LABELING: WHAT YOU CALL SOMETHING AND WHAT IT IS ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE SAME THING

July 2, 2012 in Commentary, Dogma

I had a friend who was fond of saying, nothing is sacred but the truth. Though I couldn’t really take issue with him, there was always something naggingly bothersome when I’d hear him say it. And then I had an epiphany. Implicit and inherent in his speaking was, if I say it’s the truth, it “IS” the truth.

Merely labeling something or calling something something, does not necessarily make it the thing you call it. Calling a dog a cat does not make it one. Calling something the “TRUTH” doesn’t make it true or the “TRUTH.”

I recently saw a comment to a post about critical thinking. It said: The Texas Repub Party platform takes a stand AGAINST teaching critical thinking skills in Tex(as) public schools As my pappy used to say, don’t believe everything you read, and as I say, critical thinking demands that I actually see for myself what the platform says (not to mention that I couldn’t believe anybody would be so stupid as to put something like that into writing).

What the platform actually says is:

(We stand for)Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)(values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE)(mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the students fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

Whereas anybody is entitled to abstract “The Texas Repub Party platform takes a stand AGAINST teaching critical thinking skills in Tex(as)” from this (or anything else they may wish to abstract for that matter), that’s not what it’s saying nor what it says (in my humble opinion anyway).

I’ll save my parsing for my next post but in the mean time, I’m dying to hear what you have to say and hear you weigh in on this issue.

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2 responses to LABELING: WHAT YOU CALL SOMETHING AND WHAT IT IS ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE SAME THING

  1. Hagana, could you elaborate a bit more? Are you saying you agree with this interpretation of the text?:

    “The Texas Repub Party platform takes a stand AGAINST teaching critical thinking skills in Tex(as)”

  2. Interesting.

    In the profession of your training, things are regularly defined to remove ambiguity. If the total extent of the statement was: “We oppose the teaching of HOTS, critical thinking skills, and similar programs” as state above, I’d have to agree with you but it’s not. Crucial to the statement is the second half: “and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of…”. followed by a list of items that may or may not be teachable thinking skills.

    I elaborate more on this in the subsequent post.

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