More magical thinking in the UK



  • Awhile back there was a thread talking about the UK funding homeopathy with public money. Which I can't find at the moment. But I just ran across this article and I found it interesting:

    Kids who spot bullshit, and the adults who get upset about it talks about a UK school program called "Brain Gym", which says among other things that "processed foods do not contain water".

    The story is about a 13-year-old who wrote a well-reasoned article to the school paper explaining why Brain Gym is bullshit, and the paper pulled it because it would offend the teachers who believe the crap.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     This is prettymuch SOP for the US as well. Not the homeopathy thing - the smacking down kids who are demonstrably smarter than their 'betters' thing.



  • In second grade, our teacher was adament about the "impossibility" of subtracting a larger number from a smaller number. I brought up negative numbers, and the teacher sent me to the principal's office for acting like a rebel or some bullshit like that. After I used a calculator to "prove" this, the principal finally told me I was indeed right, but I shouldn't have spoken out in class and "embarrassed" the teacher about it in front of everyone else because doing that is rude.

    People wonder why schools in the US are so piss poor at teaching kids, and this is why: They deliberately dumb it down so kids can "understand" numbers and don't want to overcomplicate the math. Now, I get that: Second grade might not be the time to introduce 8-year-old students to somewhat abstract concepts like negative numbers, but that doesn't mean you downright lie to them and say there's no such thing and punish those who actually use their brains and realize there might be a way to count to less than zero. Hell, maybe if they learned about them at an earlier age they'd understand the concept of debt and we wouldn't have thousands of irresponsible people who overuse their credit cards.

    This article, however, also sheds light on the selfishness and dishonesty of teachers, which is a damn shame, because teaching is one of those professions like doctors and firefighters who can't afford to be selfish or dishonest. Teachers who are found to be incorrect by the very students they are teaching should reward the students instead of selfishly censoring and "hiding" the fact that they just got pwned... and what does that teach the student who just got silenced?



  • I pissed off an English teacher once. She was talking about Great Expectations, specifically the time (or one of the times, it's a long confusing book) that Pip has to flee London. To flee, he steals a boat on the Thames. She was trying to talk about the book's "symbolism" (as-if, he wrote it a week at a time for money to eat, and never came up with a proper ending.)

    Anyway, the discussion went something like this:

    English Teacher: "Pip took the boat on the Thames to escape, because if you look at the Thames on the map you'll see it has a lot of turns and angles, and the river symbolizes the ups and downs of Pip's life, he starts out poor, then becomes rich, then is a wanted criminal, all like twists in the river..."
    Me: "Maybe he used the Thames because it's the only river that runs through London."

    She was sooo mad.



  • I second English Literature being a load of bollocks. If you analyse anything hard enough you'll find lots of coincidences and correlations.

    Doesn't mean they were supposed to be there.



  • @nexekho said:

    I second English Literature being a load of bollocks. If you analyse anything hard enough you'll find lots of coincidences and correlations.

    Doesn't mean they were supposed to be there.
    That's often a sign that someone had a bad English lit teacher, to me. The point of textual analysis (which can also sometimes be bollocks, of course) is not to suggest that, say, William Shakespeare sat there thinking 'ooh, what's a good metaphor', and then slapped it in, but rather to identify what elements, included without conscious selection, are what give his writing its power.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @RHuckster said:

    because teaching is one of those professions like doctors and firefighters who can't afford to be selfish or dishonest.
    Why in the fuck do I give half a shit about how selfish and dishonest a fucking firefighter is? At its core, the job is straight up dumb manual labor. Now a cop, on the other hand...



  •  @Weng said:

    @RHuckster said:

    because teaching is one of those professions like doctors and firefighters who can't afford to be selfish or dishonest.
    Why in the fuck do I give half a shit about how selfish and dishonest a fucking firefighter is? At its core, the job is straight up dumb manual labor. Now a cop, on the other hand...

    O'RLY  http://crimestart.com/detail/link-1259.html

    Luckily it's not that common.

     



  • That's often a sign that someone had a bad English lit teacher, to me.

    Oh, I got an A in it, no problems, but doesn't mean I think any of it is above coincidence. And I personally dislike most of Shakespeare's stuff simply because in the copies I've read the English was structured in some older style and I just couldn't follow it. I read to enjoy, not to analyse senselessly!



  • @nexekho said:

    That's often a sign that someone had a bad English lit teacher, to me.

    Oh, I got an A in it, no problems, but doesn't mean I think any of it is above coincidence.

    Having a bad teacher doesn't mean that you won't pass the exams - just that you won't understand the point of the techniques you've been taught. What you're missing is that what you call coincidence is no such thing - it wasn't consciously put in by the author, but it's the fact that they sub/unconsciously used, say, a particular metaphorical theme, that makes their work enjoyable/good/whatnot.

    @nexekho said:

    And I personally dislike most of Shakespeare's stuff simply because in the copies I've read the English was structured in some older style and I just couldn't follow it. I read to enjoy, not to analyse senselessly!
    Definitely a bad teacher, then. The analysis shouldn't prevent you enjoying the literature - it should simply help you understand why you're enjoying it.



  • Hmm, I recall a teacher in the fourth grade saying something like this: fishes like the ... and the dolphins and whales. I raised my hand to correct her by saying that some of the examples of fishes she gave where actually mammals so....  I was chasticed because she was "right" and I was "wrong".  That was when I realized that most adults are not that great and that I was an oddball (I was reading some books on biology, genetics, anatomy, medicine and evolution at the time).

    I also later on taught for a while so I had my revenge :)



  • @nexekho said:

    That's often a sign that someone had a bad English lit teacher, to me.

    Oh, I got an A in it, no problems, but doesn't mean I think any of it is above coincidence. And I personally dislike most of Shakespeare's stuff simply because in the copies I've read the English was structured in some older style and I just couldn't follow it. I read to enjoy, not to analyse senselessly!

    Oh that same teacher I had also did a deep analysis of Huckleberry Finn. A book with a preface saying, specifically, that there's absolutely no hidden symbolism in the book, it's just a fun adventure for boys. The AUTHOR of the book said it, and she STILL found all kinds of stupid fake symbolism in it. I hated that teacher. She kept moving schools, so I ended up having classes from her three years of my 12 year public school career.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Oh that same teacher I had also did a deep analysis of Huckleberry Finn. A book with a preface saying, specifically, that there's absolutely no hidden symbolism in the book, it's just a fun adventure for boys. The AUTHOR of the book said it, and she STILL found all kinds of stupid fake symbolism in it.
     

    Yeah, Twain made sure everybody knew what the real point of Huck Finn was.

    Just like the people who made the movie The Greek Tycoon made it clear that it had nothing to do with the Kennedys, Onassis, Maria Callas, etc.  And Citizen Kane wasn't about Hearst because Orson Welles said so.



  • @da Doctah said:

    And Citizen Kane wasn't about Hearst because Orson Welles said so.

    I don't know anything about The Greek Tycoon, but Citizen Kane wasn't about Hearst. It was inspired by his life, but it was about a fictional character.

    Anyway, what are you getting at here? Are you saying Twain put that preface on Huck Finn because he wanted people to ignore it and spend time looking for hidden meaning anyway? Was it opposite-day when he wrote it?



  • Definitely a bad teacher, then.

    I moved schools halfway through my GCSE years and had two teachers. Are you saying I had two bad teachers? Never understood why they were wasting my time with English Literature, anyway; what possible use could it have in the real world exactly? And analysing Shakespeare never stopped me enjoying it, because there's no joy to be found in a book that can't be read fluently and is impossible to comprehend out of the context of the world at its time without doing research.

    I've always found that if anything forcing books that aren't necessarily bad but are hard to understand and harder to enjoy upon young people just makes them resent reading as a whole.



  • @nexekho said:

    Definitely a bad teacher, then.

    I moved schools halfway through my GCSE years and had two teachers. Are you saying I had two bad teachers?

    At least one bad teacher, if you prefer. It's no surprise at all if you had more than one - it would be a surprise to me if you encountered even one good teacher in your entire time at school.

    @nexekho said:

    there's no joy to be found in a book that can't be read fluently and is impossible to comprehend out of the context of the world at its time without doing research
    I agree. Managing to make Shakespeare seem like that, though, is quite an achievement, albeit one achieved regularly in English lit classes.



  •  Back in highschool I had a teacher teaching religion who mathematically proved that there is life after death. You see in life we have a soul (writes a "1" on the blackboard). If there is no afterlife it means the soul is lost ("writes a zero next to it"). But then it would mean that 1=0. Therefore there is life after death.

    I didn't say anything because she was a religious 50 year old woman condemned to spend the rest of her life teaching religion to fuckwit highschoolers for peanuts.



  • @DOA said:

     Back in highschool I had a teacher teaching religion who mathematically proved that there is life after death. You see in life we have a soul (writes a "1" on the blackboard). If there is no afterlife it means the soul is lost ("writes a zero next to it"). But then it would mean that 1=0. Therefore there is life after death.

    I didn't say anything because she was a religious 50 year old woman condemned to spend the rest of her life teaching religion to fuckwit highschoolers for peanuts.

    But what if death have a negative value of -1

    Btw I recall proving that certain political system base was incorrect using math



  • @intertravel said:

    it would be a surprise to me if you encountered even one good teacher in your entire time at school.
     

    Pretty much every one of my teachers was good. I mean good, respectable people, knowledgeable in their field, capable of getting along with a classroom.

    This was highschool 1993-1999, so I don't have any idea what it's like now. Preschool teachers were pretty good as well. It probably made a difference that my school supplied all three levels of highschool (Middle, High, and "Voorbereidend Wetenschappelijk"/ "Scientific"), and the high-level teachers also taught the low-level classes. Education tends to be taught by an equal level of teachers, which means schools that only offered medium- and low level education got shit teachers.

     

    .....shit, man. I'm currently older than my cute math teacher and hip economics teacher back then. :O



  • @dhromed said:

    @intertravel said:

    it would be a surprise to me if you encountered even one good teacher in your entire time at school.
     

    Pretty much every one of my teachers was good. I mean good, respectable people, knowledgeable in their field, capable of getting along with a classroom.

     

    Wow it sounds like your school system is done well, here in the US good teachers are by far the exception (except at some non-traditional schools).



  • My school teachers in Missouri (small town) were good.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @da Doctah said:
    And Citizen Kane wasn't about Hearst because Orson Welles said so.

    I don't know anything about The Greek Tycoon, but Citizen Kane wasn't about Hearst. It was inspired by his life, but it was about a fictional character.

    Anyway, what are you getting at here? Are you saying Twain put that preface on Huck Finn because he wanted people to ignore it and spend time looking for hidden meaning anyway? Was it opposite-day when he wrote it?

     

    I'm saying he put the preface on Huck Finn to keep people from pestering him about "who is [i]this[/i] character supposed to symbolize?" and "what does this scene [i]really[/i] represent?"  He wrote a neat little preface that said in effect "I just made the whole thing up so leave me the hell alone about it" even though the symbolism and everything was there all the time.

    My favorite disclaimer of all time was "This motion picture is a work of fiction.  No resemblance to any actual persons, institutions or events is intended or should be inferred."

    At the end of David Cronenberg's [i]The Fly[/i].

    So if you happen to know somebody whose genes got accidentally spliced with a housefly in an experimental teleporter mishap and he turned into a hideous monster, this isn't him.  It's just a coincidence.

     


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