“Madam, how like you this play?”
“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” – Hamlet
A popular tactic in arguments is to attack the person bearing a displeasing message. This ad hominem response works by slapping emotive labels on opponents in an attempt to stop other people thinking about what they are saying. At times I have seen this tendency rise to feverish heights in politics, and in education. It’s a tendency that currently seems to be growing in the Labour Party.
Even the academic world is fraught with ambition, rivalry and conceit. The same threat of vilification and ostracism can just as easily apply to researchers as it does to politicians, or to teachers who happen to espouse a view that is is contrary to the progressive zeitgeist. For instance, in a speech to the Baltimore Curriculum Project in 2012, Shepard Barbash discussed the rejection of Direct Instruction by the educational establishment in…
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