Critical Thinking

A Skeptatic Dialogue, Part 1

Quentis and Firmatio: A Skeptatic Dialogue, Part 1   Quentis: Okay, if you jump three times, you can fly. Firmatio: That sounds dubious to me. Quentis: No, really. My grandmother told me about it, and her grandmother told her. It’s a family tradition that goes back thousands of years. Firmatio: …

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Education

Using Data to Find Grading Bias

I love data. A lot. When a close friend was in the hospital, I calculated the exact amount of my free time I dedicated to visiting him each day and put it in a fancy set of charts and graphs. Not for any guilt-tripping purposes, I did this for the …

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Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking for Parrots

Not actual parrots, I’m referring to humans who repeat words over and over without actually knowing what they mean. Specifically the phrase “critical thinking.” This is a very popular buzzphrase in education. So popular that I constantly see it used by people who have no idea how to actually practice …

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Culture

It Wasn’t the Best Response Ever

Here’s a surprise (not really): something went viral that probably shouldn’t have. Few things take flight faster than an angry and misguided letter from a parent. (A summary of my entire post: The father had no evidence to support his claims, and the school’s policies existed for a good reason. …

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CultureFeatured

Pseudoscience in the Non-science Classroom

Skeptics tend to focus on the science classroom, especially with Intelligent Design in the United States always trying to wedge its way in. Even if we succeed in getting all the evidentially unsupported claims out of the science classes, students are still hearing many of those claims presented credulously in …

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Pedagogy

Opting Out of Homework

One of the required readings in early March involved an article on “Opting Out of Homework.” While writing a comment to respond to it, I realized I had enough to say for a proper blog post. When I was a child, I opted out of homework. Of course, opting out …

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Pedagogy

Fairness

It started last year during a study period. The upcoming tests were serious business and my job was just to be a teacher in the room. Technically, it is the students’ time to use as they see fit. Disruptive behavior isn’t allowed, but if a student wants to quietly play …

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Pedagogy

A Quick Guide to Due Diligence

I want to be a good skeptic and a good teacher, but I have a thousand tasks to do both in and out of the classroom and things like “fact-checking” get relegated to the procrastination pile. In a perfect world, I would make sure I’m not unintentionally passing on any …

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