moderator -- minimalist moderation
- dear norma b.,moderation on this list is minimalistic. profanity is not allowed butmost forms of rhetorical argument are fair game. whenever someonestrays too far afield of topics relating to howard county public educationindividual list members have a responsibility to voice concerns andhelp bring the discussion back to the shared common interest ofhoward count public education.strong opinions regarding education are permissible but theemphasis is on how the individual members feel and think aboutparticular education issues. reference to published articles aregood for STIMULATING conversation but posters need to wadein and explain why they like (or dislike) a particular perspective.it is to be hoped that those participants that apply less rhetoricand more rational argument will have the most impact on otherlist members but...democracy is an ongoing experiment.allen dyerhowardpubliced moderator----- Original Message -----From: normagene_21029Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 1:01 PMSubject: [howardpubliced] Re: Briefing: Myths About Teaching and LearningTom,
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.
- 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.
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
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
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"
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.
--- In email@example.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
> 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 1:01 PM
> Subject: [howardpubliced] Re: Briefing: Myths About Teaching and
> 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