Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Thanksgiving: Behind the Pilgrim Myth

The driving force behind making Thanksgiving a national holiday was Sarah Josepha Hale, who was born in 1788 in Newport, New Hampshire. After her husband’s death, Hale turned to writing to generate money. Her novel Northwood: A Tale of New England (1827) included an entire chapter devoted to a Thanksgiving dinner. Its publication brought Hale […]

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What lies behind Asia’s thriving shadow education industry

In another side of the country so glamorously showcased in the hit move Crazy Rich Asians, families in Singapore spent a staggering S$1.4 billion last year on academic enrichment for their school-going children. Behind this eye popping figure lies a thriving shadow education industry that provides a mind-boggling diversity of services, from brain stimulation classes for pre-schoolers to language immersion holiday camps and robotics workshops, not to mention grade-oriented academic tuition.

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What professors can do to boost student success

Dear Professor, If you are at all like me, you have been living a mostly placid life as a professor. You do your research and sit on committees. Like most of your colleagues, you regard yourself as an above-average teacher, and you get okay student ratings. The only time you are pay attention to policy […]

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Racist jokes may be worse than racist statements

Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse tells her father, “Mr. Knightley loves to find fault with me, you know—in a joke—it is all a joke.” Mr. Knightley isn’t joking, as he and Emma know; he presents his criticisms without a hint of jocularity. But if Emma persuades Mr. Woodhouse to believe Mr. Knightley is joking, he “would not suspect such a circumstance as her not being thought perfect by everyone.” A little over 200 years after Emma was published, the comedian Roseanne Barr defended a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s former adviser, in a further tweet, “It’s a joke—”.

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Why do girls outperform boys on reading tests around the world?

All around the world, girls outperform boys on reading tests. Why is this? In and outside of academia, people have been concerned about girls’ under-performance in math, or more generally: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). There have been fewer academic studies and media coverage about boys’ under-performance in reading. This is surprising, since it might offer an explanation for boys’ lagging educational attainment today.

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Life as a librarian in the Māori community

I wanted to make a difference and support a growing shift to acknowledging and reclaiming Māori language, history, traditions and culture. Due to my work as a Kaitiakipukapuka Māori, I have made many connections with local iwi (tribal groups) and their marae (community spaces). There is a growing awareness that libraries are not just about books; they are community spaces where people can share, learn, and engage with each other.

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Will Congress penalize colleges that increase tuition?

Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa will serve as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee during the upcoming 115th Congress. Senator Grassley’s decision to lead the Finance Committee may have important consequences for the nation’s colleges and universities.

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Donuts, dogs, and de-stressing: library programs to ease student stress

To help prepare their patrons for the long hours of studying, writing, and prepping, librarians have created anti-procrastination, stress-relieving events that seek to ease the pain of the finals push. We chatted with librarians from the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada about their specific programs, and the impact they have on students’ health and well-being during this tense time.

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The Heart-Head-Hands Approach to Building Inclusive Classrooms (infographic)

Increasingly, teachers are being asked to adopt their classrooms to include students with a wide backgrounds and capabilities. The placement of students with diverse abilities in a regular school does not guarantee high-quality education, though. In order to help teachers build an inclusive classroom we have created this guide using the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education.

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Why major in dance? A case for dance as a field of study in universities in 2018

Parents, provosts, and authors of recent articles/discussion boards are questioning the purpose or viability for dance programs in contemporary university structures. An article in Dance USA from 2015 presents a narrow view of the role of collegiate dance. Understanding the wider lens on dance education, it can be an excellent path to career success. College programs in dance transcend training an elite artist/athlete.

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Humanities and scientific explanation: the need for change

For too long, presentations of science for the general public, and education in schools, has suggested that science wields a sort of hegemonic power, as if its terms and methods gradually replace and make redundant all other discourse; the only reason it has not yet completed its conquest is that the world is complicated—but it is only a matter of time…

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Consent on campus [podcast]

As students head back to university to start their fall semester, the conversation of consent will no doubt surround them on campus. But what can actually be defined as consent? Where do students learn what consent actually means? From the time of adolescence, students are taught the notion of consent, which impacts how they view the term in their later life.

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Northeast India: a new literary region for IWE

It’s a young literature – this body of English writings from the eight states of India’s Northeast. Often evaluated in comparison with the rich tradition of Assamese literature (from the largest state in the region and going back several centuries) and overshadowed by the growing dominance of a ‘mainstream India-centred’ Indian writing in English, it began to emerge into the literary-critical scene at the turn of the 20th century, without a splash and with extreme modesty.

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Is the American special education system failing children with autism?

We sat down with Dr. Bryna Siegel and asked about the effectiveness of the modern special education system. In the video below, Dr. Siegel discusses how the push for academic inclusion may actually be putting children with autism at a disadvantage, and offers advice to help parents and educators build better futures for these students as they enter adulthood.

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