Before discussing our need for, or the benefits of critical thinking, it’s important to have an idea of what we mean by critical thinking. There are many definitions. I like the definition by Edward M. Glaser in An Experiment in the Development of Critical Thinking (1941) where he calls critical thinking, “A persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports or refutes it and the further conclusions to which it tends.”
I lost a friend and lover of 12 years because of my politics. It really hurt because we had made it through [what seemed to me to be] much more difficult relationship issues than politics. It looked as if we would never agree on the President, or the election, or his policies. So, I called her [I left a message on her voicemail] to ask if we could not talk politics until after January 20, 2021. By then, the election would be over and we wouldn’t feel the need to discuss it.
I told her that I still wanted to be friends but that we were so diametrically opposed to each other’s political views that it seemed silly to continue to talk about it. She got angry and told me I was blowing her off. I was not. I just didn’t want to argue.
If I go back to the old neighborhood [i.e.: Roseland on the south side of Chicago, Il.] I have to watch what I say because of my politics. If I speak up or speak out I’m treated like an enemy. Not by everybody to be sure, but I get enough really negative responses [which defy logic or any sensible answer] to things I post, that I feel the need to clear the air.
So, Joe and Kamala escaped the “debates” without any major gaffs. “Well have we done, thrice-valiant countrymen. But alls not done, yet…” [Henry V]. I still say Trump could slide in under the tag and Democrats would be complaining about the electoral college again. It’s a numbers game. So, get out and vote! Tell all your friends to vote too!
But the polls all say Biden will win.
Don’t believe them. I put debates in quotes because they aren’t debates at all – they are rallies. When high schools and colleges hold real debates they are not at all like the televised Presidential debates.
First (in a real debate) there is a premise like: “The President has said he has done more for African Americans than any President since Abraham Lincoln. Defend or Refute” [i.e.: Pro or Con Then the Pro (in this case it would be Trump) side would state their case (without any interruption). Then the Con side (Biden) would state their case (without any interruption). And then each side would get a chance to rebut the statements of the opposing side (without any interruption).
What makes the presidential “debates” so un-debate like is, that in a real debate there is a panel of judges and they determine a winner based on the validity (i.e. they fact check them immediately) of their arguments (NOT how loudly or angrily they make their case). However, there are many people who like Trump because of the way he behaves, not for his policies which in many cases will act against the very people who support him.
This situation will last longer than just the election.
So I’m writing to help give the Democratic party supporters some additional support. Because there are commentators and other Democrats who are totally missing the boat emotionally. Emotional appeals are some of the main Trump strong points, he appeals to emotions rather than logic.
Do Americans understand history (politicians or Trump)?
I guess the media doesn’t believe Americans study or understand history.Or maybe they figure too many Americans don’t believe there are lessons to be learned from history.Otherwise the media would point out the scary resemblance of Donald Trump to two of history’s most infamous and ruthless politicians.
I was watching The View on TV and they were discussing the upcoming election. They were asking themselves (rhetorically) why Trump isn’t in jail. He has done things which would get most politicians incarcerated, or dumped, or at least reprimanded, in more normal times. Yet, he has escaped any attempt by Democrats to hold him accountable or to punish him. Trump was called ‘Teflon’ on The View (probably a thinly veiled reference to the famous gangster John Gotti whose nickname was ‘The Teflon Don’) because of his ability to break the law and still get away with it. Accusations simply slide right off of Trump seemingly never sticking.
The question put to Jill Biden (Joe’s wife) was,“Why do you think Trump is Teflon?” and she was unable to answer it. Her exact words were, “I don’t know.” And that’s the problem Democrats have. They don’t seem to know or completely understand the electorate, and that will get Trump reelected.
Joe and Kamala have done well enough in their public speeches since the convention. But there are commentators and other Democrats who are totally missing the boat emotionally. Emotional appeals are some of the main Trump strong points, he appeals to emotions rather than logic. Here’s what all Democrats should know before arguing with a Trump supporter or, even more importantly, trying to convince a skeptical voter to vote at all.
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.
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!
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.
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.
“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:
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!”
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.