Bookmarked Disengaged boys: just make it a competition, right? by Adam Boxer (A Chemical Orthodoxy)
When students are involved in a competition, the thing they are focused on is the competition. Their mental energies are dedicated to finding the quickest, easiest and most effortless way of winning the competition. Thinking hard or learning plays second fiddle. The mind has a remarkable capacity to shirk the hard labour of learning, don’t give it another opportunity to do so.
Adam Boxer questions the benefits of competition and urgency on learning. This reminds me of a post from Natasha Singer on Kahoot!:

Kahoot seems like a bit of a throwback to a more old-fashioned pedagogical approach: behaviorism. This is the idea of educators shaping student behavior by handing out gold stars, stickers, points and the like.

To me it comes back to fun or hard fun. The most useful activity I did with quizzes in class was to get my students to create their own and upload them for their peers.

Sometimes it pays off to think small. Think next door, down the hall, at the next meeting. Act large in small spaces. Notice who’s speaking and who isn’t. Practice not knowing and being curious. Be kind. Welcome warmly and mean it.

Sherri Spelic


This microcast is my response to the pop-up MOOC, Engagement in a Time of Polarization, currently running. I have been following proceedings, but have struggled to contribute. After trying to write a more comprehensive reflection, but not knowing where to start, I decided to ‘think small’ and just share a short microcast. For so long I thought ‘engagement’ involved measuring the number of tweets etc, but I have come to respect lurking more and more as a legitimate (in)action.

Bookmarked Disengaged by Design: The Neoconservative War on Youth by Benjamin Doxtdator (Long View on Education)
My broad argument is that no, students are not disengaged because schools are stuck in the past, but because schools are caught in the present strong current of policies that constantly re-shape and re-design schools – and life more broadly – to civically and politically disengage youth. To wage a war on them.
This is the text of a talk that Benjamin Doxtdator gave at #BrewEdWake on Saturday Jan 20, 2018 on the educational policies designed to disengage youth. This ‘war’ is in response to what students might offer:

Peterson is an example of what I have in mind when I talk about the ‘war on youth’, a phrase which comes from Henry Giroux. In the neoconservative attack, youth are triply marginalised because it is claimed:

  • they don’t know anything
  • they are ‘fragile snowflakes’ and ‘play victim’

  • they are dangerous to free speech (read: dangerous to the identity politics of wealthy white men)

These attacks are always racist and sexist, directed against people who are poor and the most marginalised and vulnerable. 

Doxtdator also wonders where the hope is:

It’s difficult to see radical possibilities of hope for youth in either of the main reform movements: the neoconservatives see youth as dangerous, but the neoliberal ‘future proof’ movement also tells a story about the value of youth that too often “forecloses hope” (Henry Giroux).

This is the story that is not told when we talk about students being ‘entrepreneurs’ and creating the future.