Crambe Repetita #118

Welcome to a newsletter of recommendations from Todd L. Burns. In every email, I suggest some things that I find interesting. Maybe you will too…

Listen

Sophie And Peter Johnston - Torn Open

Japanese City Pop, except in English. What a glorious ray of sunshine. (H/T: ST and JP!)

Read

Elizabeth Warren as a Teacher

A really great explanation of how Warren teaches using the Socratic method (and how that informs her worldview).

Chrystin Ondersma was a second-year transfer student at Harvard Law School… and hoped to study with the civil-rights theorist Lani Guinier, who… had levied a critique of how law-school classes were taught. Guinier particularly took issue with the Socratic method — whereby professors cold-called students in large lecture halls, asking them to cough up information about case law in front of their peers — as being fundamentally unfriendly to the least-privileged students in a classroom.

Ondersma agreed with Guinier about the limitations of the Socratic method, and when, during her first semester at Harvard, she saw a notice about a lunchtime lecture on the Socratic method offered by Elizabeth Warren, a professor she’d never heard of, she decided she’d go and argue her case. By phone, Ondersma remembered how, in a small conference room packed with students, Warren had laid out a case “for how, if you really care about equality in the classroom, if you care about racial justice, gender justice, and you just rely on voluntary discussion in classrooms, you’re only going to hear from the two white guys that love to talk.” For Warren, the Socratic method did not further inequities; it was a tool to mitigate them.

Warren reiterates this argument today, suggesting that “what Lani was criticizing was the Socratic method done really badly.” She said to me, “The reason I never took volunteers is when you take volunteers, you’re going to hear mostly from men. ’Cause they have a lot more confidence, and they’ll get those hands up.”

Look

Norman Rockwell takes on NASA

Anyone know of any great profiles or books about Norman Rockwell? This painting is yet another example, to me, of Rockwell having some sort of hidden and interesting side to him.