Biometric “Hysteria”?

Diane Ravitch may be adamant and forceful... but hysterical? In a post today, she refers to another, one by Gary Houchens, a professor of "Educational, Leadership, & Research" at Western Kentucky University. His is entitled "Biometric hysteria: the anti-research mentality of the educational status quo." In a postscript Ravitch writes: I do not like to … Continue reading Biometric “Hysteria”?

“Objectivity” As a Barrier to Education: Teaching Intellectual Responsibility and the Role of the Citizen

Often, when people wonder if American higher education might follow the fate of journalism, falling victim to inability to adapt to new technological milieux, they are thinking in terms of money and its impact. The financial structures of protected and centralized institutions can collapse when product becomes cheaply and widely available, both for creation and … Continue reading “Objectivity” As a Barrier to Education: Teaching Intellectual Responsibility and the Role of the Citizen

Testing Can Never Suffice (How Many Times Must We Say It?)

Standardized testing is based on a number of assumptions, including that knowledge can be broken down into identifiable bits of absolute, unchanging information—and that education is mastery of such bits. This is nonsense, of course, and has been understood to be nonsense for eons. As Paulo Freire writes, it is an ‘imprisoning of reality,’ pretending … Continue reading Testing Can Never Suffice (How Many Times Must We Say It?)

Skinner, Freire… and Ravitch

In a speech last week, Diane Ravitch said:The philanthropists and Wall Street hedge fund managers and Republicans and the Obama administration and assorted rightwing billionaires have some ideas about how to change American education. They aren’t teachers but they think they know how to fix the schools. Their ideas boil down to this strategy: NCLB … Continue reading Skinner, Freire… and Ravitch

Freire and Skinner, Once Again

The last passages of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and B. F. Skinner’s The Technology of Teaching are particularly instructive to those of us exploring ways of improving education today, though they were each writing over forty years ago.  Though their approaches are different, they both recognize, with John Dewey and so many others, … Continue reading Freire and Skinner, Once Again

Freire and Skinner: A Third Time

Both Paulo Freire, in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and B. F. Skinner, in The Technology of Learning, imbue their texts with the language of particular ideologies, but one can dig through the cant and find real substance.  Again, as I have said, though Freire focuses on the system of education and Skinner on the method, … Continue reading Freire and Skinner: A Third Time

Paulo Freire and B. F. Skinner: A Slight Introduction

Paolo Freire’s ideas on education, especially his “banking model” from Pedagogy of the Oppressed, have long been misused.  Freire wrote about systemic oppression within the structures of education; pieces of his work cannot, given the nature of his argument, be applied as Band-Aids.  The “banking model,” a case in point, is described to clarify the … Continue reading Paulo Freire and B. F. Skinner: A Slight Introduction

Broadening Teaching

Oh, how I wish I'd paid attention!But I was only seven or eight years old.My father, John A. Barlow, was an experimental psychologist. Friends and colleagues I remember include B. F. Skinner, Fred Keller, Charles Ferster, and Tom Gilbert. Dad was particularly interested in teaching machines: he was a paid consultant for Field Enterprises (which … Continue reading Broadening Teaching