10 March 2014

Items to Share: 9 March 2014

Education Focus
  • Who should teach the teachers? theconversation.com (Dennis Hayes) 'What we need today is a cultural debate about the meaning of education. What we do not need is a narrow professional debate about what education is and what schools are for. The crisis of meaning exists at a cultural level and cannot be resolved by teachers and academics alone. The opportunities for a real cultural debate are few.
  • Truly ‘higher’ study demands critical thinking, not faking it | Opinion | Times Higher Education 'the political orthodoxies of the age [...] have come to the fore in grandiose statements about graduate attributes or as the integrative principles of elective programmes. [...] Some disciplines also require the adoption of particular mantras, such as “reflective practice” in teacher education. [] At one level, the expression of such values is a well-meaning attempt to define a common culture in an age of mass higher education. [...] To take issue with values such as global citizenship might seem like attacking Bambi. But their aggressive promotion within the curriculum is seriously at odds with a liberal conception of a “higher” education. This needs to empower rather than restrict students in developing their own ideas, giving them the confidence to critique sacred tropes rather than display a slavish commitment to them.' 
Other Business
  • BBC News - The Indian sanitary pad revolutionary 'A school dropout from a poor family in southern India has revolutionised menstrual health for rural women in developing countries by inventing a simple machine they can use to make cheap sanitary pads.' (Thanks to the Browser for the link.) 
  • Linguistics qua Affliction – Lingua Franca - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education [Geoffrey Pullum] 'Like most linguists, I know odd things about various languages, and whenever I see linguistic material I am not just tempted but driven to analyze and compare. The observations about Italian above forced themselves upon me, based on no more than my recollection of Poe’s story and the smattering of knowledge my life in linguistics has vouchsafed to me concerning Latin, French, and Spanish (though I can’t converse in any of those languages either).'
  • Ronald Blythe is happy to leave choices over new plumbing to the expert 'I am starting on a new book, and a pile of books must be read before I write "Page One". They totter about in the study, crying "Me next!" Like children. It is called studying. Studying is bliss. I have known writers who spent their lives doing it, and who have never written Chapter One. There used to be grants for doing this, which ran out long before its birth pangs. Reading before you write a word for other people to read can be spread out, can last a lifetime. And you will have the notes to prove how busy you have been.'

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