3 of 3
3
Promoting Humanism and Secular Values in the Classroom
Posted: 12 September 2011 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9283
Joined  2006-08-29
Gallant Skeptic - 12 September 2011 11:06 AM

the textbook contained a reading that discussed the Mormon religion and their “unique” ideas about marriage. Moreover, this reading was in a regular ESL textbook.

Nothing wrong with learning facts. But is one thing to learn about the Mormons which is very different from applying some form of “critical thinking” to evaluate the truth of their beliefs.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 September 2011 02:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  419
Joined  2007-08-24

Paul, thanks for your link.  I will read through it when I have more time.  I just watched “Wilde” and my eyes are still filled with tears.  I too came from a Fundamentalist family of Mormons and my childhood was loaded with restrictions from my playmates including who I met at the beach.  Santa Monica here and I was able to get my freedom when I was sent to a private boarding school until I finished High School.  That is where I met Darwin’s books and I was hooked for good.  I would like to read what you have written and, of course, why.  I just returned to California and at this time, I can’t remember why I left.  I’m home and will not stray again.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 September 2011 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1396
Joined  2010-04-22
Gallant Skeptic - 12 September 2011 11:06 AM

You are quite right Andrew; however, most of my classes are advanced. I would never ask students to read or write on something like a Richard Dawkins or PZ Myers interview that focuses on the topic of religion; that would be overtly biased. With that being said, however, I taught a course last year to a group of low level intermediate students, and the textbook contained a reading that discussed the Mormon religion and their “unique” ideas about marriage. Moreover, this reading was in a regular ESL textbook. The class I was teaching was primarily Korean, and I was happy that a mainstream ESL textbook had a reading explaining some of the more extreme Mormon practices because it seemed to me that students who had read this article would be less likely to allow a Mormon proselytizer to persuade them.

This is precisely what I mean by promoting rationalism, not by preaching but by educating.

In that case, it sounds like you have a pretty good handle on your situation. Just keep the torch aloft, man.

 Signature 

“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 September 2011 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2886
Joined  2011-08-15

I know that I’m way behind here but to return to gallant’s original post, in what manner do the English teachers foist religious instruction on the students? Are they quoting bible passages or espousing Christian doctrine? If so, then in what manner do you propose to counteract this? Are the students from non-western cultures and have no knowledge of the Christian faith? That might pose a problem for a student who hasn’t been exposed to the many forms of Christianity. But ARE there any left? Central Africa perhaps? Or one of the Southeast Asian islands? Missionaries have covered the globe over the past 400 years. My point is that your students may be able to discern for themselves what is being slipped into the curriculum. Either way, your best bet is to wait until they ask you what you believe, if indeed they do.

Cap’t Jack

 Signature 

One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.

Thomas Paine

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 September 2011 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5179
Joined  2010-06-16

Sorry Sandy, I thought we were a bit further apart.  I turn 81 in two weeks.

Occam

 Signature 

Succinctness, clarity’s core.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 September 2011 06:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  202
Joined  2011-09-02
Gallant Skeptic - 10 September 2011 12:55 PM

Let me explain something about my field first. I teach in a somewhat unique field, that of English as second or foreign language. In other words, I teach people from countries in which English is not the native language to speak English. Moreover, let me tell you something about this field. There tend to be two types who enter into this field, those who want to travel and see the world, and those religious zealots looking for a means to travel the world in order to spread their religious propaganda.

In consideration of this fact, I’ve been thinking for some time now about how, as an educator, I can promote humanist and rationalistic beliefs in the classroom without inadvertently stepping into the area of overtly proselytizing or preaching to the class, which I would deem to be inappropriate. I see no reason why this field should be surrendered to religion. Moreover, It seems to me that as a humanist, I am in a position to do people, who might not have been exposed to religious propaganda in the past, a huge favor by inoculating their minds against the nonsense they are likely to encounter from my colleagues who are pushing their religious nonsense.

I’m not certain how I should go about this though, and I was hoping that some people on this forum might have some ideas. I think it’s much more clear how one can promote humanism and freethought in a science or philosophy classroom, but things are much more sketchy in a classroom such as that which I work in. I look forward to hearing any ideas others might have.

hey Gallant, teach ‘em this one

The roots of the word have been defined as follows: super- “above”, cali- “beauty”, fragilistic- “delicate”, expiali- “to atone”, and docious- “educable”, with the sum of these parts signifying roughly “Atoning for educability through delicate beauty.”

Mary Poppins:
When trying to express oneself, it’s frankly quite absurd,
To leaf through lengthy lexicons to find the perfect word.
A little spontaniaty keeps conversation keen,
You need to find a way to say, precisely what you mean…

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Even though the sound of it is something quite atrosicous!
If you say it loud enough, you’ll always sound precocious,

Ensemble:
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Um-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye
Um-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye

Mary Poppins:
When Stone Age men were chatting, merely grunting would suffice.

Bert:
Now if they heard this word, they might have used it once or twice!

Mrs. Corry:
I’m sure Egyptian pharoahs would have grasped it in a jiff,
Then every single pyramid would bear this hieroglyph;

Oh!
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Say it and wild animals would not seem so ferocious!

Mary Poppins:
Add some further flourishes, it’s so ro-co-co-coscious!

Ensemble:
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Um-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye
Um-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye
Um-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye
Um-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye

Bert:
The Druids could have carved it on their mighty monoliths!

Mrs. Corry:
I’m certain the ancient Greeks would have used it in their midst!

Mary Poppins:
I’m sure the Roman Empire only entered the abyss,
Because those Latin scholars never had a word like this!

Ensemble:
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Mary Poppins:
If you say it softly the effect can be hypnoscious!

Bert:
Check your breath before you speak, in case it’s halitotious!

Ensemble:
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Um-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye
Um-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye
Um-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye
Um-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye

Mary Poppins (spoken):
Of course you can say it backwards, which is Suoicodilaipxecitsiligarfilacrepus!

Michael (spoken):
She may be tricky, but she’s bloody good!

Mary Poppins:
So when the cat has got your tongue, there’s no need for dismay!
Just summon up this word and then you’ve got a lot to say!

Bert:
Pick out those eighteen consonants and sixteen vowels as well,
And put them in an order which is very hard to spell…

Mary Poppins:
S-u-p-e-r
C-a-l-i-f-
R-a-g-i-l-

Jane and Michael:
I-s-t-i-c-e-x-p-i-a-l-i-d-o-c-i-o-u-s!

Ensemble:
S-u-p-e-r
C-a-l-i-f-
R-a-g-i-l-
I-s-t-i-c-e-x-p-i-a-l-i-d-o-c-i-o-u-s!

S-u-p-e-r
C-a-l-i-f-
R-a-g-i-l-
I-s-t-i-c-e-x-p-i-a-l-i-d-o-c-i-o-u-s!

S-u-p-e-r
C-a-l-i-f-
R-a-g-i-l-
I-s-t-i-c-e-x-p-i-a-l-i-d-o-c-i-o-u-s!

Bert (spoken):
Here we go!

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Even though the sound of it is something quite atroscious!
If you say it loud enough, you’ll always sound precocious,
Supercalifragilistic-

Jane and Michael:
Supercalifragilistic-

Ensemble:
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

[ Edited: 12 September 2011 06:40 PM by ohio204 ]
Profile
 
 
   
3 of 3
3