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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Pedagogy

Gathering Evidence

The more I teach, the more I realize just how much overlap there is between teaching and scientific skepticism. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about assessment lately. There are many different forms of assessment and reasons for doing it, but when you really look at it, assessment is just gathering evidence. …

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Secondary Education

Logical Fallacies

I recently found myself in a position where I needed to directly teach logical fallacies to my students, for the first time. As I spent hours researching, preparing materials, and actually teaching classes, I learned quite a few things. First, they’re difficult. Really difficult. It is easy to present an …

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Culture

Practicing What I Teach

As a teacher, I want my students to be open minded. However, I cannot expect this of them if I am not so myself. I claim that, as a skeptic, I am willing to change my mind about even my most cherished beliefs if they do not match the best …

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Critical Thinking

A Skeptatic Dialogue, Conclusion

Quentis and Firmatio: A Skeptatic Dialogue, Conclusion Continued from Part 4.   Epilogue: While the Socratic dialogues are useful in studying the Socratic method, perhaps this Skeptatic dialogue might be helpful in explaining the Skeptical method. Or perhaps not, I’m experimenting with different pedagogical techniques and this is one result. …

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Critical Thinking

A Skeptatic Dialogue, Part 4

Quentis and Firmatio: A Skeptatic Dialogue, Part 4 Continued from Part 3.   Firmatio: So that’s it then? You’re wrong and we can move on? Quentis: Not yet, the reason why I’m wrong is much more important than just the fact that I am wrong. A moment ago I told …

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