The myth of learning styles

Right_brainYou know how some people are “right brained” and other people are “left brained”?

And how children are either auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learners?  And how they learn best if they are taught according to their particular learning style?

Well, none of that is true!  That educational fad of a few years ago has been thoroughly discredited by scientific research.  And yet teachers, curriculum, and teacher education courses are still teaching it.

A group of neuroscientists, psychologists, and educators in England has issued a public letter pointing this out and begging teachers to drop this stuff and to instead use approaches that are evidence-based. [Read more…]

Trump will keep Obamacare if his healthcare bill fails–which it did

Donald_Trump_(25218642186)Republican lawmakers, seeing that they don’t have the votes, postponed voting on President Trump’s healthcare bill, which was supposed to happen on Thursday.  But the president is demanding a vote on Friday.

Not only that, Trump says that if his “repeal and replace” bill fails, he will just leave Obamacare as the law of the land.

UPDATE:  Lacking the votes to pass it, the Republican leadership pulled the bill.  Speaker Paul Ryan said that we will just have to live with Obamacare.  President Trump blamed the Democrats, all of whom voted against his American Health Care Act, saying that we will just have to watch Obamacare “explode.”

 

Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Donald Trump) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Democrats will filibuster Gorsuch

412px-Senator_Chuck_Schumer_(cropped)Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says that Democrats will filibuster the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Republicans have said that if this happens, they will launch “the nuclear option” of changing the rules to eliminate the filibuster option for presidential appointments.

Schumer says that some Republicans will want to keep the traditional Senate perogative of unlimited debate (unless there is a 60 vote cloture), so he doesn’t think the Republicans can get the votes necessary to change the rule.

 

Photo of Chuck Schumer by y United States Senate – https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdmc/27720474940/in/album-72157667655342524/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56927097

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A new Bob Dylan interview

Bob_Dylan_-_Azkena_Rock_Festival_2010_2Bob Dylan has a new album coming out at the end of the month:  Triplicate.  It’s a triple album–the equivalent of three CDs–and it’s more standards, his third album in a row covering Sinatra-style songs from the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s.  Stardust.  Stormy Weather.  Sentimental Journey.  (Go to the Amazon link above to see what songs are on the album.  You can buy some of them individually already, though the album won’t be released until March 31.)

In conjunction with the album, the Nobel laureate has posted on his website a wide-ranging and fascinating interview with author and TV producer Bill Flanagan.

He talks about Minnesota, his childhood, his early career, but mostly he talks music.  He explains what he loves about these songs, while also showing that he keeps up with contemporary music.  Showing an encyclopedic knowledge of music, Dylan talks chords, charts, styles, and phrasing.  We see Dylan as a performer and also as a music producer, explaining what he looks for in a drummer, what he tries to do in the studio, explaining how he sequences the songs on his albums.

For an overview of the interview–nice phrase, if I do say so myself–read this.  From Rolling Stone, here is a link to “Bob Dylan’s Surprise, Extensive New Interview: 9 Things We Learned.

After the jump, a link to the interview itself.  Read it all, but I quote his answers to only two questions: one on the different styles in his singing;  and one giving his reflections on the early days of rock ‘n’ roll. [Read more…]

Group morality vs. individual morality

In the context of a discussion of the conflict between education secretary Betsy DeVos and the teachers’ unions, S. M. Hutchens cites an interesting point made by the late theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.

In his book Moral Man and Immoral Society, Niebuhr contrasts group morality to individual morality.  Groups form a “collective egoism” that resists self-criticism.  Whereas individuals are capable of repentance and change.

What are some applications of this observation?

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Trump and team WERE under government surveillance

eyes-490608_640President Trump has claimed that the Obama administration bugged his Trump Tower offices.  That accusation has been mostly dismissed.

But now it turns out that President-elect Trump and his transition team WERE surveilled.

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-California) said that he has seen copies of reports “unmasking” the members of Trump’s transition team and their activities.  This material was widely-circulated in the White House and in the Intelligence community.

Nunes says he believes the material was gathered legally, although information gleaned “incidentally” in the course of other investigations is supposed to be redacted.  Nunes says the information gathered did not involve Russia connections.
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