19 August 2013

Items to Share: 18 August

Education Focus
  • Who’s afraid of lesson observations? | Pragmatic Education Depressing collection of teacher reactions to being observed, by superiors as well as Ofsted. Obviously a biased sample--people don't volunteer such comments online unless something has really got to them--but nevertheless evidence of bullying incompetence on the part of observers, and how to use the activity to drive down standards as well as morale. And of course a total misunderstanding of what good teaching consists of...
  • How to discover a new species of carnivorous mammal | Webs of Substance  Reflections on the news story about the discovery of the Olinguito, and what it says about learning science (and in general) "I have no idea how systematic Mr Helgen’s discovery was; did he rigorously examine every old draw[er] in the museum or did he happen to serendipitously open one of them and get a funny feeling? We may find out in the coming days. However, this is largely irrelevant. Good organisation may or may not have helped. Extensive expert knowledge was essential." 

Other Business
  • Why academics can’t write  "Social scientists commonly justify their use of big words by saying that ordinary language is hopelessly vague and that social scientific terminology, although it might be awkward, is at least precise. However, the opposite is true: ordinary words usually convey much more information than the big words of the social scientists, especially when used to describe ordinary actions." Provocative piece by Michael Billig.

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