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Archive for Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Should teachers teach their opinion?

January 20, 2009

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Editor's note: Today's letters to the editor are from Southwest Junior High students learning about persuasive writing.

To the editor:

I believe that teachers should not teach their opinion. Teachers have a lot of influence over their students. According to the Lawrence School Board Policy, teachers aren’t allowed to use school time or items to promote a political party, campaign, or anything to do with politics not related to the school curriculum. Also, teachers are required to present all of the material in a fair and accurate fashion.

School isn’t supposed to be biased and teachers telling students their opinion would make it one-sided. For example, telling a student that their topic is a bad idea, that would be a one sided opinion and would be unfair to the student. Also, teachers telling their students that the government was wrong about a bill would be biased, because the bill could’ve helped other people and some would say they were right to pass a bill. Teachers aren’t allowed to put limitations on a student just because they disagree with their thinking.

Would you want your child to agree with something they hardly know anything about just because their teacher told them. Teachers are hired to inform students about accurate facts not their own idea of the topic. Sadly this is occurring more and more when someone feels very strongly about the subject.

Jake Rogers,

Southwest Junior High

Comments

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 3 months ago

Jake, when my daughter was at Central Junior High they tried to teach her that the Indians volunteered to leave the East Coast and migrate to Oklahoma. Then when oil was discovered they wanted to give it to the white man.Well, I told her different.You have to fight to keep your individuality and develop your own opinions and ideas. But, all though life you will encounter people who try to discourage you and manipulate you.Stick in there! Don't let them.Remember what they told Obama when he was growing up? Wasn't true was it?

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autie 5 years, 3 months ago

"as long as they keep graduating uneducated drooling morons from the schools." The voice of first hand experience has spoken.

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Liberty_One 5 years, 3 months ago

The problem as I've experienced it is not so much that teachers express their opinions as it is that they discourage others. Some very good teachers I've had use opinion to start a class debate, but then encourage students to voice opposing views, at which point they remove themselves to the position of moderator and let the students debate amongst ourselves. Other teachers dominate the class, denigrating opposing views with snyde remarks and jokes which assume that the whole class agrees with them. In today's world where students have access to numerous alternative sources of information, such an approach can even be counterproductive to the teacher's viewpoint.

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feeble 5 years, 3 months ago

So, should a history teacher not comment that the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional and not designed to protect the Union, but rather stifle criticism of the administration, and infringe on the right of the states?Should the teacher not comment on the gross injustice of the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, where the United States Supreme Court that ruled that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants—whether or not they were slaves—could never be citizens of the United States, and that the United States Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories?Granted, commentary on how some integers are more attractive than others during Algebra Class may be unnecessary, but some topics require subjective commentary. Perhaps we should never expose students to opinion, so that they never learn to differentiate between opinion and fact?

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Bowhunter99 5 years, 3 months ago

a teacher has the right to his opinion regarding whether a topic is good or bad (especially if it's related to the class).However, teachers should keep their political agendas and pet project/policies out of the classroom. religion, mT, SLT, taxes, welfare, etc... none of those topics should teachers be allowed to provide their opinion UNLESS they're willing to allow some other adult to come in and express his/her opinion on the other side of the argument.

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Reality_Check 5 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, Jake, but teacher's have opinions. They are free to express them under this thing we have called The First Amendment. Now, a good teacher (or speaker of any kind) will also acknowledge that it is "just" their own opinion, and they will then provide the other side of the issue. That way, you get to decide for yourself. If your teacher isn't doing that, you are free to ask him/her to do so. And, when it's not clear, ask: "Is that just your opinion, or do you have some facts to back it up?" Believe it or not, most teachers LOVE to be questioned by skeptical students. It means they are getting through to you.

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invictus 5 years, 3 months ago

The left doesn’t have to indoctrinate (although it does) as long they keep graduating uneducated drooling morons from the schools. These graduates become life long liberals. How can a government employed teacher have a balance view on the scope of government in our society?

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autie 5 years, 3 months ago

My daughter's history teacher in high school had graduated from Kstate and her classroom is purple from stem to stern..Now is that a forbidden opinion? Opinions generate dialogue and that dialogue creates critical thinking..I'm thinking that is what teachers do. And STRS, your KNEA comment is just strickly whack.

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not_so_greek 5 years, 3 months ago

You know, these letters are so much better written than those submitted by a frequent letter writer here who lives next to the LHS practice fields.Maybe we should give these kids their license to practice architecture. They've earned it.

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Ronda Miller 5 years, 3 months ago

Jake, was your letter to the editor an assignment given to you for a merit badge in scouting? If so, and even if not, I commend you for a clearly written letter. As far as your topic, it is a rare teacher who presents a variety of views and allows students to openly debate those views. The ability to do such is where the learning truly begins.

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cw 5 years, 3 months ago

Jake, your topic might have sucked. Putting limitations on a student is not a black or white decision. If you don't know something, then you look to OTHERS (teachers, books, elders, google, etc...) for knowledge. Yes, you can be potentially steered wrong, but until you have some info. you aren't any position to critique facts from opinion. Keep developing your critical thinking skills. Most teachers have your best interest in mind (some are better than others at inspiring you to chase your goals).

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Norma Jeane Baker 5 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps, Jake, you are starting to wake up and learn about critical thinking. There are very few subjects in school which are taught free from the bias or opinion of the instructor. Even math class can introduce opinions and be a form of indoctrination. But, if you are learning to think for yourself, to separate the wheat from the chaff as it were, you are well on your way.

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deskboy04 5 years, 3 months ago

Jake ought to enroll in debate when he gets to high school. It's a great class and USD 497 has two fantastic debate coaches.

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SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 3 months ago

Get used to it, young Jake. Our government school system is controlled by the KNEA, so you should expect nothing less than the indoctrination to continue.

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