Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Tightrope walking: The future of political science

Imagine standing at the edge of a precipice. A combination of forces are pushing at your back, biting at your heels and generally forcing you to step into an unknown space. A long thin tightrope without any apparent ending stretches out in front of you and appears to offer your only lifeline. Doing nothing and standing still is not an option. You lift up your left foot and gingerly step out….

Read More

Into the unknown: professional development for future educators

One of the greatest challenges faced by schools and universities today is preparing students for an unknown future. Our graduates will likely have multiple careers, work in new and emerging industries, grapple with technologies we can’t even imagine yet. And so we’re asking our staff to equip students with the skills they need to thrive in a potentially very different world to the one we live in now.

Read More

Profiling schoolmasters in early modern England

In 2015 the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography introduced an annual research bursary scheme for scholars in the humanities. As the first year of the scheme comes to a close, we ask the second of the 2015-16 recipients—the early modern historian, Dr Emily Hansen—about her research project, and how it’s developed through her association with the Oxford DNB.

Read More
Social Work

Group work with school-aged children [infographic]

From student presentations, to lectures, to reading assignments, and so much more, teachers today have a wide variety of methods at their disposal to facilitate learning in the classroom. For elementary school children, group work has been shown to be one strategy that is particularly effective. The peer-to-peer intervention supports children in developing cognitively, emotionally, behaviorally, and socially. Group work encourages children to expand their perspectives on the world.

Read More

Africa-based scholars in academic publishing: Q&A with Celia Nyamweru

In an effort to address current discussions regarding Africa-based scholars in academic publishing, the editors of African Affairs reached out to Celia Nyamweru for input from her personal experiences. Celia Nyamweru spent 18 years teaching at Kenyatta University (KU) and another 18 years teaching at a US university with a strong undergraduate focus on Africa.

Read More

Conditioning in the classroom: 8 tips for teaching and learning

You are probably familiar with animal learning and conditioning. You probably know that certain behaviours in your pet can be encouraged by reward, for example. You may also know something of the science behind animal conditioning: you may have heard about Pavlov’s drooling dogs, Skinner’s peckish pigeons or Thorndike’s cunning cats. However, what you may not know is that the scientific study of animal conditioning has provided psychologists with an armoury of principles about how training can be most effective.

Read More

Building community: lessons from swimming

What would be the impact if our current policy to insure safety and prevent drowning were to pay people to swim with each swimmer? No one could go swimming unless they had a paid professional, or paraprofessional, swim with them. Our present policy in human services and mental health is kind of like paying people to insure the safety and well-being of others.

Read More

A commemoration and a counter-revolution in the making

Two factors contributed to the quantum leap that the idea of district planning made. First was the Total Literacy Campaign which caught the nation’s attention; the success of quite a few districts in becoming ‘totally literate’ imparted a new thrust to UPE because it was realised that that success would be ephemeral if an inadequate schooling system spawned year after year a new brood of illiterates.

Read More

Teaching teamwork

The capacity to work in teams is a vital skill that undergraduate and graduate students need to learn in order to succeed in their professional careers and personal lives. While teamwork is often part of the curriculum in elementary and secondary schools, undergraduate and graduate education is often directed at individual effort and testing that emphasizes solitary performance.

Read More

Announcing the winner of the 2016 Clinical Placement Competition

This May, our 2016 Clinical Placement Competition came to a close. In partnership with Projects Abroad, we offered one lucky medical student the chance to practice their clinical skills, with £2,000 towards a clinical placement in a country of their choice. We asked entrants to send a photograph with a caption, explaining “What does being a doctor mean to you?”

Read More

How to choose a medical school

Feeling confused? You’re not alone… Applying to medical school is like asking someone to marry you. This might seem like an exaggeration, however over your lifetime you will spend more hours working than you will spend awake with your life partner. Like marriage, being a doctor will change who you are, influence where you live, and affect what you can do.

Read More

The challenge of adult language learning

Adult migrants often struggle to learn the language of their new country. In receiving societies, this is widely seen as evidence that migrants are lazy, lack the required will power or, worse, actively resist learning the new language as an act of defiance towards their new community. Unfortunately, most of those who point the finger at migrant language shirkers vastly underestimate the effort involved in language learning.

Read More

Dental caries – what is it, and why is it important?

Dental Caries, more widely known as tooth decay or cavities, is the most prevalent disease in man. It is currently the main reason for tooth loss. Essentially, it involves the breakdown of teeth due to bacterial activity (from simple sugars that we eat in our food), and if not controlled – will continue to develop and progress for a patient’s entire life. Despite this, dental caries is easily preventable.

Read More

Research skills, transferable skills, and the new academic imperative

The challenges afflicting higher education in the US are many and multifaceted, and much has been written about the transformation (or full-blown identity crisis) of the academic institution and its place in society. Much of the controversy has to do with the institution’s responsibilities toward its students, its employees, and the community, with some claiming that “knowledge for knowledge’s sake” is no longer a sufficient offering.

Read More

The top 10 most common research mistakes (and how to avoid them)

As the saying goes, we learn by our mistakes. And so it goes for virtually all research scientists, with most mistakes occurring during their formative years when they are still being mentored. While missteps in the research process are not usually catastrophic, the risks of allowing them to occur unchecked are many: personal safety is at stake, as are the careers and reputations of individuals, departments, and entire institutions.

Read More