Monday, August 31, 2015

Raisa's mail on = Why Major - Research Paper - MIT Portal

Dear Sir, 

One thing that I have learnt from the application process last year is that the Why Major essay is one of the most important aspects of applying to colleges. It is absolutely crucial to subtly let the universities know what you're passionate about without actually SHOWING your passion. 

I remember that while writing my Why Major last year, I struggled a great deal in finding good research papers on Geology, which was my major of choice. I was digging through my bookmarks on my Browser today and found a link where you can get thousands of research papers from MIT archives just by searching with a key word. It helped me shape my Why Major essay, and also allowed me to learn a great deal about Geology - not only as a science but also its socio-economic impacts. 

Please find the link below and share it with your current students who may be struggling to find significant research papers on their subject of interest. This is also an excellent way to see how research papers are constructed - which is important knowledge we lacked at the beginning of our research paper-writing endeavors. 


Raisa

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Indivisual BOOK Assignmennt for Tuesday

Ifrat - In The Light of What We Know
Image result for bookSusan - Sea of Poppies
Labib - A Streetcar Named Desire
Ishtiaq - Please remind me your Title through e-mail
Wasifur -  Moby Dick
Bushra -Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Zayed -Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Azima - Reading Lolita in Tehran

I do not recall some of the titles. Please inform through e-mails.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Viber Conference with Ahsanul from Sewanee University

Today, we had a Viber Conference during our morning class at 8.30 am. Ahsanul talked to the students about a few things (a summary of his talk in noted below):
  1. Ahsanul insisted that students who are eager to get "Good" admission should better train themselves into several other things that is NOT connected with School Transcript and Exam Scores/Grades. Ahsanul also insisted that students take a strong interest in Art and Literature as this will show Admissions Committee that the student is fully disposed to think critically and 'out of the box'.
  2. Ahsanul informed the students that he is the first Bangladesh student in Sewanee University after a break of 4 years. He also mentioned that he is currently receiving 85% in Financial Aid.
  3. Ahsanul mentioned that he found his Computer Science Engineering department has top quality resources and provides huge opportunity for international students. 
  4. One very important thing Ahsanul mentioned was that students often make major mistakes in choosing their Major, in choosing Colleges, and by NOT developing a creative-critical approach to studies. May be I will again ask Ahsanul to shed some fresh light on this particular issue on coming Saturday. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Institute of Microfinance + An Article by Prof. Nazrul Islam

Susan and Zayeed are requested to take a brief look at Institute of Micro Finance and an article by Dr. Nazrul Islam, ex-Senior Economist at World Bank. We spend 5 minutes discussing the matter before the class tomorrow.

Institute of Micro Finance - Bangladesh
Middle Class Being Hijacked by WB

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Individual Work Assignments - Our Work Tomorrow - Come Prepared

Tomorrow morning I shall review a few more things about Reading and Writing sections, and Vocabulary. I shall also give an EXPRESS-Train Style review the following works - click the link here: Works of August 2014

The following assignments are given - although this is NOT a full list, and lacks specific details. I would appreciate very if you send me mails with longer details of your individual tasks.

Undergrad Applicants
Susan = Novels and readings from Economic theories.
Azima = Have assigned the "theme" of Comm App. A short-list of books has been assigned which she takes up after resuming classes. 
Bushra =Have assigned a complete theme - but we are YET to find a way of presenting the theme.
Ifrat = Why Major still incomplete - no reading items in the last 3 days.
Labib = Assigned a few reading items including The Stranger
Wasifur = Reading items assigned, research paper in progress (but no news in last 3 days)
Zayeed = Expecting a long list of things that includes a Why Major (research articles included)
Abidur = Assigned some reading items - but so far not a big progress. Assigned works from the Critical Reading Strategies from Barron's that has been mailed (Barron's Crit Reading Strategies has been mailed to all SAT students.)
Procchod = Still going very slow - I am sure that it is not going to stay this way for long.
Afrida = Have been receiving regular updates of readings. We work  on Comm App (priority) after you return.
Maisha = Already working a "guided" essay topic intended for Common App. A good number of reading items, which includes Henry James.
Mahir = Assigned a good number of novels - you should give me a review of your reading by tonight.
Arnab = A few assignments that includes research paper sorting, reading items of novels.
Ishtiaq = A good start we had. Batleby the Scrivener and Metamorphosis
Samirah = Shall not be attending our sessions any more.

Grad School Applicants
Saadman = SOP first full draft in progress - I was expecting additional texts. Completion of the UT Dallas Application, readings from Delanceyplace
Aniqa = Some reading assignments, completion of the NC Application, readings from Delanceyplace

Monday, August 24, 2015

Our Class Tomorrow at 8.30

But, some of you may not make it by 8.30 am - but please try to make it by 8.45 am.

By the way, I just cam across following extraordinary comment in the YOUTUBE comment page under the Film - The Moth. Anyone interested to to watch and talk about the film?

"The Edwardian era stands out as a time of peace and plenty. There were no severe depressions, and prosperity was widespread. Britain's growth rate, manufacturing output, and GDP fell behind its rivals, the United States and Germany. The nation still led the world in trade, finance and shipping, and had strong bases in manufacturing and mining.[2] The industrial sector was slow to adjust to global changes, and there was a striking preference for leisure over entrepreneurship among the elite. However, London was the financial centre of the world—far more efficient and wide-ranging than New York, Paris or Berlin."



Terry Pratchett on Writing



Image result for sir terry pratchettSir Terry Pratchett (Novelist, Science Fiction writer) maintained that to write, you must read extensively, both inside and outside your chosen genre and to the point of "overflow". He advised that writing is hard work, and that writers must "make grammar, punctuation and spelling a part of your life." Pratchett regarded monetary rewards as "an unavoidable consequence", rather than the reason for writing. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Geneva Study Tour Program - Salman Habib's Presentation



Today we had an unannounced briefing session conducted by Salman Habib regarding 2016 Geneva Study Tour Program. As you were all given the details of the program, I will not repeat the details here. I am glad to inform that already two students of last year and 2 students from current year have expressed their willingness to participate in the Geneva Program. I am still hopeful that may be one or two more students may be willing to offer themselves. Those who want to be in touch with Salman Habib may contact him over the e-mail. [salmanhabib19@gmail.com]

In the meantime, I want to assure everyone that coming Tuesday we MUST have our pre-assigned MOCK. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mock ON Saturday at 8.30 am - Understanding Henry James's world

This is to confirm that we will have a SHORT MOCK on Saturday (22 August). I was hoping that we will have the FULL Mock in the class - but unfortunately my Leg-plaster will be removed on 31st August.

Our MOCK will include sections from Critical Reading and Writing Sections only. The students are also requested to send me reading reports as before.

Today, I sat with Maisha to discuss Henry James' novel The Wings of the Dove - the Syntactic Pattern used by Henry James is entirely his own invention. This Syntax is also influenced by the latest theories of Psychoanalytic Process newly discovered by the Linguists of the late 19th and early 20th century. I hope that when we meet in our regular class - someone will raise this issue of James' syntax and its novelties. The picture used here is that of Helena Bonham Carter, one of the finest actors of modern times, and one who was able to do justice to Heaviness to Jamesian Characters. If you intend to watch the FILM made form the novel, then reading the novel will be almost impossible - as the film actually Interprets the central theme of the novel - how a character FEELS the external world through her inner gaze.


 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Questioning Technology - a Review Article

Everyone is requested to read the article on the following link. We shall discuss this issue in class on Tuesday.

Questioning Technology

Two E-mails by Two Students

The TWO following extracts are from TWO mails sent by Susan (first one) and Maisha (second one). I have also included a short commentary at the end of the second one. 




1.      I read all the blog post from August 2014 and I have to say the amount of work they finished by this time back then is almost unimaginable. A feeling of hopelessness consumed me but I believe if they can do it so can I. Some of the students have shared their tactics of work i.e. multitasking or reading 8 or even 9 books at once. Sounds impossible but they did it anyway. I think that is the mentality we should all be working with, making the impossible possible. I am currently reading paper boys. I plan on working on Sea of poppies, my Antonia, Ancient Greece and Wuthering Heights. You will be receiving all reports on them. I will work on my report writing skills and involve myself more into them instead of writing about the text only. I am also working on the ‘why major essay’, you will be receiving my first draft by today.

2.      An assessment of The Stranger: Reading is taking me far longer than I had expected. I am making slow progress with Stranger and thus, am going to write a short (quite overdue) report on it. 

From the beginning the writer paints the scene with a stark lack of emotion, a most harsh pragmatism, that lingers throughout the book. The first paragraph shocks, but locks you down too. How could someone talk in such a matter-of-fact tone about his mother's death? The date of the death would be a matter of minor concern for most of us, as we would be overwhelmed by the news of the death itself. It was shocking, but it kept me reading. I pondered what that imparted about my character for a little, but it was time to get on with the book. 
Meursault does not unfold as the book continues. The writer shows his love of simplicity and uses only black and white to paint his protagonist. The simplicity is what makes the character so brilliant. The reader is consistently in awe of how indifferent the man is to emotions. Through the crisp simplicity the writer beckons the reader to delve deeper; surely there must be some cause for this disturbing behavior? We plow through the book searching for a clue to the mystery. We see streaks of grey in the black and white when we see Meursault's tendency to often guilty and apologetic; especially about his mother's death. This only inspires us further to investigate the source of this strange cocktail of emotions; guilt and indifference. Did he not want to see his mother's face to avoid the onslaught of even more guilt? The old man at the night vigil adds further mystery. Did he know something we did not? We had to find out. 

As the story progresses we see a lustful side of him; a spark of emotion perhaps? Camus disappoints again. Meursault feels lust devoid of any emotions. Marriage and love mean little to him and he is as blunt as a hammer when he expresses that to Marie. Though everyone else is appalled by Salamano's behavior towards his dog, Meursault is not the least bit ruffled. When Raymond asks him for help to violently punish his mistress, Meursault unflinchingly complies. Just as he uses only one room in his apartment, he seems to use only one room in his brain; that of logic. All the other rooms sealed shut and if an emotion tries to escape, it is beat down and silenced. Meursault relishes this, perhaps because he feels in control of the situation in this way. He feels most uncomfortable in situations which make him vulnerable to emotions e.g. his mother's funeral. As a result, he loves to be alone and knows how to keep himself entertained, as we see when he spends hours looking out his balcony or when he goes to prison and efficiently avoids the insanity that isolation incites by thinking of something as mundane as his room. Or is he insane already? 

Another underlying theme is patriarchy. It is present in the main character Meursault, who only looks to women as objects of pleasure and has no feelings to spare for them. It is also portrayed through Marie, who loves Meursault dearly even though he treats her like she is worthless. But it is most apparent in the way Raymond treats his mistress. It is apparent in the way that he feels it is right to beat her until he draws blood from her body because he suspects that she has committed theft. It is apparent in the way Meursault does not need convincing when Raymond asks for his help. It is even more apparent when the police let Raymond off with a simple warning. It is safe to say that  had this happened in a country such as France today, Raymond would get much more than a warning. It stands to show how far feminism has progressed. (This underlined part is quite debatable. I have a lot of things to say against the conclusions made here.) 

There is a disturbing lack of emotion that Meursault has towards killing. In an irrational move, he takes a life and makes sure he takes it (he fires four more shots into the body) and he finds no need to justify it. Even though his lawyer and the judge struggle to justify it for him, to make sense of his actions, he feels no need to give the killing any substance. He describes his act as "simple". The lack of justification jolts the reader as it goes completely against society's struggle to bring order to chaos. It opens up quite a frightening part of Meursalt to us.