chownah wrote:I think a more accurate observation is that considerable amounts of money and time are being put into schools trying to get students to learn to read to the level that they will be able to read critically.
Sure. Although I am skeptical about this trend. I doubt it is possible to actually teach critical thinking in a school, because a school is necessarily an authoritarian institution, and as such, matters of power prevail over everything else. What this means is that in practice, on some days, 2 plus 2 equals 4, and on some days, it equals 5, or 3, or Z. Unless, we, of course, include among critical thinking skills also the skills of navigating difficult social interactions with people in positions of power. Although as far as I know, textbooks on critical thinking don't do that.
I once almost wrote to the author of a book on critical thinking, asking her why on earth is she teaching those things, when in real life, critical thinking skills (at least as they are presented in textbooks) matter very little.
I think that some teachers (and posters here) do think that creating children who are addicted to reading is a good thing. I don't see it that way.
Completely agree. The ideas of "curling up with a good book" or reading before bed -- I am repelled by that.
I think that reading is a crucial skill in the modern world
and if teaching it can be done better with entertaining material then teachers should use entertaining material.....but the real goal should be to teach children to become good readers to the level of being able to read critically.
Or to become good, compliant citizens who just happen to call themselves "critical thinkers"?
An example: In my native language, considered as one of the best works of literature is a novel about a Catholic priest from the 16th century who is tormented by thoughts of women and sex. In the book, he adopts a small girl whose mother died; this girl, when she grows up, is the object of his fantasies.
An important literary critic wrote that this girl was his niece -- and from this derives the point that not only was he a celibate Catholic priest thinking about sex and women, it was also incest, making the whole thing so much more outrageous.
But if you read the book, the girl is never said to be a blood relative of his, so there was no incest.
And yet for the last forty years or so, teachers and students alike are perpetuating this idea that she was his niece, and if you want to pass the test, you have to say that she was. Evidence be damned.
Obviously, I am quite frustrated about the matter. Such is samsara, I guess ...
“One man’s “magic” is another man’s engineering. “Supernatural” is a null word.”
- Robert Heinlein