Heresy in the House of Progressive Education

20th February 2018 6

In my twenty-seven years of teaching, I have always been doubtful of the “progress” of education, especially that of higher education, which makes me, for all intents, a heretic. I have seen the latest trends in teaching methodology and testing come and go and be repeated for decades, none of them improving student learning. Despite these efforts, most of which … [Read on]

Banged to Rights

19th February 2018 7

I was sitting on a bench at the side of the custody office in a police station one night trying to look as if I was minding my own business when a suspect who had just been arrested was brought in. ‘Take that hat off,’ barked the custody sergeant as he began the process of taking the man’s details. ‘It’s … [Read on]

The Care Home Worker’s Tale

14th February 2018 11

I work in a care home for the former residents of our old asylums. Men and women who do not speak, but spend their days staring at their hands and screaming, men and women who wear nappies, or colostomy bags, who perform fast and rigid rocking motions, or persist in standing up, sitting down, violently flailing their arms, even when … [Read on]

Allergies are breeding like Rabbits

12th February 2018 6

I’m as liberal as the next person – but there are limits. A new film based on Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, a lady of the utmost probity, shows Peter’s young relations pelting a man with blackberries, even though they know – get this, they know the man (who we should now properly call ‘the victim’) – is allergic to … [Read on]

Dacca by the Thames

9th February 2018 4

A metastasis of apartment blocks, the ubiquitous design differentiated merely by an exterior paint job. Cranes mark where another few degrees of vista will be obscured. Just when it seems every possible gap has been filled, magically another site is cleared and the pile-driving resumes. Parsimoniously-sized flats for the urban dweller, cheaply constructed with a narrow balcony overlooking the railway line. … [Read on]

Synesius of Cyrene; A Man for our Times

7th February 2018 5

To read Synesius of Cyrene today is to enter into a small circle even among those who study the late Roman Empire. His works are not available in print in an English translation (though there is a French edition) and there has been no major study of him since 1980s. This neglect is surprising: he has left to posterity nine … [Read on]

The Prophet’s Bankers

2nd February 2018 10

One wonders what future historians will write about Saudi Arabia. Will there even be a future historians, or at least Western historians? Saudi Arabia has already changed the world enormously and will continue to do so – perhaps it might even oversee the downfall of Christian civilisation. There are recent signs Saudi might be moderating, but this may be simple … [Read on]

Boris buses, Boris bikes, Boris for PM ?

1st February 2018 4

A few weeks ago my wife and I flew from Cork to London. The plane took off on time, the flight was without incident, the advanced electronics of the airliner brushed aside a gale at Stansted allowing it to land smoothly. A bendy bus was immediately at the aircraft steps and in half an hour we were on a fast … [Read on]

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