Re[3]: The school game

Michael Hamende (HamendeM@CTS.DB.ERAU.EDU)
Tue, 13 Aug 1996 07:28:25 EST

Richard Long said:

"Quite the opposite, Mike, though maybe my tone suggested otherwise."

Yeah your tone was pretty out there on the anger spectrum. Thanks for
setting me straight.

"What I meant was there are some students who play a good game, and
it's a game to avoid serious thinking, whatever that is, because it is
something that they are uncomfortable with and the natural inclination
is to resist that which makes us uncomfortable, and there are other
students, the majority, who are creative and productive and just
simply fine people."

Yes I've had lots of students who are uncomfortable with "serious
thinking." I tend to believe its because they are not used to it;
haven't been exposed to it. Never expected to do it. This is
consistent with my own experience, my observations, and what I learned
about schools and the "factory model."

"But my other intent was to counter other posts that suggest that
"thwarting" is something possible."

Maybe its the semantics. How about "calling into question" instead of
thwarting? Whether its possible depends on how authoritarian the
teacher/school is.

"The thrust of this conversation is that everything students do is
right and everything teachers do is wrong..."

Well I'd question the all or nothing, but "out of the mouths of
babes..." Lots of what goes on in schools is wrong, but that is the
fault of the design and the system, not the teachers or the students.
Interesting that we are shocked when "mere students" notice the
inconsistency so quickly and point it out to us. Then "we"
immediately assume there is something wrong with them.

"... and that if teachers somehow question the motives of students, if
teachers suggest that a student might be trying to pull the wool, then
the teacher is wrong and is somehow being a monolithic authority."

I think many or maybe even most teachers assume the "sage on the
stage" method because that's what they experienced as students and it
maybe all they know. Its hard to give up the control you think you
have. Really you don't have any at all or maybe the harder you try to
have it the less you have. I see nothing wrong with "questioning the
student's motives;" but maybe there are a number of sides to that
situation. Maybe there is something in a lot of us that wants to have
the little guy win one?

"To say that there are a few bad apples, both in the teacher and the
student barrels, is not to say that everything is rotten."


Mike Hamende