The apostles of #edtech – so quick to denounce their proudly Luddite critics as anachronistic – are themselves an anachronism. They collectively represent one of the last refuges of a centuries-old faith that has been losing ground for a long …


[Below is the full text of Hannah Arendt’s essay on the crisis in education, published in 1954. We put it online here in the firm belief that it remains – in the 21st century – required reading for all those …


The Bowie phenomenon is not without its implications for pedagogy – especially for a pedagogy that frames the teacher as the great threat to the spontaneous self-reliance of the child, whose instinct, were it not thwarted by those sages on …


“Whose side are you on?” asks the critical pedagogue as he declares emphatically that he is on the side of the students. It sounds as if something like a civil war has broken out in education – a pedagogic equivalent …


We rebels, so keen to see the old world toppled and the first light of the New Age break over the dark horizon, have a weakness for seeing false dawns. And it is a weakness that makes it so much …


1. Learning must be active, they say. The children must become what they are: Agents of their destiny. They are neither vassals to be ordered around, nor vessels that must wait to be filled. They are agents able to choose …


The reader who respects the right of the bomb victim not to have the graphic photo of his dismembered body displayed onscreen will forgive us for presenting a very selective account of our reasons for leaving the teaching profession. Confessions …


Tweetable abstract: In its current form, the promotion of freedom in education is, at the same time, the promotion of its opposite. Online pedagogic advice about promoting learner autonomy tends to be guided by a rather dubious contrast between a …


In promoting the value of critical thinking people too often forget that critical thinking is itself something that needs to be thought about critically. There is a risk that we, as teachers, organise activities which require students to do things …


Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion boldly states that faith is evil (p347). It is evil because it “actively debauches the scientific enterprise” (p321). If debauching cultural enterprises is a criterion of evil, we want to argue that there is …


Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed remains an inspiring work. The banking model of education he set himself against is now being replaced by an online shopping model of education (learning as the active, personal acquisition of disposable stuff you …


Back in the early nineteenth century Hegel said that reading the morning papers was the modern equivalent of praying. Times have changed. Now it is turning before breakfast (the prayers that most matter are always those said on an empty …


Fromm describes very nicely how the modern understanding of emancipation as the most uninhibited satisfaction of desire ends up supporting the regime it was supposed to challenge. He makes the point in a critique of the popular reading of Freud, …


The EdTech discourse still hasn’t faced up to the demise of the individual. The technophiles talk as if technological “progress” along current lines is liberating and empowering individuals now able, for instance, to get direct access to the colossal warehouse …


It is said that the social media – Twitter in particular – have disproved the thesis, hastily propounded in the days before digital, that history had come to an end. A new beginning is now under way. Marx (although his …


The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a meditation on monstrosity in various forms. Unspoken in the background is a monstrous tumult that includes the terror of the French Revolution, the bodies of Luddites swinging from scaffolds in England, and …


Sir Ken Robinson has something of the Luddite* about him. He refuses the industrial order, which the Luddites also refused back at the beginning of the 19th century, when they declared it to be a new form of tyranny. He …


When #edtech sceptics and technophiles start discussing their digital bone of contention the sceptics know that sooner or later someone from the latter camp will come out with: “But tech is just tools – neither bad nor good; what matters …


Are lessons in digital citizenship a good thing? Surely when it comes to digital citizenship there is something that even Luddite-sympathising, politically-minded #edtech sceptics can affirm. There is something here to be positive about, isn’t there? Well, yes and no. …


Tweet-length abstract: EFL teachers, who love the foreign, find themselves part of a process threatening it with extinction. Question for teachers of English as a foreign language: When we teach English what are we doing? We each have our personal …



Professor Sugata Mitra is one of the great spokespeople for the strange movement in education that is hostile to the very notion of teaching. Education is good. Learning is fantastic, especially when it involves individuals and small groups pursuing their …


Introduction 1. Sugata Mitra has been accused of being a neoliberal. Some of his supporters brush this off as bad-tempered mud-slinging by technophobes who are refusing the inevitability of change. Is it? We want to argue in this post that …



By some strange synergy, the rise of EdTech – that product of a supposedly post-industrial industry – has gone hand in hand with the rise of what might be called a horticultural model of education. This is the model explicity …




The Element and Finding Your Element are Sir Ken Robinson’s venture into the self-help market, where he delivers a message that is, in one respect, the exact opposite of the message about education heard in his immensely popular TED videos. …


At no time in history have people been so obsessed with their tools. The edtech discourse turns discussions of education into discussions about the new educational tools, and the discourse of the digital revolution assumes that the latest wave of …