Landon Hedrick is a PhD student at the University of Nebraska who is also a high school philosophy teacher at Vanguard Classical School in Colorado. He is looking for some help meeting the specific challenges of designing a logic and critical thinking course in which the materials “are all appropriate for the audience, both in terms of content and in terms of ..
Newflash: teaching students logic improves their logical reasoning skills—at least according to some new research. You may be thinking, “duh,” but that would be a mistake. After all, “teach” isn’t a success term. And as it turns out, “there is little evidence that studying logic itself improves one’s logical thinking.” (more…)
A Daily Nous reader sends in a question concerning classroom discussions of recent events and the controversial and sensitive subjects they involve: (more…)
It may make sense to have a summer course that, say, takes students to France to improve their French. Or one that brings them to Japan to study Japanese agricultural methods. Or a marine ecology course that takes place on a boat cruising through the Caribbean. Sometimes “destination” courses, or other courses that involve travel to or study in a specific part of th..
A reader has asked me to solicit information about philosophy summer programs for high school students. If you know of any or involved in any, please do list them in the comments. If you have links to the programs’ sites, please include them. Thank you!
The following is a guest post* by David W. Concepción, professor of philosophy at Ball State University, which summarizes some of the findings presented in “The State of Teacher Training in Philosophy” (Teaching Philosophy 2016), a systematic look at the training in teaching graduate students in philosophy get (alternative link). In the paper, authors Concepción, Me..
Professors, you were not normal. You weren’t normal back when you were an undergraduate, and you aren’t normal now. Even back then, you cared about stuff (yes I’ll say “stuff”) that most of your fellow students didn’t even ever think about, and now that you’ve spent so much time studying that stuff, writing about that stuff, credentializing yourself in that stuff, a..
Philosophers, have you ever taught a course about philosophy as a way of life? Stephen R. Grimm, professor of philosophy at Fordham University, has. During the course his students have to select one of the ways of life covered in the course, spend three days living it, and then create video reflections of the experience. It would be great to hear from others who’ve ..
“Perhaps all professional philosophers have wrestled with the problem of how to cover all the important things in the limited time of a single course.” But what are the important things? And who are the important figures?
In a series of columns at the Chronicle of Higher Education, James M. Lang, a professor of English at Assumption College, has been suggesting small changes to teaching that, he argues, could make a big difference in student learning. Among the suggestions:
- Arrive early to have a little small talk with individual students (different ones each tim..
A philosopher on the job market writes in with a question about course size:
A school that may offer me a tenure line position has a 65 student cap for intro courses, and I would be doing all the work (no grad program, no student graders, etc.). It is likely that I would have have to teach 2 such courses at once during either Fall or Spring, in addition to handli..
The Economist analysed 1,289,407 RateMyProfessor.com reviews of 1,066 professors and lecturers in New York and has reported on some of its findings. Among them is the nugget that instructors of philosophy, compared with other disciplines, are most often described as “brilliant” by their students. According to the article, “an adoring student termed her teacher ‘a ph..
Colleen Cressman (MIT) draws our attention to the Open Syllabus Project. The project is a work in progress aimed at creating “the first large-scale online database of university course syllabi as a platform for the development of new research, teaching, and administrative tools.” It has a collection of over a million syllabi culled from the internet and other source..
The editors of the Blog of the American Philosophical Association have begun a new series to help members of the profession with questions, challenges, and problems, about teaching philosophy. Jennifer Morton (CUNY) writes:
The Teaching Workshop is a new, regular feature on the Blog of the APA, run by the APA’s committee on the teaching of philosophy. Every other..
The University of Essex Department of Philosophy will no longer be requiring its second- and final-year undergraduate students to take formal, year-end written exams, as departments at most other British universities still do. In an essay in The Guardian, department head Fabian Freyenhagen writes:
We realised, in response to feedback from students and employers, ..
A philosophy professor has written in with some questions about anonymous or “blind” grading, in which the identity of the student whose work is being assessed is not known to the grader. The majority opinion in philosophy appears to be that there are strong moral reasons in support of anonymous grading. Yet, there are questions about evidence for it, as well as abo..
A reader brought to my attention a petition from 17-year-old Zishi Zhang claiming that there are currently no women included in the A-Level OCR Philosophy and Ethics syllabus, and calling to change this . (A-levels are the course and exam requirements students in the UK and elsewhere must typically meet in order to graduate from high school and attend college. “OCR”..
In a comment on a previous post, What’s “Core” and What’s “Peripheral” in Philosophy—and Why?, Brian Weatherson (Michigan) notes that there are “some practical questions that need answering from time to time.” They are:
- Which subfields of philosophy should a philosophy major be required to take courses in?
- Which subfields of philosophy should a PhD student be ..
Following on the heels of last week’s discussion of non-philosophers teaching critical thinking, the Chronicle of Higher Education drew attention to a meta-analysis of studies about whether colleges succeed in teaching critical thinking at all. As it turns out, they do:
Students’ critical-thinking skills do improve in college. The difference is comparable to a st..
What is an “intellectually safe space”? In “What Does Intellectual Safety Really Mean?” Katelyn Hallman (North Florida) notes:
An intellectually safe environment, as typically construed, is something like an environment “in which a person feels comfortable sharing ideas and opinions without fear of harsh judgment or repercussions.” This conception of intellectual..
Lecturing as a teaching style is not particularly trendy these days, but perhaps it is particularly well-suited for the humanities. Writing in the New York Times, history professor Molly Worthen (UNC) makes the case:
In the humanities, there are sound reasons for sticking with the traditional model of the large lecture course combined with small weekly discussion..
“Critical thinking” means a very particular sort of thing to philosophers (mostly identifying, reconstructing, and evaluating arguments), but in the desperate struggle to stay relevant, other academic disciplines have started to appropriate the term “critical thinking” to describe what they do. I have read blog posts and articles by historians and literature profess..
“The more you hate the idea of teaching online, the more that online education needs you.”
That’s historian Joseph Rees (Colorado State – Pueblo), writing at Vitae. He is no fan of online courses, worried about their quality and effectiveness but notes that their increased prevalence is probably unstoppable. Here’s the context for the above quote:
I recently m..
Kate Manne (Cornell) has an opinion piece in today’s New York Times about professors’ use of “trigger warnings,” by which she means “notice in their syllabuses, or before certain reading assignments” that the course material may discuss or depict “common causes of trauma.” Such warnings have been criticized (here, for example) as a sign of the end times of higher ed..
There are some philosophers we hear a lot about—not just those in the canon, but also the “superstars” of today. These philosophers can often be inspirations on the page, motivating students to take up philosophy as a major course of study. But just as important—probably more so—are those undergraduate professors who inspired or motivated you to take philosoph..
This week, two philosophers—Kwame Anthony Appiah (NYU) in the New York Times Magazine and Gary Gutting (Notre Dame) in The Chronicle of Higher Education—have discussed the point of a college education.
Appiah observes that there are “two distinct visions of higher education contend throughout our classrooms and campuses.”
One is “Utility University,” which..
Back in 1982, Frank Breslin, a New Jersey high school teacher, wrote an article arguing that philosophy should be taught in high school. Huffington Post just reprinted a version of that piece, and it’s worth taking a look at. One of it’s main ideas is that philosophy is a natural fit for teen rebelliousness:
Adolescents are a skeptical lot. Anything and everythin..
Public debate is rife with poor reasoning, with certain confused or erroneous claims popping up again and again to affect opinions and policies. Some of these are owed to an inability to understand statistics, some are owed to a lack of scientific understanding, and some are philosophical mistakes. Logic and critical thinking courses already take up formal errors in..