Higher EducationPedagogy

“Syllabus Day” Happens for a Reason

It’s Back-to-School season again, also known to educators as time for classroom-management think pieces, syllabus guides, curricular critiques, and ritual lamentations for summer to make their yearly rounds on social media. Popular among my colleagues this year has been this critique of the phenomenon of “Syllabus Day” by Kevin Gannon, in …

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Critical ThinkingCultureSecondary Education

White Teacher, Black and Brown Students: Race and Representation in the Modern American Classroom

This Olympics, Simone Manuel became the first black woman to win Olympic swimming gold. Her tears during the medal ceremony were moving, and her words at the press conference following it even more so. When she said, “The gold medal wasn’t just for me. It was for people who came …

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Critical ThinkingCultureInformal EducationPoliticsReligionScience

What Pramaoedya Ananta Toer Tried to Teach His Kids About Medicine and Critical Thinking

Pramaoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006) was an award-winning Indonesian writer who was famous for the novels that he wrote during two long stints as a political prisoner. He was first jailed by the Dutch in 1947 for his anti-colonial activities, and then again by President Suharto for being a leftist from …

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Dictionaries and guides to modern and Old English
Critical ThinkingCultureEducation

English Has Never Been Better

I got trolled by the The Economist the other day on Facebook: It wasn’t the fake spelling joke that got me. Based on the Facebook preview of the article, it sounded like the linked article (which is actually from February 2015) was yet another tired condemnation of The Youth of …

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Document fron US Atomic Energy Commission stamped "top secret" and "confidential"
GovernmentHigher Education

FOIA Abuse Could Become a Serious Problem for Academics

Academics take heed: if you are employed by a public university, the contents of your email account are subject to the Freedom of Information Act. This means activists, critics, or any member of the public with an axe to grind can request copies for a nominal administrative fee and quote-mine …

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Education

Teaching as We’re Taught

The appeal from tradition is one of the logical fallacies that skeptics often reference. So many claims in pseudoscience rely on it, yet it is so easy to refute. People did a lot of really stupid things in the past, the fact that they did them long ago doesn’t mean …

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Education

Why I Do Re-Dos

When my students get a low grade on a written assignment, I allow them to revise it and resubmit it for a higher grade an unlimited amount of times before final grades are due. Why? Because I love giving up even more of my scarce free time. Well, not really. …

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red and white stop sign
FeminismPedagogySecondary Education

Sex Ed: Teaching consent

Trigger warnings: Sexual abuse of children   As unexpectedly as a virgin giving birth I found myself in charge of teaching sex ed to 6th graders. It’s been an interesting (and sometimes depressing) experience. We don’t have any of that “Abstinence Only” crap over here and while the parents were …

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oh no!
Higher Education

A First Year as a Professor, in GIFs

A little over a year ago, I accepted a tenure track position at a small college in New England. I was… thrilled. I was really blown away by the school visit and it felt really… comfortable. I did my bachelors in physics at a small college in Pennsylvania, so I …

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FeaturedHigher Education

Sorry Bernie – Tuition free college can’t ever come back!

In the not too distant past, your average college student could get a degree in four years and walk away with no debt from almost every public university.  Whatever the costs where, they could be offset with a summer job and maybe a few hundred bucks from the parents.  In …

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