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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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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EducationPedagogy

Crime and Punishment

Two things cropped up simultaneously in my Twitter timeline this week. One was the outrage over the brutal assault of a black teenage girl by a white police officer in class that you sure all heard of. The other one was less prominent and I would have missed it if …

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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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The famous Archaeopterix fossil in Berlin
CultureEducationPedagogy

Education vs Intelligence

It’s no secret that kids from low income household and or a migration background are underrepresented amongst those deemed “gifted and talented”. So how come? Are they just not as intelligent as their middle-class peers? If you ask me, the difference isn’t “intelligence”, it’s education and people are notoriously bad …

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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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Critical Thinking

A Skeptatic Dialogue, Part 2

Quentis and Firmatio: A Skeptatic Dialogue, Part 2 Continued from Part 1.   Quentis: Sure, but science doesn’t know everything. There’s a lot of things that western science doesn’t understand. Being able to fly if you jump three times is one of those things. Scientists don’t even know how bees …

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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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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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EducationGovernmentPrimary Education

Why the Opt-Out Movement is Growing in New York

Last week, tens of thousands of children sat out the New York State Common Core English Language arts exams as their parents’ frustrations pushed them to finally boycott the test. In some districts, over 50% of students sat out the test with over 175,000 children opting out in grades 3-8. …

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