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Kester Brewin

Teacher and writer living in London

Kester Brewin is a teacher and writer living in London. He recently gave a TED talk based on his book Mutiny - Why We Love Pirates and How They Can Save Us.

My School Had A Referendum On Getting Rid Of Homework, And It Didn't Quite Go To Plan

It may sound a bit stupid, I know, but last year my school decided to offer our students a referendum on having homework. There'd been a vocal minority going on and on about it for ages, and the head thought that it'd be a good chance to air the arguments properly and shut them up for good, because we didn't want the issue distracting work indefinitely.
15/10/2017 21:56 BST

From Russia, With Chaos

The question that the left faces is how to counter this. Certainly, it won't be an easy task, and nor is it one for a counter myth-maker like Corbyn and his Momentum gang. As the profoundly well-qualified Hillary Clinton found out, it's going to take a quite extraordinary effort, overcoming forces that are well-hidden, and very very connected.
06/04/2017 11:29 BST

'Atheist Prayers' - When 'Thoughts' Are Not Enough

Prayer is really no more than focused hope; the real question is, on what does that hope focus? For the true believers, to hope that God will step in is too often an abdication of any responsibility for action. We pray for the hungry, but refuse to offer them bread from our own loaded plates. When hope is located in the heavens, the earth is left to perish.
27/03/2017 13:21 BST

When Democracy Delivers the Abyss, We Need More Democracy

'We must respect the democratic will of the people.' So said Chancellor George Osborne this morning, after just shy of 52% of the 72% of the British population voted to leave the EU. A vote was held, the results were counted, and the fundamental principle of democracy requires that we respect the decision.
27/06/2016 15:53 BST

From Off-Shore to Off-Planet - The Rich Are Lifting Away

When he and Osborne say 'we're in this together' and that we have one world which we must share, they are right. What is needed is for this to be acted on. Those who sail off-shore need to be returned to port, and those who have so much must accept the gravity of their responsibilities, set their feet on the ground and do the hard work of creating a little heaven on earth - for everyone.
12/04/2016 10:07 BST

Hackers Helping Disabled Musicians Show They Have Soul

An R&D hack-a-thon might look like a jumble of circuit boards and wires, mixed up with the back room of a keyboard repair shop, but what I found going on was a profound statement about the equal value of all human beings. In amongst the smell of solder and the crackle of new code being written was a desire to see everyone have the chance to let their soul sing.
17/06/2015 08:34 BST

'You Will Not Surely Die' - Art, Consciousness and Immortality

In the face of abundant evidence that we clearly do die and rot and decay, we surmised that a) we must have offended God in our hubris and have been subject to a great 'fall,' but b) there remains in us a spirit that aches to lift back up and rejoin the divine.
26/01/2015 16:30 GMT

Which Secondary School? Ten Pointers from a Teacher for Making a Smart Choice

My son is in Year 6, so my diary for the next few weeks is full to bursting with open mornings, open days and open evenings for the local schools we're looking at. It's a <em>huge</em> decision to be making, especially if this is your first child to reach secondary age - one that could impact their life (and yours) quite significantly.
19/09/2014 12:38 BST

Macbeth's Ghost: No-Notice Ofsted Inspections Risk an Educational Witch-Hunt

What has gone on in Birmingham needs intervention, of that there is no doubt. But using this as a back-door for the introduction of a no-notice inspection regime is wrong, risky and, for many in education from 'other' cultures, a worrying development that is likely to do little for fairness, integration and equality.
13/06/2014 12:57 BST

In Memory of Bob Crow - Why I Remain a Committed Trade Union Member

"Who will replace him?" These were the words that a colleague in education spoke when he heard about the sudden death of Bob Crow. Not an administrative enquiry, a question concerning who will put their name plate on his office, and who will take his place at meetings - no, this was in deeper meter, resonating with the feeling that "they don't make them like him any more".
11/03/2014 17:11 GMT

The Trauma of Accepting the Truth: Why Climate Sceptics Are Like Religious Fundamentalists

Like the early church, what we need are politicians and leaders with the courage to live out the future as it has been revealed to them. It is time to move on from debate to action, hoping that we are not too late, but also, paradoxically, welcoming the trauma of more violent demonstrations of climate change at the doorsteps of those who continue to resist what deep down they probably already know.
03/03/2014 10:24 GMT

Apple and Wearable Technology: A Warning From History

Picture the scene - you are completing an application form for life insurance and a page comes up giving you the option to upload data from your always-on fitness monitor, outlining your exercise, work and sleep patterns for the past 6 months, with the incentive that reduced premiums may be available for those who do.
31/01/2014 13:34 GMT

Tractors, Trolls and What a 1950's Philosopher Says About Twitter

There is rarely anything new under the sun. It's useful to remember this when there is great furore over new technologies and the effects they are having on us and the world we live in - especially when the stories are as serious as a teenager taking her life because of the 'toxic digital world' she had become so enmeshed in.
24/01/2014 14:30 GMT

Peace and Goodwill for Bethlehem in London?

Earlier this week I attended a fantastic meal put on as part of the 'Bethlehem Unwrapped' festival put together by creative director Justin Butcher. The food was cooked by celebrated chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Ottolenghi is Israeli and Tamimi Palestinian.
06/01/2014 12:00 GMT