Daring students to express their views


I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.

As I start a new term teaching journalism, this quote has played repeatedly through my mind. For me, it epitomizes what journalism and education, at their very foundation, are about: the right to free, full self-expression—including the right to offend. Why? Because whatever is seriously interesting usually offends somebody at some point. It's the ideas that jar us which stimulate discussion.


The New Teaching Paradigm In Action

I've been teaching for 20+ years and the degree to which teaching paradigms have changed in the last decade continually amazes me. The old paradigm I learned as a fresh, red-cheeked grad student was that students were like blank sheets of paper, waiting to be filled with a teacher's wisdom/words/ideas/information. Students were passive and much of their knowledge was gained by simply memorizing or repeating information. This was what made a successful student—one who fit into the paradigm, meeting its requirements. I was such a student and so, taught this way.


Idioms and Reheated Cabbage

Every language has its idioms, which lends color to how we express ourselves both in speaking and in writing. Because idioms express more than their literal meaning, to non-native speakers they sound like a bizarre string of unrelated words. Like being on the ball—only literally possible for circus acts but figuratively speaking, it's a great way to imply someone can react quickly.


Smartphones and education

As education is concerned with learning, and learning (in its truest sense) involves embracing change, it goes without saying that the tools teachers use should also change. Only when it comes to using mobile phones in the classroom, many teachers—myself included—are stuck, despite the reality that our students are glued to their phones 24/7.

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