Early educational experiences that shaped Emil du Bois-Reymond’s career in science
One of the important educational milestones for Bois-Reymond had been the experimental course he did in Berlin in 1838. His interactions with Jons Jacob Berzelius and other eminent scientists of the day shaped his formative mind. The exchanges he had with Johannes Muller served as an added apprenticeship for the young Bois-Reymond. Reading Carlo Matteucci’s essay “On the Electrical Phenomena of Animals” in 1841 had a profound influence on his ever inquisitive scientific mind. In 1843 Du Bois-Reymond was fortunate to have correspondence with and be appraised by Alexander von Humboldt. This culminated in his dissertation presentation to the French Academy of Sciences. Bois-Reymond’s academic life was thus filled with numerous fortuitous interactions with the leading scientific lights of the day.
Bois-Reymond’s personality, preferences and personal . . . Read More
• How do you compare to the cultures you have contact with?
What I’ve witnessed in Canada so far are sharp cultural differences to my native Saudi Arabia. The most notable difference is how people here enjoy greater freedoms in social life. For example, I see how the handshake is a common manner of greeting among friends, acquaintances or colleagues. Even girls do not hesitate to shake hands with men. This sort of contact is totally forbidden in Saudi Arabia, where it is not only illegal but also considered immoral. Back home, we only see men shaking hands with other men, sometimes perhaps even kiss on each cheek. Likewise women greet each other through hugs or kisses. But any kind of physical contact between the two sexes is prohibited in public places. So it was refreshing to see so much freedom in interpersonal relations in Canada. Another thing I noticed is how public life in Canada is not tied to religious practice. In contrast, in Saudi Arabia, culture is . . . Read More
Conflict in human relations is as old as humanity itself. But what distinguishes humans from other creatures is how they can resolve conflict without resort to aggression. This is the central message of The Peacemaker. The book is especially addressed to the youth, as there is a lacuna in moral guidance for them.
One of the strengths of the book is how the authors showcase the utility of the Holy Bible in solving human conflict. At a time when acts of violence and anger are high among the youth, training them in Biblical principles can mitigate these negative tendencies. The book is also valuable to adults such as parents, teachers and pastors, who are in a position to cultivate Biblical principles in their wards.
Statistics point out how instances of teen violence have steadily increased over the last two decades. These troubled teenagers need love and guidance, for punishment is shown to be an ineffective deterrent of violence. It is this love and guidance that the . . . Read More
It is true that CPD needs to be reflective and designed to improve an individual’s attributes, knowledge, understanding and skills. There are several reasons why this is true. Firstly, a good CPD program will include “discussions with colleagues or pupils to reflect on working practices.” (TDA-CPD Guidance, 2013) Such a reflection at the outset will help measure its relevance to the participants. Next, it will also help denote learning objectives and design apt teaching strategies toward attaining those objectives. Just as reflective activity is integral to CPD during the event, it is also important afterwards. Herein, participants “may need time to reflect on what they have learnt and what the impact may be – this could be on their own or with others. Colleagues or children and young people in the school may be able to play a part in this collaborative reflection.” (TDA-CPD Guidance, 2013) Hence it is clear why reflective activity is a crucial part of CPD.
The . . . Read More
I am of Asian origin and hence Asian philosophy is ingrained into my psychology. I particularly embrace the Buddhist worldview and it manifests in my professional life as well. My approach to educating my pupils is taken after some of the principles of human nature that I had learnt from my parents and Buddhist texts. In terms of categorizing my world view under the four systems proposed by Ibrahim et. al., I would say mine contains shades of all four except the Pessimistic/Deterministic worldview. I would elaborate on this in the following paragraphs.
There are elements of the Eastern/Buddhist worldview that converge with the Optimistic worldview of Ibrahim et. al. For example, the ideas of living in harmony with nature and focusing on inner spiritual development are basic to Buddhism as well as the Optimistic model. A corollary to this understanding is that sustainability of the environment is to be kept as a cherished goal. But in contemporary society short-term goals have . . . Read More
When Charles Darwin published the theory of evolution a century and a half ago, there were still some unanswered questions about the theory. But today, with so many advanced archaeological, biochemical and mathematical techniques at our disposal, there is resounding proof in its support. Jerry Coyne’s book is a persuasive account of the irrefutability of the theory of evolution. I approached reading the book with an open mind, allowing myself to either agree or disagree with the author if logic warranted. But as I progressed through the chapters it became obvious to me that evolution is not ‘one’ among ‘many’ contending explanations for the unity within diversity of life. To the contrary, it was strongly impressed upon me how evolution through natural selection is the ‘only’ explication.
Coyne cites numerous evidences in support of evolution. Firstly, the fossil records of various extinct species fit into a grand ‘tree of life’ where every surviving species . . . Read More
In scholarship pertaining to childhood education one could pick out all sorts of logical fallacies being applied. Some of it is oversight or poor understanding on the part of the author, while the others are deliberate constructed so as to mislead or misinform the reader. American educators have claimed that the steady improvement in SAT scores is an indication of improved literacy and numeracy skills of students. This is a ‘hasty generalization’, for upon critical review the real reason is revealed, namely the decrease in rigor of standardized tests. In childhood education literature we also witness ‘non sequitors’, which is an attempt to create a cause and effect relationship where none exists. For example, the claim that, since enrolments to schools have increased over time the overall standards must have also gotten better is a non-sequitor. Empirical studies show no correlation between these two parameters. ‘Faulty Analogy’ is comparing apples with oranges. To say . . . Read More
The relevance of the book by Aseltine et al cannot be overstated. With respect to the state of education in the United States, the book takes a comprehensive survey of the education system. By doing so, it identifies the inherent weaknesses of the system, while also suggesting robust corrective measures. At the heart of the training philosophy promoted by the book, is recognition of the role of teachers in molding students, but also in the reputation of the school as a whole. In the process of reading the book I had noted down my impressions, reactions, criticisms and an overall evaluation of the work. These have synthesized into my thesis statement. Giving due acknowledgement for the positive facets of the book, including its numerous insights and action plans for teacher and school improvement, I will however argue that as a result of its limited focus the book fails to recognize and address larger systemic factors that have undermined the education system.
One of the . . . Read More
The three scholarly articles on the relationship between educational institutions and students are very insightful. The centre of their attention is the influence of student’s economic class on the quality and content of education received. But more importantly, class continues to influence and determine the quality and nature of an individual’s life beyond and after schooling years. In other words, the three authors posit in three different ways that economic class that an American is born into predetermines their course of life. The rest of this essay will flesh out this thesis.
The essay titled The Educated Global Citizen or Student Global Consumer? raises several important questions about the culture of education that has come to be accepted. Far from the ideal notions of education that the founding fathers of the nation envisioned, what we have today is the corporate takeover of schools and academies. The concept of advertising and sponsored programs have become so . . . Read More
Both Paulo Freire and William Brickman stand as giants in the field of education. However, their views and concerns hardly ever converged. While Freire’s basic focus was the relation between education and socio-economy, Brickman’s scholarship was on comparative education at the international level. It is fair to say that these two areas are worlds apart. Yet, the work of both thinkers is integral to modern thought on education. Their theories and views continue to influence contemporary education professionals.
One of the major focus areas of Freire’s work was the role of education in maintaining the existing social order. In other words, he sought to answer the question of how the oppressed in society continues to remain so? If the purpose of education is to enlighten, and in consequence, liberate the individual, then why are human relationships ripe with domination of one party over the other? It is a fair question and the answer lies in the way content, structure and . . . Read More