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Monday, February 21, 2011

Why I don't like black and white statements....

When I was a kid, I grew up in a small community. I had a simplistic view on life... If work needed to be done, you did it... If Old Yeller needed to be put down, you manned up, grabbed your gun and shot your best friend. Unfortunately, when I became a teacher, life started to throw me problems that didn't have a single answer. Life was more gray and situations were more complex than I ever thought. A Professor once told me problems were either simple, ugly, horrible or good luck fixing and only the simple ones had an easy answer. So, I learned to develop a set of skills that allowed me to look at each instance and make better and better judgement calls.

Since then, I have lost patience with black and white thinking...

I understand when kids still see the world in this way... they haven't developed a sense of the complexity of life. But when adults make statements that are simplistic and damaging, I take offence (trying to not to say bad words). Some of you might remember my tirade over Tom Schimmer's Pro-D. His message challenged the teachers in the building to be progressive... what it accomplished was pissing off a lot of people who were already doing the right thing. Statements like: "QUALITY should trump TIMELINESS!" aren't helpful. Why even make this statement? Why just not say, timeliness doesn't matter? Instead say: "good practice in assessment and instruction will always improve the learning and therefore the works produced by your students" or "both quality and timeliness are vital and not mutually exclusive"? 

So my point is the following... be careful with your glib black and white statements. Be especially careful about making simplistic statements when you are talking about a complex problem... I expect better from the so called experts in the field of education....

 

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