Red rose

A Rose by Any Other Name…

Names can say a lot about us. Even though our parents did not choose for us the way J.K. Rowling did for her characters (you could think that the parents of Remus Lupin were asking for their child to be bitten by a werewolf), they still had their reasons for …

Empty lecture auditorium at UC Berkeley
Higher Education

On the Market VI: Excellence in Teaching and Student Evaluations

This year’s academic job application season is drawing to a close, and, as ever, I find the compilation of the last few packets to be tinged with the kind of grim urgency that accompanies the knowledge that all of the searches I applied to earlier in the year have already …

A girl lying in grass with a globe.
Required Readings

Education and unions, post-Katrina education, learning theories mapped, preschool privilege, new UIowa prez rankles, and more: Required Readings, 09.06.15

In honor of Labor Day in the U.S., let’s start today’s Required Readings with some news about unions: Is there a Blue State frontier for teachers unions? Pennsylvania’s state university system has approved contracts with four labor unions, while the state’s faculty union is opposing a proposed background check policy. …

Critical ThinkingPolitics

Why I like Donald Trump. Or, how can something so wrong feel so right?

I am a bit of a political junkie. Thus, I watched the first Republican debate even though it is about 99.99% likely that I’ll vote Democrat for president. However, since there is more than a 0.01 chance that the next president will be a Republican, it made me wonder which …


Learning with Spaced Repetition

Hey there, Doubters! It’s been a while, I know. Where have I been, you ask? Just languishing in post-doctoral unemployment and general malaise, enjoying my time off, doing some travelling, and doing unpaid labour to prove my dedication to a perverse system happily working on some research and post-doc applications. But enough …

Image of 15th-c. scribe Jean Miélot

Knowledge Dissemination: Is the Old New Again?

Anyone filling out a grant application these days will probably have to tackle the Big Question™: how will you disseminate all this wonderful new knowledge you have produced, so that it benefits the world at large (and especially the taxpayers who funded it)? Sure, we have our journals and monographs, …

EducationHigher EducationPedagogyScienceSecondary Education

Introduction to Astronomy Survey

Warning: This post is Northern Hemisphere-centric! Also, keep in mind I did not do an exhaustive statistical analysis of this survey so take it as you wish. Every semester at the beginning of my Introduction to Astronomy course I give a variation of the survey from The Collaboration for Astronomy Education …

Pop Quiz

Pop Quiz: About Pop Quizzes

Assessments. The final frontier (of a grade.) They come in many flavors but the most popular among them are homework, inclass activities, exams, and the quiz. Teachers and students know all these well but the most hated of these is the variant of quiz known as the pop quiz. I do …

Series of Books
Required Readings

School vaccinations, Common Core, pedagogy, and laboratory safety: Required Readings, 6.24.14

Score one for science and public health! A federal judge has upheld “a New York City policy that bars unimmunized children from public school when another student has a vaccine-preventable disease.” Not strictly related to education matters but educational nonetheless: researchers traced a measles outbreak in Minnesota to one unvaccinated child, while one …

An open book and its reflection

The Great Didactic: Introduction

Recently I was thinking about the foundation of our education system and its philosophical underpinnings.  As I was doing this it dawned on me that I have only ever really read about this philosophy and I never read the original texts.  Now I won’t say that I hold my head …