I'd started the week with a short slide show about Bill Levitt and the creation of the Levittowns, the first planned suburbs that eventually became the model for most all the suburbs in America for the next 40 years. These are the kinds of suburbs (most with townhomes or McMansions instead of the Levitt cottages) that many of my students live in. So I'd set them up, used the principle of contrast to allow them to see the future that is/that "became," and set Fuller's ideas off against that.
It worked amazingly well. To have students wondering why this just didn't happen, why the currency of a good idea was not enough to sell America on his genius, that's something I don't get to see everyday. I wish I did. But that's the drug that keeps me teaching, that aha! moment.
|Feynman and C-clamp demonstration|
We're examining the characters of these two men--biographically speaking we're reading their stories and trying to understand them as characters dealing with conflicts--through the lens of Carol Dweck's notion of mindsets. We're trying to understand the manner in which they faced challenges, dealt with dilemmas, and overcame obstacles by reading, within their dispositions and personalities, aspects of fixed and growth mindsets.
For students in an English class, this study opens the door to deeper understandings of characters and personalities. Indeed, understanding people better was one of the main reasons I became an English major in the first place, as the study of character always lead me to better understanding of those around me.