Teaching

Pure Pedantry

Category archives for Teaching

Thomas Nagel on ID and Evolution

Philosopher Thomas Nagel, writing in the journal Philosophy and Public Affairs, criticizes the exclusion of Intelligent Design from science classes on the grounds that evolutionary science too rests on an assumption: the naturalistic assumption. He argues that both evolution based on natural selection and ID have untestable assumptions. Frankly, I think that Nagel is wrong…

This is a bit old, but in case you haven’t seen it… A few weeks ago, Jake wrote a post about the importance of teaching during grad school. I couldn’t agree more–some of my best experiences in grad school to date have been in front of a classroom of keen undergrads, their young minds yearning…

Why Grad Students Should Teach

Grad student Joel Corbo has a guest post at Cosmic Variance where he laments the lack of emphasis on teaching in physics PhD programs: My relatively rosy view of physics education was shaken up not long after starting grad school at UC Berkeley (By the way, I don’t want to single out Berkeley as particularly…

I didn’t have much to do this afternoon, so I played hookie and went down to the FIRST Robotics Competition. The competition pits bands of high school students (and their engineer/mentors) in a contest to see who can build the best robot for an assigned task. At the moment the local competition (the national competition…

Gesticulation improves learning

Vindication at last. I catch a lot of hell because I tend to talk with my hands. However, Susan Wagner Cook for the University of Chicago has shown that when teaching math problems kids who repeat the hand gestures of the teacher are more likely to get the problem right. In other words, practicing gestures…

Meerkats teach

I don’t know if you have ever seen this show on Animal Planet — Meerkat Manor. It is disgustingly cute. It is about a family of meerkats that were followed over several years. Anyway, I love that show, so lately I have had meerkats on the brain. Some other researchers are also apparently interested in…

Lazy Middlebury students have lost a valuable resource: Middlebury College history students are no longer allowed to use Wikipedia in preparing class papers. The school’s history department recently adopted a policy that says it’s OK to consult the popular online encyclopedia, but that it can’t be cited as an authoritative source by students. The policy…

Bad teaching is one of my pet peeves, but I go back and forth on PowerPoint. I think its egregious abuse most of its users shouldn’t necessarily bring a cloud on the whole program — sometimes it is used effectively. Still most people are not using it correctly, in a way that facilitates good teaching…