The Instigator
Kefka
Pro (for)
Losing
43 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
46 Points

High school curricula should be focused more than they are at present using Marxist pedagogy.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/18/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,799 times Debate No: 8280
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (31)
Votes (16)

 

Kefka

Pro

I have altered the topic of this debate by eliminating the previous argument for communism as an idealistic society being possible. I will put that on another debate, as I have tried it intertwined with the pedagogy debate as well, and that was quite difficult to juggle. Besides speaking about Marxist pedagogy in schools, I will also touch upon how our current situation(in education) has negative effects and how to actually implement Marxist pedagogy to 'fix' them. I am going to focus more on Paulo Freire's pedagogy. My basic understanding of his espoused teaching method is as follows:

Mere memorization and regurgitation of information is thrown out, and instead, the education brought in, assumes this order. 1. The teacher conveys information to the 'student'. 2. The student takes this information and analyzes it and compares it with their knowledge of the subject at the time and logically and assertively creates a new 'understanding' of the subject 3. The student then converses and argues with the teacher of both of their understandings. 4. A possible new consensus or continuation of disagreement occurs. 5. The new understanding is applied to their lives and methods of understanding in any manner, by de-compartmentalizing (de-centralizing) the information. (Contrary to the regimented education where, and I know this personally, as I am still in school, students gain information and hinder it by compartmentalizing it into ONLY the specified subject and willfully ignoring any possibility of applying it to any other 'subject'.

This method would allow students to use the information they have attained to contribute to society in the best way that they can. And their choice of occupation, that would contribute to society, would be based not off of what comforts they have dreamed of possessing, but based on what they see as important and what they can excel in the most proficiently. Their choice will not determine the monetary and societal class manner they will live in; this should never be the case (This goes back to the society being Communistic, but that is for another debate). The teachings of Capitalism, which since it's the society we live in, it is the foundation of our education*, only lead students to learn how to undermine others in our society, through the 'dog eat dog' world people have created and still wish to sustain, since they are the ones who have excelled in it, and wish for no others to attain their level of prosperity, and if someone were to, that individual would just become another gear for the machine that is the continuation, of the present condition, that is Capitalism. No, I am not saying all 'wealthy' people are evil or any stereotype of that sort, I am simply making an observation and judgment.

Implementing this method, if it were the desired method by a majority (conditioned by the type of 'government' we live in), could be attained by abolishing such administrations as the US Department of Education (which Ron Paul is wishing to do), and focus on private schooling; which could mean the abolition of the general, regimented, education system and more of a simple, open ended school system. This type of education, is very similar to the form that could be found in Germany. In Germany though, parents are forced to intervene in their child's education, which I believe to be the most important factor for a child's learning, as they control a child's willingness to learn and ascend in levels of education; in Germany, they are bound to do this by law, but I believe that through informing parents on how important their role is in their child's learning, we can, together, improve this country's education to a level never seen before.
*- Jean Anyon's article "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work"
http://books.google.com...

This article addresses the current situation of education, and how it is regimented to continue the fluctuation in education, solely based on the societal class of the area in which the school is located.
RoyLatham

Con

Pro has provided an interesting resolution for debate. When immersed in education it's natural to wonder if the process might be improved. I have not doubt it can be, but Pro's ideological approach is not the way.

1. The method proposed does not focus a high school curriculum. Focus means "the concentration of attention or energy on something." http://www.google.com... The resolution states that Marxist pedagogy will focus the curriculum on something, but what? The methodology asserts that the student "converses and argues with the teacher," but insofar as that does anything, that diffuses the curriculum rather than focuses it. It means that hours of class time will be wasted on students arguing what science is with the science teacher and what algebra is with the math teacher.

2. The methodology is inapplicable to most high school subjects. Consider learning to speak Spanish. First, "Mere memorization and regurgitation of information is thrown out" so the course has to be taught without memorizing vocabulary. Then the student will argue the speaking of Spanish with his teacher. The paradigm is inapplicable. Nor is it applicable to math, or English, or any vocational skill. In science and history, students may come pre-loaded with religious or ideological convictions so discussion is conceivable, but the majority of the class is going to be bored to tears as one student presses Marxist theory and another a religious theory. The teacher is put in the position of teaching a pig to sing: it wastes the teachers time, it annoys the pig, and it is unpleasant for the spectators.

3. There are few subjects wherein a high school student is equipped to "takes this information and analyzes it and compares it with their knowledge of the subject at the time and logically and assertively creates a new 'understanding' of the subject." The high school curriculum is mainly restricted to facts upon which there is longstanding agreement among professionals in the field. Sometimes it is not, but students are not going to be the source of revisions. That's going to be a problem for educators and policymakers to resolve. If a student does have an insight contrary to established teaching, then the main avenue for expressing it should be to publish a paper in a journal where it can be subject to peer review, and if sound it will add to the body of knowledge.

4. There are errant teachers who teach things that are incorrect and outside of the curriculum. That is not a reason to make the entire curriculum a free-for-all mechanism for "creating a new understanding." That is reason for better supervision and review of teachers.

5. Pro claims, "The new understanding is applied to their lives and methods of understanding in any manner, by de-compartmentalizing (de-centralizing) the information." There is nothing in the preceding four steps that indicates why that would happen. It is an unsupported assertion. If by some means it were to happen, then that would diffuse the curriculum rather than focus it, as the resolution claims.

6. I agree that integrating subjects is a good idea. That is best done by standard teaching techniques like solving practical problems or assigning team or class projects. Those techniques have nothing to do with conversing and arguing with the teacher.

7. A primary skill that should be taught in high school is establishing is academic discipline. That includes a certain amount of unpleasant memorization, and a strong measure of focusing on the subject matter for the purpose of absorbing it. Pro's methodology undermines learning basic skills by removing the learning of facts and encouraging everything to be argued, no matter how well established.

8. The idea that capitalism is the basis of education is false. Math, science, foreign language study, native language study, vocational skills, and 90% of education is the same, insofar as methodooly is concerned, in China, for example, is it is in Western countries. There are cultural differences, and an impact on ideology-prone subjects like history, but he basic educational paradigm is the same. For example, the book River Town http://www.amazon.com... describes the common teaching methodology in a radically different political and cultural environment.

9. Much of capitalism is plain fact, like money has time value. Those facts are independent of politics and ought to be taught.

10. I challenge Pro to explain how the method he proposes, featuring abolition of memorization and argumentation, would be applied to standard subjects like mathematics, English, and foreign languages.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 1
Kefka

Pro

I thank my opponent for posting his well thought out and descriptive rebuttal.

1*. My opponent's assertion may come from his misunderstanding of my resolution, or my lack of depth in my description of it. The point of the praxis of Freire's pedagogy, is to change the way in which we learn. It is a change from the current education process. My point of "arguing and conversing with the teacher", is not so that "hours of class time will be wasted on students arguing what science is with the science teacher and what algebra is with the math teacher"; it is so that any information from the teacher can be questioned. If students, in classes like English and History, where interpretation of ideas is important (not as severe with subjects like Math, but still applicable), only took in what the teacher has lectured, they would miss out on the most fundamental goal of education: to teach how to teach*. Most students, at least from my observation and experiences, approach education and school as a mandatory exercise, in which they are told information and expected to be 'tested' on it, to ensure they have understood the material. With this, being the current system, students cannot comprehend, totally, the material in which they are taught. Students learn to come to school, accept information, and once they have been tested on the information, flush it down in the depths of their psyche. Freire's method puts more control in the student. This keeps students interested, as they can explore the depths of their material because they can challenge it, discuss it, then conform their understanding around what they, from discussing it, have decided to be the best interpretation of the material. It does not "diffuse the curriculum rather than focus it"; what it does is, prevent the cycle of information without change. With this pedagogy, students better comprehend the subject in discussion, than if they were to be taught under the aforementioned pedagogy .

*(being able to teach something, shows true mastery on the subject. Consequently, if a student understands how to teach, they can help teach the teacher how to teach. In this pedagogy, student and teacher are equal in all aspects.)

2. My opponent has taken out of context what I meant by "Mere memorization and regurgitation of information is thrown out". What I meant, was that the entire system in which education is taught, will not be based on this form of teaching. And yes, this is the way that most schools operate (Again, I am currently in high school), aside from Montessori school systems. Education will be more based on what I have proposed earlier*.

"There are few subjects wherein a high school student is equipped to "takes this information and analyzes it and compares it with their knowledge of the subject at the time and logically and assertively creates a new 'understanding' of the subject." The high school curriculum is mainly restricted to facts upon which there is longstanding agreement among professionals in the field. Sometimes it is not, but students are not going to be the source of revisions. That's going to be a problem for educators and policymakers to resolve. If a student does have an insight contrary to established teaching, then the main avenue for expressing it should be to publish a paper in a journal where it can be subject to peer review, and if sound it will add to the body of knowledge." -

-There are a few problems with this assertion. I do understand that presenting information, and using my proposed system, will cause some concern as to how it will be pulled off. Well, this is not about what will be tough or challenging, it is about what will, ultimately, allow generations to better understand the world in which they live in. As to the advice to a student, if they wish to express a contrary perspective of some information; it is true, though it may be prevented because of student apathy or laziness. A lot of students may have a better detailed, and more encompassing interpretation on an idea(s), but I doubt that a majority of those students will appreciate that they must go out of their way and write a petition or paper to add to the body of knowledge on the subject. Why is it that they should not discuss it while in class? Classes, contrary to popular belief, are not always going to be about the exact curricula that has been carefully chosen and planned (the current situation of regimented education); they can be about the exploration of the subjects not entailed in the curriculum, such as the very way we speak, write, and communicate in general. It can be the random, but fascinating discussion of something that a student or teacher notices. I have experienced this first hand. My English teacher will, aside from her planned curricula (which she tries to avoid having, since she teaches close to the way I propose), she will notice something completely random, such as the representation of a character in a story we are reading, and how it conveys our societies view of certain persons, etc. This is, but a small example, of something so random and seemingly insignificant , that can open a student's eyes, in terms of perspective and understanding on subjects other than the subject in discussion (hence, de-compartmentalization).

I understand the positive outcomes, in terms of discipline, involved with rote memorization of facts and vocabulary, though, this eventually becomes the basis of the grading system in schools. Large amounts of points for a student's grade are from worksheets/homework assignments that require large amounts of memorization. It has such a large impact on a student's grade, which in our society has been deemed a very important factor in determining a student's intelligence and readiness for college, that it demands the student to focus more on this than other more important things, if he/she is to be recognized as a 'good student'. This is the antithesis of what education should be.

My comment that Capitalism is the foundation of our education system, was to point out the facts espoused in Jean Anyon's article. Much of the education that I propose, is taught in certain areas in the US. Although, not exactly my proposed theory, the education in certain areas is largely about the student's independence and dominion over his/her own education. The problem is, these schools that focus on true education, are centralized in communities in which wealth prospers. This comes back to the root of Capitalism. Though this may be a digression and tangent, the understanding of the centralization and hidden agenda of education and work, as to whom will succeed academically, lends help in breaking down and changing the current pedagogy.
RoyLatham

Con

I appreciate Pro's clarifications. It will improve the debate.

[1] Pro failed to explain how, in his words, a method that "puts more control in the student" would focus the curriculum. Perhaps Pro would like to spend hours discussing Marxist dialectics, but some other students may prefer to discuss pop music, electronic gaming, skateboarding, or whatever. In many places, students may prefer to discuss the Bible as it applies to science or history, rather than what the standard curriculum provides. Allowing free reign to student determination is not going to focus the curriculum.

The example of Pro gave of picking out one literary character and discussing that character at greater length is fully within the scope of present teaching methods. Pro said that one of his teachers did it, and my teachers did it many years ago when curricula were more rigid today. What is important is that the major features of the curriculum be held in common. Students need, for example, an exposure to Shakespeare and that ought not be put aside in favor of the current interests of students. Some things are genuinely more important than others.

Another reason for come curricula is to promote cultural literacy. The concept is that all citizens ought to have a common vocabulary of phrases, metaphors, and parables. That is desired to improve communications. For example, knowing what "Thou doth protest too much" means saves a great deal of wordy explanation. For the purpose of cultural literacy, it doesn't matter so much what the common body of knowledge is, only that it is held in common.

Finally, a common curriculum is important as a basis for cumulative learning. An employer is well served by being able to assume that a high school graduate knows how to read. If the student goes to college to study math, it's important to have a reasonable assumption of what was taught in high school. a student might still need remedial education, but it limits the bounds of what may be needed.

[2-5] I think that Pro concedes that the concepts of "arguing and coming to common understanding" and "abolishing rote memorization" are largely inapplicable to high school curricula. He could not name anything to which they applied in mathematics and foreign languages. "Interpretation of the material" is almost completely inapplicable to vocational education, science, computers. Pro is passing lightly over the fact that his whole proposed is about 90% inapplicable. He claims it works sometimes in history and literature, but that's about it. Even in the areas where it applies, Pro assumes that the discussion would go in the direct he desires, Marxism, rather than in other directions, like religion or pop culture.

An example will support by next point: What is wrong with this proposal? "I propose a new system of education in which all students perform all of their homework assignment to the best of their abilities on time, they prepare properly for classes, they stay awake and attentive during classes, they never create distractions, and when they do not understand something, they forthrightly and clearly articulate the nature of what they do not understand." Those are good ideas, right? The error is the proposal is that it is not a system of education, it is an ideal of what ought to happen under many systems of education. A system of education involves a methodology for achieving the goals of education, not a vision of a more perfect world in which wonderful things happen reliably.

One major defect in Pro's proposal is that it merely proposes and idea. If there are any teachers that do not want students to articulate their lack of understanding, such teachers are rare. There are at least three reasons why students do not do so: (1) they do not want to appear "stupid" in front of their classmates, (2) they do not know how to articulate the nature of their lack of understanding, and (3) they don't want to hold up the whole class with a lengthy discussion of a particular point that others may already understand. There is nothing in Pro's proposed system that alters any of these circumstances. Pro is proposing an ideal, not a methodology.

To sure some teachers are better at evoking the right kinds of question from students and answering them in a way that does not side track the whole class. Possibly something could be done that would improve the training of teachers to generally improve that skill. However, there is nothing in Pro's proposal that addresses that.

The defect in Pro's proposal is common to communist theory in general. It proposes an unachievable ideal, not a rational methodology.

Pro asserts "My comment that Capitalism is the foundation of our education system, was to point out the facts espoused in Jean Anyon's article." Ok, I give up, what are those claimed facts, and how are they derived from capitalism? It is true that communist idealism is not taught, and it shouldn't be taught, because it is untrue and doesn't work.

the mystery deepens as Pro goes on to assert, "Much of the education that I propose, is taught in certain areas in the US. Although, not exactly my proposed theory, the education in certain areas is largely about the student's independence and dominion over his/her own education. The problem is, these schools that focus on true education, are centralized in communities in which wealth prospers. This comes back to the root of Capitalism."

So, capitalism leads to wealth, a true assertion. But that, according to Pro, then leads to teaching according to communist doctrine, which is puzzlement. Pro should first establish the truth of the assertion that certain wealthy areas have abandoned the use of curricula, and in fact placed education under the dominion of students. That is a bold claim that requires substantial evidence. The next step after that is to show that this is a good thing, producing a better education than traditional methods of structured learning according to a curriculum.

I will concur that certain areas, like California, have standards that require the teaching of political correctness according to leftist ideology. For example, standards require that pioneer women cannot be shown riding in a cover wagon while pioneer men walked, even though historical facts contradict the political correctness. There are literal hundreds of demands of political correctness. Children cannot be depicted eating cookies in stories, by tofu is acceptable. Is that he doctrine that Pro means? It is documented, for example, in the book "The New thought Police" by Tammy Bruce. http://www.amazon.com...

High school students, nor college students for that matter, simply do not know enough to claim dominion over education. It's a good idea to have student's ask questions and discuss subjects, and for teachers to spend more time on aspects of the curriculum that pique student interest. Teachers who can make the material appealing to students are better than teachers who manage to make everything boring. None of that requires a communist ideological revolution in teaching. Curricula should be structured to serve as a basis for future learning and to support living productively in society.

Pro has presented nothing concrete or factually substantiated that would improve education. His idea is to somehow infuse curricula with empty idealism in the hope that something wonderful would be achieved. He offers no evidence that would happen.
Debate Round No. 2
Kefka

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response.

1. This pedagogy, would not so much as 'focus' the education, as it would open it up more than possible under the current system, that would stifle any attempt to change from the normal 'study Shakespeare, you understand literature now', or 'Read this or that, you are educated now'. What if a student wants to read "The Mismeasure of Man" and learn about controversial topics, such as biological determinism. Or, read "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work", and learn how education is regimented for certain, social, reasons. (I will elaborate further on this, since I failed to explain how it applied to my argument earlier). What my resolution addresses, is that our system of regimented curricula, should be altered to a system that leaves room for change, by students and teachers alike. This prevents education from 'being controlled'. My opponent is under the impression that if this were to be the case, that students would deviate from 'important' elements in education and focus more on trivial subjects, like "pop music, electronic gaming, skateboarding, or whatever". This is a bit of an exaggeration; yes, it is highly possible that students would sometimes talk about 'useless' subjects, but, knowing myself and fellow students, they would not forget about the 'boring' parts of education; rather, opening up the curricula, keeps students from having disdain towards the system, and intrigues their brain towards exploring literature or history, they deem as helpful to their education and understanding of the world.

This system of, 'putting control into the student', is practical. Let's say a teacher wants the children to read a book, and write a paper on early American immigration in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The book the teacher wants them to read, is Maggie: Girl of the Streets; so that they students can see how life was as an Irish immigrant in that time period. Let's say this book is required by the Local Board of Education (in the current education system).But, a student student decides that the book How the Other Half Lives, would give him a better understanding of the true lives of immigrants and the hardships they faced. There is a problem, he is not allowed to read and report on this, since the Board of Education deems this as not as important as reading Maggie. If, in my espoused system, this were to happen, the student could use any resource he could find, that, in his/her eyes, seemed a good foundation of knowledge. This is a small example, but conveys a hint of what I am proposing.
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My opponent sees my pedagogy as being inapplicable to high school. It is true that there are very few ways to interpret how to do Matrices, Trig Functions, etc. What I am trying to convey, is that changing the way subjects are taught and discussed, would have drastic effects on a student's future in education and life. My opponent distorts my views; I do not wish for a class discussion to go towards "Marxism, rather than in other directions, like religion or pop culture.", as this would contradict my purpose.
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"Finally, a common curriculum is important as a basis for cumulative learning. An employer is well served by being able to assume that a high school graduate knows how to read. If the student goes to college to study math, it's important to have a reasonable assumption of what was taught in high school. a student might still need remedial education, but it limits the bounds of what may be needed." -

This is true, to an extent. What my opponent says, has merit when speaking about a system that would like things to be easy. Yes, it would be more difficult for an employer to understand what a particular individual 'understands' if a controlled curricula was not in place, but that is not what is ultimately important. What is important, is that students learn, not on behalf of what society and a board of people believe they should understand and be exposed to, but how to decide for themselves what is important to them, and what would further their knowledge.
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"An example will support by next point: What is wrong with this proposal? "I propose a new system of education in which all students perform all of their homework assignment to the best of their abilities on time, they prepare properly for classes, they stay awake and attentive during classes, they never create distractions, and when they do not understand something, they forthrightly and clearly articulate the nature of what they do not understand." Those are good ideas, right? The error is the proposal is that it is not a system of education, it is an ideal of what ought to happen under many systems of education. A system of education involves a methodology for achieving the goals of education, not a vision of a more perfect world in which wonderful things happen reliably."

Methodology- http://jaguar.eb.com...
My whole argument is to do away with methodologies. They create situations where some excel and other fail, and stay there (i.e. America's distortion and misapplication of Binet's IQ system). I propose a way to go about things, with open ends; not a set of rules that must be followed. This would contradict my purpose. I guess you could assume, from an extreme standpoint, that I am for the abolition of curricula.
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"The defect in Pro's proposal is common to communist theory in general. It proposes an unachievable ideal, not a rational methodology.
Pro asserts "My comment that Capitalism is the foundation of our education system, was to point out the facts espoused in Jean Anyon's article." Ok, I give up, what are those claimed facts, and how are they derived from capitalism? It is true that communist idealism is not taught, and it shouldn't be taught, because it is untrue and doesn't work."

-Quite a bold statement. It is untrue and doesn't work [Communism]? First off, this is for another discussion and should have no bearing on this argument, as it will only benefit Con, because of voters who have preconceived and tainted opinions towards Communism. Second, who's to say it doesn't? Just because it has been distorted and used by demagogues as a way to power, doesn't mean it can't work. Welcome to any ideology in human history.

---------------

Now to explain Jean Anyon's book "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work". Different schools in the US were studied, in regards to their teaching methods, and found to be directly affected by the social status and hierarchical standing of the community attending the schools. Anyon classified 4 different school 'qualities': Working Class, Middle Class, Affluent Professional, Elite. In the working class, children were taught certain methods of finding the answer to a problem, and expected to exactly replicate this method. Then on tests, the answer was the only important factor determining their grade; as the teachers assumed they went about it the way they told them to, and didn't even check to see if they learned a new way to get the answer (understanding how a student got the answer is the most important factor, as it explains their problem solving method; which can be evaluated to help the child attain answers more efficiently). While in the Elite school, students developed their own method of problem solving, they interacted as student and teacher equally, and argued as to what method is most proficient.

The Elite method has turned out better than the working class method. Just observe how wealth distribution is sustained. I do not agree with this (How the improved education sustains wealth distribution, purposely), but the end result gives proof that this type of education can work; in regards to what Con sees as "important" information.

I wish I could add more information, but I do not have room. I urge to vote Pro based on the argument, not preconceived opinions. I apologize if
RoyLatham

Con

Pro has given us an earnest argument.

The resolution is "High school curricula should be focused more than they are at present using Marxist pedagogy."

"[Pedagogy] generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction. ... Pedagogy is also sometimes referred to as the correct use of teaching strategies" http://en.wikipedia.org... The resolution therefore affirms that Marxist teaching methods be used to provide greater focus in high school curricula. In this debate, I have attempted to pin down exactly what the Marxist teaching method is and why Pro believes in would focus the curriculum.

(a) In his most recent clarification, Pro states "This pedagogy, would not so much as 'focus' the education, as it would open it up more than possible under the current system, ..." That is consistent with my understanding from the outset, that allowing students to redirect the curriculum to suit their whims would diffuse, not focus it. It negates the resolution.

(b) To focus the curriculum, the pedagogy must apply broadly. A method that applies to, say, 10% of the curriculum could not focus the curriculum. I argued that the method did not apply to science, math, most of English, vocational training, and foreign language instruction, and I asked how the method would apply in each area. Pro gave no examples outside of literature and history. Most recently, Pro said "It is true that there are very few ways to interpret how to do Matrices, Trig Functions, etc. What I am trying to convey, is that changing the way subjects are taught and discussed, would have drastic effects on a student's future in education and life." This response does not rebut my claim that the method does not apply to most of the curriculum and therefore cannot focus the curriculum. He asserts the method would have a drastic effect, but even if true that does not support the resolution. For example, teaching astrology as fact would have a drastic effect, but it also would not focus the curriculum -- nor would it be a good idea.

(c) Recall that a pedagogy is a teaching method. So what is the "Marxist pedagogy" referenced in the resolution? Pro says, "My whole argument is to do away with methodologies. They create situations where some excel and other fail, ..." The resolution seems to assert that a method would be used to focus the curriculum. If the method is to not have a method, then the resolution is that the curriculum should be focused by not having any teaching methods. I suppose the teachers may know the subject matter, so long as they have no method for teaching it. But having no teaching method could not reasonably be thought to focus the curriculum.

Pro thus appears to concede that proposed method for focusing the curriculum (a) does not focus the curriculum, (b) does not apply to most of the subjects it must focus, and (c) is not even a method. This negates the resolution in three different ways.

While the resolution cannot be affirmed, I will proceed to specific points raised in the debate.

I challenged Pro to back up his claim that "Capitalism is the foundation of our education system." He never make a link between capitalism and educational methodology.

He responded by asking in return "Who says that [Communism] doesn't work?" It is not just communism, but socialism in virtually every form, both democratic and undemocratic, that was tried and failed in the 20th century. These failures were meticulously documented in "Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism" by Joshua Muravchik.http://www.amazon.com... The emerging countries of Africa tried every form of democratic socialism. All failed. All of the major success stories of the 20th century derived from capitalism: Hong Kong, S. Korea, W. Germany, Taiwan, Japan. India and China have succeed in proportion to casting of socialism and adopting capitalism.

The relevance to education is that competition produces improvement, both through individual motivation and in improving teaching methods. Pro believes that abolishing success and failure will lead to good education. In fact, students from chaotic schools to do not learn to read or to do math. The Oakland, CA school system is an example.http://findarticles.com... Lack of standards and structure trashed the system; it did not improve it. Standards and strict methodologies are slowly being imposed with favorable results.

Finally, Pro explains a book by Jean Anyon. If you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you are a Marxist, everything looks like a product of Class. Having affixed lenses that see nothing else, Anyon cannot properly analyze cause and effect. A racist would explain everything in terms of race, looking at nothing but the racial makeup of the schools. Anyon's work is not claimed to be a scientific study, it is not published in a peer-reviewed journal.

It is well known that the educational level of parents is the best predictor of performance in education. That is because parents provide motivation and a learning-oriented home environment. To test the effect of teaching methodology, one must therefore equalize the mix of parental environments and then study what happens with different teaching environments. Anyon did it exactly backwards, not testing teaching methodology, but reaffirming the effect of home environment.

Pro advocates having no standards for success and failure, yet he cites Anyon's analysis that applies its own standards of success and failure. For example, "success" is claimed not to be measured by getting the right answer, but by applying some original method. One cannot say the "right" method, because that would be applying a standard to methods. This is all contradictory.

I objected that societies need to teach a common cultural basis to improve communications. Pro says "has merit when speaking about a system that would like things to be easy" Sure, we have education in the first place to make life easier. It goes far beyond employment, we want people in the society to be able to understand each other as easily as possible. Professor of English E.D. Hirsch has written extensively on the importance of cultural literacy in education. http://www.amazon.com...
It is especially important in a multicultural society like the United States, because cultural coherency is less like to develop of its own accord as in might in monocultural societies, like Japan. Every American needs, for example, to know about the Civil War, regardless of whether students think it is a fun topic or not. Pro appears to grant that his proposals would undermine cultural literacy by defocusing the curriculum.

Finally, Pro asserts that given their druthers, students would select serious difficult topics to study rather than either pop topics or ideological notions instilled by their parents. He says his experience supports this. This can be tested by seeing what students demand outside of school, where they have the free choice that Pro advocates. I believe it is obvious that they do not voluntarily choose serious topics. Some do, but most do not.

Pro has negated his resolution through (a), (b), and (c). Beyond negating the resolution, the whole idea of abolishing curricula and teaching methods is a bad one. The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 3
31 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Kefka 7 years ago
Kefka
Roy, I looked closer at your post, and I think you really misunderstood what I tried to say. We can discuss it further in comments, since I'm not busy anymore.
Posted by Kefka 7 years ago
Kefka
I do agree with you that I could be receiving votes simply because kids like what I say, it appeals to them. I've seen this on multiple occasions by looking at # of voters as opposed to points distributed, and it's, most of the time, too damned one sided because people don't even read debates and just use the 'Who do you agree with after' part as the entire point of the debate (most of the time though, it's probably Before even).

Your test pressure vs life pressure argument, in my opinion, cannot work. If you'd like to talk about it, I'm on here often, just message me.

Ok, I don't know where I conveyed that I believe school should be fun fun (in terms of, let's all talk about the game last night, instead of read Of Mice and Men, GO LENNY). Yes school should be fun, of course, but not in that way exactly. The reason I pointed out, in comments, that kids are becoming more apathetic towards school, is because the methodologies that teachers use, are, frankly, just becoming trite. As much as I would love to have a comment debate, I would rather do it in messages as it would be a better, less 'pressuring' (/wink), environment to talk about this.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
I'll bet I've spent more time in school than 99% of the people on this site. I think a structured curriculum is important for the broad introduction to a subject. At that point you don't know the basic concepts, what questions to ask, what the appropriate terminology is, and or even where to look things up. Beyond the introductory level, then I think self-study works fine. There are some skills that are inherently group-oriented, like working on a project team. Those are best taught with group projects, no surprise.

There are problems with tests, and especially multiple choice tests, but most of life is done under pressure, so that part of it is fair. My experience is that standardized tests are accurate enough for the limited purposes to which they are put.

I knew a teacher who taught in a elite school (Palo Alto, California) and said she much preferred teaching in a down-scale area. She said that elite students wanted to be entertained, while her less-elite students wanted to learn. What I hear you saying is that education should be a lot closer to entertainment than to a job. I think it should be a job. There is satisfaction in doing a job well, but the payoff comes from the results, not the process.

The reason people are not leaving comments, I think, is that you admitted in the debate that your objective was not to focus the curriculum, and you said that there should not be any teaching methodology. It isn't possible to rationally justify a Pro vote based upon the debate content. However, I think there are a lot of young students here who are with you in the notion that education should be fun, fun, fun and that stuff like tests and memorization get in the way of having fun. But I'd like to hear other reasons, if that's not it.
Posted by Kefka 7 years ago
Kefka
btw everyone, please leave voter comments, would really help! Don't just vote without saying anything! hah
Posted by Kefka 7 years ago
Kefka
Hmm, well first off, from experience and talking to other students, without a doubt, independant study dwarfs any other form of education; in terms of how much 'information' is gathered without too much worry about another individual's interpretation, that might construe and twist yours. What this system of education would do, is inhibit an independent like education, focusing less on the all too familiar Teacher- "Here's your homework children, page xx-yy." Students- "Ughhhhh, I hate school......etc". I know this is a funny little example, but it's something that everyone has gone through. That system teaches you to dislike school, where as you should enjoy learning, reading, discussing etc. I'm trying to improve my description empirically, and when I have thought of a tangible possibility, I'll open up another debate similar to this (which I probably will before that, since I need my beliefs challenged to learn). I know this may seem extremist, or too radical and anarchist to some who have never seen something similar, proposed in the way I have demonstrated it, maybe? But I'm just trying to improve something that seriously needs improving. I say this because, I find myself looking around school,stores, on the street, and I just see things that could be really improved in our society with education, which has always been the single greatest factor in any change in human history. I don't mean this in a pretentious manner, saying that everyone around me is dumb, ignorant, etc. I just feel that we could do more, and we SHOULD do more, and we WILL do more.

(My big rant for the day haha)

P.S. Great Debate Roy, great debate.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
I am impressed. The way to focus a curriculum is to abolish curricula, have no memorization, no standard tests, no success or failure, and most important of all, *no methodology.* There is widespread agreement among those reading the debate that this will focus the curriculum, but not a suggestion from anyone as to how. If this works, I cannot see why schools are required at all. Having no curricula and no methodology can be accomplished without the expense of a school. In fact, if there is a teacher in the room, it would be very difficult to prevent from some teaching method evolving spontaneously, so that best be avoided.
Posted by Kefka 7 years ago
Kefka
I don't mean to be rude, I just think people are focusing on one thing, and basing that as my entire argument. But, I understand that this concept might be confusing at first. Well, I'll learn to better focus my thoughts so people will understand me more clearly.
Posted by Kefka 7 years ago
Kefka
I think people are totally missing the ENTIRE point. Lol let's strawman his argument! YAY!
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
alto2osu
Standardized tests, as opposed to other forms of assessment, test how well a person can perform in a high stakes, multiple choice only testing situation ;)

They do not accurately measure knowledge on a subject unless the student is of a particular "intelligence" (as in multiple intelligences).

However, standardized tests are, admittedly, another can of worms. That could be a fun debate to start once I'm on summer break.
Posted by diety 7 years ago
diety
Here's my opinion on the debate. Everything that my opponent stated can already be done in our curriculum. It's called "asking questions." However, our whole curriculum shouldn't be based upon arguing with the teacher. Under kefka's plan, teachers can be teaching how babies are made and a student can have religious beliefs and say "no, we don't come from sperm and egg cells. God molds us and then sends us to our mothers." Then, the teacher will have to waste everyone's time explaining to him/her how that is so. Also, the conversation should be focused on the lesson and not to sway to random topics. A student can pull a trick and lead a conversation about engineering, to a conversation about electrical engineering, to a conversation about computers, to a conversation about xbox 360's and video games. Basing your entire curriculum on questioning the curriculum to me is not very standardized. Well, that's just my opinion.
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Vote Placed by Procrastarian 7 years ago
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