Monthly Archives: May 2021

A religious symbol, not a knife: at the heart of the NSW kirpan ban is a battle to define secularism

A religious symbol, not a knife: at the heart of the NSW kirpan ban is a battle to define secularism

The New South Wales government has put a temporary ban on Sikh students carrying a kirpan in public schools. The kirpan is a ceremonial dagger baptised Sikhs carry to symbolise their duty to stand up against injustice. The ban was put in place after a 14-year-old boy used a kirpan to stab a 16-year-old at a high school in […] … learn more→

Universities should not swat the public intellectual gadfly

Universities should not swat the public intellectual gadfly

I have been in the academic equivalent of the Priory detox clinic for some time now. The turning point came when I came across The Last Intellectuals by American historian Russell Jacoby. Published in 1987, this sharp, sometimes ironic and often scornful paean to the disappearing public intellectual not only changed my scholarly interests but […] … learn more→

To what extent are we are ruled by unconscious forces?

To what extent are we are ruled by unconscious forces?

Sometimes when I ask myself why I’ve made a certain choice, I realise I don’t actually know. To what extent we are ruled by things we aren’t conscious of? – Paul, 43, London Why did you buy your car? Why did you fall in love with your partner? When we start to examine the basis […] … learn more→

Your phone and your brain - what we know so far

Your phone and your brain – what we know so far

A defining characteristic of the way many people live today is persistent online connectedness. Since the introduction of smartphones about 15 years ago, the rapid and broad adoption of these devices has had an impact on people’s behaviour at all hours of the day. Forecasts suggest that the number of smartphone connections in sub-Saharan Africa will reach 678 million by […] … learn more→

How to get teens to commit to their studies and not drop out

How to get teens to commit to their studies and not drop out

School dropout has been a frequent issue on international educational policy agendas and, in times of pandemic, a threat, with 24 million students at risk according to UNESCO . However, only one in five countries demonstrated a commitment to equity in ‘precovid’ education through their funding mechanisms, and there is little indication that concern has increased on the ‘postcovid’ path. Faced […] … learn more→

Video shows students still get paddled in US schools

Video shows students still get paddled in US schools

The image of a teacher paddling or spanking a student at school may seem to belong in a history book – as archaic a practice as the dunce cap. However, for thousands of students across America each year, the use of corporal punishment for violating school rules is still a routine part of their education. Surprising […] … learn more→

Reading, postures, emotions: how the body helps us understand a text

Reading, postures, emotions: how the body helps us understand a text

On reading these first lines, your attention is fully focused on the content of the text. Your curiosity about the topic of the article – or simply discovering new information – makes you “cognitively” engaged in word processing. Then, during the reading, this commitment will gradually diminish: your reading will accelerate, your eye fixations will be […] … learn more→

Why mentoring for women risks propping up patriarchal structures instead of changing them

Why mentoring for women risks propping up patriarchal structures instead of changing them

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that women are underrepresented in leadership roles in many industries. This has led to a proliferation of women-only mentoring programs designed to challenge industry standards for female participation. The idea is to normalise women’s participation at all employment levels, especially senior ones. However, our year-long prize-winning international study focused […] … learn more→

Why do I need anything other than Google to answer a question?

Why do I need anything other than Google to answer a question?

Imagine you’re researching something. Whether you’re a fourth grader who needs to find out how volcanoes erupt or you’re an adult looking for more information regarding a news article, you might want to quickly look something up on the internet. What could go wrong? Google’s search engine may seem to have all the answers to […] … learn more→

Structuring and sequencing chunks of writing

Structuring and sequencing chunks of writing

Writers think about structure, a lot. They don’t necessarily tell that to their readers. That’s because writers often want their readers to focus on what’s been written, rather than how it’s been organised. But yes, there are loads of texts where writers play with structures and want the reader to notice. But even then they don’t always tell the […] … learn more→