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Posts Tagged ‘humor

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I tweeted this just over a week ago, but it’s worth celebrating again. Merry Christmas!


You don’t have to be an academic to appreciate the protest-in-jest!

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No, I do not mean administering humour. I mean breaking down humour into its components and administrating it. Don’t know what I am talking about?

Over the weekend I tweeted Microsoft’s Education Competencies on humour (or humor for those in the US) [PDF copy, summary table below]. I thought it was a joke then and I think that it is oh-so ridiculous now. Michael Arrington at TechCrunch weighs in on the matter and I thought I’d fire a salvo as well.

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Like Arrington, I thought that it was ridiculous for MS to try to “chunkify” humour into discrete blocks for attainment. Even if, by some remote possibility, that the MS article is a joke, it shows how old school training or teaching operates: Go from simple to complex and scaffold along the way. There is nothing wrong with that approach until you use it all the time and rely on it as a crutch.

I also thought that the tabulated approach was typical of how administrators think. Not every human trait is clear or simple or fits nicely into cells. Some traits are more like Venn diagrams. Many our limited scope of illustration.

So how do we teach such things? I say we don’t, not in the traditional sense anyway. Like learning a new language, I say we let learners experience the complexity and richness of it all from the beginning. It is about apprenticeship and learning in context. It is about learning from reality and community.

Yes, we do learn a language in chunks, e.g., vocabulary. But traditional teaching relies on rote memorization; more progressive pedagogy relies on immediate use and practice in context. The difference is what makes learning meaningful.

As for administrators trying to simplify things, I say let the stakeholders tell riches stories. Keep portfolios and show evidence of change and growth. Let more than one person be the judge by getting all stakeholders involved. For example, an educator could be appraised by a principal, colleagues, students and parents throughout a school year. It is not difficult to do this with social media and it relieves one judge of a heavy and unfair burden.

Might it look like this?


Love the Gary Larson style of the piece. But God needs to upgrade to a multitouch or possibly a holo (halo?) screen!

A light-hearted but critical look at PowerPoint.

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But really, it’s not just the fault of PowerPoint. We don’t blame the just the car for killing someone. Look at who’s driving and how.


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