Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bitch, please.

I’ve heard before the notion that people have pre-conceived ideas and will just look for anything they can which will support the conclusions they’ve already reached. 
It annoys me that this is true, because it’s stupid. I also don’t like it when people who have done this come and bitch to me under the guise of asking me a question on the topic without listening to anything I say, because what they really want is to vent their stupid, uninformed spleen.

For instance, I had a relief teacher come up to me after many years of not having taught at the school where I work. She asked me about why the school’s academic performance had decreased so much over the years. I pointed out how many students we had with very, very poor English, and how many have had “interrupted” schooling (so would not have had the usual number of years’ schooling that kids that age would had they been born here), but that’s not what she wanted to hear.

What she actually wanted was to rant about how she doesn’t like the open-plan learning that this school is adopting and that this is dragging the students down. Now, it’s been a long time since this school was seen as highly academic and the open-plan system hasn't even been in place for a full two years... So those time lines don't quite match up. 
Logic fail, much?

I just let her vent from there and took the opportunity to escape when the next student had a question, as I really didn’t appreciate it.

It’s not that I refuse to hear any thing bad said about this style of teaching. There are absolutely pros and cons, and there is a lot to be developed with regard to the practicalities of running a system like this. What I have a problem with is that she saw something she didn’t like, found the most obvious change which had recently occurred and decided that the change was the cause of what she didn’t like without really thinking about it beyond “I don’t like these two things, therefore the must be related!”

It seems a bit like this:

Premise 1. I don't like how many people have moved into my suburb over the past decade.
Premise 2. I don't like this café which opened 2 years ago where my favourite hair salon used to be.

She didn’t consider the wider changes in the community or any of the broader aspects of the school, or even the possibility that the new system was in response to the academic decline and an attempt to improve performance, rather than the cause of said decline. Gives me the irrits.

So please, people: Think about your views. Think about why you hold them, what preconceptions you have and what experiences they are based on. Think about the logic behind your ideals and your values, think about what evidence you are basing them on. Re-examine, re-evaluate, re-define yourself constantly in the face of a changing world and of new evidence. 
If you don’t, you’ll end up old and stale, ranting at young people about how much better things were in the old days and grumpy at how they keep rolling their eyes at you and telling you that your views are sooooo dated.
And really, nobody wants to grow up to be that.

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