Friday, December 1, 2017

Your preparation for Saturday Exam

I believe that the best preparation for tomorrow will be to read a couple of chapters from Global Politics book. My favourite chapter is 5 and 17. And thoughts on any additional chapter will be welcome - please add comments on the comment section Below. The book is available online. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Tamanna Returns to the Den

Tamanna Akram from Lawrence University has visited us again after a year. She did an intimate briefing session with a couple of current year students. More then half the students were unable to attend for reasons unavoidable. However, Tamanna to catch up with them after she returns from China, where she is doing a three-week long project funded by an organization. In her talk she covered areas such as application essays, life as an undergraduate, financial opportunities, and most importantly how to mentally get prepared for life in a country away from home. Tamanna brought us a few souvenir for our class and these are on display. We also have a few copies of Lawrence Brochures and more can be ordered if needed. 

The session was attended by Rafiul Azam, Ramisha Mahiyat, Samira W Khan, and Sanjeeda Tazrin. [Tamanna sits there with her signature smile on the extreme right.] It was wonderful to learn that Lawrence University is in a position to entertain international students who expect financial assistance during their undergraduate program. in keeping with our previous such sessions, we will be expecting a few more Logophiles Alumni in the month of December. We have already been confirmed a visit from Syud Momtaj Ahmed. In the meantime I would request everyone to work on the coming SAT-I exam - the best preparation could be (1) timing practice, (2) reading a lot of textual materials. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Reading Books - A Short Nice Collection

Would anyone take time to go through these titles? Most of the books are in PDF and convenient on any small device. The second link will take you to 40 short stories - some of the best in English Language. My favourite is Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving. I used the photo here that tells you how reading is never age-specific. It exist across cultures, and you never need to choose while you read things! Oh, and a book on Discrete Mathematics!!!

1. Great Authors - Selections
2. Short Stories - 40
3. Discrete Mathematics

There are a few other books on history of mathematics and state of contemporary mathematics, which I hope to update you after I talk to some of my current students who are well versed in this area.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Literature Class - A Crash History of Poetry - Delight in Disorder

 On 21st October we did a few things on poetry. In fact, we have been doing poetry on and off in this past one month. We did individual poems, we did a little bit of literary terms on poetry, we also did the opening of that wonderful film called Anne of Green Gables where Anne walks through the woods with a book under her nose while on the way home from fetching water, ending up late, getting scolded and having her book burned in the oven - which was the poem: The Lady of Shalott. Interestingly, we have been doing a little of Auden (Night Mail, Musee de Beaux Arts), Robert Herrick (Delight in Disorder), John Donne (Go and catch a falling star, get with child a mandrake root, I swear nowhere you will find a lady true and fair). We did a little bit of mind-map regarding poetry history. Today, we talked a little in detail about the capitalist society, The Great Gatsby and Daniel Kahneman's theory on how we make economic decisions, and half discussed a question: 'Does capitalism erode moral character?' We also took a look at some posters and assignments submitted by a group of theater students. We briefly mentioned Kazuo Ishiguro and his novel, 'Remains of the Day'. We almost universally condemned one particular Bangladeshi author who writes in English. Because we are prejudiced and have too high opinion about ourselves.

Monday, October 23, 2017

A Day in the Park - interrupted by a few things

Rufiyat, Ramisha, and Sanjeeda went to the park today. They will share their stories with me. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

We Exclusively Work on SAT II till 25th and then from 26th We Work on Politics & Related Issues

We will keep working on SAT II till 25th October and on the 26th we shall discuss the following items.
  1. Rise and Fall of Soviet Union (1917 - 1990)
  2. Rise of Fall of Socialism in Chile (with reference to Spanish Resistance)
  3. Breakup of British Empire - Losing the "Jewel in the Crown"
  4. Rise of American Financial Empire - with reference to Great Gatsby, Death of a Salesman, and Babbit (a students' favourite)
  5. We shall also discuss a paper that discusses Great Gatsby as a social criticism of American Capitalism. (Author: Lovisa Lindberg)
We are including these topics following Bushra's (currently Smith College student) suggestion to include Political Education in our class discussions. (We must include a discussion of Andrew Feenberg's "Critical Theory of Technology"). Feenberg's cleverly shows how there is a subtle connection between technology and political ideology. There is another reason why we are taking this step. A few students from our class has confessed how they feel very 'out-witted' with the very mention of words such as Politics, Democracy, Civil Rights, Voting Systems, Structures of Governments etc. I hope that this class will greatly improve your acquaintance with these terms and make you feel more 'empowered'. 

SAT Subject Test Preparation - a few Discussion

We discussed SAT II Subject Test areas today. We used the Collegeboard Student Guide that has FULL Syllabus for Math + Physics + Chemistry.

  1. We discussed what areas to concentrate in Maths - Function, Geometry (mainly Measurement), Trigonometry will be important test area.
  2. In Physics we identified emphasis areas such as: Mechanics, Electromagnetism, (Optics and Waves = small area but, there will be 5-6 Q.), Thermodynamics, Modern Physics = Special Theory of Relativity, Quantum, Nuclear Physics = these are also small areas but at least 1+1+1 Q. will be set.)
  3. In Chemistry there will be 3 types of Specialized Questions. You have to get used to these types. There are highest number of questions - 84 in total - that you have to do in 1 hour. This is truly Devil's Subject. One heavy area in Structure and States of Matters. Chemistry Reaction Type, Stoichiometry, and Equillibrium (expect 3 questions) and Reaction Rates. 
Below is a conversation I had with Naveen. He suggests that one should follow only Princeton for Chemistry as it is enough for preparation. But for Maths he strongly recommends Barron's. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Literature Class Alumna Anika Aalm Purba talks to Current Students

Anika Alam Purba read O' level literature in 2010, she appeared the exam in private and later 'drifted' to medicine. She'll soon be a certified professional, but she still has good memory of what she did as a student of literature. Interestingly, she gave the O' level exam by the end of her ninth grade and received "A" in her first public exam. 

Yesterday Purba met Logophiles literature students who are currently in class IX, just like Purba herself was more than half-a-decade ago. She happily prattled about how reading literature shaped up her opinion of things, how she became bold, or how she realized 'never' to judge anyone. She spoke in length how to write the answers in the exam hall - reminding us that she never prepared any answer for the exam and that all her responses to the questions in the exam hall was done 'extempore'! 

She has made a few points, a few of which strike so fundamental to reading literature. Some of her quips: 1) Literature should be made mandatory to every children; b) reading helps one to understand others; c) one should be prepared to empathize with a villain - this helps you understand human mind; d) in exams try to infuse a soft reference to other books and characters (of course do go astray); e) take a lot of notes, use these notes to help you express your mid; f) one must be able to express one's thoughts without feeling guilty. She spoke in length about her favourite books, and others joined in the discussion with raised eyebrows, approving smiles, little grunts of surprises, and happy acceptance at the fact that Purba comes for the same school they all currently study in. 

Purba left us with a promise to come back again in a not so very long time. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

What We did Today

Samrin, Ramisha, Ashfi, and Rufiyat were here. We talked of Research Papers and Essay HELL. What is this essay Hell? It is a website and a place on earth where sinners GO after failing to produce Good Essay.

Follow the link and find answer to a very pertinent question.

Is Hell Exothermic OR Endothermic?

The Quote is from Renaissance Play Dr. Faustus. The painting shows Faustus seeing Mephistopheles for the first time.  

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Submit 5 Common App Essay

5 Essays by tomorrow morning.

Our 4th Post Today

You should ALL work on the following immediately:
  1. Subject teacher Recommendation (to be later approved by your School Teacher)
  2. Counselor Recommendation (to be later approved by your School Principal)
  3. Resume / CV
  4. Additional Information (it is a 650 Words distinct essay for Common App where you show your reading and intellectual preferences. 
  5. Art, Writing, Music - portfolios should be planned with an immediate effect. Send me your plans ASAP.

Our 3rd Post Today

Samira, Adiba, Sanjeeda, Ashfi, Rufiyat, Ramisha - are asked to send me a SHORT list of books that I specifically assigned. Keep your list within 20 items.

Our 2nd Post Today

Search the names of the titles of Articles and Books through our SEARCH window on the BLOG. You can also search Foucault and Eliot. Read all available materials that is linked with the BLOG. 

A Watershed Moment - Essays and Thoughts & Philosophy

We have entered a moment when things will never be same as before. We all have tasted the fruit of different levels of 'failures'. I too have to taste it - even if vicariously. I do not have a good Essay or Plan of Work from any one of you. It is just like the years that precedes this one. There can be no doubt that you have your moments of Doubt & Chaos - all pulling you towards a kind of withdrawal and YET you must come back to take a fresh look. 

What DARE I suggest?

Should I tell you to read and watch Hamlet? Should I ask you to have a look at T S Eliot or a few of Robert Browning's poems (Fra Lippo Lippi, Andrea del Sarto, My Last Dutchess)? Should I ask you to go through all the "philosophy  of technology" texts that we had previously visited (Feenberg's Critical Theory of Technology AND Van Dusek's Philosophy of Technology?) How important is Foucault's comments on Technology? It appears that when each of the students are searching for an appropriate Major or a Field of Study to inquire they are all ill-prepared to understand the underlying principle that is fundamental to the question of "Intellectual Inquiry". 

Sadly, we do not have anyone committing to Liberal Arts subjects - it is almost a repetition of last year. As if our students will be happy to burn their life slaving at the factories, hospitals, corporate quarters, and working cubicles. I dare hope that when you are considering the fact of choosing a Major, you should also looks for elements that keep you "mentally engaged". 

We must show to the admissions committee what we are capable of BUT it must be clear to us beforehand that we are enamored to certain Ideas, Concepts, Plans, Visions, and we must do it with a flare of aggressiveness. 

I have added three pictures here. Robert Browning, one of Foucault's guffaws, and Susan Sontag at herself. Find out about them debate about them and love OR hate them. Just don't remain apathetic. The last picture is one that depicts myself in the image of someone else. 
I have been playing Indian Classical Music at regular intervals in the class. However, I NEVER received any inquiry regarding anything related to Hindustani Music which is practiced all over India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. I have been asking everyone to begin playing an instrument with a view to rediscover oneself - so far, no response. I am now considering my next move.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Welcome Note for New Students of O Level Literature

Here is a shot from the Canadian version of "Anne of Green Gables" - we see Anne is reciting or rather almost reciting from memory her lines from Tennyson's strangely trotting poem - "The Lady of the Shallot." We intend to use this poem to learn a great many things about the extraordinary power of poetry to delve beyond the apparent reality of everyday, domestic life. 

With this I welcome the O’ level Literature students – Zahraa, Sejal, Farzana, and Tanzim – who will be preparing for 2018 June exam. We have already discussed a few things from the Edexcel IGCSE syllabus and have assigned a few reading materials. I will also be working with Aamal who will be preparing with the Cambridge O’ level syllabus. She will be following slightly different syllabus. We have also decided that we shall hold classes on Saturdays from 9.15 till 12.15. We also agreed in principle that one of our alumni shall conduct a class online after we are done with the selected poems of Auden, Dickinson, and E. Bishop.  

Additionally, I intend to do a couple of short stories as these are very fast and useful means of learning some of the narrative techniques used by authors to make storytelling exciting. Finally, although Rafi is not strictly a part of literature program, he will be working with us as well. Rafi has been reading a wide range of novels and shall be preparing for his SAT this coming December. His familiarity with literature will greatly assist him in improving his SAT performance.
Pride & Prejudice
Read the book independently. But on and off I will be reading selected chapters to highlight the structure of the plot.
This will be our fundamental text for learning the Art of the Novel.
Lady of Shalott
Watch the Canadian version of “Anne of Green Gables”
We shall discuss this poem to learn a few things about the techniques of poetry.
Old Man and the Sea
Read through the sentence structure. Hemingway is a master.
This will be our primary text for learning about some CENTRAL issues of literature.
Auden + Dickinson + Bishop
Read and enjoy selected poems – Night Mail. Musee des Beaux Arts.
Learn about themes in Modern Poetry.
Poetic Language
Alexander Pope
Rape of the Lock (1712)
I included this text as everyone demanded that we did a poem for FUN.
My Antonia
Only Aamal is currently doing this text. But others can choose this as well.
This is a good text for learning the regional issues of American realistic novel.
Short stories by different authors
We shall decide the titles before the next class begins.
Learn Narrative techniques.
An Inspector Calls
This is the perfect example of a thriller cum suspense which is delivered as a Drawing Room Drama that was once so popular in the 1950s.
There is a Bengali film titled Thana Theke Ashchi – where the lead character is performed by Uttam Kumar.

Although we will follow the prescribed texts as our central reading materials, we shall definitely lay hands on a good many texts to widen our enjoyment and understanding of Literature. As part of our reading we shall engage into recitals from poems, plays, and reading sessions from novels. You are all welcome to suggest any Page / Chapter / Paragraph which you might like the rest of the class to enjoy. Please remember that will be ABSOLUTELY NO H. W. Therefore, you are free to read the assigned book OR just set aside for something more interesting. A last word. I have included two girls reading from a book. Why girls only? Should we go into a debate? A discussion? A shrug off?  

Monday, September 4, 2017

Our Works Today

Today we are working on the following materials.

Has been given a good amount of documents on AI and Computer Science. He will give a review of the large number of documents that we selected for reading. The intension is to prepare for a Very Good essay on Why Major. The readings will also be instrumental in deciding the Technical Research Paper for submission.

Has been asked to prepare two short 250 word essays for Common Application. She is having a DIFFICULT to accept the fact that first draft of an essay MUST be of an inferior Quality. She is trying to get the Best/Finest Quality on the first go - an attempt that has never been previously successful. 

Has been given the task of working some soft issues on the Common App. She is also expected to work on the reading materials that I had been giving to the students. I have already received a very well-written review of Great Gatsby - but we need to go further. I am currently thinking of assigning her will titles from American Renaissance and Continental novels.

Has been asked to work on Application portal of a state university he is applying. There are certain that needs to be taken care of before the submission.

Has already been given work that will lead to writing of a paper. He is in the middle of producing another paper on a work of historical importance from classical period.

Has been given a couple of Short Stories and she is working on these with her NEW Macbook Air. I have asked her to read Gift of the Magi, The Black Cat, and Elder Stories.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Our Myriad Works Today

We had our first full-day class of the season. As expected everyone was more-or-less unprepared for the Mock. Apart from Mock, following things were done in the class today. Islam came to class with a bagful of books - Great Gatsby, Sons & Lovers, A Passage to India, Takes from Shakespeare etc.
  1. SAT Essay: Analytical Criticism (Syntax, Structural Unity, Periodic Sentence, Personal Reference, Generalization V. Specific Example, Self-reference, Direct Quotation, Diction, Metaphor & Alliteration, Creation of Emphasis, Rhetorical Question)
  2. D H Lawrence's "Sons and Lovers" introduced
  3. "Great Gatsby" and the History of Roaring 20s and its moral universe.Roaring Era – Cyclic unemployment, Veblen’s book “Theory of Leisure Class”, the Stock Market Crush of 1929, Eric Hobsbaum.
  4. Reporting the experience of giving the Mock
  5. We had some strongly-worded advice on Why Major.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Why Reading!

Because reading secures your future - in both Social, Spiritual, and Financial terms. We have to reach the unreachable through our formidable pace in reading. But Reading MUST have a purpose - because we have limited time. And your reading MUST be documented in some form - otherwise you will not be able to make use of it when needed. In other words, you are encouraged to be able to Rcall+Remember+Revive each and every piece of writing that you will read.

Therefore, you need three things:
  1. Good Health
  2. Extraordinary Level of Concentration
  3. Method (Remember the Shakespearean Quote in Hamlet "Here's a Method in Madness")

Our Reading Assignments - a Few Observations

Current Logophiles students have just SOFTLY started to wake up to the reality of Application Works. Like every previous year, there is a general lack of Cultural Exposure and hardly any reading at all beyond Textbook acquaintance. Naveen, Rafi, Rufiyat, Adiba, Ramishat, Sanjeeda, and Tahsin - all of you are required to look through this blog-post very carefully and send me your reading updates. Samira, Samrin, and Ashfi are also requested to follow this plan.
Since, I am always prepared for this, there is a whole page dedicated to what the students shall do part of 'initiation process' - the page can be found on the BANNER - Books Film Theatre. In the past THREE weeks I had been trying to put this thing straight - that NOTHING can replace ones's preparedness for application to US colleges. In the same time we have started a "Poetry Week" and already made a few names a part of our class discussion. One can see a list of poets' names hanging from the inside part of the door - Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, Keats, Elizabeth Bishop and the inevitable Eliot-Baudelaire-Poe trinity. 

Interestingly, we have done a little in depth about Milton and the Political world of 17th Century England and tried to connect Milton's Protestant work-philosophy with the advent of Industrial Age. We have also tried to link this new approach to 'world at large' with Max Webber's concept of how progress can be achieved by a concerted investment in "Culture". 

Marx is currently a very rudimentary part of our discussion. In fact, I have NOT contributed anything beyond pointing to Marx's photograph in the Northern-wall of our classroom. I am yet to bring in the issues of Marx's discussion of political ideology through a rough ride with Manifesto of Communist Party and a very superficial discussion of Thomas Picketty's "Capital in 20th Century".

I have also made them read through a few philosophical figures and a couple of schools - Bertrand Russell, Stoicism, Atheodore Adorno, and a very flimsy mention of Foucault. Of the fictions, I have mentioned Moby Dick, Hotel Du Lac, Metamorphosis, The Stranger, and My Antonia. I have also introduced Carl Popper and Leo Strauss to Naveen and to Sanjeeda. Both sent me their own thoughts on these seminal writers. I hope to discuss both these authors in a greater length in our next class. 

I have also been giving HIGHEST emphasis on writing 2 (two) research papers - one General and one Technical research paper