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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Persone writing on a blackboard
Higher Education

Those who can teach, those who can’t teach in college

That’s of course an entirely unfair overgeneralisation, but I guess I have your attention now, right? I recently took part in a scientific conference on the latest research in Spanish (more about the content in a different post) and what struck me was the bad quality of some of presentations …

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A display of several colourful hats
Pedagogy

The Wearing of the Hats

Hello there! Nice to meet you. Is your life as busy as mine? During a normal day I can take on all the roles we encounter in our lives as teachers. I may be the student who struggles with what she perceives as unfair demands of a teacher. Or who …

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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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EducationHigher Education

Active learning: does depth outweigh breadth?

The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.  (attributed to the Greek poet Archilochus) A friend recently sent me to a NY Times article on teaching science in the universities, whose lead-in point was, of course, how often it is done poorly.  The article went on …

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Education

Shadowing a Student – Lessons Learned

I’m currently teaching at a university in the midwest where I’ve been a postdoc for over two years, but this is my first semester as an instructor. Though I’ve had experience teaching before, it was an upper level course with students self-selected for an interest in science. Or, I was …

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EducationHigher EducationPedagogyPop QuizScience

Pop Quiz: The Horror of Math

The bulk of the classes I teach are general science courses that are not math heavy. Even though these courses do not rely on math like a Physics class would there is still a small math component to each course. I am really not sure how to do science without …

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EducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Temperature Control!

This past week I took a look at my work clothes to assess whether or not I need a few more short sleeve shirts and cardigans in my wardrobe. Every new semester it is a crap shoot as to whether I will be dying of heat or freezing to death …

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Photograph of a piece of chalk resting on a dusty tray at the bottom of a blackboard.
EducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Whiteboard vs. Chalkboard

The other day I was talking with my father-in-law who helps out at their church’s school. He was telling me about how they were cleaning some stuff out to get things ready for the new school year. As he was telling me this he also managed to describe how they …

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