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  • digital literacy « Liam McHugh-Russell
    technologies my network of friends is anomalous and that though Gabler s vision of Twitter may be narrow he s right about the majority of online content Well fine but then the only important question is are people talking about big ideas more or less than before Twitter Because I am willing to wager with 1 to 1 odds that most of Western societies has always talked about the mundane details of their lives most of the time Were the biggest celebrities in 1899 intellectuals actors or war heroes But let me get back to Gutenberg no doubt reading a lot of articles online is different from reading an entire book But it s not clear to me which form of reading allows more thinking As I read Gabler s piece I stumbled on his use of Gresham s Law which is sad because I spent much of August reading political economy So I looked it up on wikipedia It turns out that basically Gresham found by accident that bad money will always replace good where both are available in the market Which also implies that my bothering to provide a hard link to the wiki page on Gresham is kind of silly because as my experience indicates if people stumble with ideas in their traipsing through the blogosphere they will do the legwork to find out more Indeed a lot of my online activities will lead into a web of related readings some followed links some watched videos It s not deep reading but rather networked reading What are the implications of this change in the nature of reading for thinking for ideas and for culture A fascinating question no doubt and one which is being addressed obliquely in the literary sphere But knowing the answers like knowing whether we talk to each other less or more about things that matter than we might have in 1899 would require actual research rather than just rehashing the warning given by Plato in the Phaedrus against the written word it s also online whenever new communications technologies I suppose communications analysis suffers from its own Gresham s Law Now here s a fascinating idea I noticed in a public presentation yesterday the habit people have of looking up terms or sources they aren t familiar with isn t limited to when they are reading online They do it in public too I wonder what my blogosphere will think about that October 4th 2011 Tags blogs communications digital literacy information overload Neal Galber New York Times Phaedrus Category culture Leave a comment Demystifying Digital Literacy Over at her New York Times blog Virginia Heffernan quotes some pretty hyperbolic claims about the future of work in the United States inter alia that 65 of jobs which will be held by today s grade school kids will be unrecognizable to us though admittedly the claim may turn on what how exacting a standard of recognizable we apply Any exaggeration is due to from Cathy

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  • education « Liam McHugh-Russell
    how learning works and how teachers should teach informed more often than not by what Paul Freire called the banking model of education Freire s point in his critique of this model was partially that one should not view the teacher and the student as polar opposites with the student as an empty vessel and the teacher as a the holder of knowledge with gets desposited in the learners On a substantive level his argument implied that both teacher and students are learners that both have knowledge to share that education should aim to combine that knowledge in a mutual learning process Fine but if I want to learn Portoguese then its likely that I am going to find a teacher who has more relevant knowledge than I do His criticism also has an implication about the process of learning Education is not a mechanical process I cannot in fact put my knowledge directly into your brain techno utopian fantasy notwithstanding Rather learning is necessarily active I can tell you something say the definition of GDP but your ability to remember it will depend on what you do when I tell you on whether you are writing it down when I am talking on what you are using to write it down on how soon you return to it after first hearing it My sense is that the best way to really learn the definition of GDP is to be forced to use it in practice or to reflect on its meaning why is it defined this way Why does the result of this calculation matter What would be wrong with other calculations How else might we have tried to capture this information How do we measure this aggregate in practice I would argue even further that the definition of GDP only becomes useful once a person can provide answers to these questions Memorizing the definition might get you marks on a test only your ability to think about it in context will make you a better economist Telling someone how a process or technique is supposed to aid their learning treats becoming a better learner meta learning as a passive rather than an active process Learning itself is a skill and like all skills it is only sharpened and refined through practice Telling students what contribution ePortfolios might make to learning therefore ignores both elements of Freire s insight first it assumes that the teacher knows exactly what contribution the process might make to the student s competence as a learner and that this knowledge is simply transferred to the student second it does not require students to use this knowledge and is almost sure to be ineffective at making them better learners In other words it may convince students to use ePortfolios but it will not make them better learners The reality is the best way to increase student learning competence is for them to be reflectively engaged in the learning process to constantly push them to think about how they learn best to consider what they might learn from a given experience to adopt practices which maximize their own learning to experiment with alternatives to ask better questions In other words it requires departing from a simple image of education as a service that universities provide to students and recognize that education is work which requires creativity thought engagement and participation by students September 21st 2012 Tags education ePortfolios framing learning meta learning Paulo Freire teaching universities Category education One comment Demystifying Digital Literacy Over at her New York Times blog Virginia Heffernan quotes some pretty hyperbolic claims about the future of work in the United States inter alia that 65 of jobs which will be held by today s grade school kids will be unrecognizable to us though admittedly the claim may turn on what how exacting a standard of recognizable we apply Any exaggeration is due to from Cathy Davidson a Duke scholar who research focuses include the impact of technology on learning and higher education whose new book Now You See It turns on questions of attention and technology in learning What s most hopeful and surprising about the collection of findings Heffernan cribs from Now You See It Online blogs directed at peers exhibit fewer typographical and factual errors less plagiarism and generally better more elegant and persuasive prose than classroom assignments by the same writers That finding has now been quoted hundreds of times by bloggers some presumably delighted that their particular medium often the target of neo luddite laments regarding the prospects for digital age literacy shows real promise as a mode of written communication at least it should be noted among engaged top tier undergrads The implications are more complex A friend now completing her PhD in rhetoric at the University of Waterloo had intended to investigate the process by which students learn academic practices related to the use of sources Yet one of the key lessons of her research is just how poorly most undergraduate assignments are designed At best such assignments generally in the form of the poorly defined review paper require students to practice skills which will be useful to them neither in the real world nor in the academic practice of the professor who is teaching the class At first Heffernan uses these and other results drawn from Davidson s book to take somewhat arbitrary potshots at Tom Pynchon and Michael Ritchie s film The Candidate Of course attacking the content of critique and analysis in the undergraduate classroom is of course somewhat beside the point Luckily at the end of her post Heffernan gets back on point suggesting that higher education should be tied into the task of improving not deriding digital literacy What my friend s research highlights is that this is not simply a matter of insufficient room for collaboration web accountability or multimedia savvy instead improving learning outcomes may be simply a matter of designing assignments which allow students to write in

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  • inequality « Liam McHugh-Russell
    dimension Good institutions give people incentives to work or to save or to create jobs or to invest in human capital or in new technology bad incentives keep people lazy and greedy Anyone who has had to wrestle with actual on the ground policy making though knows that those incentives don t always line up and understanding institutions is at the very least about trying to see how people s incentives coordinate in economic activities not only whether individuals are inspired to serve the ends of growth October 25th 2012 Tags development equality growth IMF inequality institutions Category economics Leave a comment Dr Pepper is hurting America One could call a recent episode in which the employees at a Mott s factory in upstate New York s Williamson face a 1 50 an hour pay cut combined with other benefits reductions just another day in the continued American slide toward inequality Yet as noted by New York Times writer Steve Greenhouse the strike is interesting because the concessions are being demanded at at time when the parent company The Dr Pepper Snapple Group is showing healthy profits As noted by Leo Casey over at Dissent Magazine s blog there s nothing new about the race to the bottom which has undermined middle class incomes over the past 40 years Wages for the bottom 90 of the American workers have stagnated for the last 30 years at the expense of the wages of the top 10 That s 20 years of growth for which all of the benefits have flowed to society s richest There is no reasonable argument that this is fair data shows that the change can t be attributed to growing gaps in educational attainment Besides fairness however there is growing understanding backed up by evidence and theory that inequality is a large part of what caused the financial crisis Former chief economist at the IMF Simon Johnson lays out arguments to that effect from Robert Reich and Raghuram Rajan no economic slouches themselves While admitting the long term fiscal problems faced by the United States Johnson points out that the immeditate causes of the fiscal crunch was paying for the financial crisis one facilitated by 30 years of growing inequality Johnson s argument is about the implications of this understanding for US fiscal policy but it also provides a useful perspective on the Mott s strike A recent book from Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett you can read a defence against their critics here has demonstrated the almost unbelievable numer of ways in which equality improves the lives of whole societies that is not just the poor the work of Johnson Rajan and Reich simply adds another reason to realize that the US has far from crossed the line from reasonable into irresponsible Some public advocacy groups have taken a hard tack on inequality yet public awareness on the causes of inequality have as of yet gained much less traction and policy responses seem focused on tax

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  • knowledge « Liam McHugh-Russell
    in the facebook era by contrast not only to have something but is in the stronger sense to act It is is to make a mark in the world To like becomes not only to possess an internal orientation a feeling or an affect or an emotion but to engage in a form of communication one directed to a crowd of friends and acquaintances plus a less than predictable network of relations of relations In being inseparable from this act of communication to like something in this way leaves behind the world of private preferences secret pleasures silent joys The meaning of words lies not only in their use but in the networks of incoherent sometimes contradictory meanings they are used to express Words divide up the world into manageable categories leaving certain senses behind even as they pick up new ones picking up certain meanings and abandoning others Perhaps the current generation will never use like in ways that are noticeably different from how I do But it is one possible future of the word and of the world To finance is no longer limited to its original sense in English of paying a ransom to release a prisoner Nor is liking something bound to have quite the same freight or carry quite the same information as when we were young March 6th 2015 Tags facebook finance history history of science information James Gleick knowledge science science and technology studies Wall Street Category Uncategorized Leave a comment Do not listen to me So it turns out that experts are terrible at what they do At least if the expert who stars in this CBC documentary profiled here in the Toronto Star is to be believed Science gets debunked economic predictions are little better than chance wine experts are worse than amateurs under controlled conditions Well okay But let s not take this too far When you hire a plumber they will actually be better at fixing a toilet than a chimp holding a wrench It is possible to be better at some things to build a repertoire And the documentary points out that ironically Environment Canada is actually pretty good at predicting weather probabilities though not actually the weather I would say that the documentary itself probably isn t worth watching It seems pretty smug which violates the one rule that it proposes about expert advice if you have to rely on an expert there are ones you can trust The one who seems uncertain but offers ideas on how you can think about something He s not promising to save you but has five things that might help That s certainly one way to think of it but on the other hand October 4th 2011 Tags CBC expertise experts knowledge probability science Category irony Leave a comment how I spent my weekend This weekend s balmy Montréal weather provided me ample indoor time to consider the question of what s wrong with political discourse these days I ve

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  • labour law « Liam McHugh-Russell
    aims may be purposefully vague and multivalent and the resulting institutions may rely on multiple incoherent logics What a correct derivation from the resulting texts might look like in this type of situation is without question a non deterministic inquiry 1 The book is Raymond A Bauer Ithiel de Sola Pool and Lewis A Dexter American Business and Public Policy The Politics of Foreign Trade New York Atherton Press 1963 the review is Theodore Lowi American Business Public Policy Case Studies and Political Theory 1964 16 4 World Politics 677 June 16th 2011 Tags collective bargaining Fraser v Ontario freedom of association interantional labour law international law labour law law legal theory work Category law politics Leave a comment Dr Pepper is hurting America One could call a recent episode in which the employees at a Mott s factory in upstate New York s Williamson face a 1 50 an hour pay cut combined with other benefits reductions just another day in the continued American slide toward inequality Yet as noted by New York Times writer Steve Greenhouse the strike is interesting because the concessions are being demanded at at time when the parent company The Dr Pepper Snapple Group is showing healthy profits As noted by Leo Casey over at Dissent Magazine s blog there s nothing new about the race to the bottom which has undermined middle class incomes over the past 40 years Wages for the bottom 90 of the American workers have stagnated for the last 30 years at the expense of the wages of the top 10 That s 20 years of growth for which all of the benefits have flowed to society s richest There is no reasonable argument that this is fair data shows that the change can t be attributed to growing gaps in educational attainment Besides fairness however there is growing understanding backed up by evidence and theory that inequality is a large part of what caused the financial crisis Former chief economist at the IMF Simon Johnson lays out arguments to that effect from Robert Reich and Raghuram Rajan no economic slouches themselves While admitting the long term fiscal problems faced by the United States Johnson points out that the immeditate causes of the fiscal crunch was paying for the financial crisis one facilitated by 30 years of growing inequality Johnson s argument is about the implications of this understanding for US fiscal policy but it also provides a useful perspective on the Mott s strike A recent book from Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett you can read a defence against their critics here has demonstrated the almost unbelievable numer of ways in which equality improves the lives of whole societies that is not just the poor the work of Johnson Rajan and Reich simply adds another reason to realize that the US has far from crossed the line from reasonable into irresponsible Some public advocacy groups have taken a hard tack on inequality yet public awareness on the causes

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  • law « Liam McHugh-Russell
    skeleton for most academic conferences In inviting working artists to interact with university based scholars it also promises to draw on the creative possibilities of bringing together different professional communities much like the very successful launch of HackingHealth last fall with a shout out here to fellow Sauvé Scholar Jeeshan Chowdhury a lead on this project In its format then the event opens a wide door on the possibilities for productive meetings in a university setting and more importantly from my perspective on the relationship between academia and the public While there was an application process the sessions which are animated by such well knowns as dancer Margie Gillis are open to anyone who thinks they have something to learn and to teach about the interaction between the arts and the humanities as ways of interacting with and understanding the world Which also indicates that nothing is lost in the content either When people think of innovation they often think about tech the session is built on the idea that imaginative thinking is an important element of responding to our changing world That theme seems to be integrated into the entire design of the session The day s activities include art making performance and discussion but the theme of what art making and humanities research can offer each other provides an orienting principle The push against tired repetitive thinking was at the forefront of the application process which asked potential participants In what ways does art think Working through my answer was both intellectually invigorating and painfully humbling The difficulty of such a question is that we do not usually understand concepts or categories as themselves capable of thinking Rather the metaphor works this way we think using conceptual objects thinking is the manipulation of the boxes and bags of thought it is the climbing on the net of ideas not the net itself certainly neither the net nor the nodes can do the thinking the box cannot unpack itself However when Winston Churchill of all people remarked that first we shape our buildings thereafter they shape us he pointed to the possibilities of art as artifact The making of art in the world gives ideas substance and while architecture or painting leaves a concrete residue all art makes its mark on us And we are thus manipulated Put before us we cannot control how art too shifts around the bags and boxes of thought how it adjusts its weight upon the net We can hardly avoid it Even those standing guard against the risk that art might change them inevitably adapt in response to each experience of art and thereby change We might say then that art thinks by placing our own thought outside us or before us It thinks not only by acting as a distorted mirror but forcing us to act as mirrors ourselves It shapes us just as we shape it What we put of ourselves into us it unpacks of itself in us transformed Given that even the application was able to force me to think obliquely to my own habits makes me very optimistic about Saturday s outcomes The question however is what value such a session could have to a lawyer or to someone studying legal institutions They asked me that question too Here s what I said I am interested in parallels between the ways that art creates artifacts of thought in the world which then constrain and shapes our actions and the way in which law does the same thing Obviously there are differences Our experience of law is inherently normative it not only pushes upon our thoughts but also places its weight on our conscience What concerns me more is the dynamic relationship which exists between art as a reflection of our regularities of thought and action and vice versa The two obviously exist in an imperfect correspondence and there is much of culture as artifacts of shared persistent belief which may not fall under the sweep of art Yet I think there is some parallel between art and law in the factor of deliberate shaping in the understanding that we can somehow have an impact on thoughts and behaviours which is determinate or at least delimited In particular I am interested in how artists and lawmakers may think of their craft not as forcing us to think or act a certain way but as providing tools to help others live well September 11th 2012 Tags academia art conferences humanities law public knowledge Category Uncategorized Leave a comment Problem definition regulatory logics and the incoherence of politics Monday s schedule included a well organized forum held at the new Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace I attended by videoconference The discussions centred on the issues raised by the Supreme Court s decision in Fraser especially the extent of the constitutional protection for collective bargaining under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms Fraser s relevance to my own research derives not only from its focus on freedom of association but on the Court s increasing reliance on international labour law As has become typical of discussions of this issue since the release of the BC Health Services decision the most controversial comments came from Brian Langille law professor at the University of Toronto Without getting into too much detail Langille s criticisms and his indictment of the majority was scathing reiterated two themes of his recent work First he suggested that the court had lost sight or failed to correctly answer the fundamental question what is it we are trying to do Second he suggested that the court did a bad job of two forms of derivation both the transposition of international responsibilities into constitutional commitments and the translation of constitutional principles into constraints on government law making When it comes to international labour law I think there s a deep problem with Langille s approach His criticisms share a basic premise with formalist approaches to law namely that rules can be correctly derived from higher level principles and that these principles can also help resolve conflicts between rules whose application would be in conflict in specific cases Now the original critique of this claim from the critical legal studies movement was that such derivation is non deterministic that there is no politically neutral logically coherent process by which legal conclusions can be drawn regarding the application of principles in specific situations However it is not this claim which concerns me even most crits have retreated from this version of the claim but rather a precondition for its possibility What bothers me is that in some cases it is not the interpretations of the principles which are contested but the principles themselves Lawmaking after all is a political process The players and participants in the process want different things In a review of Bauer Pool and Dexter s 1964 study of the political process surrounding antebellum US trade policy 1 Theodore Lowi notes an important finding The outcome depended not upon compromise between the two sides in Congress but upon whose definition of the situation prevailed If tariff is an instrument of foreign policy and general regulation for international purposes the anti protectionists win if the traditional definition of tariff as an aid to 100 000 individual firms prevails then the protectionists win The advantage of Langille s framing of the question what are we trying to do is helpful insofar as it sets aside debates between formalism and functionalism and implicitly sides with those who see no divide between principle and policy both are cast simply as a matter of what the law is meant to do and how it works to accomplish that task Once the problem has been defined and the successful policy choice promulgated into law legal adjudication and administration can be made to cohere on the basis of a purposive interpretation of the resulting rules Unfortunately purposive interpretation in international labour law is not so easy I have spent much of the last week scanning the record of the last ten years of discussions at the ILO s Governing Body regarding the reform of standards and supervision processes These are discussions of process mind you not discussions leading to actual international standard setting What these discussions reveal is unsurprising action being taken and rules amended despite the absence of any consensus about problem definition Without compromise at the level of problem definition except for an agreement not to agree the unfortunate result is a set of processes which reflect multiple often incoherent logics Each party tries to convert their interest into a principle but neither principle prevails Such conflict of problem definition is just as likely to be reflected in international labour standards While it is true that the ILO Constitution sets out high level normative aims the relevance of international regimes relies on their possession not only of a goal but also an operative logic i e an understanding of how specific norms will be realized by the policy or standard in question Reading those Governing Body decisions has made clear to me that the resulting rules or procedures may actually embody conflicting norms which are inherent to the system not accidental the high level aims may be purposefully vague and multivalent and the resulting institutions may rely on multiple incoherent logics What a correct derivation from the resulting texts might look like in this type of situation is without question a non deterministic inquiry 1 The book is Raymond A Bauer Ithiel de Sola Pool and Lewis A Dexter American Business and Public Policy The Politics of Foreign Trade New York Atherton Press 1963 the review is Theodore Lowi American Business Public Policy Case Studies and Political Theory 1964 16 4 World Politics 677 June 16th 2011 Tags collective bargaining Fraser v Ontario freedom of association interantional labour law international law labour law law legal theory work Category law politics Leave a comment I suppose that s a profession I would like to be a part of Even if it is not immediately recognized as such Law as it is idealized by the new law student is the philosophy of state power Not in the explanatory sense of political science but quite literally the philosophy which the state itself cleaves to in the exercise of that power The idealistic among these students will join the ranks of the profession in the hopes that they might take part in contributing to this philosophy their own prejudices fantasies and ires But no matter how beneficial the edifice of the law or how lofty one s principles a tenuous bargain is involved in entering the walls of law s empire and it is one which should not be accepted lightly One is of course aware of the role of the professor to as it were continually attempt to expose the tears in the wall between the philosophy of the state and philosophy proper that is the human philosophy of everyday life But so too is it the job of the law student And if one is fearless in their thinking if one can escape from the work a day practices of the profession which result if without conspiracy at distracting from this question if one is willing to risk which is not to say sacrifice the comfort and security of professional certainty and relative class privilege then so too can this be the role of the working lawyer The job of the law professor then is not just to expose the breach It is to put the pick in the hands of the profession itself August 11th 2010 Tags academia law philosophy politics teaching universities Category law politics Leave a comment Flexibily or Arbitrarily How should those charged with applying the law administer it From a 2006 article on Latin American approaches to labour inspection Michael J Piore and Andrew Schrank hint at a fascinating approach to regulatory decision making we like to pretend is impossible in Canada The flexibility of the Latin model in particular contradicts the image of labor market regulations as bad for business A telling example comes from our interviews with inspectors in France where the Latin model originated but where it is currently under attack for its alleged rigidity One inspector discussed his approach to the limitations on the use of temporary help and gave as an example the case of a large firm that he knew to rely excessively on temporary employees He also knew however that it had an informal agreement with its unions to periodically move a certain number of temporary workers onto its permanent payroll and in light of this agreement he simply ignored the temporary help violations His reasoning he explained was that the goal of the temporary help restrictions was to expand permanent employment and he thought he would be unable to obtain more permanent jobs by enforcing the existing regulation than by tolerating the admittedly illegal informal arrangement with the union The law he pointed out is a means not an end in itself My friend Sean is an ardent opponent of laws which are selectively enforced He uses the example of drug laws which end up being applied so that the aggregate result is obviously racist So where s the middle ground There s a PhD thesis in there just waiting to be written March 17th 2010 Tags andrew schank boston review labour law latin america law michael piore productivity Category law politics Leave a comment virtuosity How are we supposed to go on and keep trying at anything when there are things in the world that are so much better than anything we will ever be able to do And how are we supposed to keep going on with all the terrible things that we do to each other and the sense of loss that comes with trying to make it better When we try we feel not a sense of satisfaction but of having done too little Raoul Wallenberg hands out passports to Jews in Budapest and it is 1944 and it is 1945 and maybe he was a spy for the Americans and he dies in a soviet prison and these thousands of Jewish lives were saved and he hid them in buildings rented out 20 of them 30 of them and they had names like the Swedish Library and the Swedish Research Institute and they all had giant oversized Swedish flags hanging out front and it was just this open secret 10 20 25 000 jews with Swedish passports living inside these buildings in Budapest until the Soviet army showed up 6 months later He climbs on top of a train and the police are shooting at him and maybe they are trying to miss They don t hit him and he hands out dozens hundreds of passports to their upstretched hands and then the Germans let them out because you don t shoot the Swedes because they are neutral and it just doesn t make any sense But if you close your eyes you can kind of imagine it happening like it says here on wikipedia the Germans and the Arrow Cross were so dumbfounded they let him get away with it And you just kind of realize that you can try all you want to be that good and to make a difference like that and then and then and then It s just not reasonable to be the kind of breathless sensitive young person who at 14 watches Schindler s List and then just sits in the kitchen crying and just kind of chokes through sobbing breaths while his parents stare at him somewhat dumbfounded because maybe you remember that Schindler at the end says I could have done more and I this 14 year old can t even talk to them and then my sobbing turns to weeping and I look up at them It s awful because I have a hard time even believing it myself and it s not that I love who I am now but I do love who I was then because the whole world was open to him and he could have done anything he could have ridden a mule across the Andes become a champion kick boxer sailed to China and he I just never thought seriously about anything other than this at the time says through the tears I should be doing something I should be doing something and I just don t know what to do What if I don t do enough As if there was some measure Here is Howard Zinn reminding us that the world is backward because the wrong people are in jail and the wrong people are out of it The United States has almost 3 million people under incarceration had in 2008 almost 1 5 million adults in prison and 100 000 youth in prison and here s the other thing they execute children who ve probably done terrible things and in many ways they re not children anymore by the time they get sentenced but the government puts them under sedation and then they give them painkillers and then they put poison into their blood streams and they never wake up And people say they should have known better but that s just it they didn t know better If they had known better they wouldn t have done it And the government poisons these young men and they are broken and we have failed them even if it s not your country or mine exactly They execute men who grew up sexually abused and burned and ignored and mistreated who have grown up crazy and twisted and dissociated and they do terrible things But if they are monsters did we make them that way and what s our duty to them now and if they aren t monsters then how can we kill them when they are defenceless

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  • literature « Liam McHugh-Russell
    go to jail for life Thousands and thousands of people are in prison for minor drug related offences and yes drugs are horrible for a lot of people but then how is Tony Blair is a free man And you struggle every day with the question what am I supposed to do and then you read too much and you watch too many movies and you listen to too much music and you find that you can talk about anything and you can talk at length about the qualities of any of this litany of things You learn from Bourdieu that taste is a product of class and privilege and yet you believe that the art the literature the music matters that it is right that you haven t just soaked up the preferences of your parents And yet There are these moments in books where Gatsby s boat beats on against the current ceaselessly into the past and now here in Helen DeWitt we have this just incredible tour de force a book that starts strong and almost every page is better and better and reading it makes you want to be better Because her candidates are not better at they are simply one after the other better The hero is the hero by becoming not by being already And next I visit Rod who s is really no slouch himself when it comes to just being impressive and prolific and thoughtful and I am only 90 of the way through her DeWitt s book and take a breath it s called The Last Samurai and I ask Rod what should I read I want to know about the law I want to understand what it is I am supposed to do and what it has to do with the law and how we can be good and how we can make this place we live better I am complicit in its shortcomings and we are all complicit in them and we could do so much better than all of this suffering I am breathless and I am weak I want to try again Fail again Fail better My question to him is about the law and it is not about the law It is about practice what we do the terrible things that we can do to each other and that we do to each other and the small kindnesses and insights and braveries that can overcome it I tell him that I have decided to spend some time thinking and I tell him some of the things that I have been thinking about and some of the things that I have been reading He puts his hands behind his head for a moment and then he chuckles and then he screws up his forehead He says Hmm and he says this is like a desert island book and he says I say it s not like a desert island book because I have time and he says

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  • meta-learning « Liam McHugh-Russell
    becoming familiar with those meanings not just by plugging numbers into a formula mind but by learning how to manipulate the underlying ideas in ways that offers answers to questions means he will have a choice later on about whether that s a kind of person he wants to become rather than being forced to choose a career and identity in which triangles along with calculus probability and statistics remain mysteries whose secrets are the sole possession of others There is beauty and power and magic in the abstract worlds of mathematics in which triangles are only one of the most basic inhabitants You might ask if he really wants to decide so early on that he will never have reason to visit them September 13th 2015 Tags education learning by doing mathematics meta learning triangles Category education work Leave a comment Learning and Meta Learning Over at Tomorrow s Professor an excerpt from a book on ePortfolios for the unnaturally curious the book is Documenting Learning with ePortfolios A Guide for College Instructors ePortfolios allow learners to make connections among varied learning experiences and transfer knowledge and skills to new contexts and situations This approach particularly when it capitalizes on the features of ePortfolios together with a culture of folio thinking can promote deep and integrative learning For students however the value of ePortfolios and folio thinking may be unclear Students may initially assume that the use of ePortfolios in a course or program is simply a new and faddish approach to teaching and learning Indeed without effectively communicating the purpose of ePortfolios and the benefits that ePortfolios are intended to produce for them students may resist the approach thereby making it challenging for them to really capitalize on those benefits This is a challenging issue In my experience of the university setting students often come to learning experiences with preconceptions both about what they are supposed to be learning and about how they should best be taught those things The solution presented here is to show your cards make pedagogical methods explicit The difficulty of framing is that an entire level of learning gets lost It may be true that students who are told how something will add to their knowledge base or skill set will overcome their resistance and allow them to capitalize on a learning technique Yet being so explicit allows them to be smug in their presumption that they know how learning works and how teachers should teach informed more often than not by what Paul Freire called the banking model of education Freire s point in his critique of this model was partially that one should not view the teacher and the student as polar opposites with the student as an empty vessel and the teacher as a the holder of knowledge with gets desposited in the learners On a substantive level his argument implied that both teacher and students are learners that both have knowledge to share that education should aim to combine

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