Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Cruel or clever?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Leo Lakio
    replied
    Re: Cruel or clever?

    Originally posted by salmoned View Post
    (though I have been known to use double entendres, now and again).
    ...and just what do you mean by "use?"

    Leave a comment:


  • salmoned
    replied
    Re: Cruel or clever?

    Naw, I cherish the language and it's intended, inherent wisdom and do not countenance most bastardizing influences upon it (though I have been known to use double entendres, now and again). The egalitarian definition IS current and primary by derivation, even though that fact may not be universally recognized. [I especially hate it when the media butcher the language; last night, a reporter called paintings by a blind man 'masterpieces' (not every painting is a masterpiece).]
    Last edited by salmoned; June 22, 2008, 09:43 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Leo Lakio
    replied
    Re: Cruel or clever?

    Originally posted by salmoned View Post
    According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the etymology of the word is as follows:
    condescend 1340, from Old French condescendere, "to let oneself down," from Latin com- "together" + descendere "descend." Originally "to yield deferentially;" sense of "to sink willingly to equal terms with inferiors" is from 1611.
    Silly ol' Scrivener. He must have assumed you would have accepted the common, contemporary definition, rather than a 400- to 700-year-old one. (Sort of like the debate over whether Shakespeare was referring to a brothel with the line "Get thee to a nunnery" in Hamlet.)

    Leave a comment:


  • salmoned
    replied
    Re: Cruel or clever?

    According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the etymology of the word is as follows:

    condescend 1340, from Old French condescendere, "to let oneself down," from Latin com- "together" + descendere "descend." Originally "to yield deferentially;" sense of "to sink willingly to equal terms with inferiors" is from 1611.

    What debate? I'm not willing to agree that 'bad' means good, either.
    Last edited by salmoned; June 19, 2008, 03:13 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Leo Lakio
    replied
    Let the definition debate continue

    From Encarta ---
    con·de·scen·sion [ kòndə sénshən ]
    noun
    Definition:
    snobby and pretentiously kind manner: behavior that implies that somebody is graciously lowering himself or herself to the level of people less important or intelligent

    From Merriam-Webster ---
    condescension
    Main Entry: con·de·scen·sion
    Pronunciation: \ˌkän-di-ˈsen(t)-shən\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Late Latin condescension-, condescensio, from condescendere
    Date: 1647
    1 : voluntary descent from one's rank or dignity in relations with an inferior
    2 : patronizing attitude or behavior

    From The Free Dictionary ---
    con·de·scen·sion (knd-snshn)
    n.
    1. The act of condescending or an instance of it.
    2. Patronizingly superior behavior or attitude.

    From American Heritage Dictionary ---
    con·de·scen·sion (kŏn'dĭ-sěn'shən)
    n.
    The act of condescending or an instance of it.
    Patronizingly superior behavior or attitude.

    From Princeton's WordNet ---
    condescension
    noun
    1. the trait of displaying arrogance by patronizing those considered inferior
    2. a communication that indicates lack of respect by patronizing the recipient
    3. affability to your inferiors and temporary disregard for differences of position or rank; "the queen's condescension was intended to make us feel comfortable"

    From Dictionary.com ---
    con·de·scen·sion /ˌkɒndəˈsɛnʃən/ [kon-duh-sen-shuhn]
    –noun
    1. an act or instance of condescending.
    2. behavior that is patronizing or condescending.
    3. voluntary assumption of equality with a person regarded as inferior.

    Leave a comment:


  • salmoned
    replied
    Re: Cruel or clever?

    Hey, I did call the exercise 'bone-headed'. I'm not applauding the act, in and of itself, just the willingness to try something new. Well-advised or not, every administrator and teacher involved must have agreed to participate and the results are not yet evident.

    Yes, the word has a minor definition which is the complete opposite of it's primary meaning, but for that opposing meaning reasonable persons use 'pontificate' or 'lecture' or to remain 'aloof' or some term without the inherent oxymoron. When someone condescends they yield their position of authority and act or speak as an equal, which is the opposite of your intended meaning. That minor definition has crept into the language via misunderstanding alone.
    Last edited by salmoned; June 19, 2008, 02:56 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • scrivener
    replied
    Re: Cruel or clever?

    Originally posted by salmoned View Post
    What I don't understand is why you seem to believe you can provide a valid assessment of this technique for all students everywhere or, at a minimum, in this case, for those students and in that classroom.
    Aren't we talking about an entire student body? And didn't some of the teachers give up and tell the students the truth upon seeing their reactions? I won't presume to know anything about those students and that school, but the teachers' responses to the students' reactions say a lot about whether or not this was a well-advised activity. What I'm talking about is a level of professionalism above which teachers need to stay, and this lesson sinks below that line. The plan was to reveal the charade at a school-wide assembly later in the day, which means that teachers were expected to watch their students fall apart emotionally over an untruth and to let it keep going. The whole thing is so crazy-sounding to me that I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it was really an experiment on the TEACHERS to see how complicit THEY would be.

    As for condescension, you use the word as if it has negative connotations (which it doesn't in this case), to condescend is to yield one's position and assume equality - which is what we all do in this forum.
    That's one definition. The other, which is the one I meant, is to assume an air of superiority.

    Leave a comment:


  • salmoned
    replied
    Re: Cruel or clever?

    No. I know there's a line, but it wasn't reached (in my opinion) in this case. Classrooms are testing grounds. Maybe you're satisfied with the current state of education, I'm not. You feel that developing trust is a necessary component, other may feel the opposite is true. I firmly believe there's no one right way to teach and, as well, trust is a two-edged sword. You teach a student to trust a teacher, and the next teacher they have may take advantage of that trust. Trust is a by-product of consistent behavior, not an objective in the classroom. The objective is rational thought, discernment and control of emotional response. The objective is to show how and why some rather dull, dry subjects are actually interesting and important, not emotionally but intellectually. The objective is to modify behavior when it's unacceptable to society.

    What I don't understand is why you seem to believe you can provide a valid assessment of this technique for all students everywhere or, at a minimum, in this case, for those students and in that classroom.

    As for condescension, you use the word as if it has negative connotations (which it doesn't in this case), to condescend is to yield one's position and assume equality - which is what we all do in this forum.
    Last edited by salmoned; June 18, 2008, 04:47 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • scrivener
    replied
    Re: Cruel or clever?

    Originally posted by salmoned View Post
    As for 'hurting' students, real education is an extremely painful process - it results in changing entirely how a person thinks, feels, believes and behaves.
    Of course it is. So if the actual learning process is painful enough, why would I want INTENTIONALLY to hurt a student, just to teach a lesson? I could stand in front of a student and whip all kinds of racial slurs at him or her just to teach him or her how hurtful such language can be, but there have to be better ways to teach that lesson, because once I pull this stunt, that student (and probably every other student in the room) won't trust me anymore not to be hurtful. It doesn't MATTER whether or not I MEANT the hateful words; the damage is done and it cannot be undone.

    Your technique of building trust may work for you, it may make you feel good about what you do, and it may even help some of your students, but education isn't something you pour into trusting, naive minds.
    I know you don't mean to condescend, because it's clear from our interactions on HT in the past that you aren't that sort, but this sounds condescending. I would like to think that what I've written here on HT would clearly indicate that I don't believe for a second in pouring anything into trusting, naive minds. I challenge my students to question EVERYTHING I tell them; I'm known, in fact, for tolerating argumentative students more than I probably should, sometimes at the cost of covering the day's planned material. Don't you see that in order for this to work, I have to create a trusting, open classroom environment? My students, if they are going to feel free to test out what they think they're being told, have to believe that they aren't going to be slammed, ridiculed, or mocked for it. If nearly everyone in my classroom is against the Iraq war, the one student who's for it has to feel free to express his or her support even knowing that the instructor is also very much against it.

    You don't just find classroom environments like that in Cracker Jack boxes. You have to build that kind of trust.

    Look. We're not talking about a little prank, such as I pulled on the entire senior class when they thought yearbooks wouldn't be available until July. We're talking about looking students in the eyes and saying, "Your beloved classmate is dead."

    Do you not see that this is over the line?

    Leave a comment:


  • Kalalau
    replied
    Re: Cruel or clever?

    Thank you for those kind words. I could not have said it better. It just comes down to giving people some basic consideration as human beings, even if they do happen to be students, teenagers, whatever. Being a student is an honorable thing, it deserves respect, admiration, and appreciation, and anybody deserves more consideration than to be manipulated and misled with an issue as horrendous as death. "This is the lab calling, that test for _______ came back positive"...its the same idea, it can't be justified.

    Leave a comment:


  • salmoned
    replied
    Re: Cruel or clever?

    Scriv, I never distrusted my teachers (I distrusted what was taught), I simply tested them in the subjects they taught and found them [all] glaringly unaware of some fundamental principle or origin. It was a game I played to see how they would react to the 'embarrassing' situation. I thought it made them better teachers to realize they had something to learn from us students as well, although some responded with anger or fear. It also firmly made evident that the teacher had no crystal ball into the past or future, no special status [other than as disciplinarian]. As for 'hurting' students, real education is an extremely painful process - it results in changing entirely how a person thinks, feels, believes and behaves. It is utterly devastating to everyone who successfully undergoes the transformation. Remember when you first learned that that poo, which is a part of you, is 'icky'? Or when you realized that Man was around for over a million years before 'God' made himself 'known'?

    Your technique of building trust may work for you, it may make you feel good about what you do, and it may even help some of your students, but education isn't something you pour into trusting, naive minds. I learned as much from the 'hated' teachers as from those beloved. Mostly what I learned was that they were not much different from me. Oh, I wished they were different, I wished they were wiser, more rational, had something of value to impart, but I was generally disappointed.

    Kalalau, it's good to see you alive and well after having been 'destroyed'. It's possible none of those students were 'good and decent and hard working', isn't it? Why speculate virtue to one side and not the other?
    Last edited by salmoned; June 18, 2008, 09:58 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kalalau
    replied
    Re: Cruel or clever?

    When I was 17 one of my very closest friends died--he was the first close friend to die. It destroyed me. So...how could what the highway patrol did possibly be considered anything other than outrageously cruel? Reckless and irresponsible, too. Impressionable minds, many good and decent and hard working students were grossly abused that day. Hopefully they learned to distrust and dislike authority.

    Leave a comment:


  • Frankie's Market
    replied
    Re: Cruel or clever?

    Originally posted by scrivener View Post
    When I have failed -- when I have allowed them to be embarrassed, humiliated, hurt, ostracized, or made to feel stupid -- it has always been accidental; I have never intentionally done anything to put my students through those things.
    In this entire discussion, I don't think anyone advocated intentionally embarrassing or humiliating students just for the hell of it.

    Originally posted by scrivener View Post
    If, even for the sake of an important lesson, I put them through the exercise written about in this article, I WILL have deliberately hurt them. I just can't live with that prospect.
    You certainly have to do what works for you as a teacher. Everybody's has a different method that works for them. But just for the sake of discussion, think about this.

    You may disapprove of experiments that were conducted by the likes of Ron Jones and Stanley Milgram. You may empathize with the "subjects" who came out of such studies feeling a little embarrassed or foolish when they realized that they voluntarily let themselves be controlled by an authority figure and engaged in behavior that they knew was wrong.

    But would you rather that those people learn that hard lesson out in the real world? Manipulative people come in many different forms. Cult leaders, charismatic politicians, get-rich-quick scammers, and so forth. When you finally figure out that you have been duped by any of the above, you don't just walk away with brief feelings of foolishness. In many cases, you walk away having lost money, property, friendships, family, and in some very extreme cases, even your own life.

    Just a thought.

    Leave a comment:


  • scrivener
    replied
    Re: Cruel or clever?

    Originally posted by salmoned View Post
    If I believed even a quarter of what my teachers told me, I never would have learned to think for myself, to check out what's what - 'cause let me tell you, they RARELY HAD THE ACTUAL ANSWERS to any of my questions (and rarely admitted as much).
    You already distrusted your teachers, so for you the trust thing wouldn't have been an issue. What I'm suggesting is that I work very, very, very hard to build a level of trust between me and my students, and it's a two-way thing. I believe (and I could be wrong) that most good teachers do, because establishing good relationships with students is about all we have at our disposal nowadays.

    My first goal as a teacher, and it has remained my first goal through these twelve years, has been to establish a classroom setting where nobody's afraid. I don't want students walking through my door afraid they'll be embarrassed, humiliated, hurt, ostracized, or made to feel stupid. My students may not always like me, but I bust my butt every day to ensure that they can trust me at least on that level. I don't always succeed, as many of my students will gladly volunteer, but I'll bet they will all admit that I try my darndest.

    When I have failed -- when I have allowed them to be embarrassed, humiliated, hurt, ostracized, or made to feel stupid -- it has always been accidental; I have never intentionally done anything to put my students through those things. If, even for the sake of an important lesson, I put them through the exercise written about in this article, I WILL have deliberately hurt them. I just can't live with that prospect.

    Leave a comment:


  • salmoned
    replied
    Re: Cruel or clever?

    Looks like a clever 'stunt' to me. It's got all of you talking about it, eh? Trying something different should be applauded, even when it's bone-headed, whenever current techniques fail. I don't subscribe to 'emotional effect' teaching at all, but suggesting this instance was cruelty is far-fetched, at best. Any heightened sense of distrust of 'what you're told' developed by this exercise validates it for that reason alone. If I believed even a quarter of what my teachers told me, I never would have learned to think for myself, to check out what's what - 'cause let me tell you, they RARELY HAD THE ACTUAL ANSWERS to any of my questions (and rarely admitted as much).

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X