Friday, December 07, 2007

That's Not Exactly What I Meant...

Will writes:

But I also don’t fall all the way to the Tom Hoffman side of the fence that says citizenship is little more than what many (though not Tom) would call information literacy.

Will and I had a brief IM chat the other day, while he was on his way to a conference stage somewhere, and I guess I didn't make my points very well.

I don't think that having critical habits of mind are the entirety of citizenship. In fact, I'd say that preparing young people to be citizens -- citizenship -- is the primary function of a public school. So virtually everything you do, from government class to the pep rally, should ultimately be seen as teaching some component of citizenship, finding your place in the polis.

One feeling I keep returning to is that the fundamental error in discussions of "information literacy" "digital citizenship," etc., is a confusion of ends and means. Analyzing different points of view, interpretation, criticism, questioning and determining what is "true" (or if "truth" exists) -- these often come off not as the pinnacle of the educational process, which they are, but as a pre-requisite for writing a research paper.

2 comments:

Will said...

"Analyzing different points of view, interpretation, criticism, questioning and determining what is "true" (or if "truth" exists) -- these often come off not as the pinnacle of the educational process, which they are, but as a pre-requisite for writing a research paper."

And this goes back to what I was trying to say in our chat, that I don't think most see that process as the "pinnacle of the education process." The pinnacle as most see it is passing the test, and the test doesn't assess that stuff.

Tom Hoffman said...

Well, the whole discourse is so screwed up it is impossible to even have a conversation. People don't really believe that the goal of education is to pass the test. They believe their job is for their students to pass the test.

The real problem is that if you say "the goal of education is 'X'," they can say, "Of course! But how can you do 'X' if you can't first pass this simple reading test?!"