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nerd teacher [books]

whatanerd@bookwyrm.social

Joined 3 years, 4 months ago

Anarchist educator who can be found at nerdteacher.com where I muse about school and education-related things, and all my links are here. My non-book posts are mostly at @whatanerd@treehouse.systems, occasionally I hide on @whatanerd@eldritch.cafe, or you can email me at n@nerdteacher.com. [they/them]

I was a secondary literature and humanities teacher who has swapped to being a tutor, so it's best to expect a ridiculously huge range of books.

And yes, I do spend a lot of time making sure book entries are as complete as I can make them. Please send help.

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nerd teacher [books]'s books

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75% complete! nerd teacher [books] has read 45 of 60 books.

Mary Jo Maynes: Schooling in Western Europe (1985, State University of New York Press) No rating

Mary Jo Maynes looks to school reform in early modern Europe to show the relevance …

But, for the most part, the abandonment of popular schooling to the existing state apparatus, on the assumption that the state would eventually become a vehicle of the workers' movement, was a serious strategic error resulting from a misunderstanding of the dynamics of change. The abandonment of the refusal to be ''educated by their rulers" that marked working-class strategies everywhere in Western Europe in the late decades of the nineteenth century represents a turning point in working-class consciousness, strategy, and, it would seem, potential to act as the agent of revolutionary transformation.

Schooling in Western Europe by  (Page 115)

Mary Jo Maynes: Schooling in Western Europe (1985, State University of New York Press) No rating

Mary Jo Maynes looks to school reform in early modern Europe to show the relevance …

The chronological development of working-class political attitudes seems telling as well. Wherever it has been traced, the evolution in attitudes took working-class strategists from a period of creative, if somewhat utopian, planning of genuine alternative visions of the meaning and purpose of education to at least a tacit acceptance of the bounds of the school system created by the states, beholden to interests contrary to those of the emergent working classes. Not surprisingly, this evolution paralleled a more general shift in the demands and organizational strategies of working-class movements as well. In the early part of the nineteenth century, artisans and early factory workers still often struggled to challenge the very system of industrial capitalism which threatened to undermine their way of life. By the century's end, the working-class movement fought instead to secure for workers the best possible situation within a world dominated by industrial capital. Whatever their degree of opposition vis-à-vis those dominant powers, workers' organizations nonetheless accepted the new ground for the struggle.

Schooling in Western Europe by  (Page 114)

Mary Jo Maynes: Schooling in Western Europe (1985, State University of New York Press) No rating

Mary Jo Maynes looks to school reform in early modern Europe to show the relevance …

Furthermore, even if in France the imagination of some working-class theorists remained more open to alternatives than did those of their English and German counterparts, the failure actually to implement any alternative national educational policies there was equally apparent. Despite the evidence that class-conscious workers all over Western Europe were aware of the class character of the education their children were receiving in the public schools, the fact remains that organized political movements acting on behalf of the working classes rarely went beyond asking for higher budgets for and more equal access to the very schools they criticized.

Schooling in Western Europe by  (Page 114)

Mary Jo Maynes: Schooling in Western Europe (1985, State University of New York Press) No rating

Mary Jo Maynes looks to school reform in early modern Europe to show the relevance …

Although the overall tendency was for the workers to slip into the demand for equality within the existing educational system, as was true elsewhere, the Proudhonian influence as well as the vitality and importance of the artisan sector in which it flourished helped to keep alive the alternative tradition in France emphasizing both "self-education" and maternal domestic education. This is reflected, for example in the plan presented by Emil Aubry of the Rouennais chapter of the International at its meeting in 1869. His emphasis was on the educative role of the mother (who was, in fact, assigned the task of teaching her children how to read and write), on the necessity of openness of the school system to parental influence and parental visits, and on the undermining of monopolistic claims by the state. Similarly, a critique in the working-class newspaper La Réforme Sociale of the reform program of the radical bourgeois deputies to the Legislative Assembly also reflected this distrust of simply allocating to the state the role of educator. "Free and obligatory schooling," wrote the editor Rilbourg, "if it became an institution, would only produce unsatisfactory results. The people, if it wants to liberate itself, must organize its own education, it must not rely either upon bourgeois parliamentarians or religious congregations."

Schooling in Western Europe by  (Page 113)

Mary Jo Maynes: Schooling in Western Europe (1985, State University of New York Press) No rating

Mary Jo Maynes looks to school reform in early modern Europe to show the relevance …

But, Duveau argues, it was the anarchist Proudhon who was the most influential thinker of the French workers' movement in its early years, and his ideas come up again and again in educational proposals of working-class militants. Like Cobbett in England, Proudhon valued an education that would reflect the values and interests of working-class families; but like many of the British radicals, his thinking was explicitly patriarchal. He claimed in one essay that "the single essential thing, is that the school-teacher please the fathers of families, and that there are teachers for them to send or not to send their children to...." He insisted on domestic education, the training of young children at home by their mother reflecting both his suspicion of the state and his rigid gender role stereotyping.

Schooling in Western Europe by  (Page 112 - 113)

Mary Jo Maynes: Schooling in Western Europe (1985, State University of New York Press) No rating

Mary Jo Maynes looks to school reform in early modern Europe to show the relevance …

For [Clara] Zetkin, home teaching was a necessary component of critical education. A minority within the SPD thus advocated the development of an alternative educational vision more in line with socialist principles, but they remained a minor and ineffectual voice within the socialist movement as a whole in Germany. The incorporation of the working-class movement into the political system, and the priority it placed on political goals, served to stifle any real challenge to the schooling process and education generated by an essentially bourgeois impetus. And even though, as recent research demonstrates, working-class culture was not reducible to SPD culture, no alternative proletarian educational vision emerged.

Schooling in Western Europe by  (Page 111 - 112)

Mary Jo Maynes: Schooling in Western Europe (1985, State University of New York Press) No rating

Mary Jo Maynes looks to school reform in early modern Europe to show the relevance …

Most of the time, in order to serve the long-range vision of state-controlled schooling in a worker-controlled state, the program was reduced in effect to that of the liberals. Schooling should be secular, free, and egalitarian—workers should have equal access to higher education.

Schooling in Western Europe by  (Page 111)

Marilyn Singer, LeUyen Pham: A Stick Is an Excellent Thing (Paperback) 2 stars

Simple but Not Fun

2 stars

I read this with one of my students, and both of us found it a bit boring. That's about all I can say for the book. Neither of us really enjoyed it. It was just... something we had to read.

But finding the following sentence in its marketing descriptions has made me find it more obnoxious:

At a time when childhood obesity rates are soaring and money is tight for many families, here is a book that invites readers to join in the fun of active play with games that cost nothing.

I would not support books that use fatphobia to try to sell themselves, so download (and print) it if you want to read it. The author or illustrator (or both) should also be working against this, as "outdoor play" is not a solution to childhood obesity... But a whole range of other things that are not individual solutions …

reviewed Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot)

Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express (2013, HarperCollins) 4 stars

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train …

Christie had better works.

3 stars

This book is probably one of her most well-known novels with a dozen or so adaptations, and I personally find it to be the most bland (in terms of writing) but most interesting (in terms of its adaptations).

In terms of writing a mystery, I find many of the clues too subtle to even be recognisable. Some of that is due to the audience she was clearly writing for, with Americanisms being far less common in daily speech (such as the clue of an English person who uses the phrasing of 'long distance' rather than 'trunk call', which wouldn't really even seem like a clue to many people today). Some of it is due to things that, probably as a person from the United States reading this book, I find to be more perplexing than useful as clues because they also felt wrong for us (like an American actress playing …

Mary Jo Maynes: Schooling in Western Europe (1985, State University of New York Press) No rating

Mary Jo Maynes looks to school reform in early modern Europe to show the relevance …

Again, the function of these autonomous educational facilities in furthering a radical consciousness and culture during the early phases of the workers' movement is striking. In the associations, workers could use libraries, attend classes, and hear lectures on subjects of interest to them. Popular topics included not only work-related subjects like machine technology and technical developments pertinent to the various trades, but also aspects of the natural sciences and themes directly pertinent to the evolution of social relations, especially historical subjects. For example, the members of the Leipziger Arbeiterverein organized lectures during 1875 on the uprising of enslaved workers during antiquity and on the French Revolution, as well as discussions of political economy and literature.

On the other hand, the bourgeois-influenced Vereine generally espoused a different view. Subscribing to a self-help philosophy, they emphasized the role which these kinds of associations could play in improving the lives and prospects of individual workers. The bourgeois associations maintained their focus on education, avoiding political entanglement, and formed one branch of the program of the liberal sectors within the German Bürgertum to enlighten workers and improve their condition.

Schooling in Western Europe by  (Page 110)

commented on Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot)

Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express (2013, HarperCollins) 4 stars

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train …

I know this is an old book, but it's annoying that publishers don't read for editing because they're cheap bastards. There are so many times where a character has wrongly addressed someone (e.g., Hubbard, after referring to Poirot as 'Mr Poirot' a dozen times, suddenly calls him 'M Poirot' ... which is the shortening for the French) or people who've used Anglicised names (a French conductor whose name is something Michel being called Michael by his French manager).

Becky Chambers: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Paperback, 2016, Harper Voyager) 4 stars

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The Wayfarer, …

Definitely worth reading, if only because it feels different from other sci-fi.

4 stars

I want to just start that I genuinely enjoyed this book more than I was expecting. I've found myself quite disappointed by sci-fi as of late because so much of it feels... the same, even when it's recommended for being 'more queer' or 'more feminist' or something. It still follows the same patterns, same narrative beats, same... failure to even imagine something different or new.

It's also been quite tiring reading a lot of sci-fi that focuses on perpetual conflicts. And while this book includes a conflict of sorts, it does not focus purely on the conflict itself. Instead, it focuses on the relationships between all of the characters. It looks at how things impact them, how they feel about each other, how they get to know each other... It actually gives a very necessary look at people within sci-fi, which I think more stories are in need of.

There …

Mary Jo Maynes: Schooling in Western Europe (1985, State University of New York Press) No rating

Mary Jo Maynes looks to school reform in early modern Europe to show the relevance …

Social historians are far from agreeing about the character of this radical culture. But it seems likely that the emerging proletarian existence, family life, and culture were probably as alien to most radicals as they were to middle-class reformers. As important as the radical tradition was to the formation of the working class, its basis in the relatively privileged circles of skilled male workers led it in directions that already in the early nineteenth century presaged cleavages within the working classes that would emerge more fully later on.

Schooling in Western Europe by  (Page 107)

Mary Jo Maynes: Schooling in Western Europe (1985, State University of New York Press) No rating

Mary Jo Maynes looks to school reform in early modern Europe to show the relevance …

In the mining communities studied by Colls, in fact, mine owners' interest in school provision is directly connected with the threat which the miners' organization for self-education represented. In his view, the colliery schools eventually established under the auspices of the charitable institutions, backed by the owners and other members of the propertied classes, were "a massive exercise in trying to shift the nascent loyalties of children away from the community which would nurture them and the men and women who had borne them." In this community, where the class struggle of the middle decades of the nineteenth century was especially evident, the class character of the schools was apparent to all concerned.

Still, if during this era of British educational history radicals stated the issues clearly and proposed alternatives to proffered schooling, in the end those alternatives failed. The Durham case is but one of many. Indeed, in many industrial communities, their acquiescence occurred without the outright repression apparent in the Durham example. In a recent general study of radical culture in mid-Victorian England, Trygve Tholfsen suggests that this culture succumbed to a certain extent because of what it shared with the dominant utilitarian creed, in particular, a faith in individual self-improvement and a commitment to respectability. Ruling-class hegemony was never complete, Tholfsen argues, for the ultimate role of coercion behind the liberal ideology could not but be clear to the radicals through their experiences with trade unionism. Still, the appeal of a "softened" ethos of progress was unmistakable. Tholfsen focuses on ideological change, but other social historians have suggested that the class basis of the early radical ideology also predisposed it to ultimate failure. As Richard Johnson has pointed out, the radical culture was rooted in the "small producer's final cry against the intrusion of industrial capitalism," as were many of its educational proposals. Behind them lay appeals to preserve the family enterprise of the independent producers and the patriarchal values and lifestyle that went with it. For example, Roland Detrasier's call (in 1831) for schools "where your daughters shall be taught to become good wives and good mothers and your sons good citizens, husbands, and fathers," exemplifies the radical vision, and its limits.

Schooling in Western Europe by  (Page 106 - 107)

Mary Jo Maynes: Schooling in Western Europe (1985, State University of New York Press) No rating

Mary Jo Maynes looks to school reform in early modern Europe to show the relevance …

Formal schooling has taken over the teaching of cognitive and social skills to such a degree that the concepts of "schooling" and "education" are now virtually indistinguishable to the modern mind. The two phenomena are, of course, not identical, but we tend to think they are. This close identification itself has a history, and it dates to the era of school reform. In fact, to many of the more articulate defenders of the popular interest, it was the very threat by the state to take over the whole task of teaching their children which made schooling so dangerous a proposal to many ordinary people.

Schooling in Western Europe by  (Page 103 - 104)