “It is important for all of you to see one of your peers being honored. It was a service rendered to the citizens of the county. His actions are a credit to himself and all citizens,” McDonough said. Surgeon Kevin Friend said he had been inspired to go into medicine after a classmate saved his life by applying the Heimlich maneuver. He choked on a hot dog he was eating while exerting himself as the anchor man in a school tug of war contest. Ironically, up until then he didn’t like the boy who saved  him  — they had a crush on the same girl.

Assistant principal Lesnett got the last round of applause as he challenged the students to  “Be alert. A moment can make a difference. You can make a difference. Don’t just let things happen.”

Follow-up for Walter

I had a front seat at this milestone event for our family. We have been fractured by divorce proceedings for four years. This proud, happy occasion brought both sides together unexpectedly. Walter’s step brother Derek joked with brother Robert (both older than Walter), “You and I are just ‘the other brothers’ now”. His father Leslie said, “I think I deserve a little bit of the credit here. I always told my boys to listen to what their teachers said.”

Two years ago Walter started an entertaining YouTube channel of videos about “whatever interests me.” It has a growing following among his peers. His ambition is to become an actor or film director. He is a good enough student to take any direction he chooses.  But, most of all, he wants to  make people laugh.

Thank you, Walter. You have succeeded. You have brought honor to our family and we feel joyous and very proud of you.

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fizafaceTwins clash and a teacher is ruined by his peers in Raman and Sunny: Middle School Blues, author Fiza Pathan‘s inspiring new full-length novel. It is a crown of jewels to entertain readers and sit atop her several award-winning books.

  • She tackles bullying, being a twin, parenting and suicide risk while disastrous tween-age errors in judgment and villainous teacher politics wreak havoc. Her fresh outlook as a child of the nineties (now a seasoned teacher and tutor of grade-six-plus students) brings sound content and intelligent resolution to the story.Raman and Sunny ebook (1)Raman Sharma, only a few minutes older than his brother Sunny, is fed up with leading the life of a twin and desperate to establish his own, separate identity. At the beginning of the book they don’t even walk to school together any more, although they are in the same class. Uncontrolled emotions of lying, anger, jealousy and revenge take over, leading to despicable acts of betrayal and violence. A new teacher with a revolutionary philosophy of education as a “holistic experience” made up of “Question, Research, Debate” arrives on the scene. Sunil Sir is exceedingly popular with the students and, also, a pretty good detective.
  • Pathan’s work attains classic standards with its interesting plot, satisfying structure, universal theme (of redemption), suspenseful climax and elegant style. It falls into the categories of ‘literary’ fiction for its social commentary and in-depth characterization, and ‘paraliterary’ fiction for its fast pace and focus on action. The “pizza” forgiveness scene made this reader cry.
  • The novel is set in Pathan’s native Mumbai, with a few chapters retreating for a bittersweet interlude at a school for orphans surrounded by beautiful roses, but occasionally disrupted by unwanted wild life.
  • This book is very worthwhile reading, particularly for children and their parents involved with middle schools. Unforgettable sentences such as, “A child with an inquiring mind will always achieve academic excellence” and “Now I realize the importance of having a brother in my life who cares for me” could even transform readers’ lives.
  • http://www.amazon.com/Raman-Sunny-Middle-School-Blues-ebook/dp/B019CPQUJS/

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics

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