Monday, April 11, 2011

"Literacies" Make You Stupid

I'm afraid this post by Bob Sprankle, via Stephen, demonstrates that a) teaching all disciplines well is difficult for an elementary school teacher, and b) replacing disciplines with "literacies" makes you stupid. You cannot simply replace "science" with "literacy in science" or "information literacy;" reading about science is not the same as thinking and acting scientifically. It is too easy for teachers to forget what science is, or realize they've forgotten, if they ever knew in the first place.

A math example is perhaps a bit clearer. If an elementary school student asks his teacher "How can I figure out how many bags of sand do we need to fill the new sandbox in the playground?" and the teacher thinks to him or herself, "Let's look up the answer on the internet and use this as a teachable moment in information literacy," I think just about everyone would agree that the teacher is marching down the wrong trail.


Bob Sprankle said...

Er... did you not catch the part about the need for "critical thinking?"

Tom Hoffman said...

Critical thinking and scientific thinking aren't the same thing, which is exactly my point.