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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 5 2013: Colton, When I went to school we were allowed to stray a little ... however, in todays system the federal and state government have preset many conditions that the teacher has no control over. To a already crowed syllabus they have inposed Common Core Curriculum. Textbook publishers and test writers who have the absolute power over what instruction you get are scrambling to get this added into their agendas. Because teachers have limited time to cover all of the test materials and have the added incentive of being evaluated on the students test results ... their time to entertain anything off of the ridgid path is extremely limited.

    I honestly do think that teachers would love to instill both the inquiring mind and independent thinking ... and I believe that this is being done in some Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

    I do not want to defend anyone either teacher or administration but they are not generally in charge of what requirements are ... those are set by federal and state governments. Remember that the school and the districts are also being rated. The federal government controls us by virtue of money allocations ... do it our way or we take away your funds. States do it by lowering your academic credentials ... schools are rated as failing, maintaining, progressing, or excelling. Each state has different criteria for applying these ratings.

    Never stop questioning or digging into subjects until your satisfied. Your teachers will encourage you but unfortunately may not be able to take class time to accomadate this. They are doing the best they can under conditions not of their choosing. The hoops they have to jump through are higher and smaller than the teachers of the past. Work with them ... they do care.

    All the best. Bob.
    • Jan 5 2013: a great comment and i'm glad you've brought it up. too often teachers are blamed for the results of the poor policies drawn up by people who aren't even teachers (education department bureaucrats, schools board members, psychologists etc).

      i agree with your last paragraph as well, but would add that it's important to be able to sometimes just accept that we (not just students, adults too!) don't have sufficient experience or knowledge to understand the full depth of why our doubts are unfounded, and defer to expert opinion.
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      Jan 5 2013: Exactly, I also agree with Robert. Its mostly the education bureaucracy that the issue arises with, and that is what my original question is about.
      • Jan 6 2013: as you might have observed yourself, everybody seems to think they know how to fix education, likely because they've "seen it done" when they were a student at school, and so they have all these 'brilliant' ideas on how to improve classes that they want to bring in to the world if they get the chance.

        the problem is though that so many wear rose-tinted glasses when remembering their school days. i've heard plenty of times people say that they would've done so much better at school if only the classes had been more interesting, completely forgetting the reality of their school days which was that hanging out with their friends was always going to be more interesting than the most fantastic lesson.

        the result is that some things can't be done in class because the time has already been prescribed for something else by someone who only thinks they know what they're doing.

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