An editor’s notebook: coda

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All this week, I’ve looked for lessons from the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve edited in the last few years. Here’s a little of what I’ve learned. Writing is difficult. But with enough practice and good coaching, you can get good at it. Editing is a higher level of difficulty. The editor must understand … Continued

A Knewton critique: Why computers shouldn’t teach calculus (or anything else)

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Isi, my teenager, is a college student taking calculus. The teacher is assigning homework from Knewton, an online learning system. I’ve been helping with the homework. Now I can see why computers can’t teach college courses — and why tools like Knewton are not just destructive, they’re evil. The old way of teaching calculus worked … Continued

Going beyond a Washington Post academic’s prescription for college writing teachers

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Jeffrey Selingo wrote a piece called “Why can’t college graduates write coherent prose?” for the Washington Post. He’s right to require more practice, but ignores the need to practice writing that’s appropriate for a screen. Lots of college students can’t write I know. I’ve hired or mentored many of them. Writing skills are spotty and … Continued

Learning, teaching, and knowing

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When you learn things, you know them. Then, if you try to teach someone else, you realize you don’t know them, and you learn them at a deeper level. I recently tried to teach my teenager to parallel park. I’ve been successfully parallel parking for many decades, of course, but we needed to practice together to … Continued

Seeking professors who teach writing without bullshit

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I want to change the way the next generation writes. If you teach them, I’d like to help you. See if this description fits you: You teach writing. That could be English composition, marketing communications, public relations, technical writing, journalism, or any other non-fiction writing class. You are teaching a class in Fall of 2016. … Continued

Why and how I homeschool my children

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My wife Kimberley and I decided to homeschool our children. There’s only one reason: we think they learn better this way. Since people are curious about homeschooling, I’d like tell you how it works. Homeschooling is a personal preference. My intention here is not to change anyone’s mind or win anyone over, but simply to explain myself. I am … Continued