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Posts Tagged ‘trump

No, the video below of Trump supporting the idea that teachers be armed with handguns is not a joke. I mean it is, but it isn’t.


Video source

The idea seems to be that some teachers should be trained to fire weapons when — not if — there is another school shooting. Apparently this is both a reactionary measure (teachers are already on the premises) and a preventative one (a would-be shooter would think twice about entering a saloon with armed cowboys).

So are the premises that 1) teachers are the type of people to be the first line of offensive defence, and 2) crazy or enraged people stop to consider the consequences of their actions?

It is hard to watch the entire video because it is hard to believe that this is even a suggestion. There was a terrible shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last week and the suggestion is that they need more guns, not less.

I am not weighing in on the guns-in-the-US debate. I do not live there and I do not really have a say. But I am an educator, and what I do is not limited to borders.

I ask questions instead of providing answers I do not have:

  • What might pre and in-service courses for these teachers look like?
  • How might the recruitment and retention of teachers change?
  • What if an armed teacher misuses his or her gun?
  • What if the teacher hits an innocent?
  • Am I in a screwed-up Matrix?

 
Here is another example of why propagators of “learning styles” do schooling and education a disservice.

An NBC correspondent highlighted a quote from a WaPo article:

For some context, here is an excerpt from the article

Trump has opted to rely on an oral briefing of select intelligence issues in the Oval Office rather than getting the full written document delivered to review separately each day, according to three people familiar with his briefings. 

Reading the traditionally dense intelligence book is not Trump’s preferred “style of learning,” according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Say what you want about “learning styles”. If you are a teacher and what you say is not informed by research, then you dig you and your students into a hole. These “learning styles” become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you do not like reading words, here are lots of pictures instead. If you cannot listen attentively to someone, go outside and do something that somehow teaches you the same thing.

“Learning styles” can become an excuse to label yourself or someone else so that you or they do not have to try to learn something else some other way.

Do you and your students a favour and educate yourself on the fallacies of “learning styles”. Read this tweet storm — a response to an uncritical and irresponsible vendor — for a start.

You do not even need to read the research. Just question your conscience and logic — is it right and helpful for any learners to grow up with a limited set of tools and skills?


Video source

The video above highlights how “learning styles”:

  • have no research evidence that show that they improve learning
  • waste the time and effort of teachers who try to cater to different styles
  • label and limit people into believing they learn only or best in certain ways

Admit your bias, take the first difficult step of learning what research tells us, and unlearn “learning styles”. Your first step is any of the resources I have shared in Diigo, the articles mentioned in the tweetstorm, or the TED talk embedded above. Read, watch, or listen; choose your learning preference, but do not call it a learning style.

Learning is often difficult. If it was easy, it probably is not learning. Giving in to your uninformed bias that kids have “learning styles” may be easier, but that does not make it right.

According to this BBC report, Northumbria University ‘life-threatening’ caffeine test fine, two sports science students were supposed to be given 300mg of caffeine in a study. Instead, they received 30,000mg (over one-and-a-half times the lethal dose) due to a miscalculation.

The two human subjects recovered after dialysis and intensive care. The university was fined £400,000 (almost SGD717,000 at the current exchange rate).

The numbers obviously matter in this case. The insufficient attention to the calculation to the dose ultimately led to a hefty fine. The university was fortunate not to add two to the number deaths on campus.

Then there are cases where numbers should matter less, or even not at all.

This WaPo article, Trump pressured Park Service to find proof for his claims about inauguration crowd, reported how Trump sought numbers to confirm his perception that his inauguration crowd was not as small as reported by the press.

The article provides insights into how some people, not just Trump, play the numbers game. They take a perspective built on bias or limited information, and then seek data to back it up.

The article was a reminder what NOT to do because this is like coming to a conclusion first, then conducting a study, collecting data, and massaging the results and discussion to fit the conclusion.

If we jump on schooling tangent, this is similar to the conventional and deductive way of teaching: Present a basic concept and then build it up with examples and practice. While this approach might work from a content expert’s point of view, it ignores another method.

A less oft used method is that of induction. Here phenomena, data, and noise are collected and processed first before arriving at generalisations or conclusions.

The deductive method generally goes from general to specific while the inductive one goes from specific to general. Instruction can consist of both, of course, but we tend to practice and experience more deductive methods because that is how most textbooks are written and how experts try to simplify for novices.

There is nothing wrong with the deductive method in itself. It is the over-reliance on that strategy and the imbalance that is the problem.

Likewise, playing the numbers game like Trump and worrying about how they indicate reputation or bruised ego can make you focus on what is relatively unimportant. It can tip the balance the wrong way.

I never thought I would ever type this: There are valuable lessons in Trump’s tweets.

I am not referring to learning how NOT to be inflammatory. I am thinking about how his tweets are good for discourse analysis. I am doing this thanks to this insightful video by Nerdwriter1.


Video source

The video creator did a great job of chunking Trump’s tweets by type and nuance in numbers, and analysing their design and impact.

I might use this video as a resource if I get a chance to work with a group of teachers who need to learn how to do discourse analysis for the purpose of narrative-style reporting and research writing.

If I do, this will show how one might learn from something negative.

Could there possibly be a lesson on teaching from the way Trump tweets?

There could, if you looked hard and reflectively enough.

I read a short article by TODAY, Donald Trump praises wrong Ivanka in Twitter shout-out, and was dissatisfied. I wanted to see the tweet embedded in the article itself, not just quoted as text. This would attribute and show the source.

But attributing and showing sources is not the lesson for teachers, important as those practices are.

I decided to look for another article and found one by The Guardian, Donald Trump mistakes Ivanka from Brighton for his daughter. This article not only provided the tweet source, it did so in entirety, including the graphic embedded in the tweet. The graphic put the point in the exclamation.

Teachers often have to make judgement calls in the race to complete curricula. One of the questions is: How much can I cover?

To answer this question with “as much and as quickly as possible”, the response is often to resort to favouring breadth over depth.

The TODAY article covered the story as did The Guardian. Even a superficial examination of both would reveal how much deeper the latter was. There was more information, background, and embedded content.

The Guardian article took more work, provided more information, and I would argue, educated its readers more the TODAY’s syndicated article.

It is up to us to decide not just what is better, but also what is right. There may be times when depth being sacrificed for breadth is justified, e.g., the topic is introductory.

However, if we are to nurture critical and reflective thinkers, our learners must be given the space and resources to do this. This happens only when we go deep enough in both the teaching and learning activities.

Bonus lesson: Trump made the mistake only because he replied to a tweet with the wrong Ivanka handle. If he paused to check, he would not have made that embarrassing mistake.

The run-up to the 2016 US Presidential Election was fodder for news and entertainment groups. Now even creatures living under rocks know Trump won. The result of how and why this happened, and what the future might bring will be fodder part 2.
 

 
The first three articles I read in my RSS feed shortly after the election result encapsulates the weeks and months to come.

These represented the factual, the indignant, the funny, and the profound. My own reaction to this was simple:

We live in a hyper-connected world now. What happens across the pond sends ripples to our shores.

2016 might just go down in history as a year in infamy. Perhaps a lot will change. Perhaps little or nothing will. Instead of making predictions, I ask open questions.

  • How did the wisdom of the crowd descend to the madness of a mob?
  • Why is voting on a work day still a thing? (See video below.)
  • Will the world’s police police one of its own?
  • What will we learn from this?


Video source

Some folks in the US of A might not like to think so, but the world does not revolve around them. Even the run-up to what might be the most talked-about Presidential elections is not enough.

So maybe not everyone knows who Trump is despite his efforts to talk himself up. Not everyone is caught up in current US politics.


Video source

But just about everyone has done group work in school and has experienced one obnoxious group member. Really obnoxious.

Grace Helbig made an apt connection of that group member with Trump. Anyone who needs a superficial introduction to who Trump is might watch this video. It is like the G version of the R-rated disaster movie that is Trump.


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