Students don’t read course evaluation forms

Yet another reason for concern about the growing role these play in our constant regimes of assessment.

Researchers at a US university conducted an experiment in which they inserted patently false statements into end-of-module questionnaires and found that surprisingly high numbers of undergraduates answered that they were true.

More than two-thirds of students, 69 per cent, endorsed the statement that “the instructor took roll at the beginning, middle and end of every class meeting”.

Feminist Songs

Alison Rieheld writes:

 

In honor of Women’s History Month, the SIUE Women’s Studies Program is running a Feminist Songs series. Though inspired by the 7 Songs in 7 Days challenge that circulates on social media every so often, we have more than enough nominations from feminist philosophers and SIUE faculty and students to go well beyond 7 days. We are currently on Day 6. Day 1 was a really substantive contextual piece about famous country artist Loretta Lynn’s The Pill and might be of particular interest (it includes excerpts from a rare Playgirl interview with Loretta Lynn about reproductive issues), though frankly all of this stuff would be interesting for feminist philosophers both for personal use and for teaching.

You can find the installments so far at: https://siuewmst.wordpress.com/wmst-blog/

A direct link to that first, Loretta Lynn piece is: https://siuewmst.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/feminist-songs-for-womens-history-month-day-1-loretta-lynns-country-music-ode-to-contraception-the-pill/

Folks who have nominated songs and briefer analyses include Elise Springer, Emma Ryman, Sue Cataldi, Anna Gotlib, and myself. The series will add new entries daily until we run out of material or I run out of Will To Post.

Disability benefit cut

Suppose a survey discovered that the respondents, who were all in receipt of a certain disability benefit (the ESA), had been unable to afford to eat (28%), unable to heat their homes (38%) and struggled to stay healthy (52%). What should one do?

If you’re the political party in charge of things, it turns out that what you do is slash the benefit by around 30%, and muzzle the House of Lords who had been fighting the cut.

And this is in addition to the closure of the Independent Living Fund, leaving some people without access to the services they need to live independently.

Cuts to the ESA – more info here.

Closure of the ILF – more info here.

A Big Cheer for Damien Careme!

Damien Careme is the Mayor of Grand-Synthe, an area of France which is home to the unofficial Dunkirk refugee camp – one of the worst of the informal settlements that have built up along the English-French border. Its residents were living in horrific conditions. Thick, thick mud, no proper sanitation, and in leaking tents. Police regularly refused to allow volunteers onto site with pallets and blankets. The circumstances were utterly desperate. Distressed at the conditions in which people – including little children and babies – were living, the Mayor asked the French authorities for help to build a better camp. They refused. He went ahead anyway, with the help of MSF. And so now, the refugees are slowly moving into wooden huts, on dry land, with proper blocks of toilets and showers. Already, the French authorities are pressuring Careme to shut the camp, worried that it will become a more permanent settlement, and encourage migrants to live there. So far he is undeterred. Whilst building wooden huts on waste ground is far from a proper solution to the migrant crisis, the Mayor of Grand-Synthe deserves a big round of applause for what he has done to try and make the lives of the Dunkirk refugees a bit more comfortable.

You can read more from Al Jazeera here.

(And yes, I use ‘migrant’ where others argue we should always and only use ‘refugee’. I understand their reasons, but many of those involved in migrant support on the ground suggest that this reasoning sets up and reinforces the idea of ‘good’ refugees and ‘bad’ migrants, when in reality, those classed as, say, ‘economic migrants’ are just trying to make a better life for themselves and their families in conditions of extreme global inequality.)