background preloader


Facebook Twitter

All cultural issues

Study: There Are Instructions for Teaching Critical Thinking. Whether or not you can teach something as subjective as critical thinking has been up for debate, but a fascinating new study shows that it’s actually quite possible. Experiments performed by Stanford's Department of Physics and Graduate School of Education demonstrate that students can be instructed to think more critically. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of critical-thinking skills in modern society. The ability to decipher information and interpret it, offering creative solutions, is in direct relation to our intellect.2 The study took two groups of students in an introductory physics laboratory course, with one group (known as the experimental group) given the instruction to use quantitative comparisons between datasets and the other group given no instruction (the control group).

Comparing data in a scientific manner; that is, being able to measure one’s observations in a statistical or mathematical way, led to interesting results for the experimental group.

Arts ed

There’s a storm in a teacup, a crisis in the art... - Mrs Tsk * Dissonance. Resource_34. Why boarding schools produce bad leaders. In Britain, the link between private boarding education and leadership is gold-plated. If their parents can afford it, children are sent away from home to walk a well-trodden path that leads straight from boarding school through Oxbridge to high office in institutions such as the judiciary, the army, the City and, especially, government.

Our prime minister was only seven when he was sent away to board at Heatherdown preparatory school in Berkshire. Like so many of the men who hold leadership roles in Britain, he learned to adapt his young character to survive both the loss of his family and the demands of boarding school culture. The psychological impact of these formative experiences on Cameron and other boys who grow up to occupy positions of great power and responsibility cannot be overstated.

Nevertheless, this golden path is as sure today as it was 100 years ago, when men from such backgrounds led us into a disastrous war; it is familiar, sometimes mocked, but taken for granted. The Feminine Technique: Trina Robbins explores the long, hidden history of women in comics. A woman named Barbara Fiske Calhoun died in White River Junction, Vt., last week. She was 94 and her death went unnoticed by all but family and friends. And historian Trina Robbins, who sent out a note about Calhoun, née Hall, to her comics scholars list. Calhoun, Robbins explains chatting on the phone from her San Francisco home, was the original artist of Black Cat at Harvey Comics in 1941, and went on to draw Girl Commandos. Like her contemporary Lily Renée, now also 94, who fled Vienna as a teen during Kindertransport and made her living drawing comics in America in the Second World War, both are largely forgotten (although Robbins wrote a graphic novel biography about Renée last year).

They are just a few of the pioneering women featured in Pretty in Ink, Robbins’ definitive new book about lesser-known and just plain forgotten female cartoonists that recounts their history and reprints some of their work. Another lucky moment came while travelling, at a secondhand book shop. Cultures of popular music. BHA President Jim Al-Khalili delivers 2014 Voltaire Lecture. April 15th, 2014 The room was heaving in Conway Hall last night as British Humanist Association (BHA) President, physicist and broadcaster Professor Jim Al-Khalili gave this year’s Voltaire Lecture on the theme of ‘Lessons from the past: science and rationalism in medieval Islam.’ The lecture was chaired by his predecessor as President, and current BHA Vice President, the journalist Polly Toynbee. Jim took his audience on a tour of the medieval world and told the story of a golden age of science written in Arabic, and of famous scientists such as Ibn al-Haytham, whom he declared stood alongside Archimedes and Sir Isaac Newton as one of history’s three greatest physicists.

Early Baghdad, and the Arab World at large, he explained, was a place of deep and rigorous learning at a time when Europe was in the Dark Ages. The contributions of its many scholars were well known then around Europe; but their legacies have not been well remembered in the West, or indeed in the Arab World. The limits of non-cooperation as a strategy for social change. Vukovar, October 1991. Credit: All rights reserved. When the Croatian town of Vukovar was taken over by the Serbian Army in 1991 after 90 days of bombing, Alexander Jevtić, a Serb who had made the town his home, found himself in a seemingly impossible position.

Once inside the town, Serbian forces set about rounding up Croatian men as young as 16 for transport to a secret detention facility, where many would be tortured and killed. Jevtić was swept up in the expulsion. However, a guard recognized him and instructed him to look for any other Serbians who should be spared from execution.

Jevtić understood that he was taking a potentially fatal risk, but nevertheless he began to call out Croatian men he knew by Serbian names, tapping them on the foot so that they would realize what he was doing. But non-cooperation clearly has its limits in terms of creating social change. Understandings of cooperation are becoming more sophisticated thanks to recent advances in research. Politics and Art: The Role of the Arts in Promoting Human Rights and Exposing Injustices. Wednesday 26 March 2014, 8:15 PM This event is organised by Lacuna: A Writing Wrongs Project. ‘What I have most wanted to do . . . is to make political writing into an art.’ – George Orwell Chaired by Maureen Freely, English Pen president, the panel will discuss the role of the arts in promoting human rights and social justice issues.

Freely joins Lacuna editor Andrew Williams, IceandFire artistic director Christine Bacon, Keats House poet Laila Sumpton and photographer and disability rights campaigner Lesley McIntyre in a discussion about creativity with a social and political purpose. The event will be a celebration of the role of the arts in promoting human rights and exposing injustices and will feature a performance from IceandFire’s upcoming production, The Island Nation, on the Sri Lankan Civil War and a short film on Lesley Mcintyre’s work. This event is organised by Lacuna: A Writing Wrongs Project. Photograph Lesley McIntyre. / @lacunamagazine. Paulo Freire: dialogue, praxis and education. Contents: introduction · contribution · critique · further reading and references · links Paulo Freire (1921 – 1997), the Brazilian educationalist, has left a significant mark on thinking about progressive practice.

His Pedagogy of the Oppressed is currently one of the most quoted educational texts (especially in Latin America, Africa and Asia). Freire was able to draw upon, and weave together, a number of strands of thinking about educational practice and liberation. Sometimes some rather excessive claims are made for his work e.g. ‘the most significant educational thinker of the twentieth century’. He wasn’t – John Dewey would probably take that honour – but Freire certainly made a number of important theoretical innovations that have had a considerable impact on the development of educational practice – and on informal education and popular education in particular. Contribution Five aspects of Paulo Freire’s work have a particular significance for our purposes here. Critique Links. Hall_cultural_identity. David Foster Wallace On The Key To Living A Compassionate Life. David Foster Wallace, widely considered one of the most brilliant writers of his generation, wrote prolifically about an incredibly wide spectrum of human experience.

In novels, stories, essays, and magazine articles, he won legions of fans, established deep connections with readers and established a reputation as a towering intellect. But it was in his commencement address to Kenyon College's graduating class of 2005 that Wallace spoke with unprecedented directness, telling graduates in how to live in the "day to day trenches of adult life" with awareness and compassion. The deeply moving and wryly humorous address -- later published in book form with the title This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered On A Significant Occasion, On Living A Compassionate Life -- quickly took its place among the most famous commencement addresses in recent history.

And in the wake of Wallace's tragic death in 2008, the speech took on a new level of significance to his admirers. Stay present and open. Stuart Hall: “We need to talk about Englishness” Stuart Hall asks me to pour the tea. We discuss how long the pot should be allowed to stand before pouring and try to recall George Orwell’s strictures on the subject (he recommended shaking the pot and allowing the leaves to settle). “It’s one of the skills I lack,” Hall says, with a smile, “and that makes me feel definitely not quite English!” Englishness is one of the things I have come to his house in West Hampstead to talk to him about. Hall, one of the founding fathers of the academic discipline of cultural studies and now an éminence grise of the British intellectual left, was born in Jamaica in 1932 and came to England in 1951 on a Rhodes scholarship.

His colonial education in the Caribbean had prepared him for the study of English literature at Oxford, though at some cost. “I went to one of the big Jamaican boys’ schools,” he says. Once at Oxford, he discovered that he could not readily identify with the “dominant tone” of “brittle, casual confidence” which reigned there. What’s Wrong With Identity Politics (and Intersectionality Theory)? A Response to Mark Fisher’s “Exiting the Vampire Castle” (And Its Critics) What’s Wrong With Identity Politics (and Intersectionality Theory)?

A Response to Mark Fisher’s “Exiting the Vampire Castle” (And Its Critics) Marxist and other “left” critics and opponents of identity politics are often mistaken for opponents of the identity groups that such politics aim to support and promote. Such critics can be easily mistaken as opponents of gay rights, LGBT rights, black and Latino equality, or the like. In their retorts to “Exiting the Vampire Castle,” several of Mark Fisher’s respondents voiced this conclusion about Fisher himself. Such a mistake is often due, in no small part, to the ill stated, incomplete and ad hominem character of the critiques themselves. Unfortunately, Fisher’s article is no exception in this regard. Rather than carefully explaining the problems with identity politics from a Marxist (or other) perspective, Fisher snidely and blithely dismisses such politics and their proponents as hopelessly “petit bourgeois.”

Theory as Historical Practice.