KY’s Potential for Leadership in Educational Ethics: Calling for an End to Corporal Punishment in American Schools

2023 Commonwealth Ethics Lecture at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.

In the spring of 2023, the Ethics and Social Justice Center at Bellarmine University issued a call for proposals for their yearly Commonwealth Ethics Lecture. They invited scholars from around the state to propose a talk to be delivered for their 2023 lecture, considering approaches from all disciplines and with special interest in interdisciplinary dialogue and topics, encouraging “critical reflection, dialogue, and constructive action on contemporary ethical issues in society.” They also welcomed proposals “related to politics, societal well-being, and individual happiness,” as well as that “intersect these themes with regional issues.”

I pitched my proposal in relation to the fact that Kentucky is a state that continues to permit and make use of corporal punishment in public schools. I have long thought about corporal punishment especially as an example of a practice long outmoded and for which evidence has become increasingly clear that better alternatives are available and that long-term effects of the practice are psychologically and medically discouraged. Given this opportunity, it was a great chance for me to focus on corporal punishment directly, so I jumped at the chance finally to focus extensively on this topic.

Kentucky has decreased the use of the form of discipline in public schools to nearly negligible levels, with 17 recorded instances of corporal punishment in the 2020-2021 school year, which suggests that the practice would not be difficult to end at the state level. Given that, Kentucky could serve as a leader among states that presently permit and engage in the practice, to show how others can follow the lead of the Commonwealth state of Kentucky, to end the practice around the country. The video here above is 1hr and 1 min long, concluding at the end of my talk, not including the question and answer session, though that was fun and rewarding for me also.

I am especially grateful to Dr. Kate Johnson for being a welcoming and great host at Bellarmine University for the talk. The attendance and recording of the talk were great and much appreciated.

The PowerPoint slides for my talk are available online here.

The post KY’s Potential for Leadership in Educational Ethics: Calling for an End to Corporal Punishment in American Schools first appeared on Eric Thomas Weber.

Stoic Pragmatism for Parenting a Child with Disabilities

An Essay Addressing Philosophers, Parents, Teachers, and Educational Policymakers

Cover image of the book in which my article was published, 'Disability and American Philosophy.'It takes a village. Raising children takes all hands on deck, including parents or guardians, teachers, administrators, and educational policymakers. This paper examines common philosophical norms relevant to each of these groups. The norms include the idea of wanting a better future for our children than we had; the idea that human beings are rational animals; and that the unexamined life is not worth living. What does that mean for parents, teachers, administrators, and policymakers when our children are intellectually or communicatively impaired?

This photo features my daughter, Helen, in 2019, sitting in her wheelchair and awaiting the school bus on a sunny morning.

My daughter Helen in 2019.

WARNING: At least for me, rereading this paper inspired an emotional response. The stoicism called for in the paper is intended to help ease emotional reactions, but the fact of such a need for some readers (and others have let me know that they have shared such a reaction) is itself worth noting in advance.

Click here for the paper in PDF format.

Download the paper here.

We think of the norms I have mentioned as cultural. Philosopher John Dewey saw philosophy as the critique of culture, essentially as thinking about thinking. How we think plays a powerful role in how we treat people and how we educate ourselves and others. In this context, this paper examines one of the difficult contexts for education and the raising of children. And, I offer my own and my family’s experience for consideration, bringing philosophical ideas to bear on tough moments, decisions, and questions.

I first presented a draft of this essay at the annual meeting of the eastern division of the American Philosophical Association in January of 2019. It has just now been published in Disability and American Philosophies, edited by Nate Whelan-Jackson and Daniel J. Brunson in January of 2022 with Routledge Press of London.

It may be worth noting that in 2019 I was still married, something no longer true now, in 2022, when the essay has finally been released in print.

I agreed to publish this article with the understanding that I would have permission to share the essay in this way. You can download a copy of the essay in PDF format here or by clicking on the Adobe image above in this post.

Last, but not least, I have generated a computer-created text-to-speech recording of the essay. If I had more time, I would record myself reading the essay. The following recording took me only a few minutes to generate, by contrast to over an hour or more of work to record it myself. For the sake of accessibility, and at a friend’s request, I generated this audio file, which can be listed to if that is preferred over reading the text. I did not include the notes or bibliography section in the audio file.

 

Citation:  Weber, Eric Thomas, “Stoic Pragmatism for Parenting a Child with Disabilities: An Essay Addressing Philosophers, Parents, Teachers, and Educational Policymakers,” Chapter 11 in Disability and American Philosophies, Edited by Nate Whelan-Jackson and Daniel J. Brunson (London: Routledge, 2022), 182-198.

The post Stoic Pragmatism for Parenting a Child with Disabilities first appeared on Eric Thomas Weber.

[VIDEO]: YOU Should Join my ‘Philosophy of Education’ (EPE525/640) Course Next Fall!

Snag a seat!

Graduate students and advanced undergraduates at the University of Kentucky, watch this VIDEO (4m29s) about why you should take my EPE 525 / 640 course in the fall of of this year on the Philosophy of Education. The EPE 525 course is the undergraduate version of the EPE 640 class, which is for graduate students, and both meet at the same time and in the same room.

Why study the Philosophy of Education?

Photo with students at the University of Mississippi.a) Educators and leaders are expected to have a meaningful grasp of their own philosophies of education;

b) All research is rooted in frameworks of ideas that support and contextualize our work and thought, and that can clarify and help us to focus or be conflicted and confuse us if not carefully considered;

c) Everyone working in educational administration contributes to a system that functions with respect to or in conflict with underlying philosophical ideas. That calls for appreciating and always keeping in mind what we ought to be doing in education.

What you’ll get out of it / create:

Eric Thomas Weber, author of "Uniting Mississippi: Democracy and Leadership in the South" speaks at Sturgis Hall October 19, 2015. Photo Credit: Jacob Slaton

Photo Credit: Jacob Slaton

1) A short “teaching statement,” “Statement on Educational Philosophy,” or related document commonly requested in academic job applications, as well as for administrative positions that often involve teaching courses or otherwise supporting them;

2) A book review for possible publication (optional route for students’ presentation);

3) A conference-length paper ready for submission to professional calls for papers;

John Dewey, standing.

John Dewey, concerned that you’re not yet signed up for the course.

4) A full-length research paper suitable for submission to journals and that could support your other projects;5) An op-ed-length version of the research paper for possible submission to newspapers or educational periodicals (optional);

6) Credits that can contribute to the Graduate Certificate in College Teaching and Learning.

When & Where?

Screen capture of Luke Schlake's opinion essay. It’ll be on Mondays from 4-6:30pm in Dickey Hall rm 127. If you’re interested in enrolling in this course virtually, through Zoom, reach out to let me know: eric.t.weber@uky.edu.

 

Former Students’ Success

From the Fall of 2020, 5 students, including one undergraduate, had their papers accepted for presentation at the 2021 Southeastern Philosophy of Education Society conference. Two more students have had their book reviews accepted for publication in the journal Essays in Philosophy. One published his op-ed in the Kentucky Kernel. All wrote fascinating statements on teaching philosophy.

 

Maria Richie, Andrew Nelson, and Dr. Eric Thomas Weber at the 2019 Midwest Educational Research Association conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.In Fall 2019, 3 of 6 grad students in my EPE 640 class submitted their papers to conferences and had them accepted for presentation. They included: Joseph Barry and Josh Smith presented their papers at the 2020 Southeastern Philosophy of Education Society conference at the University of Georgia in February 2020. Also, Samer Jan had his paper accepted for presentation at the 2020 conference of the Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World. Josh Smith also will be publishing his book review of Teaching In the Now by Jeff Frank in Columbia University’s Teachers College Record. The photo on right features Weber with two students from his Spring 2019 Ethics and Educational Decision Making course, Andrew Nelson and Maria Richie, whose papers from that class were accepted for presentation at the 2019 Midwest Educational Research Association conference

 

Questions? Email me at eric.t.weber@uky.edu. You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, & Academia.edu.

The post [VIDEO]: YOU Should Join my ‘Philosophy of Education’ (EPE525/640) Course Next Fall! first appeared on Eric Thomas Weber.

Prepare to Act Naturally! …

Or, Be Nice, Not Machiavellian, in Professional Networking

Today, I led a discussion for the department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation’s Lunch & Connect series, which we run to keep people connected despite the pandemic. My meeting was titled: “Prepare to Act Naturally! … Or, Be Nice, Not Machiavellian, in Professional Networking.”

For the talk, I created a handout, which is available here: etw.li/networking.

We recorded today’s talk, which you can watch here:

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.

If you enjoyed this video, consider sharing it with anyone looking for thoughts about professional networking in higher education.

In the video, Dr. Kelly Bradley mentioned a resource that I may get ahold of and be able to share with you here, updating this post.

The post Prepare to Act Naturally! … first appeared on Eric Thomas Weber.

Research Trajectories, Big & Small

Handout from a talk delivered in the Lunch & Connect Series for the Ed Policy & Evaluation department

Click here for the handout.Today I led the department of Educational Policy Studies & Evaluation‘s Lunch & Connect meeting on Zoom, focusing on the topic: “Research Trajectories: From Idea to Presentation, to Journal Article, to Book.” I had intended to record the meeting, but due to some of the complication of starting a zoom meeting, making sure people had the link to the virtual handout, etc., I managed not to hit record before starting… Oh well. For today’s session, I made a handout and outline for the meeting I facilitated and led. That outline and handout are available here or by clicking on the Adobe logo on left.

Image of a rocket's trajectory.

I’m grateful to SpaceX-Imagery for permission to use this image.

The EPE department’s Lunch & Connect series is meant to help us stay in touch with each other during the time of COVID-19. Today, October 16th, was the day for which I signed up and weeks ago I had reached out to graduate students who participate in the Agraphia writing meeting that I run weekly, to ask what they’d like to hear about. This was one of the options that I had thrown out and that received the most votes.

John Dewey, standing.

John Dewey.

While the subtitle of my talk reads “From Idea to Presentation, to Journal Article, to Book,” actually it all starts before those smaller matters, with the big picture of one’s aims and career research trajectory. By “career,” I don’t particularly mean to refer to employment, but to the life of one’s research aims. Connecting to the big picture in this way and to who each researcher is represents an outgrowth of John Dewey’s philosophy of education, which calls for recognizing persons’ varied inclinations, interests, and selectivity of attention, as well as their powers, abilities, and attitudes. The big picture need not lead a person to exclude all else, but can allow healthy breaks for divergent projects, while also giving us reasons to watch out for what we often call “rabbit holes.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to give this talk again. If I do so, I’ll be sure to record it. For now, at least, I can share the handout I made for the sake of facilitating today’s meeting. I hope it’s useful.

P.S. If you are interested in studying philosophical issues in education, check out the Philosophical and Cultural Inquiry (PCI) track of the University of Kentucky College of Education’s Ph.D. in Educational Sciences. There aren’t many programs like ours in the country. If you want to learn more, reach out: eric.t.weber@uky.edu

The post Research Trajectories, Big & Small first appeared on Eric Thomas Weber.

Undergraduate Research Beyond the Classroom

A Presentation for the Lewis Honors College & for EPE 301 Students at the University of Kentucky

Click here for the handout.On Tuesday, October 13th, 2020, I was invited to give a talk for the Lewis Honors College at the University of Kentucky on “Undergraduate Research Beyond the Classroom.” This talk is also potentially of interest to students in my EPE 301 course on Education in American Culture. Really, this talk is for any undergraduate who might be interested in taking advantage of opportunities to engage in research or its dissemination beyond the classroom. The handout I used can be opened here or by clicking on the Adobe logo on the right.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.

Students in EPE 301 can use this video as 1 hour of their field experience observations. The dangers of COVID-19 prompted the creation of this option. Most students are probably not studying the subject of this talk for their papers, but all are working on research in their undergraduate coursework. In that context, students might find the content of this video useful for taking their work beyond the classroom. In addition, students interested in an issue about which they suspect that I could offer some useful thoughts can email me with their questions or comments as part of their field experience work: eric.t.weber@uky.edu.

In the talk, I reference three texts that aren’t mentioned on the handout. Those books were:

Allen, David. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (New York: Penguin Books, 2015).

Brewer, Robert Lee. Writer’s Market 2020 (New York: Penguin Random House, 2019).

Brewer, Robert Lee. Writer’s Market Guide to Literary Agents 2020 (New York: Penguin Random House, 2019).

The post Undergraduate Research Beyond the Classroom first appeared on Eric Thomas Weber.

3 Tools for Having Your Computer or Phone Read to You – Text-to-Speech

Every semester, I mention several tools in my classes that I get asked about time and again, so I decided to make a quick video about them. I explain that in the last 5 years, text-to-speech programs have revolutionized how I consume text and how I edit documents. Programs that can read to you allow you to listen to those long emails or that article a friend emailed you while you’re tidying up, walking from A to B, or driving. Here’s a 5 minute video showing what I use and how.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.

In short, I use the “Read Aloud” function in MS Word most. I love it. The reader can be found under the “Review” tab. The text it reads is highlighted as it moves along. You can easily start, pause, or stop it. You can speed it up, slow it down, or change the voice. You can listen quickly to things you need to skim, and then slow it down for passages that you need to attend to carefully. It’s my favorite and is amazing.

Next, I use Adobe PDF’s reading function under “View” (which is funny, right?), then “Read Out Loud,” then “Activate Read Out Loud,” and then choose the length you want read to you. It’s clunkier and less easily manipulable a function in Adobe, but it works and I use it too. I prefer MS Word’s greater functionality, so when I can, I save PDFs as Word files to have them read to me. One thing to note is that not all PDF files are prepared for text-to-speech, such as when someone embeds text in a photo, without leaving it readable. You can often have Adobe scan & OCR the text (optical character recognition), but not always.

Finally, I talk about @Voice, the program on my Android phone that is amazing, allowing me to listen to text on the go. I listen while walking, exercising, doing chores, or driving. It’s amazing. From a long email, I can select the text and click “share,” or I can share files from Word, Adobe, or text from Web sites. That article I’ve been meaning to read, I share to my phone and listen to it on the drive home. It’s amazing and I love it.

Most of all, I love listening to text when I’m editing or reviewing work in MS Word files. It’s a game changer for me, not only because I don’t have to stare at the screen, but also because I love to listen. It’s for me a preferred way to take in the material.

Bonus for people reading this page: I didn’t put this in the video, but I also use Read Aloud for Chrome, to have my laptop read passages from Web sites to me. It’s not as powerful and smooth as Word, but it’s better than having to copy and paste material for just short passages.

Try some of these tools out. Also, notice that the resources we develop for persons with disabilities empower us all. That’s a vital message we should keep in mind, especially when unfeeling people undervalue all the amazing people around the world with disabilities. We should make our world accessible to all, and when we do, we’ll all benefit.

The post 3 Tools for Having Your Computer or Phone Read to You – Text-to-Speech first appeared on Eric Thomas Weber.

[VIDEO]: You Should Study the ‘Philosophy of Education’ (EPE525/640) in Fall 2020

Snag a seat!

Graduate students and advanced undergraduates at the University of Kentucky, watch this VIDEO (4m29s) about why you should take my EPE 525 / 640 course in the fall of 2020 on the Philosophy of Education. The EPE 525 course is the undergraduate version of the EPE 640 class, which is for graduate students, and both meet at the same time and in the same room.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.

Why study the Philosophy of Education?

Photo with students at the University of Mississippi.a) Educators and leaders are expected to have a meaningful grasp of their own philosophies of education;

b) All research is rooted in frameworks of ideas that support and contextualize our work and thought, and that can clarify and help us to focus or be conflicted and confuse us if not carefully considered;

c) Everyone working in educational administration contributes to a system that functions with respect to or in conflict with underlying philosophical ideas. That calls for appreciating and always keeping in mind what we ought to be doing in education.

What you’ll get out of it / create:

Eric Thomas Weber, author of "Uniting Mississippi: Democracy and Leadership in the South" speaks at Sturgis Hall October 19, 2015. Photo Credit: Jacob Slaton

Photo Credit: Jacob Slaton

1) A short “teaching statement,” “Statement on Educational Philosophy,” or related document commonly requested in academic job applications, as well as for administrative positions that often involve teaching courses or otherwise supporting them;

2) A book review for possible publication (optional route for students’ presentation);

3) A conference-length paper ready for submission to professional calls for papers;

4) A full-length research paper suitable for submission to journals and that could support your other projects;

John Dewey, standing.

John Dewey, concerned that you’re not yet signed up for the course.

5) An op-ed-length version of the research paper for possible submission to newspapers or educational periodicals (optional);

6) Credits that can contribute to the Graduate Certificate in College Teaching and Learning.

When & Where?

It’ll be on Mondays from 4-6:30pm in Dickey Hall rm 127. It is possible that we may start the semester with online meetings via Zoom, but details on such arrangements are yet to be determined. Decisions will follow the University of Kentucky’s guidelines for the sake of safety in the midst or wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Former Students’ Success

Maria Richie, Andrew Nelson, and Dr. Eric Thomas Weber at the 2019 Midwest Educational Research Association conference in Cincinnatti, Ohio.In Fall 2019, 3 of 6 grad students in my EPE 640 class submitted their papers to conferences and had them accepted for presentation. They included: Joseph Barry and Josh Smith presented their papers at the 2020 Southeastern Philosophy of Education Society conference at the University of Georgia in February 2020. Also, Samer Jan had his paper accepted for presentation at the 2020 conference of the Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World. Josh Smith also will be publishing his book review of Teaching In the Now by Jeff Frank in Columbia University’s Teachers College Record. The photo on right features Weber with two students from his Spring 2019 Ethics and Educational Decision Making course, Andrew Nelson and Maria Richie, whose papers from that class were accepted for presentation at the 2019 Midwest Educational Research Association conference

 

Questions? Email me at eric.t.weber@uky.edu. You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, & Academia.edu.

The post [VIDEO]: You Should Study the ‘Philosophy of Education’ (EPE525/640) in Fall 2020 first appeared on Eric Thomas Weber.

“The Pragmatist’s Call to Democratic Activism in Higher Education” is now out

Published in Essays in Philosophy 21, Issue 1/2 (2020): 29-45.

I’m excited to announce that my latest paper has been published in the journal, Essays in Philosophy, volume 21, issue 1/2, in 2020. If you want to read the paper, you can click on the image below or click here.

Image of the top of my paper, 'The Pragmatist's Call to Democratic Activism in Higher Education,' published in Essays in Philosophy.

My abstract for the paper reads as follows:

This essay defends the Pragmatist’s call to activism in higher education, understanding it as a necessary development of good democratic inquiry. Some criticisms of activism have merit, but I distinguish crass or uncritical activism from judicious activism. I then argue that judicious activism in higher education and in philosophy is not only defensible, but both called for implicitly in the task of democratic education as well as an aspect of what John Dewey has articulated as the supreme intellectual obligation, namely to ensure that inquiry is put to use for the benefit of life.

I’m very grateful to Dr. Ramona Ilea for her excellent work as editor of the journal.

The post “The Pragmatist’s Call to Democratic Activism in Higher Education” is now out first appeared on Eric Thomas Weber.

Take EPE 628, Ethics & Educational Decision Making, S’20

In the spring of 2020, I’ll be teaching Ethics and Educational Decision Making, EPE 628, with both face-to-face AND synchronously online sections! The class meets on Tuesday from 4-6:30pm. Consider signing up or tell your friends who might.

Image of a road that forks, next to the text of the name of the course, 'Ethics and Educational Decision Making.'

Why study Ethics and Educational Decision Making?

  1. Ethics is essential for leadership in the educational policy context;
  2. The course fulfills an elective requirement for the Graduate Certificate in College Teaching and Learning;
  3. The course includes options for customizing assignments for conference and journal submissions;
  4. Two students from last semester had their papers accepted for presentation at the 2019 Midwest Educational Research Association conference;
  5. It’s really fun.

Thumbnail image of a flyer for EPE 628. Clicking on this image opens a PDF of the flyer, which is text searchable. Here’s a flyer for the course, and here’s a short bio about the instructor:

Dr. Eric Thomas Weber is Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation. He also serves as Executive Director of the Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA) and co-host of the Philosophy Bakes Bread radio show and podcast, and is the author of Uniting Mississippi and Democracy and Leadership.

Consider joining the class or sharing this post with your networks! 

The post Take EPE 628, Ethics & Educational Decision Making, S’20 first appeared on Eric Thomas Weber.