Beating the working into . . .

speaking out


You will have heard the statement “beating the stuffing out of . . . whatever or whoever”. What about beating “the working” into someone? Is that part of developing critical thinking, which folks in education often say is the purpose of education?

The Critical Thinking Community website defines critical thinking thus: “. . . that mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skilfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it. Critical thinking is self-directed,
self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.”

Just focus on the word “self”.

The Critical Thinking Community, however, goes on to discuss the etymology and dictionary definition of critical thinking in which they make several points, one of which is germane to my topical concern, and that has to do with a current radio advertisement directed at those children who are to taking Common Entrance Examination tomorrow.

Is it really the common exit (from primary school) exam? The advertisement enjoins the students not to forget to “show the working”.

The web article says in part: “As teachers, too often we allow ourselves to uncritically teach as we have been taught, giving assignments that students can mindlessly do, inadvertently discouraging their initiative and independence, missing opportunities to cultivate their self-discipline and thoughtfulness . . . .”

I know that over the years many poor children have been beaten both by parents and teachers all because they “did not show the working”.

Those who did the beating and some who still probably do the beating, perhaps never thought or still do not recognize that the child who knows the answers without “showing the working” is a very gifted child. Those teachers still “teach as they were taught”.

What teaching needs to do in order to develop what the website defines as “a well cultured critical thinker” is, inter alia, to communicate “effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems”. What this says to me is that the teacher, or for that matter the parent, needs to encourage the child to explain the thought processes/thinking that allows them to arrive at the answer “just like that”.

I believe that all across Barbados adults are today, right this minute, amazed at the abilities of children, some as young as one year old. These children have special gifts. Please don’t try to beat these gifts out of the children, whether it is seeing beings who are in a different dimension –– meaning if your child is talking to someone you can’t see but they can –– or if they know the answers without the need to “show the working”.

That is their gift; encourage them, don’t beat it out of them by “beating the working into them”.

Fortunately, nobody has tried to beat the working into me yet.



One Response to Beating the working into . . .

  1. Abraham Millington
    Abraham Millington May 5, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    I can bet that teachers who get good results from students spend time finding creative ways they can “catch on” verses those who do a 9 – 3 of “I punch in, de syllabus say dahhh I teach um who learn learn” – – – they are many jobs that if you think logically can never really pay for the work required, , , this is what separates a teacher from one who feels good to simply punch in and punch out – – – whoever catch on catch on and back home – – – more teachers are needed who can look through a class identify that Harry comes from x and might get this concept if I mention y or maybe base on what I see in Sarah’s essays she relates to y and if I mention k she might understand – – – about time the youth be eased off the verbal strap and physical beating and in the home and at class some not all SOME teachers and parents find no time to sensibly engage their children and then expect miracles or put undue pressure on them, , , they don’t understand sometimes omission at a crucial age makes a child have to work harder at an older age to grasp things that could be long gained if it had necessary sensible/relevant engagement from home and classroom – – – I know there is the part the child has to play in doing homework etc and revising but I think if there was an abundance in “invoking and or inspiring relevant analogies along with fixed course work like some seriously interested teachers do more Barbadian youth wouldn’t beat themselves or hear from home x is dumb and the sister is fast – – – so from youth they fit a self-fulfilling prophesy and gravitate to all except thinking they matter – – – then there’s this annual national frenzy as if it didn’t have a root . . . Everybody is looking at the children but not much attention to parents and teachers . . . as if children are laws unto themselves . . . You can’t find critical thinking under a rock. If a teacher has a class of 30 and a child that sees things slower likes cars or butterflies the teacher can make a scenario on either that allows each student according to varying levels of interests to understand concepts – – – this is why home-schooling if effectively done is the best because the parent should take time to know the child – – – or teachers based on essays or writings analyzing the level of thinking – – – Critical thinking is developed and personalized with each student uniquely and each student should be allowed to feel important according to how they can understand – – – the exceptions come obviously from the differently able category – – -even differently able students from special needs training have certain specialized training to identify pointers/aspects they can relate to . . . “enuff foolish talk”


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