Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Might Teachers Be Political?

We've been having a rollicking good thread over on math-teach. I posed the issue of whether or not it's OK for classroom teachers, in K-12 in particular, to share their own views, political views in particular, in the context of classroom discussions.

Another core aspect of this thread is teaching Logic and Rhetoric. All those logical fallacies that debating teams need to study, for example. I'd like teachers to illustrate these fallacies, as well as well-constructed arguments, by grabbing material that matters, i.e. positions held by classroom participants, and current events.

In particular, I brought up a couple of fallacies of the form 'If p then q, and q, therefore p' (that's fallacious). Also, 'If p then q, and not p, therefore not q' (also fallacious).

I think adherence to this kind of logical thinking is important, and this political season is demonstrating that logic is in rather short supply. It may suit certain interests to have it go, but for the sake of our democracy (USA OS, or whatever we call it), I hope we manage to keep a grip.