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View Diary: A Pedagogical Success? A Supply Side Young Republican Meets the Human Face of the Great Recession (189 comments)

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  •  He might change or then again it might take some (5+ / 0-)

    time and more experiences, maybe it will take some looking more deeply into the matter.
    I once taught a seminar which had several topics- among them was the topic "Energy Supply of the Future". The students in my seminar knew me already, knew that I was tolerant of other opinions (I have come to the conclusion  that nuclear power is rubbish). I had encouraged discussions, allowed different opinions and so on, they knew that it was safe to have a different opinion around me.
    One of them, an intelligent and decent guy who had had several informal discussions with me was pro-nuclear, he thought it would be a good weapon against climate change
    and could be handled reasonably safely (that was before Fukushima, many teenagers didn't even know about Chernobyl).
    During the seminar, everybody had to do a presentation and I suggested he and his friends do Nuclear Power. He grinned at me and warned me that he didn't see eye to eye with me on the subject and I told him that that was fine and that he knew he could express his opinion freely as long as he seperated what was fact and what was opinion. I encourage students to first present facts and then draw their conclusions from them in the end, so as to distinguish between fact and opinion but also encourage own thoughts.
    Boy was I surprised about the presentation.
    It was well done, contained most of the relevant information - and in the end my student concluded that nuclear power was dangerous and, sadly to him, no use in combatting climate change. He sounded as if it really was his own conclusion and it was logical after hearing the information they gave but just to make sure I asked him afterwards.
    He explained to me that he knew from experience that I respected different opinions but that he had changed his mind after looking more carefully into the mater and repeated which facts had led to his conclusion.
    So - my personal conclusion - looking more deeply into a subject can really help to open people's minds.

    The future is renewable.

    by KiB on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 02:12:57 AM PDT

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    •  I agree that it can open minds. (1+ / 0-)
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      Actually looking at and seriously considering conflicting information certainly can change people's minds on any number of subjects. The problem is that most authoritarians NEVER do that, even in school. One of the defining characteristics of orthodox thinking is dismissal of all alternative ideas as unworthy of consideration.

      This is also why conservatives oppose real education so strongly, and why they have created a whole pipeline of books, journals, and organizations designed to help nurture young conservative "intellectuals" starting in college. All of these things help to prevent their becoming sidetracked by real-world information.

    •  I think it was the fact you showed respect (1+ / 0-)
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      for him. That's something that adults, particularly teachers rarely do. (but many posting here are the good ones that do respect their students).

      But most important is your stressing he needed to separate the facts from his opinions though both would be welcome. Forcing that separation is critical to learning.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:10:27 AM PDT

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