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Reading should not carry a health warning

This is probably the first time in history that young readers themselves are demanding protection from the disturbing content of their course texts, yet reading has been seen as a threat to mental health for thousands of years. In accordance with the paternalistic ethos of ancient Greece, Socrates said that most people couldn’t handle written text on their own. He feared that for many – especially the uneducated – reading…

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Special ed teacher quits: ‘I just cannot justify making students cry anymore’

The disorder is in the system which requires them to attempt curriculum and demonstrate behaviors far beyond what is appropriate for their age. The disorder is in the system which bars teachers from differentiating instruction meaningfully, which threatens disciplinary action if they decide their students need a five minute break from a difficult concept, or to extend a lesson which is exceptionally engaging. The disorder is in a system, which…

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The Little Professor: How to write an essay about teaching that will not be published in the NYT, Chronicle, IHE, or anywhere else

All instructors have to assemble their own pedagogical toolkit from the many resources out there and restock it (and recreate it) as necessary.  There is no one single way of being effective.  There is no magic spell (previous post on this blog to the contrary) that will make all pedagogical techniques effective all the time.  It is very difficult to generalize from one instructor’s experience to the next.  One gets…

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Humanities research is groundbreaking, life-changing… and ignored

Most arguments for “saving” the humanities focus on the fact that employers prize the critical thinking and communication skills that undergraduate students develop. Although that may be true, such arguments highlight the value of classroom study, not the value of research.But humanities research teaches us about the world beyond the classroom, and beyond a job. Humanities scholars explore ethical issues, and discover how the past informs the present and the…

Is the Question Part of the News? (Rarely!)

When Is Asking the Question Part of the News? (Rarely.) 

We mostly only encounter the phrase “when asked about” in reporting, so when students start writing news reports, they tend to gravitate towards that phrase in order to signal to the world, “I am doing journalism now.” In truth, journalists use that phrase only in very specific circumstances, when omitting it would give a distorted impression of the truth. Usually, my students can revise so that the quote does more of the work, making…