If teaching weren’t propagandistic

I would love to be a teacher someday just so that on first day of class I could tell students: You think you have come here to learn the truth. And that when you leave you’re going to know a lot. But if you leave any wiser than you are now it’s because you’ve come to realise how much you still don’t know, how much you’ll never know, and how much people teach by showing you a kind of truth which isn’t much more than someone’s narrative on life.

It doesn’t mean everything I’ll teach you is wrong. It just means not everything I’ll teach turns out to be right.

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5 thoughts on “If teaching weren’t propagandistic

    • Yes, I’ve gone back to school for a master’s and I feel it too. What is ironic is that some teachers do want you – and tell you – to think critically… Outside the class, that is.

      It’s interesting that in a time like this Economics teachers should sound too sure of themselves… How do they usually address the dilemmas faced by political decision-makers? Do they admit there’s a degree of uncertainty and unpredictability to it all, or are all people in power just idiots who haven’t consulted with the right experts?

      (And now I wonder if what I just said has anything to do with what you meant, at all!)

      • My professor is a pure capitalist if I’ve ever seen one. If economics is admittedly mainly theory, and the theories aren’t working, I think maybe someone should challenge the theory. He even condemns the authors of the textbook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the any economic research for offering other perspectives. I love economics, business and finance but my supposedly encouraged critical thinking often is unwanted.

        • Well, some people, when faced with facts that don’t conform to their theories, think: maybe it’s time to revise this theory. Other people know their theory to be such a good one, that they can’t think of a reason why the stupid world hasn’t begun to behave as it should, yet. And then there’s most people, who really don’t understand what the fuss is all about and just want to watch their soap in peace. And I think they’re into something, because they’ll live longer and happier than any of us 😀

          Anyway, being right is not about telling the most accurate narration of the facts. It’s about making other people perceive and acknowledge you as being right. And that concerns rhetoric, drama classes, an honest face and a PHD or other impressive title. And, most of all, acting serious and never questioning your knowledge in public.

          Have you ever entered an argument where at some point you start questioning your own position but you have been so persuasive that the other party has now joined your perspective? It’s usually in those moments that I have an insight into what makes someone “right” – in this case, me – when, ironically, I was wrong after all.

          The problem seems to be that we’re hardwired to prove ourselves right – and attain social status – not to prove ourselves wrong. So critical thinking is very nice, as long as it’s there to prove someone else wrong. Not us, never us. Because we’re more clever than that. And if we’re teaching, well, it’s not just that we don’t like being wrong, but that everyone expects us to be right. All of the time.

          But since thinking critically is one of educator’s favourite slogans, they keep telling us to practice it… preferably on someone else’s theories.

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