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Colton Cutchens

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How much of a right do students have to questioning and independent thinking?

What is your opinion on how much students should be allowed to question? Do they have the right to question if they may see a logical fallacy? If so, how far are they allowed to question it? Why?

In addition: I understand teachers try to allow students to question, but sometimes are limited by the administration (and/or bureaucracy). Why is this?


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  • Jan 3 2013: As far as they can take it.
    If it doesn't make sense, question it until it does.
    If it is illogical, challenge it until it is logical.
    If it isn't true, find the truth.

    We repeat the past BECAUSE we are told to remember it! (those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it)

    You cannot repeat what you cannot or do not remember, so that requires questioning and thinking very differently, new and uniquely, and not just blindly repeating what has been done and has been proven not to work.

    That is definitive. Take a look at where we are, and what our problems are, and it has all been through repetition and trusting the unjust system we have had.

    It is hard to question if the desire of the brainwashed masses is only to repeat (keep what they are familiar with and thus, insanely comfortable with), and it is hard to get new ideas and ways of thinking into the public consciousness when so many falsely believe what we have had for so long has been working! It has been failing, and is now almost completely broken. Meaning, unfixable. A new, just system needs to be built and that will require thinking, questioning and doing that which is quite different.

    The status quo has to be challenged, questioned and the answers have to be truthful, transparent and inclusive of all.
    The answers have to provide solutions, justice, fairness, compassion and all the things an unjust system cannot provide because it is unjust and providing those is not a goal of any unjust system.
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      Jan 11 2013: Mr. Chance,

      You state: "If it doesn't make sense, question it until it does.
      If it is illogical, challenge it until it is logical.
      If it isn't true, find the truth."

      Would you agree that simply questioning a matter might not, somehow, yield an answer? Is there, perhaps, more effort needed in a different direction (experimentation, perhaps) to find answers?

      Is it possible to find yourself in an endless loop if you merely challenge illogical ideas until they become logical?

      If it is not the truth, how do you persuade others that the truth has not been revealed and there is more discovery yet to do?

      You cannot challenge the status quo, properly, unless you already have the truth in hand. By using the currently accepted system of persuasive techniques, it should be no problem, barring physiological bias, to convince others of the truth, presupposing the truth, as you understand it, is indeed the truth.

      I would offer the system is not broken, so much as the participants do not all operate on the same page, with parallel understanding of the subject being debated or questioned.

      It's very easy to observe the sky is blue based on an accepted understanding of what blue is. It is an entirely different matter to explain why it is blue. It is easy for us to agree on many common matters but not so easy to explain the deeper controversies that lead to the truth of why something is the way it is. If your audience can only agree on the color of the sky you have little hope of using questions or logic to educate them to the reason why. A person must first be prepared to understand the truth before they can understand and accept it.
      • Jan 12 2013: John: I am inclined to take your inquiry even further and ask, "How do we know something is 'true'?" I begin my first day of classes by asking students to come up with as many statements as they can that they believe convey "absolute truth" -- meaning, the statement is true in all place, in all times, and for all people. EVERY semester, one of those statements that I write on the board is "The sky is blue". Your insight that something is "true" if we can all agree to "an accepted understanding" of the terms being used, but many of my students have not been taught to understand that concept about language and definition of terms. This is a core component of teaching students to question no? -- to ask, "What do you mean by blue?" or "What do you mean by the sky?" At a very fundamental level, students have not been taught to question language itself. When I do this first-day exercise, it is not to undermine the "truths" they believe but instead to attempt to change the starting position from one where they believe they know the truth and must learn how to convey it (which often shuts down productive discussion or causes them to dismiss the "truths" of others) to one where they question WHY they believe something to be true and the nature of truth itself as a goal of learning.
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          Jan 12 2013: @ Tracy Thornton,
          "Your insight that something is "true" if we can all agree to "an accepted understanding" of the terms being used, but many of my students have not been taught to understand that concept about language and definition of terms." ~ Tracy Thornton

          This is not my insight Tracy. At least I was not trying to imply such a thing.

          The image of truth(truth as we see it) and the nature of truth (truth as it stands in relation to the ultimate truth, whatever that is), are two different animals. As a teacher, you are aware we can never answer the question of "what is truth" in this short discussion area.

          My point to Mr. Chance was to highlight the fact that using too simple an approach to discerning the truth of a matter might not necessarily lead to the truth and, also, that sometimes, trying to reveal the truth is wasted on some people. There are some (many) people who are so entrenched in their self-bias, and limited knowledge, that, if you really know the truth of a matter, you may never convince them of it. Spiritualism as bias and never attending school as ignorance of a subject, are two examples.

          The truth itself, under some circumstances, can morph into a single event or image, where we see it differently than it really is. The truth -- light is white-- is an example. We know the color of light and we see it, but in truth, light is a collection of different frequencies (perceived as colors, if we look more deeply). What we see as a star in the sky can actually be a whole galaxy of stars.

          Revealing the truth to other people -- given that you really really know the truth -- can be a daunting task and may not, necessarily, be accomplished by following a small set of rigid techniques. That is my suggestion to Mr. Chance, Tracey. Logic, in and of itself, under some circumstances and when applied to certian instances, may not lead to the truth of a matter or thing. Some truths are unknowable at this time

          So, you are a teacher?

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