How to maintain a free society through collaborative discussion

Posted by marshafamilaroenright 1 month ago to Education
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Interview at The Heartland Institute Podcast about the importance of HOW you teach to convey the principles and practices of freedom.

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  • Posted by  $  25n56il4 1 month ago
    Okay sounds good, but...I saw youngsters, born after 2000 on TV being questioned about who we fought in Viet Nam, (answer Korea), WWII (answer France). History is important, we know that. What ARE they teaching our children. They can't spell, I've hired some who can't write cursive! What goes on in our schools?
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    • Posted by  $  qhrjk 1 month ago
      I'm currently in highschool, taking all honors and AP courses. Here's a brief summary of my experience:

      English class is now seen as a joke, but we were required to read Anthem and other dystopian novels (1984, A Brave New World, etc.). It was depressing to see my peers cast off great works with snide remarks.
      Similarly in my freshman year, we had to read Man's Search for Meaning. I had read the book during the previous summer, so I was very excited to see the reactions of my classmates! They had none. In fact, they hated it. Some even burned it. I guess it was because they were forced to read it... but, well- I don't have the words.
      On the other hand, history is okay? I've taken AP World History + AP U.S. History and I don't have a problem with the "guns, germs, and steel" theory they teach us. I would need to learn about the other theories first before criticizing the latter. Kids in AP courses are taught about WWII and Vietnam, but I think lower level classes are at fault for teaching the uneducated young folks you saw on TV. However, most of the students in the AP courses don't care about what they learn, so they won't retain any of it. They just care about getting a B or C in the course. Not even an A!
      Math and science is very enjoyable, but those are the subjects everyone seems to despise. With postmodernism on the rise, it seems that other teenagers are more concerned with "abstract" ideas they express with art.

      I dislike some aspects of how conservative news publications portray schools, because I think more of the problem is with the digital content my generation consumes. You can have a great class and teacher- but if it's math or science you can bet the majority of the class will whine and complain about the course. That's another thing! Everyone constantly complains. It's to the point where I feel like I need to complain for the sake of my public image. That sounds very elitist- but I hope you get what I mean :)

      I apologize for the slight rant. School's just a bit soul wrenching. When I first started typing, I was going to say how "it's not that bad." But I think I've just been trying to convince myself it isn't. It is. My peers fear growing up, along with the future in general, yet none of them are motivated to educate themselves. Instead, they agree with the most socially acceptable opinions- which are typically the worst.
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      • Posted by  $  25n56il4 4 weeks, 1 day ago
        DHRJK, thanks for the nice post. Congrats to you! When I was in high school, a very long time ago, any high school teacher in my School District was required to have a Master's. Some had PHD's (they were the Dept Heads). My graduating class wasn't required to take entrance exams to any college we applied for. Our GPA was 4.0 as an average! Now we only had 39 graduates but we were all 200%'ers. One guy discovered a new species of life! One ended up telling Monsanto where to put their refineries, nurses, doctors, engineers, career military officers, inventor, writers, and teachers, teachers, teachers!
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        • Posted by 4 weeks, 1 day ago
          Great story about your high school. Which was it? Where? It fits with the research that the smaller schools are better - generally because the students get a lot more individual attention and latitude.
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          • Posted by  $  25n56il4 3 weeks, 6 days ago
            In Texas. Of course there were oil wells pumping on the school property. We had electric typewriters in the 50's in the Typing Room and electric adding machines in the Bookkeeping and Accounting Room. Our band instruments were paid for by the school and everyone who needed one got free meals in the dining hall (and no one knew who got what!) When the Robinhood thing passed, that school district helped fund a number of districts in Texas.
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      • Posted by Lucky 4 weeks, 1 day ago
        qhrjk It was depressing to see..
        This behavior is a characteristic of adolescents.
        Do not take it too seriously, but try not to join in.
        Always complaining- this is the same. In this event you can join in, as an exercise try to make one point of praise for one point of criticism.
        Always complaining is intended by the ignorant to give a facade of sophistication.

        agree with the most socially acceptable opinions
        This is another characteristic of the immature. All will go along with whatever meme is going round, no one dares to say anything original and so risk becoming unpopular.

        I hope the Education Program of this thread can enable young people to bypass this kind of destructive behavior.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
        I occasionally whined about literature class. All I wanted to do was electronics. I just read the Cliff's Notes for some of the books. I was far from contemptuous of learning, but I liked physics, calculus, radio kits, girls, bad habits, and sometimes the liberal arts weren't top on my priorities.

        I actually went back and read some of those books starting when I was 32. It wasn't any big decision, I just remembered the Cliff's Notes and class discussions when I saw a book at the library. I had a whole new appreciation for them.

        So, at least some of those apparent philistines in your class will take away seeds that will mature long after.
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        • Posted by 1 month ago
          Oh I've seen that a lot! When a person gets a bit older and is curious about something - and it's their idea to learn about it, they often end up reading all kinds of stuff.
          THere's a new company, Online Great Books, that's got people who've never read a book, signed up to read the classics with them, starting with the Iliad. Because they want to know about all these writers and ideas that have shaped our world. It's quite amazing. And they use collaborative discussions.
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          • Posted by  $  qhrjk 4 weeks, 1 day ago
            I'll check out that website, along with The Comprachicos! Occasionally I'll talk about different books and libertarian viewpoints in school with the intent that maybe someone will think back on it in the future. Again, it sounds pretty elitist.
            I do make good friends with some adults though, specifically a math lab teacher, English teacher, and my counselor (who loves Stefan Molyneux). Maybe if there is a crash in the future, my friends will think back to when I complained about the Fed haha.
            I certainly hope a great majority of my class is interested in philosophy in the future.
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            • Posted by 4 weeks, 1 day ago
              The active minority are the ones who make a difference in the culture. Most other people just absorb the ideas around them; that's why it's important to get ours out there in many different ways (see my review of Anthem: The Graphic Novel).
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      • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 weeks, 5 days ago
        It is because of students like you that I advertise in the Gulch.

        I have a nanotechnology minor program at Florida Tech and am developing a maker minor and a new double major in (biomedical or chemical) engineering along with a new degree called "maker engineering". In Atlas Shrugged terms, if you are a future John Galt or Sebastian D'Anconia, I am more like Quentin Daniels than Robert Stadler.
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      • Posted by ycandrea 4 weeks ago
        WOW! But I am so very glad there are still kids out there like you. Keep up the good work. There are many more like you so do not give up hope.
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        • Posted by  $  qhrjk 3 weeks, 5 days ago
          Thank you, I'll try to meet your expectations! I plan to go into a job field where I'm more likely to meet introspective individuals- so I do hope I'll be able to connect with more people in the future. I really appreciate the faith you have in me though!
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      • Posted by 1 month ago
        I'm so sorry you have to go through this, it's such a shame and such a mess. And you obviously have retained the desire to learn, how frustrating!
        That's how I got into education, because I loved to learn and the other kids frustrated the hell out of me, until I realized they were so messed up from not getting to learn in a way that worked for them.
        It made me search until I discovered the Montessori Method - lots more on that.
        But you might understand more about the particular awfulness of what's happening today from Rand's article The Comprachicos. Here's a link:
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    • Posted by 1 month ago
      Not much except what fits their agendas! It's truly frightening. The only saving grace is that the kids are still young so if we get them in our programs, we see enormous leaps in learning and ability to think. Over and over, students say their lives have been changed and they now can think and judge for themselves. This method is very powerful because it, at the same time, requires everyone to use reason and evidence AND allows them to see that IF they do this, other people see that they have something worthwhile to say. Really boosts their self-esteem - for authentic, earned reasons.
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  • Posted by bsmith51 3 weeks, 6 days ago
    My notion of a collaborative discussion is one that ends in truth being defined as consensus. This seems the basis of social media's banning of conservative or outside-the-box thought.
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    • Posted by 3 weeks, 6 days ago
      Well, of course, it depends on how you run the discussion. In ours, each person uses their own judgment to decide what they think is true. But it's surprising how much a good evidence and reason based collaborative discussion helps each person arrive at it because you get to hear so much good thinking.
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  • Posted by Owlsrayne 4 weeks ago
    Teachers nowadays are hamstrung by their respective school districts, as mentioned in the podcast wrought memorization and testing. I remember way back when I had a handful of teachers and Profs that were inspirational in their teaching style. Sadly, that is not how they do it today. Collaborative discussion in today's world is out of the question even among adults. My wife and I went to a summer house party and when my wife was hearing a lot of the neighbors discussing politics disparaging the current US Govt administration she warned me not to get involved. Many of the neighbors moved to Sedona from California and are liberal minded. The only I could talk to was my next door neighbor who is from Maine and lives part-time there and Sedona. He is semi-retired from US Park Service. Both my wife and I are politically independent.
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    • Posted by 4 weeks ago
      You're right that it's not easy to have collaborative discussions these days. They have to be explicitly set up and everyone involved has to agree to the terms of civil discussion. But there are some!

      One of the things I do is call people out when they try to use intimidation, argument from the majority, from authority and any of the fallacies. I say "that's ad hominem, that's XYZ, it's not an argument. What is your evidence and your reasoning."
      Sometimes it gets them to step back and reevaluate what they're saying but, if nothing else, they're made aware that I know what they're doing AND so will anybody else listening to the discussion.
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  • Posted by  $  exceller 1 month ago
    It is clear by now that there are no "collaborative discussions" with the left.

    I can attest to this through personal experience.
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    • Posted by 1 month ago
      It depends on who you include in the "left" - there are still a FEW who are civil - but you're mostly right! Actually, it's interesting to see what's going on with the "Intellectual Dark Web" where people from different views are resurrecting real discussion.
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      • Posted by  $  exceller 4 weeks, 1 day ago
        I'd like to know who are civil on the left.

        They are soaked in "ideas" only they think are great and keep pushing them no matter how unlikely they would be implemented.

        Anyone having a sane opinion is shunned or worse.
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