Nourish, Flourish, Live

In a book I’ve just started reading – First Bite – Bee Wilson discusses the reason for the current crisis in nutrition-related health and the underlying causes. She writes “we seem to have lost the old-fashioned concept of ‘nourishing’ ourselves.”

My first thought was how quaint the word ‘nourish’ sounds. Then I thought of it’s rhyme, ‘flourish’. A term used widely in ancient and moral philosophy and one to which we have little connection these days. Both these words and their underlying concepts feel old-fashioned, and maybe this is the root of our troubles – not only our nutrition problems, but wider health problems, mental health included. Perhaps we have mislaid a centuries old idea that the principal endeavour of life is to flourish.

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Nourish, Flourish, Live

Implications of Standardised Testing

The anti-testing debate rages on, with an editorial this week in tes magazine.

Standardised testing has many advocates and many critics and I don’t intend to be one of them in this post. But what I am interested in discussing is what is the link between the attitude towards the results of standardised tests and the effect.

The tes editorial was a discussion of testing in the US. One box questioned whether American students are “really over-tested?”, and the justification for suggesting not (“The US is not a country of heavy testing”) is its comparison to other countries. Andreas Schleicher (the OECD’s education chief) suggests that plenty of other countries, with better educational outcomes, test a lot more. I wonder whether the reason there doesn’t appear to be a backlash against them might lie in the attitudes towards those tests. Perhaps the reason Americans feel they are in an educational regime of over-testing is because the stakes are so high. If teachers are at risk of disciplinary action as a result of these tests and if students are told the results of these tests will dramatically impact their futures (graduating, going to college, getting a “decent” job, being successful, being happy – the subtext behind all this rhetoric is quite alarming) then even with fewer actual tests than other countries, the culture may feel like there is ongoing testing.

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Implications of Standardised Testing