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  1. #201
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rail Tracer View Post
    Think of it this way. If we never had flamed, complained, and made a scene out of the platform, do you think a spokesman for their platform would have come out to talk about its inherent "typos?" The answer is most likely not.
    I always wholeheartedly agree with the freedom to speak out against something that one has concerns about. Speak out and speak loudly and question "why??" from the rooftops. Point out concerns and ask questions. But if that is simply a string of insults and slurs, based on preconcieved bigotries, it doesnt lead to a constructive conversation, only a defensive response and more wall building and hatred between sides, not an environment of understanding or tolerance for those who differ from oneself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I think there's a maturational dimension too it too, liked to self-efficacy and self-regulation of mood/emotional responses too, if the opposing POV, or what your filters result in you imaging is or attributes to the opposing POV, evokes too much anger, despair or depression you're not going to be able to deal with it.

    There is, if you ask me, important emotional intelligence and social competence dimensions of critically thinking, a lot of the time people prefer comfortable dichotomies, binary opposites and locked in thinking to any alternative because its easier to handle emotionally, socially.

    I've known plenty of socialists who are pretty happy and comfortable, objectively, with class struggles, they'd invent them in their abscence, because it permits an underdog to identify with and they believe that doing so is corresponds to socialism as they understand it in its entirety. I've tried to talk to them about how this frame of reference and thinking actually contributes to sustaining the very things which they initially talk about wanting to see dispensed with but it just gets much to heated. The conclusion that "if you're not with us, you're against us" is too quickly jumped to and that's the end of it.

    And a lot of the time, like I've said before, critical thinking is often exclusively identified with being critical of the "other" or "other thinking".
    I see the above as well in many folks who tend to fall on the side of liberal politics. (Actually I always saw it in conservative evangelicals, as they are so out there in thier beliefs , but it took time for me to see almost the exact same type of response in my liberal friends as well.) It is a complete unwillingness to even entertain that the plans they suggest may not be reasonable from a pragmatic perspective and a knee-jerk "stupid/greedy" applied to those who disagree with them. Sometimes pople are stupid and greedy, no doubt, but everyone on the "other side" cant be that stupid and greedy-it defies statistics.

    Funny thing about this whole discussion, more pragmatically speaking-it doesnt have a huge impact on Texas schools. For all the noise regarding creationism, sex education, or "critical thinking", those issues make up a tiny fraction of the curriculum. School quality is much more dependent upon the wealth and socioeconomic status of the parents in the local neighborhood.

    Our schools are really most screwed up by the "No child left behind" act which forces huge amounts of testing to be sure we all have received an "equal" education and punishes teachers for the failures of parents-a federal program. As I was leaving Michigan, abut 8 years back, they were starting to look about the same.

    Luckily the republicans, in spite of thier rather obnoxious evangelical stance, give parents in Texas the right to Choose what school our children will go to, via allowing charter school formation. Thus, as consumers, we decide what our children will be taught via sending them to schools that provide an education we find appealing.

    If you would like to influence the education of children in Texas-go start a charter school which emphasizes critical thinking and science based education in Texas! You can single handedly save Texas school children from the Republican party!

    (I am only partially kidding-think about the impact an individual could have in a system like this.)

  2. #202

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    I see the above as well in many folks who tend to fall on the side of liberal politics. (Actually I always saw it in conservative evangelicals, as they are so out there in thier beliefs , but it took time for me to see almost the exact same type of response in my liberal friends as well.) It is a complete unwillingness to even entertain that the plans they suggest may not be reasonable from a pragmatic perspective and a knee-jerk "stupid/greedy" applied to those who disagree with them. Sometimes pople are stupid and greedy, no doubt, but everyone on the "other side" cant be that stupid and greedy-it defies statistics.
    I agree with that, also it was something which I think I detected first in a lot of conservatives while I was growing up, perhaps its been an aging thing that at first the conservatives seem unthinking and then the next generation of liberals/socialists seems the same way but I dont think that's completely it.

    I hate the knee jerk reaction response, its common across the political spectrum, across all ideological divides and other divisions, the "stupid/greedy" label isnt the only one which is so readily applied either and I get the impression that a lot of people just want "baddies", their thinking is a kind of game, its like cowboys and indians, they need "baddies" as much as they do "allies", frequently its the "baddies" that they need more than the allies. The alternative, that people might not care about the things they care about, that perhaps there is indifference, I find for most of them is a more horrifying or disturbing prospect for most of them. Then the indifference quickly gets framed in such a way that its really "baddy" behaviour, its apathy, its ignorance, its complicity etc. etc.

    Although in reality its more like they've got different interests, the same sort of thinking wouldnt arise with respect to other pet topics or pet peeves but I see it being exactly the same, when I've said that it gets thrown back at me that its much more serious, people get hurt or killed over the head of politics or whatever the political football is, although people get killed over the head of pet peeves and pet topics too, like in the instance of football hooliganism.

    I could just be getting older but it all just seems like its about affect regulation or the lack of it playing out in public.

  3. #203
    Happy Dancer uumlau's Avatar
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    An interest blog post on this topic is here: http://chronicle.com/blogs/innovatio...thinking/33367

    The key point of interest is that the 2010 platform said the opposite, that the Texas Republican Party was in favor of:
    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Republican Party platform of 2010
    Knowledge-Based Education – The primary purpose of public schools is to teach critical thinking skills, reading, writing, arithmetic, phonics, history, science, and character as well as knowledge-based education, not job training. We support knowledge-based curriculum standards and tests. We support successful career and technology programs, but oppose mandatory career training. We oppose Outcome-Based Education (OBE) and similar programs. Further, because of an aging U.S. population and global competition, and because much of today’s education teaches children to be employees or perhaps at best managers for employers, we encourage the teaching of entrepreneurial skills and investment skills.
    (emphasis mine)

    The blog author's speculation (with which I would concur) is:
    I suspect someone who is familiar with how easily the education establishment captures, co-opts, and subverts wholesome ideas tipped off the platform committee that “knowledge-based education” often amounts to something less ambitious than teaching students important knowledge and that the phrase “critical thinking skills” often serves as an Open Sesame to hard-core political indoctrination.
    I believe this clarifies that the party itself isn't against "critical thinking skills" per se, but a program that represents itself as teaching them such but really doesn't. I also suspect that the "(values clarification)" qualification is pointing at a particular aspect of HOTS, not the program as a whole, but the google hits are all on articles about the OP topic, making it difficult to research that way and verify my suspicion.

    ...

    On the more general point of "critical thinking skils," I suspect a lot of people think that they know what these are, but really don't. Heck, MBTI typology is based on the fact that different people think differently. Wanna see a real debate? Watch INTJs and INTPs argue about the right ways to approach knowledge. Their patterns of critical thinking are entirely different. And while INTJs and INTPs can each be prone to their particular cognitive biases, it's hard to make a case that either type doesn't practice real critical thinking skills - rather, it's fairly clear that each type insists on coming to one's own conclusions and tends to resist being told what to think.

    Now, consider what this means for all of the different types. The set of skills that comprise "critical thinking skills" are going to be substantially different for each type, each its own mixture of different cognitive strengths and weaknesses.

    I ran into this fairly early on when I was teaching physics to high school and college students. I would try to give them (what I believed to be) a simplified version to see how everything fits with everything else, and only a few would understand it. If I instead gave them a point-by-point recipe of how to do particular kinds of problems, most people would get that, but the students who understood my more intuitive explanation seemed to be puzzled. How the material was presented strongly affected how readily each type of student could handle it.

    So why are we blithely talking about "critical thinking skills" as if we can teach all these other types to think like INTPs? or INTJs? or whatever style one considers to be "legitimate" critical thinking?

    Am I the only one here who notes the irony of accepting the phrase "critical thinking skills" without actually applying critical thinking to what we mean by it?
    An argument is two people sharing their ignorance.

    A discussion is two people sharing their understanding, even when they disagree.

  4. #204
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    Am I the only one here who notes the irony of accepting the phrase "critical thinking skills" without actually applying critical thinking to what we mean by it?
    What makes you sure that people aren't critically thinking about what it means?
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  5. #205
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    Why must we all play pretend here? Here is an article that details the legitimate controversy over OBE: The Mismeasure of Learning.

    And here is an article that addresses the less than legitimate concerns of folks who, like the Texas GOPers, think that OBE is a vehicle of indoctrination and a subversion of Christian values: The New School Wars: How Outcome-Based Education Blew Up.

    Mention outcome-based education now to the religious conservatives at Citizens for Excellence in Education (CEE) or the National Association of Christian Educators, with which CEE is affiliated, or to the conservative members of Focus on the Family or Concerned Women for America or Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, and they're likely to become apoplectic. Depending on the version, they insist, OBE is either nonsensical mumbo jumbo or part of something very sinister: undermining children's religious faith, promoting "politically correct issues such as environmentalism, gun control and homosexuality" in the words of Rutherford Institute President John W. Whitehead, and thus representing "one of the most frightening assaults on individual freedom we've ever faced." OBE, says former Education Secretary Bill Bennett (who happens to be one of Checker Finn's heroes), has become a tool for the education establishment to advance its own social agenda: "a Trojan horse for social engineering."

    ...

    In the past couple of years, pitched battles have been fought over OBE and related programs from one end of the country to the other: in Pennsylvania and Virginia, Washington and California, Kentucky and Oklahoma, and a great many local communities in between. In some instances, those fights have been over shadows: a story in a new state curriculum guide that seems to some group to question the primacy of heterosexual marriage as the foundation of social life, or that suggests to someone that maybe the writer is trying to foist vegetarianism and animal rights on the tender minds of fourth graders.

    But to dwell on these phantoms of the new school wars would distort a far more complex story. This is not only a controversy between an ever-reasonable education establishment and the know-nothing right, as the annual textbook censorship reports of the liberal People for the American Way seem to suggest; nor is it just a fight against attempts by the forces of political correctness to capture the hearts and minds of our children, as conservatives like Thomas Sowell or Dinesh D'Souza would have it. At bottom it reflects genuine social, intellectual, and ideological controversies about how children should be taught, what they should learn, and what, ultimately, schools should be in a democratic society. Unless the progressive education establishment begins to appreciate the sources of resistance to reform, it will invite the kind of paralyzing backlash we have seen in many areas of our national life.
    In other words, there is legitimate concern over how some of the many concrete instantiations of OBE (since there is no uniform OBE program to speak of) affect the levels of rigor that students encounter in school, and whether and to what extent it is more or less beneficial for the lives of the students and the future of the nation than more "traditional" pedagogical models. It's a fight over pedagogy that has fallen between the "education is to produce responsible citizens capable of leading good lives" folks and the "education is to make sure they know X, X, X, and X and can compete with other nations" folks. The former criticize the latter for reducing education to rote memorization, while the latter criticize the former for having educational goals that are unclear, "mushy," and not measurable. OBE, an essentially formless educational idea, has merely become the grounds upon which to stage this fight.

    However, the crazy Christians, like the article says, are just bitching about "phantoms" in this whole debacle. They have inserted their paranoia about the librul/homosexual/climate change/evolution/godless/socialist agenda into the debate and caused an entire other layer of confusion.
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  6. #206
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    I see the above as well in many folks who tend to fall on the side of liberal politics. (Actually I always saw it in conservative evangelicals, as they are so out there in thier beliefs , but it took time for me to see almost the exact same type of response in my liberal friends as well.) It is a complete unwillingness to even entertain that the plans they suggest may not be reasonable from a pragmatic perspective and a knee-jerk "stupid/greedy" applied to those who disagree with them. Sometimes pople are stupid and greedy, no doubt, but everyone on the "other side" cant be that stupid and greedy-it defies statistics.
    Yes, closed-minded certitude is counterproductive, regardless of the political agenda being promoted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    Funny thing about this whole discussion, more pragmatically speaking-it doesnt have a huge impact on Texas schools. For all the noise regarding creationism, sex education, or "critical thinking", those issues make up a tiny fraction of the curriculum. School quality is much more dependent upon the wealth and socioeconomic status of the parents in the local neighborhood.

    Our schools are really most screwed up by the "No child left behind" act which forces huge amounts of testing to be sure we all have received an "equal" education and punishes teachers for the failures of parents-a federal program. As I was leaving Michigan, abut 8 years back, they were starting to look about the same.

    Luckily the republicans, in spite of thier rather obnoxious evangelical stance, give parents in Texas the right to Choose what school our children will go to, via allowing charter school formation. Thus, as consumers, we decide what our children will be taught via sending them to schools that provide an education we find appealing.

    If you would like to influence the education of children in Texas-go start a charter school which emphasizes critical thinking and science based education in Texas! You can single handedly save Texas school children from the Republican party!
    This is more disturbing than what was in the party platform, starting with the observation that critical thinking activities make up only a small fraction of the curriculum (I'll get to definitions later). Next is the omnipresence of educational quality on community income. I suppose Texas is no worse than most states on that count, since most states rely heavily on property taxes to fund education. NCLB did indeed make matters only worse on top of that. (The corollary to "no child left behind" seems to be that no child may get ahead. Lowest common denominator education.)

    The highlighted is of particular concern. It implies no standardization of what children are learning. Are these charter schools held to any state standards at all? Can parents organizing such a school decide they just don't want their kids learning music, or biology, or math beyond basic operations? Can they teach a version of history that denies the holocaust, and whitewashes American slavery, treatment of native Americans, and internment of Japanese? Creationism and sex education (or lack thereof) could be just the tip of the iceberg in such a scenario.

    Critical thinking skills, at their most basic level, are tools for examining multiple points of view on a given topic or question in as unbiased a manner as possible, considering each on its own merits. This also involves questioning fundamental assumptions, and not accepting things at face value. These are the skills that keep us from being duped by a con man, or a politician, or a faithless lover.

    As Uumlau pointed out, there are different ways to do this. We can be even more effective by applying several methods, individually or collectively, using both objective and subjective criteria. The teaching of critical thinking in schools should sample the various methods, helping students understand which they use best, and how to recognize and employ the other ones when needed.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  7. #207
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    I always wholeheartedly agree with the freedom to speak out against something that one has concerns about. Speak out and speak loudly and question "why??" from the rooftops. Point out concerns and ask questions. But if that is simply a string of insults and slurs, based on preconceived bigotries, it doesn't lead to a constructive conversation, only a defensive response and more wall building and hatred between sides, not an environment of understanding or tolerance for those who differ from oneself.
    It depends, an infant cries as a means to tell the mother that he/she is hungry, that something is wrong, that the mother needs to take notice. A complacent and quiet baby is nice and all for the parents, but it needs all the attention it can get for its own survival. If a baby doesn't cry, the only means a mother has is to guess when a child needs to drink milk, when a child needs a diaper change, when the child needs to be rocked to sleep.

    Sometimes, a complacent means of trying to get a point across just won't do. Sometimes, people aren't taken aback when you tell them that what they are doing is hurting other people. Sometimes, the only way to get the message across and spark a debate is to push a bit. That is how we get groups like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. I won't debate about the soundness of these two groups, but what these two groups has done is spark a debate about Government corruption, Wall Street corruption, and Inequality in the U.S. All it took was for a group of people to create an outcry for it to be heard across the U.S. (and in some cases, across the world.) Inequality has been debated for years before the advent of Occupy Wall Street. But because of Occupy Wall Street it has been talked on a national scale.

    If the 13 colonies did not decided to tell Great Britain that they were breaking off because of what they were doing to the 13 colonies, do you even think Great Britain would of cared in the first place? If Ghandi never created a national civil-disobedience, would Great Britain ever have cared? If the Wright brothers weren't so hot-headed and ridiculed in trying to fly, would they have flown? Would a point be made if people weren't riled up during the Civil Rights Era?

    Anti-abortion people does it all the time in my college by throwing pictures of aborted fetuses on my campus every semester. It sparks hate, it sparks anger, and it gets people to debate about how horrible abortion is. At the same time, those pictures also say, what about the mother? What if she may die if she were to allow the baby to live? Lots of people on campus say what is wrong with these people posting aborted-fetus in college (whether they support abortion or not.)It riles the person up and makes it a topic of focus.

    Many of the well known people from history weren't cool-headed, they were very much hot-headed in their own ways bent on proving a point.

    My point is, the way I presented the thread may have been... not the best of circumstances. But do you not think it spark SOME debate about it (though it may not be much.) "Texas GOP Platform" would probably been overlooked compared to what I have typed. At the same time, it might not have sparked as much attention. If I got you or anybody else who did not look into this matter to look into the matter, my goal has been accomplished. You've read it and done research and most people that touched this thread have read it and done some research and created some opinion about the matter.

  8. #208
    Happy Dancer uumlau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rail Tracer View Post
    Anti-abortion people does it all the time in my college by throwing pictures of aborted fetuses on my campus every semester. It sparks hate, it sparks anger, and it gets people to debate about how horrible abortion is. At the same time, those pictures also say, what about the mother? What if she may die if she were to allow the baby to live? Lots of people on campus say what is wrong with these people posting aborted-fetus in college (whether they support abortion or not.)It riles the person up and makes it a topic of focus.
    So you find the consequent knee-jerk reactions to be enlightening? I find that once you hit those buttons, everyone shouts, but no one listens.

    Many of the well known people from history weren't cool-headed, they were very much hot-headed in their own ways bent on proving a point.
    Ah, so you were trying to make a "historical" post? You know, like all the other "historical" posts on the TypeC politics forum, that famously helped to prove points and resolve otherwise contentious issues.

    (Many of the well known people from history started wars.)

    My point is, the way I presented the thread may have been... not the best of circumstances. But do you not think it spark SOME debate about it (though it may not be much.) "Texas GOP Platform" would probably been overlooked compared to what I have typed. At the same time, it might not have sparked as much attention. If I got you or anybody else who did not look into this matter to look into the matter, my goal has been accomplished. You've read it and done research and most people that touched this thread have read it and done some research and created some opinion about the matter.
    Actually, I'd seen the issue posted and re-posted throughout the internet. Someone else already did the attention-getting work before you. Do you really think you created any opinion beyond what people otherwise already believed?

    BTW, I'm not trying to suggest that your post is in any way inappropriate to this section of the forum. Indeed, it's what the politics forum is intended to contain. But let's not kid ourselves into thinking that we're being particularly "informative" or serving some particularly noble purpose by virtue of pos[t]ing here.
    An argument is two people sharing their ignorance.

    A discussion is two people sharing their understanding, even when they disagree.

  9. #209
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rail Tracer View Post
    It depends, an infant cries as a means to tell the mother that he/she is hungry, that something is wrong, that the mother needs to take notice. A complacent and quiet baby is nice and all for the parents, but it needs all the attention it can get for its own survival. If a baby doesn't cry, the only means a mother has is to guess when a child needs to drink milk, when a child needs a diaper change, when the child needs to be rocked to sleep.

    Sometimes, a complacent means of trying to get a point across just won't do. Sometimes, people aren't taken aback when you tell them that what they are doing is hurting other people. Sometimes, the only way to get the message across and spark a debate is to push a bit. That is how we get groups like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. I won't debate about the soundness of these two groups, but what these two groups has done is spark a debate about Government corruption, Wall Street corruption, and Inequality in the U.S. All it took was for a group of people to create an outcry for it to be heard across the U.S. (and in some cases, across the world.) Inequality has been debated for years before the advent of Occupy Wall Street. But because of Occupy Wall Street it has been talked on a national scale.

    If the 13 colonies did not decided to tell Great Britain that they were breaking off because of what they were doing to the 13 colonies, do you even think Great Britain would of cared in the first place? If Ghandi never created a national civil-disobedience, would Great Britain ever have cared? If the Wright brothers weren't so hot-headed and ridiculed in trying to fly, would they have flown? Would a point be made if people weren't riled up during the Civil Rights Era?

    Anti-abortion people does it all the time in my college by throwing pictures of aborted fetuses on my campus every semester. It sparks hate, it sparks anger, and it gets people to debate about how horrible abortion is. At the same time, those pictures also say, what about the mother? What if she may die if she were to allow the baby to live? Lots of people on campus say what is wrong with these people posting aborted-fetus in college (whether they support abortion or not.)It riles the person up and makes it a topic of focus.

    Many of the well known people from history weren't cool-headed, they were very much hot-headed in their own ways bent on proving a point.

    My point is, the way I presented the thread may have been... not the best of circumstances. But do you not think it spark SOME debate about it (though it may not be much.) "Texas GOP Platform" would probably been overlooked compared to what I have typed. At the same time, it might not have sparked as much attention. If I got you or anybody else who did not look into this matter to look into the matter, my goal has been accomplished. You've read it and done research and most people that touched this thread have read it and done some research and created some opinion about the matter.
    You shouldn't have posted this. It's merely feeding other people's high horses.
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  10. #210
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    You shouldn't have posted this. It's merely feeding other people's high horses.
    Yeah, I'll just stop typing now.

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