Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Teach Students To ASK First

On the Little Green Footballs site there's a link to an article about a soldier receiving tasteless letters from sixth graders in Brooklyn. No matter how you feel about this it is never a good idea to allow students to engage in writing letters of conjecture. Students need to learn the correct way to voice their opinions. What a teachable moment this could have been for the Brooklyn teacher to use for his/her students? Here's another scenario that could have happened.
(the following my fabicated solution to the students who wrote the "tasteless letters")
Soldiers receive letters from some Brooklyn students with some very well thought out questions re: the war in Iraq.
Then the questions could be "reporter like" in tone. What is your job description as a soldier? It's being reported that Mosques are being burned down? What is the most difficult aspect of your job? Do you ever feel bad about the happenings in Iraq? Why?
It seems more productive to teach students to GATHER the facts, ASK the right questions and WRITE their answers, before jumping to conclusions about a topic discussed in class. You also now have to teach the students that, while they are making news, at what cost? They cannot undo what's been done.

Unless the letters of conjecture serve a therapeutic purpose. A psychiatrist ought to manage this. And then they at least can be burnt and never sent. I find this sort of letter highly therapeutic.
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