Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Just two quick comments about Jay Bennish, the Colorado geography teacher of the controversy concerning his diatribe against Bush and America that actually compared Bush to Hitler and that was recorded by one of his students.

One criticism I hear is that he shouldn't have been discussing such a subject in a World Geography class. I would disagree there. It is quite acceptable and desirable for any social studies teacher to devote time to current events, particularly an important event such as the President's State of the Union address.

That said, however, I don't buy this teacher's excuse that he was being procative and getting the kids to think.
"As a social studies teacher it is part of my role to play devil's advocate and to show opposing viewpoints that are not traditionally brought forth so that students can investigate those on their own."
Hogwash. If that is what he wanted to do, all he had to say is something like "Some critics say ...blah, blah. What do you kids think? What evidence do you see on either side?" But all this guy was doing was stating one opinion and then going on and on about it without soliciting his students' opinions.

He's not teaching critical thinking skills at all in that excerpt that was recorded. If he were, you wouldn't hear him so much - you'd hear students expressing their opinions and all you'd hear from the teacher is some probing questions getting the kids to support their thoughts with factual evidence. You don't teach critical thinking by lecturing the kids like that. Please. I guess he's assuming that Americans also lack critical thinking skills that he can push that line on the Today Show.

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