Tuesday, September 13, 2011

There is No Spoon

Okay, there really is a spoon, but it's not what you think. There are a number of things that it's difficult for my students to wrap their heads around. Here's the big one:

There are no wrong answers.

And this is true, to an extent. I don't teach math, where every answer has a defined answer or set of answers. With the exception of x=x, there is always a limit to the number of right answers.

I teach English, where the emphasis is the expression if ideas, even if the ideas totally contradict the person sitting in the next seat, or contradict my own. I keep most of my own ideas out of the mix as I don't want them clouding my judgment, but every now and then I read an essay that I totally disagree with, but the expression and support of these ideas are what matters.

Here are some of my favorites:
  • A Communist regime would be good for the United States
  • Football is communist in nature because it detracts attention and money from baseball, which is the American pasttime.
  • Your shirt is not red; red is the color it rejects.
  • All drugs should be legalized.
  • Death Row inmates should participate in gladiator games.
  • A No-Fly-type list should be established that would prevent certain people from speaking.
  • Global warming, obesity, and economic problems can all be solved by riding bicycles.
  • To prevent teenage pregnancies, all female high school students should take a safe sex course.
  • Third-world sweat shops are a necessary evil as they provide income to countries that have virtually no natural exports, thereby creating an economy.
I'm waiting for the paper that tries to convinces me that there is no spoon. I believe it can be done.

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