Education

Teacher Demoralization

Posted on 23 September 2019 by Kevin Smith

In a previous post on Kevin Smith’s blog, I discussed the distinction between discourses of “best practices” that dominate education discussions and “enacted values,” which I offer as the more suitable discourse by which to frame conversations about education. In this post, I extend the conversation through a focus particularly on what is lost when
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My dad and I assembling the Millennium Falcon, 19, Dec. 1980

Suicide Prevention and School

Posted on 9 September 2019 by Kevin Smith

*Content Notice: This post discusses suicide among children and adults. One evening in October of 1995, my family and I visited my parents. My sons were playing with grandpa downstairs while my mother, wife and I were in the kitchen talking. Eventually, dad came upstairs and asked mom for a stamp. She gave him one,
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Priorities, purpose and efficacy: How identifying aims/purposes in education can make us better teachers.

Posted on 5 August 2019 by Kevin Smith

In a previous post, I discussed teachers’ responses to the question “what is your top priority as a teacher?” The most common response included variations of the phrase “to help pupils achieve their potential,” a priority I believe is essentially unachievable. It’s a nice sentiment, but we need to conceptualise more distinct and concrete priorities
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Best Practices vs Enacted Values

Posted on 20 July 2019 by Kevin Smith

“…rather than empowering teachers when we claim to offer them “best practices” for the 21st century classroom, we are, in fact, disempowering them. First, it makes them “objects” of other specialists’ research and reduces them to mere consumers of pre-packaged products that someone else in the edutocracy created and will profit from. This perpetuates a cycle of consumerist desire, a constant and regenerating market for education consumption. Second, it also fails to equip teachers to live fully into their calling and, especially, to do the very things we so often say we value, namely to improve the lives of the young people in our charge.”
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Aphorisms & Axioms: Finding Purpose in Teaching.

Posted on 8 July 2019 by Kevin Smith

One of Nietzsche’s aphorisms states “If you have your why for life, you can get by with almost any how.” An aphorism is a “pithy observation which contains a general truth.” For Nietzsche, aphorisms (unlike axioms), provide the potential for meaning-making in a short and succinct form. Nietzsche held the key motivation in life was
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