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Giving: A key to solving our problems

Speech at the 2016 National Volunteer Week Forum, given by Associate Professor Thomas Nielsen, University of Canberra, at the NSW Parliament House, May 9. I have a proposition for you today. Giving —and by extension, volunteering—is a key to solving the pressing challenges of today. This claim may, at first, sound far-fetched; especially given the […]

Existentialism versus other philosophies (medium)

Philosophy of Education Perspectives: Existentialism versus other philosophies

An introduction to the Educational Philosophy Perspectives Series: I currently convene and lecture a course in the Philosophy of Education for undergraduate students. Each week we cover a new philosophical perspective or paradigm. The following series will encompass short pieces written when wearing different “paradigm hats,” the purpose of which is to illustrate differing viewpoints within the Philosophy of […]

Philosophy of education

Philosophy of Education Perspectives: The Reconstructionist Speaks

An introduction to the Educational Philosophy Perspectives Series: I currently convene and lecture a course in the Philosophy of Education for undergraduate students. Each week we cover a new philosophical perspective or paradigm. The following series will encompass short pieces written when wearing different “paradigm hats,” the purpose of which is to illustrate differing viewpoints within the Philosophy of […]

Happy - consider how giving builds a life of meaning (medium)

Happy? Consider how giving builds a life of meaning

Republished from The Conversation, 8 July 2015. This article is part of a series, On Happiness, examining what it means and how it might be achieved in the 21st century. In The Conversation’s series On Happiness, it has been pointed out that the pursuit of happiness for its own sake might be a futile and even counterproductive enterprise. It has also been pointed out […]

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Back to School series with Canberra Weekly

I have had the privilege of working with Canberra Weekly on their back to school articles over the past two years. The 2014 article was written by Melanie Collins, where I spoke about discrete strategies that parents can employ to help smooth their children’s transition into starting or continuing school. The 2015 article was written by Madeline Power, […]

Into the cave (medium)

Out from the cave: have we lost the purpose of education?

Republished from The Conversation, 5 May 2013. It’s nothing new to say we have a problem in education. But I’m not here to discuss the usual gripes with teachers and test scores. I believe we have a more fundamental problem with defining what we want education to do. At the moment, our definitions of educational “success” […]

Teaching care and wellbeing (alt - medium)

Teaching care and wellbeing

Thomas W. Nielsen, University of Canberra The Canberra Times, October 4, 2010. Occasionally, students shed a tear in my office. That is the nature of teaching and looking after students – even at university level. In the last couple of years, however, there have been a few more tears than usual. It has not been […]

Bored Student in Classroom --- Image by © Michael Prince/Corbis

Facts don’t tell the whole story

Thomas W. Nielsen, University of Canberra The Canberra Times, December 6, 2010. There is a passage in Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, in which a gentlemen at one point says to a class of children, “Should you have wall-paper with horses on it?” To this, the children uniformly shout, “Yes!” (It would seem a perfectly good […]