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Thread: Lies My Teacher Told Me

  1. #1

    Default Lies My Teacher Told Me

    We have 5 senses (Sense - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), Paul Revere notified us of the British (Paul Revere - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), and Christopher Columbus figured out the world wasn't flat (Flat Earth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).
    I know some of these are old myths that we were told in school, but its the underlying notion of learning that makes me troubled about this. Makes me wonder if we should move away from the current system of collect/recall to one of critical thinking. What do you guys think?

  2. #2

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    I wouldn't necessarily trust the Wikipedia about Paul Revere's ride after the Palinites decided that her "history" was better than actual history. Just sayin'.

    More to your actual point, though, I believe the educational system could stand a good overhaul. However, I don't necessarily think that it's a question of critical thinking versus memorization, as I believe both are necessary components. There are times in life when precision matters, and one cannot critically think about something they've only gotten the gist of. Take Paul Revere's ride, for instance. At a very basic level, yeah, Paul Revere notified us of the British movements by placing the lantern (or was it lanterns, I don't recall if it was actually by land or by sea anymore) in the tower. You can't have a critical discussion about Paul Revere's ride without having some basic context of what Paul Revere's ride actually was.

    Elaborating a bit on what I've just started, I think a certain base of knowledge is a pre-requisite to having those critical thinking discussions. How that gets incorporated into the school system, I don't know. Perhaps at some point once you get into, I dunno, Junior High, the focus could change to presenting topics and doing more critical thinking about those topics. But then, I recall that being how school worked when I was in school anyway (although that was long before the whole "No Child Left Behind" bullshit).

    At any rate, perhaps we could use a bit more critical thinking development in schools, but I don't think it can be the sole focus.

  3. #3

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    Not defending the schools and what they teach or don't teach... Wikipedia is an acceptable reference for casual conversations - but falls way short of being a legitimate source.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by ISO400 View Post
    Not defending the schools and what they teach or don't teach... Wikipedia is an acceptable reference for casual conversations - but falls way short of being a legitimate source.
    ggenerally yes id say so but it depends and the level of rigor in the content changes from article to article. some are very well referenced others arnt referenced much at all.

    the secret to making wikipedia work is using the articles bibliography and references and chasing up more info through them.

  5. #5

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    I think that the public school system is a big ol' brainwashing station in a lot of places, especially regarding the social opinions and hierarchies of students and teachers. You had a different opinion as a student? You got bullied and the school system did nothing, especially if you weren't straight. If you happen to have a different opinion than your teacher, you better pray that they don't fail you. If you agree with the Nazis on half of one of their ideals, you get called to the office and get hounded with questions by the school psychologist about your family and whether you're a neo-Nazi. You don't even get any sort of freedom regarding your choice on the Pledge of Allegiance. It might be different elsewhere, but redneck Florida schools are the definition of "shithole".

    (Before anybody kills me, I happened to like the idea of eugenics that didn't involve forced sterilization, abortion, murder, or forcing people to do what they don't want to do. The idea of "mythology scholar + writer/demonologist = Joseph Campbell II" makes my ovaries happy. Reproductive freedom makes me insanely giddy, yet scares me because I don't know where the line would be drawn, and we all know that I love thinking until it makes my head hurt.)

  6. #6

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    I agree that critical thinking needs to become more prevalent at the lower rungs of school ... but as xbabyx said, to have a really intelligent conversation about anything you generally need way more information than you'll get in a typical classroom.

    Ultimately early school is just aiming to give you a bit of knowledge in a wide area. When you branch out later in life and make something into a career, or even an obsessive hobby, that's when you really dig in and yes, often discover that the majority of the population is operating on a very thin or in some cases completely incorrect understanding of something you consider important. This is life... we can't all be experts in everything.

    I think the critical thinking aspect could be introduced by picking one or two topics and really going into depth .. not for the sake of developing deeper understanding, but merely for the practice of really thinking about something. As a modern history type, I think the cold war is great for this. There is so much we don't know and probably never will about what went on behind the scenes and why certain things happened the way they did. Take some tiny piece, like the Russians not using their veto power to stop the UN going into Korea. They could have showed up, said "nope", and the UN wouldn't have gone into Korea. I could see myself as a student tearing into this.. but then the problem becomes that a lot of people would have no interest and just do enough to make the grade (and thus not engaging serious thought, defeating the point).

  7. #7

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    I think a big problem is teachers teaching out of text books and needing a answer guide themselves. I've confronted teachers on "Why are you using a book with answers in it, if your supposed to be teaching us?"

    Of course we use text books thanks to needing standardized tests which are soulsucking, multiple hour, week long tests. Collect/recall kinda sucks. Example, recall at least 20% of what you learned in 7th grade. Well, there goes that system of learning utterly useless shit that you find boring.

    I've been to classes like this. I assume college would be about the same with grammar nazi's for "professors".

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoundCoder View Post
    Ultimately early school is just aiming to give you a bit of knowledge in a wide area. When you branch out later in life and make something into a career, or even an obsessive hobby, that's when you really dig in and yes, often discover that the majority of the population is operating on a very thin or in some cases completely incorrect understanding of something you consider important. This is life... we can't all be experts in everything.
    I agree with you on that. I think that, in some cases it is better to save the hassle of explaining the classroom the differences between A and B when both belong to a braoder group C. At least at a certain age, most people will not be able to assimilate the equivalent of an encyclopedia about certain topic. And there were like, 11 subjects per school year? I can't imagine my elementary school peers reading an encyclopedia about an arcticle, when they couldn't be arsed to read a page-long arcticle. While definitely having an extensive culture is important, I think there are bits of information that aren't important to know or even understand. My mom doesn't need to know what OS her phone has to call me. It will be useful if she wants to use it for something else, but if the phone works for what she wants to do, I think there's no need to dig further into the topic.

    I do agree that it is frustrating when you think you know something and then realizing it wasn't true, but hey, if we knew everything what fun would life have?
    Last edited by ZodiacPup; 14-Aug-2011 at 22:17. Reason: Flaw in my example.

  9. #9

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    The Pacific Ocean was discovered by Meriwether Lewis and Kimberly Clark and their indian guide Pochanhotas.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire2box View Post
    I think a big problem is teachers teaching out of text books and needing a answer guide themselves. I've confronted teachers on "Why are you using a book with answers in it, if your supposed to be teaching us?"

    Of course we use text books thanks to needing standardized tests which are soulsucking, multiple hour, week long tests. Collect/recall kinda sucks. Example, recall at least 20% of what you learned in 7th grade. Well, there goes that system of learning utterly useless shit that you find boring.

    I've been to classes like this. I assume college would be about the same with grammar nazi's for "professors".
    *video removed*
    I have had no class -that- bad. But I have had close in university; most of my university classes are very great (but very small class sizes here). Professors will frequently engage the class with debatable topics to do with the subjects that can be debated (Computer Science such as Artificial Intelligence). Actually, most of the profs here make very great classes, but like everywhere you get the few teachers or profs that have a hard time.


    Why do teachers have an answer guide honestly? I could come up with a couple reasons:

    - Everyone makes mistakes
    - Humans are lazy, and it's easier to reference from an answer guide then think about it yourself when correcting tests/homework

    But if I had a teacher like that I would be driven insane.

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