9 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2022
    1. This is why choosing an external system that forces us todeliberate practice and confronts us as much as possible with ourlack of understanding or not-yet-learned information is such a smartmove.

      Choosing an external system for knowledge keeping and production forces the learner into a deliberate practice and confronts them with their lack of understanding. This is a large part of the underlying value not only of the zettelkasten, but of the use of a commonplace book which Benjamin Franklin was getting at when recommending that one "read with a pen in your hand". The external system also creates a modality shift from reading to writing by way of thinking which further underlines the value.

      What other building blocks are present in addition to: - modality shift - deliberate practice - confrontation of lack of understanding

      Are there other systems that do all of these as well as others simultaneously?


      link to Franklin quote

    1. I would advise you to read with a pen in your hand, and enter in a little book short hints of what you find that is curious or that may be useful; for this will be the best method of imprinting such particulars in your memory, where they will be ready either for practice on some future occasion if they are matters of utility, or at least to adorn and improve your conversation if they are rather points of curiosity.

      Benjamin Franklin letter to Miss Stevenson, Wanstead. Craven-street, May 16, 1760.

      Franklin doesn't use the word commonplace book here, but is actively recommending the creation and use of one. He's also encouraging the practice of annotation, though in commonplace form rather than within the book itself.

  2. Sep 2021
    1. Imitation, Paul says, allows us to think with other people’s brains. It is a key technique — globally and transhistorically — for learning, from babies imitating parents to apprentices imitating masters. And yet imitation is seen in contemporary US society, and schooling especially, as so debased that it is frequently punished. In fact, if Paul is correct (and I think she is, and have thought so for years when teaching writing), we should build imitation into many more of our lesson plans.

      On the importance of imitation...

      I'm reminded of Benjamin Franklin imitating what he thought were good writers to make his own writing more robust.

      See: https://via.hypothes.is/https://www.gutenberg.org/files/20203/20203-h/20203-h.htm

      Maybe the aphorism: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," should really be "Imitation is the sincerest form of learning."

  3. Aug 2021
    1. The Echo & Narcissus Writing Club is all about mimicking the work of exceptional writers in order to learn from them.

      I'm reminded here of a portion of Benjamin Franklin's passage in his Autobiography where he describes his writing process and work to improve.

      Also the main plotline of the movie Finding Forrester.

  4. Jun 2021
    1. Writing is a verb, a practice. It is labor. A paper is at least one step removed from that labor and learning. It is a product of your labor, not your labor itself. So our grading system should align with what this course is mostly about, which is your acts of learning, your labors of writing. 

      I'm reminded here of a portion of Benjamin Franklin's passage in his Autobiography where he describes his writing process and work to improve:

      About this time I met with an odd volume of the Spectator.[18] It was the third. I had never before seen any of them. I bought it, read it over and over, and was much delighted with it. I thought the writing excellent, and wished, if possible, to imitate it. With this view I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at the book, try'd to compleat the papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should come to hand. Then I compared my Spectator with the original, discovered some of my faults, and corrected them. But I found I wanted a stock of words, or a readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have acquired before that time if I had gone on making verses; since the continual occasion for words of the same import, but of different length, to suit the measure, or of different sound for the rhyme, would have laid me under a constant necessity of searching for variety, and also have tended to fix that variety in my mind, and make me master of it. Therefore I took some of the tales and turned them into verse; and, after a time, when I had pretty well forgotten the prose, turned them back again. I also sometimes jumbled my collections of hints into confusion, and after some weeks endeavored to reduce them into the best order, before I began to form the full sentences and compleat the paper. This was to teach me method in the arrangement of thoughts. By comparing my work afterwards with the original, I discovered many faults and amended them; but I sometimes had the pleasure of fancying that, in certain particulars of small import, I had been lucky enough to improve the method of the language, and this encouraged me to think I might possibly in time come to be a tolerable English writer, of which I was extremely ambitious. My time for these exercises and for reading was at night, after work or before it began in the morning, or on Sundays, when I contrived to be in the printing-house alone, evading as much as I could the common attendance on public worship which my father used to exact of me when I was under his care, and which indeed I still thought a duty, thought I could not, as it seemed to me, afford time to practise it.

  5. Apr 2021
    1. As I was gearing up to start my PhD last fall, I received a piece of advice that made a lot of sense at the time, and continues to do so. My colleague, Inba told me to 'write while I read', meaning that I should take notes and summarize research while I read it, and not just read and underline article after article. That way, not only do I not lose my thoughts while I'm reading an article, but I am actively thinking through the arguments in the paper while I am reading it and my writing is thoroughly grounded in the literature.

      This is generally fantastic advice! It's also the general underpinning behind the idea of Luhmann's zettelkasten method.

      I'll also mention that it's not too dissimilar to Benjamin Franklin's writing advice about taking what others have written and working with that yourself, though there he doesn't take it as far as others have since.

  6. Feb 2014
    1. The Benjamin Franklin Programming Practice Model
      • Find a program that you greatly admire and read it.
      • Takes note on the roles, inputs, and outputs of each major component.
      • Take notes on how the components interact.
      • Rewrite the program.
      • Compare your code with the original.
      • Note where you can improve and study accordingly.
    2. Benjamin developed his method in his early teens and worked hard at practicing his craft. Here is the exceprt with a few added line breaks for legibility. About this time I met with an odd volume of the Spectator. It was the third. I had never before seen any of them. I bought it, read it over and over, and was much delighted with it. I thought the writing excellent, and wished, if possible, to imitate it. With this view I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at the book, try'd to compleat the papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should come to hand. Then I compared my Spectator with the original, discovered some of my faults, and corrected them. But I found I wanted a stock of words, or a readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have acquired before that time if I had gone on making verses; since the continual occasion for words of the same import, but of different length, to suit the measure, or of different sound for the rhyme, would have laid me under a constant necessity of searching for variety, and also have tended to fix that variety in my mind, and make me master of it. Therefore I took some of the tales and turned them into verse; and, after a time, when I had pretty well forgotten the prose, turned them back again. I also sometimes jumbled my collections of hints into confusion, and after some weeks endeavored to reduce them into the best order, before I began to form the full sentences and compleat the paper. This was to teach me method in the arrangement of thoughts.

      Benjamin Franklin on developing proficiency.

    3. The hard part is teaching the consequences of each choice.

      Once you get the syntax and basic language idioms out of the way this is the real problem that faces us no matter what language we pick.