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Content, Process, Skill: Heuristics for Evaluating Educational Foundations

One of the biggest misconceptions underlying problems in education is that education is, at its core, simply the accumulation of content: memorizing facts and formulae somehow makes an education. Blame standardized testing if you like, since it’s much more cost-effective to test for content than for processes or skills. For the present argument, where theContinue reading “Content, Process, Skill: Heuristics for Evaluating Educational Foundations”

Student Agency Matters (Especially Right Now)

A student asked me over the summer (via an online session, of course) what I thought of the university’s plan to do face-to-face classes. I had a pretty ready answer; I’d already formulated my answer for a survey of non-tenure faculty that one of my excellent colleagues was conducting to make our voices heard. IContinue reading “Student Agency Matters (Especially Right Now)”

Letting Students Lead: Race in the Classroom

Like my last post, this is addressed primarily to my white readers, this time the white teachers who read my Work Thursday posts. I’m white, from a super-privileged middle class background, one that has benefited a lot from systemic racism. Many of my students over the years, however, have been Black, from a variety ofContinue reading “Letting Students Lead: Race in the Classroom”

Important Lessons: Flexibility and Vulnerability

I was a freshman in high school, having just moved across the country to a wealthy suburb of Washington DC, where many Pentagon officers lived, when the 9/11 attacks happened. Most of my fellow students had some connection to the government or military through their parents’ jobs. Many parents at my school worked in theContinue reading “Important Lessons: Flexibility and Vulnerability”

But What About At-Risk Students?

My university, like many others, has announced some modifications for fall semester, but is still trying to do mostly in-person classes. I’m not here to complain about the very difficult decisions that university leadership is making; I am actually quite thankful to be “just” a contract faculty instructor, because these decisions right now are allContinue reading “But What About At-Risk Students?”

The Value of Non-Gamers Playing Games

For Mothers Day, we gave my mom Minecraft and taught her how to play it with us on my brother’s realm. My mother probably plays video games more hours than my brother (a game designer) and myself (a games researcher) combined, but they’re all casual games like search-and-find or connect-three that most people don’t evenContinue reading “The Value of Non-Gamers Playing Games”

The Most Important Lesson Your Students Can Learn From You

Notice I said “can learn from you” not “that you can teach” in the title. That’s because this lesson is not one you explicitly teach. It’s not on tests. I’m not even sure how you’d assess it. But it’s important. The most important lesson your students can learn from you is this: Grace. Grace isContinue reading “The Most Important Lesson Your Students Can Learn From You”

Do You Really Wanna Grade That? Practical Questions for Assignment Design

When I was in 8th grade, my English Teacher assigned a research paper. I think it was only 5-8 pages, honestly. I can’t remember the exact numbers. It was, though, the longest research paper any of us had written for a class up to that point, and the class was, in a word, shook. OnContinue reading “Do You Really Wanna Grade That? Practical Questions for Assignment Design”

About Those Staggered Due Dates…

Previously I wrote about my scheme this semester to stagger due dates by having students sign up for a date during a “due week,” and reported that it was doing pretty well. I wrote too soon. As you may have surmised, time simply has no meaning anymore. Even self-selected due dates became meaningless when myContinue reading “About Those Staggered Due Dates…”

Whom Do You Write For?

One of the hardest questions that authors get asked perhaps too seldom is “Who are you writing for?” It’s also, perhaps, the most important. More important even than “Why are you writing?” or “What are you writing?” Writing without an audience just doesn’t work. The audience completes the text, you see. Sure, the author mayContinue reading “Whom Do You Write For?”