Education

Justifying Social Justice in the Classroom

In the Sunday Papers session at TAM 2014, Michelle L. Knaier presented a short talk about teaching social justice through science education. She began by defining social justice as “treating all people with fairness, respect, dignity, and generosity” and later gave some specific examples of racist, sexist, and homophobic stereotypes …

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Culture

Not Knowing What We’re Doing

The more I teach, the more I realize that students don’t really know what teachers do, and neither do the adults they grow up to be. It wasn’t until I was in my senior year in teacher school that I started to really grasp what exactly this job entails. I …

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Religion

Christian Bands and Biases

As my teen years ended, my interest in music dropped off. I still enjoyed listening to it, but I no longer bothered to learn the lyrics to songs I liked. These days, I tend not to pay attention to what the musicians are actually singing. This has led to some …

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Education

Accountability, etc.

In my last post, I wrote about good reasons for teachers to document their students’ work. However, there’s another side of this. Many of my teacher friends in the USA complain about the level of documentation they are forced to do for the sake of “accountability.” On its face, it …

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Education

Documentation

The idea of documentation has been in my life a lot lately. When I say “documentation” I’m referring to two things. One, a teacher documenting what that teacher does, and two, a teacher documenting what her students do. For example, I keep digital records of all the things that I …

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Meta

Why Aren’t You Reading This?

Not you in particular, nor this post specifically, but speaking more broadly, I do wonder why skeptics in general aren’t as interested in teaching as I would have expected them to be, based on what we tend to value. Looking at the traffic on this and other “skepticism in education” …

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Culture

On Activism

My philosophy towards teaching is that it is a sort of sacrosanct profession. It is something that is too important to take lightly and a teacher should never overstep the bounds of his or her subject. This particular thinking of mine resulted from having, in public (state-funded) schools, my own …

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Education

Teaching is Not a “Calling”

I often hear teaching referred to as a “calling,” particularly by teachers with religious leanings who realize how much difficulty and commitment is involved in this job. I take issue with this, and this is why: First, it implies a religious belief. To be called, there must be someone (or …

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Education

The Problem With Debate

Some months ago I found myself in the position of teaching debate. I had little prior experience with the details of it so I did a lot of research to make sure I was teaching it correctly. But I found something disturbing in my research, my real-life experiences with judging …

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Pedagogy

Assessment

My last post touched on assessment and as this topic has been overwhelming my life lately, I thought I should share a bit more of my perspective on this. Whenever I speak with other teachers about assessment, I’m reminded of an old joke: A drunk man is looking for his …

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