Playing the hand well: on the possibility of evidence-based education

In Annie Duke’s new book, Thinking in Bets she describes how, when she and other hugely successful poker players get together, they frequently discuss the hands that they have played and the decisions that they have made during those hands. They don’t, however, discuss the outcomes of those hands. This is not because they are… Continue reading Playing the hand well: on the possibility of evidence-based education

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Jordan Peterson: a misguided desire for certainty in a postmodern world

Jordan Peterson, the controversial Canadian psychologist, has recently been making a splash in the UK promoting his new book, ’12 Rules for Life: an Antidote to Chaos´. Peterson’s brand is forthrightly anti-postmodern. For him, the postmodern deconstruction of the grand narratives of history has resulted in a kind of spiritual malaise for many, specifically young… Continue reading Jordan Peterson: a misguided desire for certainty in a postmodern world

Teaching students how to write logically: Sequitur logic

I have been experimenting recently with different ways to encourage the children to write logically. Normally, I give the students a scaffolded essay template to help them. Unfortunately, it becomes obvious that a) they have no idea why they need to complete the various parts of the template and b) that the template is actually… Continue reading Teaching students how to write logically: Sequitur logic

A summary of Educational Fideism so far…

A summary of my current thoughts for a formulation of Educational Fideism and an ethics of responding To respond to a situation correctly (to pay attention) is to recognise (and accept) its contingency, and thus ascribe absolute value to all aspects of it. Here, I’m using the phrase ‘pay attention’ as Weil does, i.e. something… Continue reading A summary of Educational Fideism so far…

Some brief (and very sketchy) thoughts on amendment 120

@JHC_Porter was kind enough to offer me his reasons why he would not be in favour of a second referendum on Brexit. He wrote the following: 1)      That it’s potentially unnecessary: I’m happy for representatives to debate what new relationship we want in the hope we can reach a compromise. 2)      That it potentially emboldens… Continue reading Some brief (and very sketchy) thoughts on amendment 120

The dishonesty of abstraction

Recently, given the political tensions here in Spain, I have been thinking a lot about the nature of impartiality. I began by describing why I felt the 'fact/opinion' dichotomy wasn't that useful. Then, using the ideas of James P. Carse I offered a suggestion for an expression of the ultimate ethical rule. i.e. that our obligation… Continue reading The dishonesty of abstraction

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

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