Friday, July 04, 2008

Heads of the class

Cultivating the mind

Teachers can count on book companies to flood our mail boxes with promotional materials. Full-color fliers and review copies of textbooks pour into our offices. Unfortunately, the books are often difficult to distinguish from each other and the promotional pitches all contain the same breathless prose about pedagogical breakthroughs and “student success.”

However, sometimes—and I admit this is rare—something breaks away from the pack and catches your eye. One such example was unearthed during a recent archaeological dig in my school archives, the stacks of material that clutter the drawers and shelves (and many other flat surfaces) of my office and home. This item had originally come into my possession over ten years ago and I was struck by its imaginative visuals. Decapitated students!

Not really, of course. But Quant Systems made a splash with its bizarre agricultural metaphor. My students, I'm sure, would hasten to add details about appropriate fertilizing materials.

The 800 number in the advertisement, by the way, still works. Although Quant Systems has since been transformed into Hawkes Learning Systems, the company survives. It was a leader in educational courseware and stylish fashions for math teachers, as well as one of the first to recognize the importance of the equation c2 = 4d2 + x3 + 7.

Excuse me, I have to go water my students now.

1 comment:

Interrobang said...

It seems you do a relatively good job of weeding them already, so why not. Just don't fertilise any of them, okay? You could get in big trouble for that. :)