Two weeks ago, I started telling a story about how I got into an argument with Professor Bell in class. In general, I don't tell these stories. There is an important reason why I am holding back here. You see, the University's allegations against me are extremely vague and non-specific. In the nearly two years since those accusations began to surface, I done everything I can to try to bring those charges into the open, so I can defend myself. Well then, why don't I just come out and defend myself by telling my side of the story? Very simply, because if I do, they will simply shift their own stories to work around the evidence that I have revealed. That is how people like that operate.
In fact, the very reason that the tide has finally begun to turn in my favor is that I have been steadfast in standing my ground when it comes to knowing the specific charges against me. This strategy is paying off in ways that will become apparent in the weeks and months to come. The problem for my enemies is not that they are more than willing to lie in order to do me in: the problem is that since they don't know what I know, they risk telling a lie on which I will be able to catch them with their pants down.
So in telling today's story, I can only go so far. I can't tell you the details of the actual in-class confrontation. That's something my enemies are going to have to do first. I can only tell you the circumstances leading up to it. And that's where we left off when the story got interrupted by events in court.
The course was Philosphy of Education, and we were actually "covering" material that I was intensely interested in. I already told you about two occasions where I kept my mouth shut instead of jumping into the fray, and I told you why. These were the Four Learning Styles, and Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain. We had moved past those topics, and now we were onto Bloom's Levels of the Affective Domain; and this would be the day when I broke my silence.
The reason I'm telling this story is because one of my newer correspondents, He Who Carries Fire (HWCF) alluded to it in his justification of why I deserved to be kicked out of school, which you can read in the comment field here. I've become aware that the identify of my correspondents has become a topic of some speculation among those of my classmates who follow the blog. I was only with them for nine weeks, so in many cases I've forgotten their names, even when they made a real impression on me. But I'm going to guess that HWCF is Steve Whitmore. Now, Steve was maybe my first impulse, but I rejected the thought for some logical reasons; most importantly, because although there were moments when I felt a deep hostility coming from him, there was an incident late in the term when he spoke out in Professor Bell's class about me in a very supportive way. It was immediately after one of Bell's habitual put-downs which followed my voicing an opinion, and Michelle Rosner had just spoken out by saying she appreciated my comments. Steve chimed in to echo Michelle's sentiments. I understood them to be giving a subtle rebuke to Professor Bell for the way he had been disrespecting me since the start of the year. So I had been counting Steve as one of my supporters.
But on further reflection, I recall that Steve's seatmate was Jennifer Babcock, a statuesque, clear-eyed PhysEd major whose loathing for me gave enormous credibility to the movement to kick me out: in fact, it was her complaint to the Dean that started the wheels in motion. I think Steve's outlook was strongly influenced by Jennifer, and if there was a moment where he had started coming around to my side, it's not hard for me to believe that Jennifer would have swayed him back the other way in the subsequent weeks and months.
But none of that is really the reason why I identify Steve with HWCF: in the end, it's just a gut feeling based on the florid, emotionally charged writing style that somehow says to me: It's Steve! Steve! Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I've become a bit of a gambler in my old age, and that's where I feel like putting my money.
But let's get back to Bloom's Levels of the Affective Domain. What exactly is the Affective Domain? Well, if the cognitive domain is about reasoning, maybe the affective domain is about feeling. This was something I wanted to know about. Ever since I was in school, I was recognized as a "borderline genius". As a kid, I "knew" I was smarter than all the other kids...everyone told me so. But eventually I started to figure out that I wasn't really smarter than everyone else...I just happened to be smarter in the things that got measured on IQ tests. When it came to real-life tasks like getting a good deal on a used car, or fixing a leaky faucet, or even going to a bar and talking a girl into going home with you...it was obvious to me that the world was full of people WAY smarter than me.
There's another reason why I had given this whole question a lot of attention over the years. Everyone knows that the Jews are the "Chosen People". But just what does that mean? It's a question we ourselves don't deal with very well. On a superficial level, a lot of Jews say...look at Albert Einstein...it means we're smarter than everyone else. And maybe...just maybe we are a tiny bit smarter on average. I once did the calculation of what would happen if you shifted our IQ bell curve two percentage points to the right. It turns out that's enough to justify the fact that we've won 25% of the Nobel Prizes in Physics with less than 1% of the world's population. (Because the effect of the shift is amplified at the far end of the spectrum.) The point is that if you have any sense of introspection on this, the whole question of what it means to be "smart" is something that you have to come up against sooner or later just on account of being Jewish.
So when Professor Bell talked about the different styles of learning, and the different levels of cognitive function, even though I was interested and had things I wanted to say, there was no real urgency to engage him in a discussion. Because what was he going to tell me that I didn't already know? But now he was talking about the affective domain...and this was something I had only started getting interested in over the past ten years, when I had started developing my own insights. It was something I was very interested in learning about...
Or was it? As I listened attentively to Professor Bell droning on, it became clear to me that I had no idea what he was talking about. I thought the affective domain must have been about feelings and emotions, but all I could hear from the Professor was bla bla bla bla...
So I raised my hand to ask a question. I'm not going to tell you the words I said, because like I explained at the start, this is where it's up to my accusers to put their version on the record first. All I'm telling you is how we got to that point. From a strategic point of view, it's actually just a little damaging to my case to even reveal as much as I have here, but hey...what the heck. It's fun to talk about these things.
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A couple of short post scripts to the above: first, I just remembered that Professor Bell had actually given me a grade of zero out of five for my application of Bloom's Levels to my Unit Plan, the major term assignment worth 20% of the course grade. I wonder what I would have had to do in order to get a grade of say, 2.5 or even 3? (I think I'm safe in saying that most students were given 5/5 for this category of the marking rubric.)
Secondly...I think it's REALLY important to learn how to recognize and manage your emotional feelings and senses...certainly a lot more important than learning how to factor polynomials. I don't know what Professor Bell thought he was teaching us that day, but it sure wasn't what it could have been. And by the way, I think my little digression in the middle of this post where I try to guess the identify of HWCF could be considered a small example of how the brain functions in the affective domain. It's very different from the way my brain works when I'm solving a physics problem, but it's pretty important in real life.