Ordinary World: Education


Scott J Davies

Scott Davies is a freelance writer and tutor. He is currently studying a Master of Education. He is interested in education, economics, geopolitics and history. He's on Twitter and has a Medium page.

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13 Responses

  1. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    EDU6: I’m reminded of the old Simpsons’ episode where Apu* became a citizen and one question on the test was about causes of the US Civil War, and Apu launched into this long discourse about states’ rights and economics and other things, and Chief Wiggum (IIRC, he was the examiner) just looked at him and said “Say, ‘slavery’ and you’ll pass…”

    (*I guess Apu is problematic now. Well, the humor of the bit would still stand, even if it were Groundskeeper Willie or some actually-sensitively-portrayed immigrant)Report

    • It works better with Apu because, culturally insensitive or not, he’s much smarter than Willie.

      But that scene reminds me of Bob Newhart coaching Larry (brother of Darryl and Darryl) for the GED. Newhart gives Larry a mnemonic for remembering the continents (some phrase where the first letters are AENASAAAA), and Larry objects that it’s easier to remember them in ascending order of average GDP.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine says:

        I miss Larry and Darryl and Darryl.

        There’s probably a pop-culture PhD dissertation waiting to happen exploring the change in Red State/Blue State Satire before and after Newhart.Report

      • Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

        This brings to mind the episode of Cheers where Diane makes a film to keep Woody’s father from making him return to Indiana. The dad’s criticism was that the film was too derivative of Godard.Report

        • Avatar Pinky says:

          The unexpected erudition thing was a staple of Wayne’s World. And then there was this exchange from The Office:

          Oscar: I was raised Catholic, but I’m agnostic now, so I guess I’m a secular humanist.
          Michael: Oh. Great. We have a secular humanist here, that is disgusting.
          Oscar: Michael, do you know what secular humanism is?
          Michael: Yes. It is a philosophy which says people can improve their lives by using reason instead of religion or superstition.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

        True that. And I think Willie would just curse at Wiggins and keep going down whatever path he was on.

        (And also that Apu is smarter than Wiggum, and better-read and informed….)Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe says:


    Replying to Alana Leabeater, Michael Salter, a teacher from Sydney, Australia argues in a blogpiece that Leabeater’s call for a more holistic education approach is misguided and that education is not mere job training.

    Without reading the link (cause that would be cheating), this seems contradictory all by itself. I would think a ‘holistic’ approach would be one that very much expands the role of education to something more that just job training.

    eta – having now skimed the article, I find the push back valid to some extent, but teaching ‘life skills’ isn’t ‘job training’ either.Report

  3. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    EDU9: It ain’t just Education research. Nobody wants to do replication studies any more.

    EDU10: Amen to that.Report

  4. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    EDU 11: there’s also a university-level version of this: the myth of the “superstar” or “rockstar” professor. In fact, they had a thing on my campus this fall to supposedly either teach or exhort us to be one (I had some prior commitment so I had a good reason for not going to it).

    I hate the “superstar” model with a blazing passion, for a number of reasons. I admit to feeling a certain schadenfreude over the whole Avitel Ronell mess because she was largely lauded as a “superstar” before it came out what a creep she was.

    (One of the reasons I hate the image is that some of those who call for “disrupting” higher ed seem to want the model of “One superstar teaching 10,000 students online in a MOOC, and all the other folks, who are by implication ‘floppers,’ wind up as low-paid, contract-employee-status graders ” – doing the worst part of the job and not getting any of the fun, and not even getting paid well.)

    I’m not a superstar, but I strive to be a decent person. Sometimes I feel like the world needs fewer “rockstars” and more plain old decent people.Report

    • There’s the old saying of “The best (fill in the blank Dr, Lawyer, international spy, pilates teacher, whatever) is someone you never heard of because they are too busy being great to worry about it” probably applies to teaching as well. Not universally of course, but it is something to it.Report