I am Neuroscience PhD, a humanist, skeptic, feminist, avid reader, science enthusiast, woolly-liberal über-nerd, and, as of October 2015, father to the Lykketroll.

I moved from England to Norway in January 2012 and live in Lørenskog with my wife, the Lykketroll, and our two aging rescue cats, Socrates and Schrödinger. 

I am on paternity leave from the 4th of July to the 18th of November. 

The job I am on leave from is as an  Associate Professor and Head of Studies at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. My background is in child neurodevelopment (my PhD looked into the relationship between fatty acids like omega-3 and cognitive development in young children) but I now work on a hodge-podge of things roughly within the field of Universal Design of ICT 50% of the time, the other 50% of my time I am Head of the 'General' Studies (Allmenn in Norwegian) Unit, which is comprised of around 24 academics within a range of fields, including mathematics, physics, Norwegian, and technology and leadership.

In between working and doing the usual dad things,  I like hiking and running in the beautiful Norwegian outdoors, cooking and playing video games. 

If I believed in souls I would say that mine was born in Norway. 

I plan to sleep when I'm dead.

HEF's humanist confirmation leader course

Last weekend I attended a two-day Human-Etisk Forbund course for confirmation leaders and I would like to share some of the great things I learnt by writing up some of the talks.

There’s a lot more information about the humanist confirmation course here and here (if you read Norwegian). Confirmation course leaders range from those in their late teens/early twenties right up to those who have been retired for many years. Very few confirmation course leaders have teaching backgrounds and even fewer are philosophers or experts in ethics, but this does not matter as the emphasis is very much on Socratic questioning.

Confirmation course leaders are not ‘teachers’: they’re not there to pour their knowledge, ideas, ideologies and beliefs into the empty vessels of the confirmants’ minds, but to prompt the confirmants into exploring their own thinking and provide a scaffold for them to develop ideas about themselves and the world around them.

I’ve spoken about my admiration for the confirmation courses before and would like to become a proper confirmation course leader (if I could do it for a living, I would!), but my Norwegian isn’t quite good enough to discuss philosophy, ethics and the deeper mysteries of the universe with teenagers just yet. I was lucky enough to take part in a course last year, giving a one-off talk on how became a humanist, and now the lovely HEF people in my local municipality have organised for me to be a part of things as much as possible and help out on others’ courses as an assistant, so that I can see how things work.

The two-day course I attended was aimed at current and new confirmation leaders, with a mix of practical advice and exploration of some of the theoretical topics discussed on courses, like sexuality, life stances, religion and religious extremism, critical thinking, and the role of social media in modern society.

I learned

a lot

 over the course of two days, so writing up the talks is as much about me digesting all the ideas as it is sharing them. I’ve split each talk into a separate post; this should make them easier to find and hopefully avoid me being the victim of tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) too.

I’ll be posting them over the course of the week, as and when I get to time to write them all up. The first two sessions were Åse Røthing on

Sexuality in the Classroom

and Cecilie Borborg with

Pedagogic Tips and Tricks

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The Story of the Perfect Body

Snus: What's the Harm - Additional reading