Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Another Letter That Should Be Sent

January 26, 2013

Somebody over on the Bad Science forum posted this. I really hope he does send it.

Oxford University PPE Course Convenors

Dear Sirs,

There are many famous and successful alumni of the Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree – indeed, a truly disproportionate number of the higher echelons of government and parliament hold PPE degrees. This is a credit to the success of the first P – you have obviously taught them politics very well.

However, given the country’s performance, maybe the Economics syllabus could be improved. I realize that it is not a precise discipline, but it is possible that you could revise parts of the syllabus to correct the obvious errors in belief held by your former students.

But, and this is the biggest “but” of all – I think your teaching of Philosophy requires a major overhaul. The current crop of PPE graduates in parliament on all sides of the House clearly do not know how to think things through properly, how to make decisions and how to consider what probable outcomes of those decisions will be. They have not been taught to think critically and analytically at all. C-, must try harder.

Yours faithfully, etc.

Unevidenced Policy

May 3, 2010

[BPSDB]The computer system at my workplace, a state secondary school, was down for three days last week. As a result, the usual practice of presenting lessons using interactive whiteboards had to be abandoned in favour of more traditional methods. Some teachers reckoned that student behaviour improved during these lessons. This got me thinking. (more…)

The ‘Broken Britain’ Hoax

March 13, 2010

We received a letter from TeenH’s school yesterday complaining about behaviour: not hers in particular but her year group in general. The complaint, however, had nothing to do with events at the school. (more…)

Unevidence Based Medicine

January 19, 2010

[BPSDB]I have received a reply to my Freedom of Information request to the University of Westminster for “research papers or other documents” that support claims made by their School of Life Sciences for the qigong tuina course they offer. (more…)

An Informative Silence

December 10, 2009

[BPSDB] My requests for the scientific basis for the claims made for the University of Westminster’s qigong tuina course have so far remained unanswered. What a surprise. Not. (more…)

More From Woo-full Westminster

November 24, 2009

[BPSDB]It would appear that the University of Westminster have learned nothing from the intellectual mauling they received from Professor David Colquhoun over their homeopathy degree. (more…)

Waterloo Road Bad Science

November 12, 2009

[BPSDB]Waterloo Road, the eponymous school in BBC 1’s drama/soap opera, with its disaster-prone staff and unruly students, seems to have managed until now without a science department. This changed with the Wednesday 11 November episode, which featured helpings of bad science and bad education. (more…)

Show Me The Evidence, Please

October 23, 2009

[BPSDB]I previously wrote here on the Times OnLine’s slightly inaccurate description of the effect of ‘Health & Safety’ on school science practicals and illustrated my point with examples of supposedly banned experiments still performed at my school. One commenter pointed out that this was really just anecdotal evidence and countered with an anecdote of her own to the effect that practical work had decreased at the school attended by her daughters. (more…)

The Times Gets It Slightly Wrong About Science Education

October 8, 2009

[BPSDB]Sometimes I think that the Press and I live in parallel universes. What else can explain the fact that they publish stuff as news that I know to be false? They even claim that stuff I do on a regular basis as part of my job as a school lab technician never actually happens. (more…)

Simple Sums Stump Daily Mail Hacks

September 1, 2009

In their eagerness to bash public sector workers here, both the journalist and the sub-editor neglected to do some simple arithmetic that would have shown they were writing nonsense. (more…)