Let’s Just Abandon Debate

Last year, I wrote about problems with debate and made a few points about how the way debate is done in schools is problematic. Now, after having to make another professional dive into it, I find myself needing to clarify and reiterate a few points. As can be said for …

EducationHigher Education

Precarious Academic Employment and Material Goods Do Not Mix

This week is Fair Employment Week in Canada. It’s an annual event put on by the Canadian Association of University Teachers and their provincial counterparts to raise awareness of the precarious work conditions of adjunct employees. The week is usually marked by sad stories of the economic difficulties faced by …


Don’t Promote “Just Vote”

(Note: To be clear, by “just vote” I am not referring to any organization bearing that name or motto, I am referring only to the phrase in common parlance.) Continuing with my “don’t” theme, it is once again that time where I start hearing the same piece of rhetoric repeated …

Required Readings

Bloom’s taxonomy, presidential politics and education, evolving science ed, and more: Required Readings, 10.13.16

After a lengthy hiatus thanks to a cross-country move, a new job, and the resulting temporary dearth of spare brain cells, Required Readings has returned! Let’s start out nice and gentle with some pretty (yet educational) pictures: Visually striking depictions of Bloom’s taxonomy of classifying levels of expertise for instruction purposes. …


Don’t Teach “Evaluating Sources”

Okay, so that title was a bit of an attention getter. I’m not going to say that you shouldn’t teach students how to evaluate sources at all, just not necessarily when you think you should. Teachers are faced with the task of figuring out exactly what aspects of their subjects …


The Atomic Priesthood and Other Opportunities for Cross-Campus Collaboration

Last month, I wrote about how the Sokal hoax was an opportunity for humanists and scientists to cross campus and start working together, and that one of the fruits of this collaboration is the relatively new field of ecocriticism. Peter C. van Wyck’s book Signs of Danger: Waste, Trauma, and …


If You’re That Worried About the P.C. Police Coming For Your Job, Then Join a Union

The media loves to hate political correctness, especially political correctness in academia. Political correctness, they tell us, is aiding terrorism and threatening our freedoms. Never mind that a white nationalist is the Republican nominee for President of the United States: to these pundits, it’s those damn kids in college with …

Lesson Plans

Lesson: Bad Chart Thursday

This lesson plan could be adjacent to or independent from my “Critical Lunching” lessons. This takes advantage of Melanie Mallon’s great Skepchick series called “Bad Chart Thursdays.” Level: advanced pre-secondary, secondary, or post-secondary (depending on charts used) Subject: language arts, social studies, critical thinking, math, science, or related subject Objectives: …

Critical ThinkingGovernmentLesson PlansSecondary Education

Thesis and Evidence – teaching the 2016 election without bias and with the Common Core

There is no one more intent on making America great than a U.S. history teacher. Calculus teachers might struggle to make their material relevant, but history teachers do not. Students still complain, asking “What’s the point of learning this?” But, unlike higher math teachers, we have an answer. Because one …

The cover of issue 127 of the journal Social Text
Critical ThinkingHigher EducationPublishingScience

Evaluating the Sokal Hoax Twenty Years Later

Twenty years ago, in May 1996 (okay, twenty years and four months—sue me), Alan Sokal, a physicist at with appointments at the University College London and New York University, published a ground-breaking paper in the respected critical theory journal Social Text. The paper has been highly influential. I learned about …