Comment on The bright side of hating your passion by atoms

I’m curious how did you find the statistic about the 25% of grads in your department? I’m curious what the numbers are in the biology department here where I did my undergrad.

But yeah, I wish the university was better at making students aware earlier of the difference between a niche and a diploma.

Comment on We have different history textbooks by atoms

It’s really cool that you can go and see the two histories and stories running in parallel now in real time. I like Carrie’s idea of telling multiple stories in parallel and letting people compare them for themselves.

I think for things like history and current events, using primary sources is still helpful (of course not complete). This way you can kind of see people in history speaking for themselves the same way we want people in our classroom to speak for themselves. And we want to include multiple stories.

Comment on Social Justice Education to Social Justice Activism by atoms

This is a really thoughtful post; it gives me a lot to think about in terms of the way we talk about justice relates to the way we achieve justice. Even though there is a difference in your approach I like how both you and Dr. Nelson described in different contexts that there is no one-to-one correlation between our intentions/speech and our impact, and we need to own both. And I agree with you that giving platform to people with ideas with which we disagree cannot be separated out from the issue of equality. You can’t have the latter without the former. Though I’ll be honest, right about now I am wishing Trump got a whole lot less of a platform…. That said, even there I any group trying to take that matter into their own hands, assuming it is not actually there platform to offer or to take away has to be careful or is at high risk of doing something counter productive.

A phrase I have used to describe situations like this (both literal and ideological “battles”) is that sometimes we fight so hard we forget what we are fighting for.

I think in a way the question is, do you have to believe in the equal validity of all ideas in order to promote equality for people adhering to them. I may be biased because I do NOT believe in the equal validity of all ideas, but I think the answer is no. I can’t pass up the perhaps bad pun of referencing the “other” Augustine: the often quoted line “with love for mankind and hatred of sins.” Obviously his language is specifically religious, but it is interesting to see how long the idea “no idea is above scrutiny, no people are below dignity” has been in play.

I wonder how conversation between people with really different, even contradicting viewpoints can be facilitated? I think one tactic is to try to avoid certain topics (like politics and religion) but I think that approach can only get us so far. Thoughts?

Comment on Silly Mama, tables are for eating by atoms

I agree — I definitely don’t mean to diminish the role of the teacher.

In the same podcast Dr. Gopnik said that as adults we are like production and marketing. I can imagine playing off of that same analogy to describe the importance of a teacher instead. If a company were all research and development with a dysfunctional production and marketing department, it would be accused of being lost in it’s own world. It wouldn’t be self-sustainable (It’s the same thing academia is accused of sometimes…).

Pure creativity can be entertaining on it’s own, but in the end we want it to be tied to something we actually intend to do or to produce. I don’t actually think kids are good at finding ways to spread their ideas and see them utilized and produced in a void of support from “production and marketing.” That doesn’t mean I don’t think they are not capable of these things, but I think teacher/adult support goes a long way here.