Computers, marking and the ultimate ethical rule

I. Introduction I was struck by a recent post by Greg Ashman about a plan to use computers to mark literature papers. I fully agree with his assessment of the situation, but in the context of  this post by Michael Fordham (about the unteachability of skills) and this post by Ben Newmark (about the purpose of education… Continue reading Computers, marking and the ultimate ethical rule

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Concerning teacher impartiality: Why the ‘Opinion’ vs ‘Fact’ distinction is not that useful

I teach in Spain, and Spain is currently in the midst of a constitutional crisis. Being ‘impartial’ is tricky in the calmest of times, but in tumultuous times like these it’s a minefield. This is especially so for those of us who teach subjects that are sodden with passion and blood of freedoms lost and… Continue reading Concerning teacher impartiality: Why the ‘Opinion’ vs ‘Fact’ distinction is not that useful

The Great Debate: Educational Fideism

(This is a rewrite of the earlier post on Educational Fideism) Caminante, no hay camino, Se hace camino al andar Wanderer, there is no path, The path is made by walking. (Antonio Machado, from ‘Proverbios y Cantares’ in Campos de Castilla, 1912) Ah the great education debate: the trads versus the progs. As if teaching… Continue reading The Great Debate: Educational Fideism

A draft manifesto for educational fideism: the spirit of social justice

NB: this is currently just a very rough draft. Feedback of all sorts gratefully received! In a recent discussion on twitter, it occurred to me, that in one fundamental respect, my ideas about what education is, is for and about, differ from both those of the traditionalists and the progressivists (and indeed a third category… Continue reading A draft manifesto for educational fideism: the spirit of social justice

Response to David Didau’s post ‘What causes behaviour’

Unfortunately, I think that David Didau's last post contained a number of grave confusions. DD conflates the ‘nature vs nurture’ argument with the ‘free will vs determinism’ argument. The ‘nature vs nurture’ argument assumes the principle of sufficient reason – i.e. that everything has a cause/explanation. The question is whether nature or nurture is more… Continue reading Response to David Didau’s post ‘What causes behaviour’

A rough outline of how I teach Philosophy and Ethics

I could write for years about how I teach Philosophy and Ethics – I absolutely love it. Here I’ve just tried to cover the main ideas, so I’ve provided some background, the foundation series of lessons, the normal lesson structure, the essay structure, and a general overview of the curriculum. 1. Background I am fortunate… Continue reading A rough outline of how I teach Philosophy and Ethics

A dialogue concerning the following proposition: ‘All of our actions are based upon beliefs’ (in the context of ideology and education)

(Person A) Why do we feel tempted to say that 'all of our actions are based upon beliefs?' (Person B) Because we cannot be certain about anything? If we cannot be certain about anything, then presumably we must simply believe certain propositions to be true. But it only makes sense to talk about certainty when… Continue reading A dialogue concerning the following proposition: ‘All of our actions are based upon beliefs’ (in the context of ideology and education)

Concerning any debate on Corporal Punishment

This contains some material from an earlier post, but a. I thought it might be clearer here given the context, and b. given the sudden rise of this ridiculous issue, I thought it important to restate... 1.   This is a moral argument, and they can be slippery. The slipperiness of moral arguments is what makes the… Continue reading Concerning any debate on Corporal Punishment

Just a thought: the limits of thinking about thinking…

Whilst I was a university philosophy student, I had what one might call a ‘mental episode’. I won’t go into too much detail as to how this occurred, or what preceded it, but it is enough to say that the bottom fell out of my understanding of the world. Prior to this particular event, I… Continue reading Just a thought: the limits of thinking about thinking…

Concerning debates (especially on Edutwitter): Brute facts and ideology

1. To begin with, I would like to start with what might seem like a rather odd, but I would argue useful, definition of certainty. This will provide us with something of a foundation on which to build. I will define certainty as inconceivability of the opposite, as incredulity. Imagine that someone told you that… Continue reading Concerning debates (especially on Edutwitter): Brute facts and ideology