What do the British Think of Donald Trump?

An Englishman writes about Trump in Quora.

Flag of the United Kingdom

So what is Quora? According to Wikipedia: Quora is an American question-and-answer website where questions are asked, answered, followed, and edited by Internet users, either factually or in the form of opinions. Its owner, Quora Inc., is based in Mountain View, California, United States.

Flag of the Commonwealth of Nations

I get asked questions about teaching and critical thinking. But this showed up in my feed and I couldn’t resist sharing it with you. I have friends in or from several Commonwealth Countries. I was married to a Kiwi, (a New Zealander), and I have friends from South Africa, Canada and England. In other words, I know people who are basically English/British and I’ve asked them what they and their countrymen think of Trump.

After they stop laughing or cursing, their responses are summed up brilliantly in an answer which I share with you now. I didn’t write this but I wish I had. Enjoy!

From Quora 4.16.2020

To the question of, “What do the British think of Trump?”

Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England, wrote this magnificent response:

“A few things spring to mind. Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.

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Face Mask Boogie – It’s a Fashion Show!

Face Mask Boogie (It’s a fashion show!)

Come on people. Wearing a face mask won’t harm you. It might even save a life or two. I know there are many of you out there who believe that the Corona Pandemic is a hoax (What a fool believes no wise man has the power to reason away!). You see wearing a face mask as a political statement against the President and his policies. Ease up and change your framing of the issue.

Don’t think of wearing a face mask as a political statement. Think of it as a fashion show!

Yes. It’s a Fashion Show!

If you find people unwilling to wear a face mask, don’t fight with them.
Pity them and let them know that they have NO Fashion Sense.

Examples:

At first we were afraid:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we decided to get playful:


There’s more fun:

There are so many more  opportunities for personal fashion statements. I’ve included a few of my own.

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Apologia

Apologia: a formal written defense of one’s opinions or conduct.  Therefore: I apologize.

I’m apologizing in advance of being called a hypocrite. On my Home page I explain what I’m trying to get at with my blog pieces. In a nutshell, I said:

“There is often a disconnect between what we hear at teacher trainings and what we experience in the classroom. Exploring all aspects of that disconnect (and maybe some of life’s other disconnects), based on my 25 years of teaching experience, is what this website and blog are all about.

Now. Here is where I might be accused of being hypocritical:

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How Ms. Curtis Got Her Name

Who is Ms. Curtis?

In my novella What Happened To David, Mary talks about wanting to be like Ms. Curtis when she gets her act together. Ms. Curtis is a real person. I worked with her and became close friends with her. I call her Ms. Curtis in my writings to preserve her privacy. Any student who had us during the years we worked in West Hollywood would, of course, know who she is. 

How did I come up with the name Ms. Curtis?

It was Thanksgiving 2001. I was 51 years old and Ms Thing was 49. We had worked together since 1993. As teachers at West Hollywood Opportunity Center (later to become WHCDS), we shared a bungalow, Rooms 2 & 3 (Language Arts and Math). She had come back to Chicago with me to celebrate the great American pig-out with my family. There were no Quakers to hang or witches to burn so we settled for turkey. Ironically, it was the last dinner I had with my whole family but that’s a story for another time.

The surround sound

While waiting for the giant bird to roast, my brother Sammy wanted to show off his new surround sound stereo he had hooked up to his DVD player. He asked Michael and I what we wanted to watch (and hopefully enjoy with the surround sound). We said, “What have you got?” Sammy read through his pile of DVDs. “Lincoln Lawyer” “Roots” “Sherlock Holmes” and on and on through the collection but when he said, “True Lies” Michael and I both growled and huskily whispered, “Jamie Lee Curtis”.

To which my sister-in law cattily opined, “Hrummph. Jamie Lee Curtis. She looks like some old school teacher!”

To which Sammy replied, “Well maybe if I had Jamie Lee Curtis for a teacher I would have ditched less, and learned more!”

Who’s the Adult in the Room? A defense of Two Choices Technique and the Gangsta’

Why Two Choices Technique? Who’s the adult?

This post will be written as an open letter to Mr. B. [you can see his full letter in the comments section of Two Choices and the Gangsta’]. This post and many of my writings in general are dedicated to any teacher or parent who has tried the current mainstream methods of inspiring a child (or children) yet nothing seems to work. I wrote Two Choices and the Gangsta’ [as well as other examples of Two Choices Technique in numerous other situations and posts] for those who have reached the end of their rope. I also write for those who would offer advice.

Mr. B. had read my post. He offered some very common, very sound but very unusable advice. It seems as though I did a poor job of communicating just how dangerous my situation was. I had submitted my post, in response to a Twitter post, as an example of how to defuse a very volatile and dangerous situation, and still keep the kid in class. Yet, Mr. B. (and others at other times) questioned whether or not I had achieved a worthy goal, or some measure of real success. It’s as if I were guilty of unfeeling manipulation, or had just sort of ‘lorded it over’ the kid.

The following clarification of that post and my responses to Mr. B.’s valid concerns could be written to any teacher or pundit who advises being nice and student centered. I write this to help.

Dear Mr. B.,

Thank you for reading my post and offering your polite, thoughtful, and helpful comments. Your students are lucky to have such a caring individual as you for their teacher. I agreed with everything you said. It was very good advice for a young teacher in a majority of the classrooms in America where classroom makeup remains the same throughout the year. I don’t understand why you thought it would be of any help to me. Particularly, how would it have helped in that situation of which I wrote?

If we were to critique my use of Two Choices Technique (or to offer any useful advice), I think it would be more effective to take a Socratic approach to figure out: Why did I use it at all? And: By what criteria do we determine its level of success or failure? And then I believe it would be helpful to give action oriented advice. Give concrete examples of what you believe could or should have been done.

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When they say, “I’m Going to Fix Education.” Don’t believe it!

What does it take to fix education?

You heard me. Don’t believe it if a political figure says, “I’m going to fix education,” or if they call it “our broken educational system” it’s all the same. Well let me soften it a bit and say don’t believe them unless they give you a well constructed description of what is broken or needs fixing. Then you should insist on a well-constructed, real world, doable, unemotional solution. I know that sounds like a lot, so…

Start by defining the problem.

There are those who say: “Schools are failing our children. The educational system in America is broken.” Those are some really scary and yet very common sound bites. They are full of fear and anger but short on what they mean, and short on solutions. So, why would anyone say that?

Let’s be honest. Despite U.S. leadership in creativity in the world (such as high tech innovations, and entertainment), despite being an economic power house in the world, there are a lot of Americans who are woefully undereducated. A cruel person would say stupid but I’m not that cruel. So, one way our schools are letting us down – we’re putting a lot of people out on the street with diplomas and no ability to think or use facts.

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For Educational Policy: Reject Standardized Tests, Embrace Facts Part 2

For many students Standardized Tests don’t measure facts or process.

Standardized tests measure the parents income and education as much as they measure the student’s skills in a particular subject. There is so much debate and literature on this that I’m not even going into it. My purpose here is to show parents, other teachers, and policy makers what MY experience has been, what I did about it, and perhaps influence a few decisions about assessment.

The vast majority of my students had math skills and knowledge far below grade level. Read Part 1 for the statistics. Rather than rehash my earlier arguments let’s look at examples of what I encountered with my 14 to 17 year old, high school, algebra students.

Multiplication of decimals – a 5th grade standard

Suppose you were giving a multiple guess test and you gave the problem:

 34.6
x .03

With the following answer choices:

A)   34.4
B) 10.38
C) 1.038
D)   34.9

What would the student answers tell you about their math skills?

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For Educational Policy: Reject Standardized Tests, Embrace Facts Part 1

One more issue to be polarized over – Standardized Tests

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. We need to assess, evaluate, judge, test or whatever euphemism makes you comfortable. Many of us just don’t absolutely need what currently is used for standardized tests.

We just got through testing (and graduation) season and a new semester is upon us. There have been the usual complaints about standardized tests. I agree with all of them. Some universities have even stopped considering the SAT and ACT. I agree that standardized tests in the aggregate show us more about financial background and demographics than they do about actual skill levels or individual motivation. More importantly, for the lower grades, standardized tests don’t do a good job of telling us what to teach, or how to teach it.

There’s the rub.

I have encountered many adults (and that includes parents, administrators, and some teachers) who seem to assume that just because a child has reached a certain age or grade level that they are ready for whatever academic rigors that class or grade level demands. It ain’t necessarily so. My experience has been: you can’t just teach a ‘one size fits all’ Algebra (or any other) curriculum due to social promotion [for a more complete discussion of the destructive practice of social promotion read: Unspoken Obstacle]. Don’t assume that we can ‘Just bring them along’, as I’ve often been told to do.

If we are to reach each child, we teachers need to know what to teach each particular child, and how to teach it. The best way to accurately do that is through some sort of assessment. Few who are against standardized testing have put forth a solution to the need for assessment and what kind of assessment will tell us what we need to know. If you think all assessment is suspect and does no good you can stop reading now. My experience has been that some sort of assessment is necessary – just not standardized testing as it is done today. Here’s why I believe that, and what I did to assess my students.

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I Cursed My Kids!

Yes, I cursed my kids!

I’m not a bad guy. Yet, I cursed my kids. Why did I dare to do such a thing? Well, it seemed necessary. Not necessarily for their education, but for my sanity. Be honest… If you have children of your own or are a teacher, you’ve certainly considered it. But this time… I cursed my kids!

Be Nice!

I know we are always supposed to be positive in affect and attitude. The media tells us that, as adults, we are to be bright and shining lights of encouragement to all our students, especially the most challenging and difficult ones. My Twitter feed abounds with feel good exhortations from other educators about being nice. And I agree with them. But this time… I cursed my kids!

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Stupid Criminals and the Tramp Stamp

Stupid Criminals

Many of my students have had trouble dealing with authority figures. I would often try to teach them effective ways of dealing with authority to avoid going to jail. [See: Punked Out To Authority] People go to jail for many reasons. I always acknowledge that there are unfair laws, unfair applications of the law, racism, bad cops and just plain bad days. I do also admit that the world does contain some very bad people who commit very bad crimes and they deserve our enmity and (for the protection of others) jail. Then I make my students aware of something that surprises many of them. There is a large segment of the prison population that aren’t just criminals; like many of my students (and some of my relatives) they are are stupid criminals. These are some of their stories.

Jailbird Brothers

My brothers liked to laugh at me. Whenever we would talk about police, they would drag up the following story. We had just left a Jethro Tull concert at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.

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