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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 7 2013: All depends on the level of arrogance of the student and the teacher.
    "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial."
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      Jan 7 2013: Arrogance is something that can readily be dealt with in a social group setting.
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        Jan 7 2013: Not always, especially in a setting with unequal authority.

        My point is that sometimes questioning a teacher also means questioning authority. Even if it's not meant to, it can be perceived as such. It takes some wisdom from both sides to handle the situation appropriately. Sometimes, it's best for the student not to question, sometimes it's best for the teacher to suppress such questions. A lot depends on personalities and tone of the questions. Remember, there is no freedom of speech in classes, even by official rules.

        There seems to be no clear answer to this question. Rights are something that we claim, not something that is "granted". And rights are to be used with responsibility.
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          Jan 7 2013: It's funny how few people notice that the authority figure called,' the teacher' suddenly becomes your friendly next door neighbor after 5:00pm, Just like the firefighter, police officer and the mayor.

          Teachers are not part of a conspiracy to rule the world. Arrogance is usually a two edged sword.
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      Jan 7 2013: In response to your second comment Arkady...

      Yes, it could be seen as questioning authority. But, should the "authority" you speak of here be questioned? To approach this question, we have to define what is the origin of this "authority." My perception is that logic and reason is where this "authority" originates (especially in education). So then, what are we to define as "authority?" Teachers, administrators, etc... are given "authority," defined as the ability to reason and teach reason logically. If the "authority" is faulty and one is aware of it (and if we define this fault as consisting of a logical fallacy, as from our first definition), the one has a "right" to question said "authority." It is on these grounds that questioning should always be allowed, to uphold the ideals of education: logic and reason.

      What are your thoughts on this?
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        Jan 7 2013: Interesting. To me, you are welcome to question authority all you want. I will correct you on it and probably laugh. OK I will laugh. I have the authority in my class and that's not compromisable.

        I am an expert in my field and can articulate how and why I am instructing in the manner I have chosen. Like I said, students do not know what I know.
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          Jan 8 2013: To Linda- I truly mean no disrespect to you. I am questioning to understand and see if what I currently perceive is sound and valid.

          To Arkady- I understand the wording of my comments may sometimes be confusing. On your comment, if we start solely focus on what "is", then we could possibly lose sight of progress (if that is our goal). My perception is that if we can focus on what "is," while seeking for how it "should" be, then we can achieve progress. Does that address your comment appropriately?

          To Linda, Arkady, and John- I see that I may have an assumption that may need to be cleared up. If we need to redefine my terms for my possible err, then let us. What should we need to define as "authority" (in the field of education) and how does one acquire it?
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          Jan 9 2013: What do you really know? Some knowledge is temporary with a very limited half-life. What knowledge can we be sure of? Will it still be useful for future generations?
        • Jan 10 2013: @Michael.. you asked: "What knowledge can we be sure of?"

          We can be sure that non-knowledge absolutely gets us nowhere. Our technologically advanced society did not come from non-knowledge.
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        Jan 7 2013: As I think of it, authority that is not challenged, avoids to be challenged, or does not stand the challenge isn't an authority at all. This seems to be true in science, politics, classroom, or elsewhere. "Survival of the fittest" principle in action.

        We "should" be concerned less about what "should" and more about what "is".

        Think about this sentence for a while. If it gives you a headache, it's because you focus on "should". I hope you can see a connection between what I said and your question. Like your question, it's a little too multi-layered to explain.
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          Jan 7 2013: I assure you Mr. Grudzinsky, Ms. Taylor is everything she claims to be.

          Many people are not comfortable with authority. Authority is a necessary construct, whenever more than two people form a group. It is the spokes that hold the wheel together. It is necessary to maintain order and keep chaos at bay.

          I'm very comfortable with it myself. It has been my experience that most people with authority are family oriented and take their authority serious. They also realize that no one person is the final authority on anything, especially here in the United States.
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        Jan 8 2013: @John Moonstroller

        Re: "I assure you Mr. Grudzinsky, Ms. Taylor is everything she claims to be."
        I agree. This is very evident from her reaction when her authority is challenged.

        Re: "They also realize that no one person is the final authority on anything, especially here in the United States." -- in other words, they feel more comfortable with challenging authority as well.

        I found that as I became more comfortable with authority over me, I also became more comfortable assuming leadership roles and vice versa. I also became more comfortable standing up to authority and voicing my opinion in a respectful and meaningful way to get heard.
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          Jan 8 2013: As it should be Mr. Grudzinsky. Authority is something we have to keep oversight on exactly because some people do abuse it. But, on the whole it is necessary to avoid confusion and decrease violence.

          Coming from the hippy generation, I've had my time at undermining and seeking change in the way authority is maintained in the US. I like to think we were successful to some degree.

          We must remember that it is the Constitution of the United States that gives us the right to (legally, as opposed to violently) demand that authority be administered in a manner of our choosing. We are not subjugated to a government. We are overruled by a system of laws that we choose to impose on ourselves for the good of all. Sometimes, some people in the government get confused as to just where the framework of their authority comes from. It's our job as good citizens to remind them and point to the Constitution.

          To me, the US is the greatest country on the earth, even with it's faults.

          I think you and I are on the same page.

          Just a side note: we made it through 2012 and we are still here :) The future is back on line.
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        Jan 9 2013: @ Michael
        I teach future professionals in a fast paced and changing profession. I know what you need to know to be an independent practitioner in my profession. Even those in practice do not know what is required of students so there is a learning curve as practitioners transition to teaching. But we are teaching current knowledge, within 5 years, and I know what students need to know to become a professional. My knowledge is based in current research and practice as it transitions with professional practice. I have live through and integrated best practices over decades and know the history of the evolution of current practice as well as determinants of that practice. I also know that what I teach today may be outdated tomorrow so I maintain currency in science and in practice to make sure I am educating based on current knowledge.

        That's what I know.

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