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The other day I looked at the Red & Black, fish-wrapper of the old alma mater. There I found this op-ed:
By: Anika Chaturvedi
A study published in 2010 at Cambridge University Press referred to a “critical period” during childhood as being the easiest time to learn languages. The study also shows that the language-learning process is very different for children and adults. College-age is in between these two periods and trying to learn a language can be a challenge for some students.
Area IV of The University of Georgia’s core curriculum is “World Languages and Cultures, Humanities and the Arts,” and UGA offers 34 foreign languages and American Sign Language which gives students a variety of options from which to choose to fulfill the requirement. While learning another language is an incredibly useful skill to develop in college, it is not always done easily.
Often, students have to take placement tests before taking language classes at UGA, and this placement charts the course for the rest of the language-learning to come. However, many students who have not taken a language since high school may have forgotten their prior knowledge from not speaking every day, and this can hinder them in classes where students have to immediately jump back in to an unfamiliar language.
Boy howdy! Was I ever aware of this stuff back in the day – so much so that I carefully chose a major devoid of any foreign language requirements.
Anika is on to something and then something more maybe. In grade school, I experimented with both Spanish and French. With both, I exhibited less than stellar performance.
The “why” I didn’t know or understand. Until later. Much later. It turns out that I have an auditory processing deficit. That’s a block in the brain wiring that inhibits hearing, and thus, understanding language. The hearing and understanding is kind of important when it comes to picking up a verbal language.
Here, I’ll note I do considerably better with written languages. Readers, here, may recall occasionally seeing French, German, Latin, and Catalan here and there. It’s considerably better than the spoken word but still not that good. Here, I rely heavily on electronic translation services and I still question and double, triple check those. Saps el que vull dir?
The English I couldn’t help but pick up, living in former America. The mind is capable of much, including compromise with blockages, when pushed.
The processing issue was explained to me as part of the debriefing on my results from the Highlands Ability Battery. A friend, a practicing psychologist, was working with the test, norming it, so to speak, and offered me a free assessment. I’m very glad I took it.
The Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) is a human assessment tool that objectively measures your natural abilities by asking you to perform specific tasks or exercises. As part of the Highlands Whole Person Model, the HAB is the foundation and starting point to identify the career best suited for you.
The HAB was founded on the work of research scientist Johnson O’Connor, who devoted his life to the study of human engineering. Almost a century of research that began with Johnson O’Connor and continues through the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation has established that every individual is born with a pattern of abilities unique to him or her.
What Makes the HAB Assessment Unique?
The HAB is unique in that it measures your abilities based on performance rather than perception. Exercises such as recreating designs from memory, manipulating blocks in space, and putting images in logical sequence are some of the virtual tasks you are asked to perform within a set amount of time. Results based on timed performance are far more reliable than results based on self-perception or personal opinion. See the research, HAB Technology and Research.
Another friend, another professional author, disclosed a similar difficulty with language during an exchange over one of his articles – on translations of all things. Part of my supportive response (“curated”):
I too formally studied several languages outside of English, which I’ve nearly mastered… Anyway, no such luck with Spanish, French, German, etc. I found out several years ago that I have a mental auditory “block,” a resistance in the brain to “foreign” language processing. This, I’m told is relatively common, even, counterintuitively, among those of higher IQ and with wider vocabulary. (Sounds like you).
Highlands isn’t a raw horsepower test like Stanford Binet or Wechsler. If anything, it’s closer to a career/happiness predictor. Via somewhat unusual (seemingly, to me) methodology if measures the mind’s natural processing ability over a pretty wide range of application categories: vocabulary, spacial recognition, etc. If you’re older and think you know your own brain, the measurement and outcome may or may not make sense. That’s where the specialist comes in. With slight explanation, it all comes together.
The official explanation revealed a paradox: I have (had, Ha!) a higher than average IQ, higher verbal abilities, and a larger than usual vocabulary; yet I don’t “get” languages. Odd, yes, but more common than one might suppose. The processing block is a kind of tone deafness, for lack of a better phrase. It also reflects on my relative musical inability and concomitant paradox: I like music but don’t understand it and can’t formally track, read, or replicate it. If that makes sense. Anika’s article suggests it should to some.
The cure, I’m told, is available and pretty easy, a form of mental retraining. I actually declined such in keeping with my hardheadedness and burgeoning curmudgeonly disposition.
However, as I told my shrink friend, if the test and corrections were available 30 years ago – and they were not, sadly – things might have been different. I probably would have used the training to affect performance, to my advantage. Now, the issue isn’t so pressing.
If you or someone you know suffer a similar malady, then take heart. And take the test. On the open market, I understand the HAB is a little pricey but it would seem worth it to me. This seems especially true for a younger person or student.
One will also discover or have reconfirmed many other aspects of one’s own brain. Some instantly make sense, some only so with formal explanation. It’s all fascinating.
Give it a shot.
For once, self imporvement beats out guns, politics, cigars, and robots!
An enterprising student-employee at my alma mater faces the state’s wrath. His crime? Dissatisfied with his grade, he merely hacked the professor’s computer and changed it. Forced out of UGA, he now faces EIGHTY! charges – of computer trespass and computer forgery.
These are actual crimes and, if the victim is the government or its agents, then they will be prosecuted.
As with that young Brit who hacked the CIA, there has to be a better “punishment” for this man. How about making him head of the University IT department. Obviously knows what he’s doing.
A far worse pattern of crime is committed daily, hourly by some who have little to no idea what they’re doing. That, or they just don’t give a rat’s behind.
You don’t say? Heck, I’ve tried to ring that one myself a time or two. It’s a little hard since they removed the hammer. Anyway, at least The Hill noticed:
Well, it’s true. Congress is bankrupting the country and robbing future generations of Americans to pay for it. It’s dangerous. A debt crisis, and all the terrible economic effects of that, are looming. Both parties are guilty. Every single congressional leader is to blame.
Okay, so it’s true. But how did it happen, and how are they getting away with it? The events of this week perfectly illustrate how the one-way spending ratchet works, why Congress votes to pass it, and how they’re getting away with it.
The Bipartisan Budget Act is 652 pages long. The bill increases spending by $386 billion over two years and nearly $1.5 trillion over 10 years. It also suspends the debt ceiling until after the next election.
Ah! That cool bipartisanship everyone loves. “Gettin’ the people’s business done!”
My (on books) debt projection of $40 Trillion by 2024 may be a little low.
How did this happen? Well, someone elected these cretins. How do they get away with it? Well, I predict most will be re-elected. It’s kind of like the frozen snake: invite a robber into your home and odds are you’ll be robbed. The people’s business must have something to do with naivete and stupidity. Go ring that bell.
So it goes in America: the grade fixer will go to jail; the monsters who deep-sixed the country will escape with perks and pensions.
America, college, culture, debt, education, freedom, government, internet, law, learning, Mississippi, political science, political theory, Second Amendment, students, stupidity, The People, University of Georgia
I used to want to teach law or political theory at the university level. Now I do not. Well, honestly part of me still does. However, I have come to the conclusion it isn’t going to happen anytime soon. For years – a decade or so – I had a search running at Higheredjobs.com. I recently turned it off.
After maybe 100 failed inquiry letters and several first (and last) interviews I realized there is a disconnect between me and the academic system. It’s a good thing. I would not fit in. I imagine being the only non-communist on the faculty might be uncomfortable. Less comfortable would be my students. As I have chronicled here modern university students are large toddlers, less concerned with learning than feeling safe.
There’s a new and better educational model anyway. It uses independence and technology for a new take on the classical school experience. Socrates and Aquinas would approve if they were still around. In their respective ancient days only those who desired to learn furthered their education beyond a rudimentary level.
Times had changed by the 1970s when my father was teaching at Mississippi State. The emphasis was primarily on learning but the post hippy culture was creeping in. Serious students mingled on campus with party animals. In the corners social revolutionaries plotted the future of safe spaces, inclusion, and sustainability (still not sure what they sustain – certainly not education). I remember the pretty girls and the copious amounts of coffee and cigarettes consumed by the faculty.
Times kept changing. By the advent of my tenure at the University of Georgia the counterculture was taking control. Still, those that wanted to learn could but it was frowned upon. I fell somewhere between the studious and the partyers. The pretty girls still got my attention. Things were worse in law school. There I joined, fully, the ranks of the studious. As a rebel of demented mental ability I sought out the fundamental theories and origins behind the law. I largely did so in secret and on my own.
Today the inmates run the asylum. Beyond math, science and engineering real learning is frowned upon. There’s a lot of frowning. Tell a pretty girl she’s pretty and you may be brought up on charges. Coffee still seems safe but nicotine is verboten. Say things like “I like guns” or “taxes are too high” or “people should work for a living” and the student crybabies will melt and the faculty will launch into hysterical tyrades.
To be a white man on campus results in treatment once reserved for the likes of Hester Prynne. Pride in Western tradition, morality and common sense are treated like leprosy.
The schools (as they are still called) waste resources on sports, safe spaces, counseling, women’s studies, black studies, gay black women’s studies and a host of other nonsense.
These are the universities mind you. From Harvard to Notre Dame to my beloved UGA the failure of education has spread like a cancer. The lower, primary schools (especially those run by government – most) are in even worse shape.
Notre Dame professor Dr. Patrick Deneen says even the best colleges, like his, are “committing civilizational suicide.”
“What our educational system aims to produce is cultural amnesia, a wholesale lack of curiosity, history-less free agents, and educational goals composed of content-free processes and unexamined buzz-words like ‘critical thinking,’ ‘diversity,’ ‘ways of knowing,’ ‘social justice,’ and ‘cultural competence.’
Our students are the achievement of a systemic commitment to producing individuals without a past for whom the future is a foreign country, cultureless ciphers who can live anywhere and perform any kind of work without inquiring about its purposes or ends, perfected tools for an economic system that prizes ‘flexibility’ (geographic, interpersonal, ethical).”
Frightening but accurate. What happened? What are the sane and the responsible to do?
Gary North did a fantastic job laying out the history and demise of American education. His conclusion is simple and right – “close the schools.” They have failed. They do the opposite of what was once intended. They are beyond the point of redemption. Close them all.
The public schools are in group two. They are likely to die, no matter what. The only economically relevant question today is this: “How long will voters authorize the tax money required to keep them on life support?”
– North, March 19, 2016.
He mentions the modern, better alternative, guaranteed to deliver real learning – the online education. The Kahn Academy is the largest school in the world with 25 million students. It’s free to anyone. There are others like it. They are beginning to take a bite out of traditional, failed schooling.
MIT boldly put nearly all of its courses online for free, for anyone. Some books will need to be acquired. There will be a small expense associated though many, many books are completely free on Kindle. Any ambitious young person with a laptop and a very basic comprehension of English and fundamental math can literally educate themselves at little to no cost and at their own pace.
There are a host of other opportunities online like Udemy. It’s an outfit or concept like this I may end up going with. Or I might just publish books and/or create my own e-classes in topics that interest me. The sky is the limit.
Educrats and silly professors are panicked because of this increasing competition. No time wasted waiting on the lowest common denominator to catch up. No boredom. No anti-western indoctrination. No crushing student loans of money illegally printed out of thin air.
No need to wallow amid a bunch of weak socialists in a dangerous environment. I recently noted the progress of Georgia’s H.B.859, a bill that would allow free people to legally carry firearms at state colleges. At present these schools are gun free zones – the type of places where the majority of violence occurs. It happens because criminals have a monopoly on force in such places. The bill would tilt the tables in favor of ordinary people.
As such, it is opposed by criminals and school faculty and staff lacking common sense. UGA law professor Sonja West wrote a hysterical piece for Slate decrying self-defense. Using backwards antidotal evidence and shaky psuedo legal reasoning she conveys her central thought: she does not like guns. At least not guns in private hands. It’s just terrible people might have a legal fighting chance to repel attacks; the Second Amendment be damned.
The hoplophobia and mania runs deeper at the Red and Black, UGA’s leftist student newspaper: “Donald Trump may be the 21st-century equivalent of Mussolini, but the real threat to democracy is right here in Georgia.”
That’s all I really need to quote. Having worn out the Hitler label the lefties are turning to Mussolini. The poor argument is that guns threaten democracy. Democracy is about as big a threat as one might contrive. Free people with guns are a check on violence and tyranny, democratic or otherwise. Pitiful.
There was a death at the academy. Learning died. Now the schools themselves are headed to the graveyard. I hope you will share this information with a young person and said person’s parents. Help save them from wasting time and money and from exposure to whimps, communists, and freedom haters. Help them learn and explore their world freely.
Four decades now have found me a University of Georgia football fan. I faintly recall the last national championship (1980). I vividly remember those dreary years of my actual attendance under Coach Goff. I was as thrilled as any with the arrival of Mark Richt and his early successes.
He restored the Dawgs to dominance in the toughest conference in college ball. He put UGA back in the national spotlight. That was then. Then seems an eternity ago.
Ten years have passed without an SEC title. Only once was a national title ever a possibility and that was blown with a bungled play in the final seconds against Alabama. The costly mistake was the result of poor (comparatively) coaching and failure to execute – hallmarks of Richt’s tenure. The last few seasons, again by comparison, have felt dismal.
Georgia under Richt has established it simply cannot beat good teams in big games. This, despite the yearly hosting of near NFL level talent.
The time for change has come and, as much as I respect the man, I welcome Richt’s departure. As the ESPN headline announced: “Mark Richt won a lot of games at Georgia, just not the right ones.”
The excuses for keeping Richt, all based on fear and acceptance of mediocrity, were many. “Who’s gonna replace him?” Someone. The UGA job is the biggest opening in the country. The excuse-mongers call those of us who want to win “fair weather fans” no matter our vested interest in the school and team (and despite a lack of such weather for a long time). We call them the kool-aid drinkers. They’re usually punch drunk, dreaming about “next year” – which never comes.
In addition to bad coaching UGA developed another problem: gleeful acceptance of second, third, 25th place – no desire to be the best. An AJC poll relayed the depth of this issue.
The future can very bright if the fans will unite behind excellence and refuse to accept anything but. Time will tell. Maybe not next year but we will see.
Georgia Saturdays have been tough of late. Ford.
In another century I recall walking up the hill towards Georgia’s north campus. It was a clear lovely morning. There, hanging by a noose from an ancient tree, was a mannequin clothed in ethnic African garb. Upon the corpse was affixed a sign protesting the atrocities in Somalia – this was during America’s failed intervention in that crumbled nation. Dramatic high political speech.
The hanging corpse faced downhill so as to be visible to the masses walking north from the student center and Sanford Stadium. Those at the library and the law school also had a good view. The body stayed there all day.
I think they left the beautiful tree when they erected yet another monstrous hall of learning on the hill – followed by another across the walkway. Progress.
A year or two later I was on the north campus quad, making my way to Brooks Hall. I smelled smoke and heard a commotion. Nearing the hanging tree I observed Brooks engulfed in flames.
The metal roof needed repairs and a roofer with a torch was called in. One thing led to another and then the whole structure needed repairing. It was almost a year before classes resumed therein.
Another time I trotted into the courtyard between the student center and the bookstore. There was a huge crowd gathered around the performance stage. On stage were a variety of smartly dressed loudmouths. A be-suited man was screaming into a microphone. I think it was Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist fame. If not, he was a similar hate-monger.
“Fred” ranted and raved. The gathered students jeered and mocked. A woman on stage filmed the spectacle. A police officer looked on. He was there to keep the throng from assaulting the insulting preacher though he obviously sided with the insulted. All in all, the crowd was very well-behaved. The good behavior was rewarded with belittlement and abuse:
You, slut in the pants, thou shalt burn in hell!
Black man, ye shall no the fires!
Filthy sinner, I discern thoust to be a homosexual. God hates you!
You there, … I just don’t like your looks. Sinner!
Here, we have a witch!
A young man turned to the taunted, taunting crowd and asked them to show old Fred a little respect. The crowd booed laughingly. Fred turned immediately on his defender: “Silence! Ye heathen interrupter!”
On it went. I grew weary and shuffled away. The students gave as good as they got from Hell’s street preacher.
Again, that was another century. I swear people were differen then. Remember? It was called America.
Today, any of these incidents would be the genesis of great crisis. CNN would host a campus town hall telethon. Riots would ensue. Politicians would shriek. Climates would change.
By all accounts, over the past 25 years Americans in general have changed – young people and college students especially. They have become soft as butter and about as intellectual.
National Review notes: Campus Commotions Show We’re Raising Fragile Kids. So it seems. Decades ago, armed with only flowers, college students would stand down the rifle-totting ranks of the National Guard. Now, they cower in fear of one of their own sporting a Raggedy Ann costume.
The Review’s article centers, primarily, on the stupidity at Yale.
A warning not to wear culturally insensitive Halloween costumes sparked an imbroglio at Yale, which went viral over the weekend. A lecturer asked in an e-mail, “Is there no room anymore for a child to be a little bit obnoxious . . . a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?”
Students went ballistic. When an administrator (who is the lecturer’s spouse) defended free speech, some students wanted his head. One student wrote in a Yale Herald op-ed (now taken down): “He doesn’t get it. And I don’t want to debate. I want to talk about my pain.”
They can’t debate anymore. That requires logic. It’s all about them now. Their feelings. Their offense. Their pain. The Review has also deemed them Yale’s Idiot Children.
And what happens when large numbers of these delicate little flowers are set free to navigate their way through life? They feel unsafe and demand “safe spaces.” They feel threatened by uncomfortable ideas and demand “trigger warnings.” They might even want written rules or contracts to help them negotiate sexual relations.
In other words, this is the generation the mandarins of political correctness have been waiting for.
This tragedy is part of yet a greater tragedy in the making. As America’s young grow weaker, the world gets harder. There’s a lot of danger brewing out there – terrorists, welfare-driven migrations, economic upheaval, political machinations. If the darlings can’t stand the uncomfortable idea, they will never be capable of withstanding the uncomfortable action.
Things must change and quickly if an entire generation is not to be lost to whimpdom. They fate is bad enough. Worse, civilization may hang in the balance. Oops, didn’t mean to offend anyone by writing “hang.” Oops, wrote it again…