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moderator -- minimalist moderation

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  • Allen Dyer
    dear norma b., moderation on this list is minimalistic. profanity is not allowed but most forms of rhetorical argument are fair game. whenever someone strays
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 30, 2007
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      dear norma b.,
       
      moderation on this list is minimalistic.  profanity is not allowed but
      most forms of rhetorical argument are fair game.  whenever someone
      strays too far afield of topics relating to howard county public education
      individual list members have a responsibility to voice concerns and
      help bring the discussion back to the shared common interest of
      howard count public education.
       
      strong opinions regarding education are permissible but the
      emphasis is on how the individual members feel and think about
      particular education issues.  reference to published articles are
      good for STIMULATING conversation but posters need to wade
      in and explain why they like (or dislike) a particular perspective.
       
      it is to be hoped that those participants that apply less rhetoric
      and more rational argument will have the most impact on other
      list members but...democracy is an ongoing experiment.
       
      allen dyer
      howardpubliced moderator
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 1:01 PM
      Subject: [howardpubliced] Re: Briefing: Myths About Teaching and Learning

      Tom,

      I am not objecting to the discussion nor the presentation on Myths
      about Teaching and Learning.

      I am objecting to the comment by Mr. Dorman, "This kind of reactionary
      claptrap reminds me of the folks who point to the few articles
      published in second-run journals that purport to show that global
      warming is not really happening."

      One, it is inappropriate for Mr. Dorman to post political messages
      outside the scope of this forum.

      Two, I waited for the moderator to address this issue. They have not.

      Three, not everyone on this list will agree with Mr. Dorman's
      political point of view on global warming. Therefore he should know he
      has offended at least some of the people on this list by referring to
      them derogatorily as reactionary claptrap.

      I am awaiting the moderators comments to support my statement that Mr.
      Dorman's political messages are inappropriate at this forum. Should
      the moderator allow Mr. Dorman's political message to pass, then it
      would be appropriate for me to respond with an alternate point of view
      to Mr. Dorman's political message.

      Norma B
    • Ben Dorman
      My apologies for appearing to throw a bomb and then walk away. I did mean to clarify my comment earlier in the week but life got in the way. I ll watch for
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 2, 2007
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        My apologies for appearing to throw a bomb and then walk away. I did
        mean to clarify my comment earlier in the week but life got in the
        way. I'll watch for this debate and attempt to remain engaged.

        I plead accuracy to the use of the word 'reactionary.' It started off
        meaning referring to those who wished to restore the benefits (as they
        saw them) of an earlier time or regime, and that's how I meant it.

        As to the argument itself: I see the following use of rhetorical
        device in the myths and facts part of the presentation. Because of
        the use of these, I think that this presentation is of the nature of
        polemic rather than logical argument which it purports to be. These
        are what set me off into an (uncharacteristically) terse response.


        Namely:

        a) double or multiple standards, meaning judging different things with
        lesser or greater leniency
        b) guilt by association, meaning criticizing a whole body of practice
        for demonstrable flaws in some part of it
        c) assignment of motivation, meaning a claim to understand the
        motivations of others without real justification

        Also there is

        d) confusion of concept with implementation, meaning identify a
        concept with a particular approach to it, and dismissing the concept
        for the problems with its implementation.

        For (a): What I object to is the presentation "Reality" vs. "Correct
        Teaching Principle", at least on the pages dealing with learning
        styles and multiple intelligences. Who says the statement in the lower
        part of the page has any more backing than that criticized in the
        previous paragraph? I'm not a cognitive scientist, but I am sure there
        is controversy in this area and the articles cited are not the final word.

        From my perspective, as one who did well at traditional education, and
        one who also taught at the college level, it's pretty clear to me that
        not all children learn in the same way. Would anyone disagree with
        that statement? Probably not. The argument here is about whether one
        should change the way one teaches to fit the students' needs, or use
        the "modalities of the material in question."

        There is an assumption in the argument that every subject has a unique
        modality in which it should be taught, and moving away from that is
        harmful. We could argue on a subject-by-subject basis about whether
        there are any absolutes about "subject modality". Maybe later though,
        this post is going to have to be long enough.

        But, this is an argument about multiculturalism and cultural
        sensitivity - at least it purports to be on the front slide. Cultural
        sensitivity not just in education at school but in society at large is
        about making information real and relevant to different communities
        with different heritages, because the same words don't mean the same
        to different students.

        This a fundamentally different issue per se than the issue of learning
        styles per se. (b), the 'guilt by association' device, says that
        because there are some problems with practice in trying to adapt to
        learning styles, that attempts to be accommodating are necessarily
        bad. Doesn't follow.

        On the slide about Multiple Intelligences, few also would disagree
        that the ability of human beings cannot easily be placed on a straight
        line, such as an IQ scale. For example, many strong political leaders
        of either persuasion have generally not been strongest in the academic
        sense, but have possessed intelligence equally as valid. Likewise,
        business leaders aren't selected on their IQ scores but emerge from
        skills demonstrated in practice. The argument here is that education
        only consists of 'focus on a logical set of instruction'. Well, it'll
        certainly work with some children. Those whose strengths lie elsewhere
        may miss out. Why not try to address this and provide education that
        motivates all?

        Well, for one counter-argument, MI theory appears to be one specific
        way of attempting to use students' different abilities. When it is
        used as the basis for a curriculum, the results may not work. And
        Howard Gardner has said, according to a very reputable source, that
        actually implementing a curriculum based on his theory makes him
        perturbed.

        Just to put that in context, a more egregious example of practice
        diverging from the intent of the originator is the IQ test itself.
        Louis Binet, working at the turn of the 19th century derived the term
        Intelligence Quotient as a way to determine which students needed
        greater assistance. In the hands of others, it became an instrument to
        segregate and discriminate. It was used widely in the early part of
        the 20th century as a tool to reinforce discrimination against the
        descendants of former slaves. And why did those African-Americans do
        so poorly in the standardized tests? Because they were written based
        on the culture of a White European dominated society. The use of IQ
        testing also strongly supported the Eugenics movement of the early
        20th Century, which was about scientific breeding. If you are
        interested in this subject, I suggest you take a look at Stephen Jay
        Gould's book "The Mismeasure of Man" which explains this history in
        great detail. I read this some years ago and looked pretty hard for a
        real refutation of his account, and found none.

        Confusing an attempt to use Multiple Intelligence theory, with an
        attempt to accommodate based on the different strengths of students,
        is exactly confusing concept with implementation. Making this sound
        like a reason not to work for educational inclusiveness is the use of
        guilt by association.

        The final slide I want to comment on, which continues the rhetorical
        device of "Myth" vs "Correct Principle" with little balance, is the
        "Brain Compatible Instruction" slide, in which the correct principle
        talks about "employing strategies that have worked for a long time"
        (slight paraphrase).

        But if some minority section of the population has forever been left
        behind by those strategies, why would you object to striving for a
        more inclusive approach? The Public Schools have a charge to educate
        all children, and are right to look for the techniques that will do
        just that. Whether they have selected the right ones right now is
        another matter. But this is exactly what I mean by confusion of
        concept with implementation. Just saying we should discard all
        attempts to improve in the pursuit of education for all and go back to
        the tried and tested of years ago - which is clearly the intent, if
        not the literal statement - is the ultimate reactionary position.

        Finally, to address (c) assignment of motivation, we have the
        statement "Most education administrators and education schools believe
        in a naturalistic or romantic approach to learning". Senior
        administrators I know have a very practical approach to learning. They
        need all their children to succeed, and not just those who excelled in
        yesterday's classroom, because of legislation. If that means searching
        for techniques that address the achievement gap, then so be it.

        The analogy I made with Global Warming is apt because, despite the
        fact that some of the science is soft, there are many pieces of
        evidence that indicate that something needs to be done. The same is
        true in pursuit of educating all students.


        Ben Dorman





        --- In howardpubliced@yahoogroups.com, "Allen Dyer" <aldyer@...> wrote:
        >
        > dear norma b.,
        >
        > moderation on this list is minimalistic. profanity is not allowed but
        > most forms of rhetorical argument are fair game. whenever someone
        > strays too far afield of topics relating to howard county public
        education
        > individual list members have a responsibility to voice concerns and
        > help bring the discussion back to the shared common interest of
        > howard count public education.
        >
        > strong opinions regarding education are permissible but the
        > emphasis is on how the individual members feel and think about
        > particular education issues. reference to published articles are
        > good for STIMULATING conversation but posters need to wade
        > in and explain why they like (or dislike) a particular perspective.
        >
        > it is to be hoped that those participants that apply less rhetoric
        > and more rational argument will have the most impact on other
        > list members but...democracy is an ongoing experiment.
        >
        > allen dyer
        > howardpubliced moderator
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: normagene_21029
        > To: howardpubliced@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 1:01 PM
        > Subject: [howardpubliced] Re: Briefing: Myths About Teaching and
        Learning
        >
        >
        > Tom,
        >
        > I am not objecting to the discussion nor the presentation on Myths
        > about Teaching and Learning.
        >
        > I am objecting to the comment by Mr. Dorman, "This kind of reactionary
        > claptrap reminds me of the folks who point to the few articles
        > published in second-run journals that purport to show that global
        > warming is not really happening."
        >
        > One, it is inappropriate for Mr. Dorman to post political messages
        > outside the scope of this forum.
        >
        > Two, I waited for the moderator to address this issue. They have not.
        >
        > Three, not everyone on this list will agree with Mr. Dorman's
        > political point of view on global warming. Therefore he should know he
        > has offended at least some of the people on this list by referring to
        > them derogatorily as reactionary claptrap.
        >
        > I am awaiting the moderators comments to support my statement that Mr.
        > Dorman's political messages are inappropriate at this forum. Should
        > the moderator allow Mr. Dorman's political message to pass, then it
        > would be appropriate for me to respond with an alternate point of view
        > to Mr. Dorman's political message.
        >
        > Norma B
        >
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