Texas school district issues an apology for critical thinking exercise
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28-10-2015, 12:23 PM
RE: Texas school district issues an apology for critical thinking exercise
(28-10-2015 12:03 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Unless the teacher is trying to act out a scene from gods not dead to jr high school kids, which I kinda doubt, I'm going to assume the teacher framed things differently than the child in question asserted.

I do agree the teacher should have maybe used a different example.
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28-10-2015, 12:48 PM
RE: Texas school district issues an apology for critical thinking exercise
I don't see anything in the statement, "God can't be proven" as being contradictory to faith. In fact that's the very definition of faith; belief without proof.
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28-10-2015, 01:24 PM (This post was last modified: 28-10-2015 01:27 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Texas school district issues an apology for critical thinking exercise
Actually, based on my third- or fourth-hand understanding of the situation, the teacher acted somewhat improperly and the school acted properly in response.

This exercise was not part of any approved curriculum. The teacher was essentially inventing content.

The point of the exercise was to categorize each statement as "fact", "opinion", and "commonplace assertion". The point of such an exercise in a critical thinking class at that grade level would be to establish these categories in the student's brain and get them practiced in reviewing statements they hear and filing them accordingly. At the late high-school or college level, you might want to up the challenge rating by handing students statements that take a lot of thinking and debate to file into one category or another, but at the 7th grade you'd want to focus more on simply defining the categories by clear standards (ie, is there evidence or proof of this statement? then it's a fact) and getting the students practiced in their use.

Done properly, this would be a good lesson.

This was not done properly.

Yes, the assignment of the statement to the category of "commonplace assertion" would be the correct one, making the student's answer incorrect, but that's not the point. Statements about God existing are not good fodder for this type of exercise. How to file them is a subject for potentially heated debate even at the level of higher education. It's not an easy categorization to make, even before you account for the large amount of social baggage much of the class would be carrying into the lesson, and even ignoring the potential for religious entanglement in schools. This is no more a good problem for this type of lesson than something out of a calculus textbook would be a good problem for someone studying basic algebra.

Which brings us to it not being part of the curriculum. If it had been vetted as part of the curriculum, part of a centrally-planned and organized education strategy being carefully considered well in advance, the odds would have been much higher that someone would have identified this problem and removed this statement from the problem set, because it would interfere with (rather than advance) the learning objectives of that lesson.

The student response, public response, and school board response of freaking out about anti-religious persecution is misplaced, of course. Reading between the lines, the school's response was to sit the teacher down for a talk and make sure this didn't happen again. This is the appropriate response.
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28-10-2015, 01:44 PM
RE: Texas school district issues an apology for critical thinking exercise
(28-10-2015 12:48 PM)Mr. Boston Wrote:  I don't see anything in the statement, "God can't be proven" as being contradictory to faith. In fact that's the very definition of faith; belief without proof.

yabut, you're not supposed to make anybody actually face that particular truth

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28-10-2015, 02:16 PM (This post was last modified: 28-10-2015 02:21 PM by pablo.)
RE: Texas school district issues an apology for critical thinking exercise
Listen carefully to what the girl says at about 1:22 of this video. She nails it.
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28-10-2015, 03:22 PM
RE: Texas school district issues an apology for critical thinking exercise
(28-10-2015 02:16 PM)pablo Wrote:  Listen carefully to what the girl says at about 1:22 of this video. She nails it.
Just to save people some time...all she says is, "I felt like this was really wrong and I didn't feel like it was fair for my faith and my religion to have anything to do with what I am learning in school.."

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28-10-2015, 05:33 PM
RE: Texas school district issues an apology for critical thinking exercise
The kid is right. Religious indoctrination of any kind in a public school is wrong. That teacher had no business even bringing that concept up for those kids. It's not necessary to the lesson, and was practically inviting backlash. That's not what makes it wrong; the first amendment is what makes it wrong. Just because I happen to agree with it doesn't make it any better.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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28-10-2015, 07:51 PM
RE: Texas school district issues an apology for critical thinking exercise
(28-10-2015 05:33 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  The kid is right. Religious indoctrination of any kind in a public school is wrong. That teacher had no business even bringing that concept up for those kids. It's not necessary to the lesson, and was practically inviting backlash. That's not what makes it wrong; the first amendment is what makes it wrong. Just because I happen to agree with it doesn't make it any better.

Well from what I can gather it wasn't the whole lesson, it was one of many things. I'd like to know what else was said.

And yeah it was a poor choice (which is why I was facepalming) because now they've barred all discussion about pertaining to thinking critically.

That actually bothers me more. Kids are never too young to start developing those skills. But it should be handled the right way.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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28-10-2015, 07:52 PM
RE: Texas school district issues an apology for critical thinking exercise
I watched the extended version of that little girl's comments to the Board, on the Facebook version that's going around. That little girl is awesome!

She totally gets secularism, and why it protects her religious beliefs, better than most of the adults to whom I have ever spoken on the subject.

I hope she goes places. Katy, TX is a pretty god school district (semi-wealthy white-flight suburb)... I have a couple of aunts and a good friend who live there.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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04-11-2015, 03:46 PM
RE: Texas school district issues an apology for critical thinking exercise
(28-10-2015 07:52 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  ...
Katy, TX is a pretty god school district (semi-wealthy white-flight suburb)...

That typo was an act of good.

Big Grin

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