Is questioning others and taking opposing viewpoints a bad thing?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by AlwaysAttend, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    I've noticed an interesting phenomenon that has also been sort of covered in the media and in articles every so often.

    The first time I noticed it was on forums a lot like this. Dissenting oppinions are seen as something of an attack. Challenging ideas or the validity of solutions seen as an assault on character. In grad school I noticed people getting upset if you don't pat them on the head and acknowledge the uniqueness of their spirit and the worth of their every written word. People feel bullied and harrased by our failure to acquiesce to their beliefs and ideals.

    When did this happen? It can't be chalked up merely to the everyone gets a trophy argument can it?

    Often I notice it happens most when the depth of the argument is at it's shallowest. If someone has a great depth of knowledge on a topic they love nothing more than debating for hours on end. During family meals, over drinks with friends, or calling into their favorite sports talk show. It seems to me, if you challenge someone beyond their scope of knowledge, their guard goes up, and defenses are unleashed.

    Do others feel like this is happening? Is there a cause? Is it merely an extension of the learned helplessness we see in some of our own students, or a separate issue all together?

    Any and all thoughts or tangents welcome.

    Please don't post if you aren't willing to be challenged. In fact, lets make that the goal. At the end of your post if you like, share a thought you have that another can challenge. Even if you don't agree with it. Sometimes those are the most fun arguments to have. Here it goes:

    Students should be able to retake an assignment as many times as they wish to improve their grade.
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I think it depends on the reasoning. If you have a thoughtful, articulate argument to the contrary, that's one thing. If you are stating a contrary opinion for the sake of being contrary, that doesn't do anything to improve discourse. Like in your example, I'm assuming you posted that with the assumption that it would be a controversial opinion. Therefore, shouldn't the onus be on you to provide some reasoning for the opinion?
     
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  4. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    By discourse, do you mean politeness? I ask because it absolutely adds to the conversation.

    I disagree completely. Isn't a public forum meant to be a sounding board of ideas and thoughts? How can anyone grow without being presented with differing views and ideas?

    The idea would be someone challenges my opinion and I challenge back. Otherwise known as a healthy dialogue.
     
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  5. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    If you want reasoning though, the purpose of an assessment is to assess where students are. If their ability has changed, why wouldn't we reassess. The goal is for students to achieve mastery. If they achieve mastery in March instead of January, haven't they still achieved the goal?
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
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  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I think you misunderstood me.

    [Controversial opinion] isn't helpful to a discussion. Whether intended or not, it's closer to being a troll.

    [Controversial opinion] because [thoughtful reasoning] is helpful. It provides context, it shows sincerity, and it gives somebody else something to work off of.

    With that said, my issue with the idea of retaking assessments indefinitely is a practical one. Should a teacher be expected to write 180 versions of each assessment? Assuming your answer to that is no, then youd agree that there needs to be a cutoff point SOMEWHERE along the line. I think a more reasonable expectation would be allowing a set number of retakes at pre-determined points (e.g. you can retake the Unit 1 test up to three times, after a series of remediation and reteaching). The goal of school should be mastery of course, but there's only one teacher in the room.
     
  7. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    Any opinion that requires you to think and evaluate is beneficial. I haven't seen a lot of trolling on these forums and certainly not in the ones I have been reading lately. There is definitely one, but that person still allows you to consider their opinion and mock it if you choose.

    As to your assessment limit of 3, would you feel differently if the assessment wasn't teacher produced or graded? Let's say a school shifted the summative assessment process to a digital vender that had as many as 30 different assessment options for each skill and graded it themselves. Would you let them take it 5 times? 10 times?
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  8. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    Im sure you've all seen this video. It's not the same issue but it's definitely in the same sphere

    The Millennial Question:


    Ps, I am a Millennial
     
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  9. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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  10. 2ndTimeAround

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    I see it in people that assume they must be polarized on every topic. Liberals that MUST believe XYZ because it is in the Liberal Man's Guidebook to Life. Conservatives that move to this side of the argument because they have to associate themselves with their group.

    It is considered, to some, weak to be middle of the road. Straddling fences means you do not stand for anything.

    I hate hypocrisy but I can have mixed emotions/thoughts about certain topics. I own them. I'll say "I strongly believe ABC, but I can see your point here, which contradicts the other."
     
  11. 2ndTimeAround

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    I disagree. I love the idea of mastery, but in my experience, this practice doesn't lead to mastery. Two things happen:

    Kids blow off the first assessment. Because they have better things to do than study and because they want a sneak peek at the assignment. My school had a policy for retakes until we saw this happen over and over. It benefited a very small number of kids. And it harmed many more. So many bad life lessons learned.

    And, multiple retakes just becomes a numbers game. Kids memorize what they got wrong and plug in the next available answer until they get it correct.

    That's all from the students' standpoints. For the teachers, it is a logistical nightmare and is so time-consuming.
     
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  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This has been my experience as well. Although in an ideal world with lofty goals and expectations, the idea of unlimited opportunities for success sounds great, it doesn't work in actual practice. Not in my experience, anyway.

    To the topic of this thread, I find it interesting. A person could scroll back to, say, the thread about being accused of assault to see these dynamics at play. Other threads have gone down a similar path. I've even seen threads where one rather popular member says a controversial thing or something not in line with the majority opinion on the thread, another not-so-popular member says the exact same thing, and people pile onto the not-so-popular member while ignoring the popular one. It's an intriguing phenomenon to be sure.
     
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  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    But what happens between January and March when the content being addressed requires mastery of the January stuff? Students can't master the February and March stuff if it relies upon the January stuff.

    Expand that to include bigger ranges, which this practice certainly does, and you can see the problems. If a student masters reading in the 7th grade instead of 1st grade, haven't they achieved the goal? Well, sure, in a way. But they missed a lot of stuff in grades 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 while they couldn't read.
     
  14. greendream

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    For me, it's all about time and place.

    I used to work with a guy who liked to stir up heated political and religious debates during lunch. He wasn't closed-minded or aggressive--he was quite thoughtful and respectful of people's opinions. I'm not averse to such discussions, but after a while I felt like, "Dude, I have 22 minutes to consume my lunch between classes. I just can't handle it right now." So I avoided the lounge most of the time.
     
  15. 2ndTimeAround

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    To what end though? Do we go back and change kids' 4th grade math scores because a child has mastered the material in 7th grade?

    In an ideal world, each student would have individual time frames for assessment. Public schools could act like homeschooling - only test when a child has already demonstrated mastery and let everyone work at his own pace. But we do not have the resources that would allow for each child to have a private tutor.
     
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  16. 2ndTimeAround

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    I have zero faith in an outside vendor creating such an assessment. I would consider using a service like this for formative evaluations. I spend a lot of time designing my tests because I want them just so.
     
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  17. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Groupie

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    Love all the discussion posts! Exactly what I was hoping for!

    What if you had a flexible grouping system in your school. Placement based on ability. Would it be any more feasible since kids couldn't test out until they achieved mastery. Maybe even in a smaller population like basic skills.

    As far as assessing throughout the year, based on posts from above my mind went to elementary reading assessments. What is the most you would test a student in one year? Everyone would obviously do the mandated checks, but if warranted, would you test more freequently for one or more students? You know, in the perfect school with free subs to watch the class while you test haha.
     
  18. AlwaysAttend

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  19. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Rookie

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    Interesting question. I like to argue with people. (I think I should have been a lawyer!) However, I am not adverse to changing my mind or seeing both sides of the argument. (Okay, maybe I would have been a terrible lawyer.) I think some people just regurgitate what they hear from others or on tv. with no real basis for why they believe what they do.

    At my school, we have to give as many retests as the student (or parents) want. At the high school level, this has led to many students taking advantage of the system to improve their GPA. Also, there have been multiple cases of a student taking a re-do or re-test for PREVIOUS quarters. I like the theory behind this, but in reality teachers end up making the tests easier so kids pass the first time. We also seem to use an inordinate amount of "cheat-sheets" and test aids. The result of these growth mindset can be students entering college completely unprepared for deadlines or the inability to retake a test. Many teachers (and some parents) have argued with these policies, but administration won't hear any debate. I think they would really like to get rid of grade altogether.
     
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  20. AlwaysAttend

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    Why not get rid of grades all together and make it pass fail? After all, you can either do the work of you can't. With an education designed to be one size fits all based on the idustrial complex mindset, shouldn't that be the assessment model anyway?
     
  21. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Rookie

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    To AlwaysAttend, we do have several classes that are pass/fail. However, when students have actually failed, they pass them anyway. There is no accountability at all.

    Also, in reality, the only motivation most of our students have are their grades. If something isn't graded, kids tend to blow it off or not turn it in. For example, we can't grade homework so some students don't bother to do it, fail the test, and then get to retest. This is more an issue in math. Also, our parents think their kids are geniuses because they get almost all A's. It is a big shock if the student transfers school districts! A disturbing trend that I have noticed is that when we get a student from a "better" district, the student starts out strong and then declines to unmotivated level of many of our students. I feel like I could motivate my students more if they knew that they could actually "fail" and not get a free pass.
     

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