03 March 2014

Items to Share: 2 March 2014

Education Focus
  • Lesson Observations Harry Webb: 'I do think lesson observations need to continue as part of the evidence-gathering mix. If nothing else, they connect school leaders with something approaching the reality of their schools. However, lesson observation grades are highly suspect and feedback needs to be something that is of actual use to the teacher being observed.'
  • Do it yourself  Also Harry Webb: 'The purpose of this post is [...] to present some resources that may be of help to you. They are just a selection and they reflect my own view of the state of education. However, I believe that they are all honest and demonstrate some fundamental truths about education; truths that are routinely dismissed or denied; truths that can make us better teachers. Whether used for personal reflection only, or for deploying in reasoned debate, they all have something to offer.'
  • Examining Your Multiple-Choice Questions | Faculty Focus 'the multiple-choice question “holds world records in the categories of most popular, most unpopular, most used, most misused, most loved and most hated.” According to one source I read, multiple-choice questions were first used around the time of World War I to measure the abilities of new Army recruits. As class sizes have grown and the demands on teacher time expanded, they have become the favorite testing tool in higher education.' 
  • Real-Time Automated Essay Writing? – Lingua Franca - The Chronicle of Higher Education 'When I first tried EssayTyper, for just a moment it chilled my blood. Of course, it’s just a little joke; but I hope students everywhere will be sophisticated enough to see that, because a person who was unusually naive, lazy, and ignorant just might mistake it for a computer program that will enable you to type out custom-designed essays on selected academic topics, even topics you know nothing about, even if you can’t type.'
Other Business
  • The Two Cultures, Then and Now | Books and Culture 'the sciences and the humanities share a common enemy: an educational system that, despite its ceaseless rote invocations of the value of "critical thinking"—overwhelmingly evades the "severities" that might equip people to deal seriously with the world and its manifold challenges. A rigorous education in any field challenges its students: it doesn't let them get away with easy answers; it doesn't reward "glib examinees"; it forces second and third thoughts; it demands revision and correction, and presses people even to start over from scratch when that's necessary. People trained in this fashion will be ready for surprises, will expect the unexpected, will adapt to circumstances.' 

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