Panda Teachers and Apprehensive Teachers
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Good to know
Pandas have a public image as cute, gentle creatures, but are nonetheless wild animals that can be violent when provoked or startled.
Parental characters succeed by giving the good examples primarily.
Loss of Understanding Amounts To Interesting Knowledge -
"All I know is that I know nothing", said Socrates. He was said to be the wisest man on earth by Apollon's priestess at Delphi.
A fool seems to know next to nothing, he too.
Also, the much later "Prince of Scholastics", the Italian Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-74), experienced a deep mystical insight one day in 1273 and declared, "Now all I have written appears in my eyes as of no greater value than straw."
He should know. And you too, perhaps. Sound education helps us upwards to that acme of insight - alas for publishers -
Thomas took no interest in intellectual pursuits after that, and he was the author of Summa Theologica and other famous works. But his reputation had not always been excellent: He made a poor impression on other students when he was a pupil of the scholastic teacher Albertus the Great in Paris. They even named him "the dumb ox." Albertus summoned him to a private interview at which they discussed all the subjects in the university curriculum. At the next lecture he announced,
"You call your brother Thomas a dumb ox; let me tell you that one day the whole world will listen to his bellowings."
Much public schooling tends to breed nerve problems and fatigue, but also massive forgetting. A study by Jarand Rystad at NTH (now called the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU) reveals extensive memory losses among students and researchers.
His "Everything forgotten because of a useless examination form? An empirical investigation of Mathematics 2 exam at NTH" was published in the educational UNIPED magazine No. 2-3, 1993:29-50. He had eight NTH students (men) and nine SINTEF researchers and Ph.D students attend an exam in "Mathematics 2" on 13 December 1991. Although all of them had passed that exam earlier, all of them - 17 out of 17 - flunked when trying again, unprepared for it, and commented on it. The University Newspaper and the local Adresseavisen rendered key parts of the research findings afterwards. Here is a Norwegian abstract: [More]
In his study Rystad presents an image of students who read subjects tactically for exams, mainly to pass through exams by something like rote learning of solution recipes applied to recurrent types of tasks to solve, and also "regular academic book-keeping" of a sort, using tables and formulas. They specialise on identifying 10-15 main types if tasks, each with perhaps four main variants, remember how to do it, and allow for modifications. It is a way of study that has been dominant at NTH (p. 30-35, 38).
Rystad wonders to what extent NTH exams motivate later, professional activities. "One might expect that experienced professionals (read: Norwegian researchers) would do better at the exam than the students." (p. 31).
And all of this learning came to nothing when they sought to pass a previous examination in Mathematics, but unprepared. Research experience did not help anyone to pass either. [Rystad]
This goes to show how well a Norwegian forgets his book learning. It suggests a lot of money is wasted on students each year.
Another way to look at it: A Norwegian student is still a long way from the level of the panda, a bear who spends most of his time eating, eating, and seeming to care for very little else - more advanced that Socrates along the road of "knowing nothing" - without clothes, unable to talk like men, more advanced than Socrates. Bears do not need to look well groomed to appear as first-class either. Even racoons thrived long before deodorants were made up.
The panda bear and student have real feelings. One out of twelve teenagers in the land of midnight sun (Norway) have tried to kill themselves, statistics tell. And good students count more than their beers. We should take time to study well.
They say "Kiss a frog and make him human". But there are some dangers in being flirtive like that.
Our place is also our position within some "hierarchy".
The penis is an age-old, symbol of manhood. To get it ritually circumcised can only mean one thing (loss of power), whereas pleasant or adequate learning is a flow along with the natural make-up and man's innate libido, the over-arching id system. "Looking much at the odd and weird, the female can be seriously injured.
Great-looking animals can be brought together in a zoo and not look thankful for being that sort of "prison inmates".
To play solo is not always easy, not even for a panda bear, but possible thanks to practice.
Gregorian singing is not too bad, but do not let anybody castrate you for the sake of having a soprano in the choir.
To be able to live with sincerity and likewise with many enigmas and "know it not" is fit.
Beginners can learn how to operate from fables - learning something by a fable often happens.
Playful Ones Do Not always Stick To the Norm
There are some similarities between humans and pandas, as between all mammals. Students and pandas compared is loosely in line with the man-watching by Desmond Morris. He has written books about it [Mwg; Dhd; etc].
Let us hope the following opens up for "Clever is what clever does." Many pandas and many nuns tend to live behind huge walls. Both parties may need a whole lot of persuasion to copulate and breed. Discretion is the mark.
Gasping students and students of clever gasping may be likened to captive giant pandas, eating only vegetarian meals, even though they are not exactly designed for that (yet).
Those who are very playful when young, neat and acrobatic, need much protection to unfold.
Giant pandas, however, have specialised in eating bambus. Favourites of the public, they are usually depicted reclining peacefully eating bamboo. They eat for fourteen hours a day, as much as nine to fourteen kilogram of bamboo daily. They need sleep too, and almost nothing else than eating and sleeping. By contrast, Genesis 18:1-8 says the Lord was a meat-eater. He ate veal together with two angels. Jesus went for mutton as his final meal. [Luke 22:7-8; cf. John 13:1-4]. And later Peter saw "all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles" and a voice told him, "Kill and eat." [Acts 10:9-16 and 11;1-10, passim]
The following could assist the young cloistered student in comparing himself or herself to giant pandas, and the moral could be: "Fit usually means well prepared in time, you do not know how cramped conditions may get." Very good students hope to get professional too.
A vegetarian diet may not pay for all of us. And giant pandas and first-class scientists manage to climb somewhat on their own.
Dhd: Morris, Desmond. Den herskende ape og dyrepakten (The Animal Contract). Oslo: Aventura, 1991.
Mwg: Morris, Desmond. Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behaviour. St Albans: Triad Panther, 1978.
Thd: Zukav, Gary. The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics. London: Rider, 1979.
Rystad, Jarand. "Alt glemt på grunn av ubrukeleg eksamensform? En empirisk
undersøkelse av Matematikk 2 eksamen ved NTH (Everything forgotten because of a useless
examination form? An empirical investigation of the Mathematics 2 exam at NTH)." In
UNIPED No. 2-3, 1993:29-50.
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