Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Ah, this post takes me back to the days of correcting student writing. Commentary requires clarity of thought, which is revealed only in clarity of expression. This piece displays neither, and serves as a good example of the standard to which pundits and academics alike ought to be held. For example, the sentence "In Paul Tough's new book, he writes..." is badly constructed. Instead, write "In his new book, Paul Tough writes..." (thus making it clear who was writing). Also for example, the word "engendering" is misused. It means 'to cause' or 'give birth to'. But teachers don't "cause" grit to appear in students. They 'promote' it or 'support the development' of it. Also for example, the argument "But what has been left unsaid..." is a non-sequitur. If Tough is relevant at all, it's for what he said, not what he didn't say. Or for example, the phrase "instilling these skills in students" is misused the way "engender" was. Another example, "we could naturally embed..." suggests a very puzzling understanding of the role of the teacher. Or for example, "by moving to a competency-based learning system..." is again a bad phrasing, where the author means "by changing to..." or "by employing instead...". That's the first two paragraphs.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Feb 27, 2024 3:50 p.m.

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