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View Full Version : NZ Teacher Busted for Peddling Conspracy Theories...



Graham2001
2007-Feb-18, 01:21 PM
... claims she was promoting 'critical thinking':mad:

See: http://tinyurl.com/yv4ebb (Not sure how long this will last)


...Apollo Moon landing was an elaborate hoax filmed in Area 51 and that astronaut Neil Armstrong was a fictitious character invented to deceive the masses.

Oh how I wish Buzz was in NZ right now....

BigDon
2007-Feb-18, 03:06 PM
So you can bust teachers for this. Cool. There is this colledge proffesser around here saying we never went to the moon.

Neverfly
2007-Feb-18, 03:23 PM
From the article:


Dean of Education at the University of Auckland John Langley said he found Gillon's actions "quite disturbing" and believed she "needed to be spoken to and counselled very strongly".

I'm glad that she's going to get a good stern talking to... :rolleyes:

pzkpfw
2007-Feb-18, 08:05 PM
[As a Kiwi the bit the stood out for me was "wife of former Alliance MP...".]

Anyway, I recall a thread from here (or maybe Apollohoax) where a teacher reported how s/he had asked if any of his/her students believed Apollo was hoaxed.

Then showed "the movie" (the Fox one, I think). Asked the question again.

Then debunked all the claims (or many of them), using resources such as Clavius etc. Asked the question again.

Results were pretty much what you'd guess, and the students learned how they could be swayed by a slick documentary that is none-the-less wrong.

That would be a reasonable lesson in critical thinking (as claimed but not practiced by the teacher in that news report).

So I'd hate to see all teachers banned from mentioning certain conspiracy theories; as long as the information (and teacher) are "balanced".

Cheers,

Gillianren
2007-Feb-18, 08:12 PM
That was here.

Yeah, I'm not sure how this is "teaching critical thinking." As said before, analyzing the evidence to make a determination one way or another? That's teaching critical thinking. "Nuh uh, we didn't"? Not so much.

Damien Evans
2007-Feb-19, 02:04 AM
All i can say is, I'm glad that wasn't my history teacher, or she probably would have half a head by now...

Graham2001
2007-Feb-19, 03:08 PM
All i can say is, I'm glad that wasn't my history teacher, or she probably would have half a head by now...

I'm more curious about she got her hands on her qualifications, off the back of a weeties packet or what....

Count Zero
2007-Feb-19, 08:40 PM
Hmmm, maybe when I'm down there in a couple weeks I could look her up and get "ugly american" all over her aaaaah... maybe not.

BigDon
2007-Feb-19, 08:48 PM
Naaw, Count, that could be construed as bullying women, and that never makes you look good, even if the one in question deserves it.

Occam
2007-Feb-19, 08:50 PM
We have idiots here, too. Some of them are teachers. Clearly that woman has no business being anywhere near impressionable minds. This only serves to confirm my long held belief that education is ultimately the job of the parent. School is merely a tool to be used.

JayUtah
2007-Feb-19, 09:04 PM
My brother-in-law teaches high school science. He and I have often talked about the role of conspiracy theories in critical thinking exercises. It's easy enough in theory: present students with an attractive but poorly-supported theory, then show them how to test it systematically and separate hype and supposition from fact and reason.

But since the exercise occurs in two phases -- Subversion and Rectification -- you run a number of practical risks. In one occurrence in New Jersey that occurred several years ago, the teacher unwisely let a substitute conduct the Subversion phase in his absence. It was a disaster; the students wrongly believed they were being shown the Fox program as a bona fide lesson. And in a public elementary education setting you will find objection to subversion for any reason.

He and I have worked on and off for about three years trying to devise a viable critical-thinking lesson plan for high-school students anchored around the moon hoax theory, but it's just a hard problem. And it's sad, because the principal value in teaching critical thinking is to help students not be taken in by the attractive and poorly-reasoned propositions they're going to encounter as adults.

By far the most amusing classroom experience comes from my mother, who teaches public speaking and argumentation at a northern U.S. university. One of her students proposed a persuasive speech on how the moon landings had been faked. She said, "My son the engineer is one of the leading authorities on debunking that theory." The student chose a different topic.

jscotti
2007-Feb-28, 02:59 AM
... claims she was promoting 'critical thinking':mad:

See: http://tinyurl.com/yv4ebb (Not sure how long this will last)


I was surprised at the outcome of this. I got an e-mail from one of this moron's students. She was sure the Moonlandings were real despite what her Social Studies teacher said and had found my Moonlanding hoax debunking website (http://pirlwww.lpl.arizona.edu/%7Ejscotti/NOT_faked/), but wanted my help. I responded to her, but didn't expect such positive results. She sent me a followup e-mail with the URL for this article.

Jim.

Obviousman
2007-Feb-28, 08:05 AM
Do we know the results of the investigation?

Dave J
2007-Feb-28, 07:28 PM
Actually, it would be an interesting "launchpad" for teaching science. You start with a common hoax "theory", like the alleged thermal conditions on the Moon, then pick them apart with the facts of thermodynamics, heat transfer, etc.
But just to have them watch a slick flick, then ask them if they agree, I strongly suspect few highschoolers around here would pass that little test without some counterbalancing "reality check" and factual information.
Yeah lady, that little exercise could have been done a little differently. Probably believes in the 25000mph LEO too...(we have a full 6 minute horizon to horizon ISS pass tomorrow night, should be awesome...saw it last night for a few minutes, as bright as Sirius (but dwarfed by Venus toi the west!)

NEOWatcher
2007-Feb-28, 07:51 PM
Actually, it would be an interesting "launchpad" for teaching science...
My niece is in a class that is experimenting with a similar concept... the science of movies.
The see a movie (they never know what they are going to see) then discuss the science that the movie involves. It's not all space science (it actually rarely is)
She completely enjoys the class, and I give her some credibility since she is a straight-A student.

Unfortunately the class is in jeopardy, because most of the pupils are not taking the class seriously. They took it with the thought "oooh, movies"

Neverfly
2007-Mar-01, 02:26 AM
My niece is in a class that is experimenting with a similar concept... the science of movies.
The see a movie (they never know what they are going to see) then discuss the science that the movie involves. It's not all space science (it actually rarely is)
She completely enjoys the class, and I give her some credibility since she is a straight-A student.

Unfortunately the class is in jeopardy, because most of the pupils are not taking the class seriously. They took it with the thought "oooh, movies"

a straight -A student? :p


ETA: the dash doesnt bold well does it? :neutral:

Whirlpool
2007-Mar-01, 02:50 AM
... claims she was promoting 'critical thinking':mad:

See: http://tinyurl.com/yv4ebb (Not sure how long this will last)



Oh how I wish Buzz was in NZ right now....


The Apollo Moon landing was an elaborate hoax filmed in Area 51 and that astronaut Neil Armstrong was a fictitious character invented to deceive the masses.The number of Jews killed in the Holocaust had been exaggerated. A commercial airliner did not crash into the Pentagon during the September 11 attack on the United States. Alien life forms were living on Earth.

Gillon told the Herald on Sunday she was merely trying to promote "critical thinking" among

If she is promoting critical thinking , she should have presented facts not hoaxes.


Students have posted comments about Gillon on the ratemyteacher website. One said, while Gillon "does really care about what she is teaching", she did present "a bit too many conspiracy theories, rather than actual facts".

Good thing these students are "Smart" .

;)

Gillianren
2007-Mar-01, 05:02 AM
a straight -A student? :p


ETA: the dash doesnt bold well does it? :neutral:

No, a "straight-A student." It's an adjectival phrase, which gets hyphenated.

Neverfly
2007-Mar-01, 05:28 AM
No, a "straight-A student." It's an adjectival phrase, which gets hyphenated.

yeah i know, i was making an A minus joke...

Sheesh thats the second joke i made today that fell flat.



I need to stick to plumbing:(

Gillianren
2007-Mar-01, 06:29 AM
That would be because, in "a-minus," the minus comes after the a.

Neverfly
2007-Mar-01, 08:03 AM
That would be because, in "a-minus," the minus comes after the a.

Ok Ok ! I know... I Said id stick to plumbing!:p

Paul Beardsley
2007-Mar-01, 10:43 AM
If it's any consolation, Neverfly, your acknowledgement of the flat-fallingness of your jokes made me laugh.

NEOWatcher
2007-Mar-01, 03:13 PM
yeah i know, i was making an A minus joke...

Sheesh thats the second joke i made today that fell flat.

Don't worry, I got a chuckle out of it, and I was the one being spoofed.

I'm just suprised that I did it grammatically correct per Gillianren.

Neverfly
2007-Mar-01, 03:24 PM
Don't worry, I got a chuckle out of it, and I was the one being spoofed.

I'm just suprised that I did it grammatically correct per Gillianren.

you know- at first I took a little offense to it.
But I'm beginning to find it useful. She points out things I didnt know.

JayUtah
2007-Mar-01, 03:33 PM
While I'm happy that teachers can be held accountable for the scientific veracity of what they teach, I'm worried about the rhetorical fallout from situations like this. Putting myself in the place of a paranoid conspiracy theorist, I can see how this story and similar ones could be spun quite easily into a claim that the "truth" is being suppressed by the Powers That Be. Any time a teacher tries to teach the hoax theory he gets slapped down. Clearly those government-controlled schools don't want their claims questioned!

jamini
2007-Mar-01, 03:47 PM
Clearly those government-controlled schools don't want their claims questioned!
It would be more accurate to say that the government (taxpayer) funded schools require teachers to adhere to the curriculum approved by the school boards and not be permitted to waste valuable class time on every wild hair brained scheme a teacher may happen to espouse. Citizens have every right to utilize private schools in lieu of publicly funded institutions if they wish to entertain concepts that lay outside the norm of educational standards.

Neverfly
2007-Mar-01, 03:51 PM
It would be more accurate to say that the government (taxpayer) funded schools require teachers to adhere to the curriculum approved by the school boards and not be permitted to waste valuable class time on every wild hair brained scheme a teacher may happen to espouse. Citizens have every right to utilize private schools in lieu of publicly funded institutions if they wish to entertain concepts that lay outside the norm of educational standards.

HARE-brained scheme:p:p

And such logic has never worked on CT's before.

jamini
2007-Mar-01, 05:07 PM
HARE-brained scheme:p:p
Oops! :doh:


And such logic has never worked on CT's before.
Nor any other form of rational logic that I am aware of. ;)

JayUtah
2007-Mar-01, 05:50 PM
It would be more accurate to say...

I completely agree with you. I should clarify that the last half of my post was meant to sound like it was coming from a conspiracist. It's not what I really believe.

Conspiracy theorists generally don't picture the government as a reflection of public will. They generally see it as a wholly-separate, self-serving oppressor. From that perspective they believe that any government action is more likely to safeguard and extend the government's own hegemony than to benefit the governed.

It doesn't help that school curriculum is sometimes a proxy for the great debates, such as the ongoing mess in Kansas over how the origin of life is to be taught. When public education is so rampantly co-opted to satisfy ideological agendas, it makes it easier for the conspiracists to argue that education as a whole is only a tool for government indoctrination. That in turn gives them pretended cause to dismiss government-educated experts.

Donnie B.
2007-Mar-01, 06:30 PM
HARE-brained scheme:p:pWell, a brain made of hair would also be somewhat underpowered, so the expression still works.

Neverfly
2007-Mar-01, 09:11 PM
Well, a brain made of hair would also be somewhat underpowered, so the expression still works.

When I was a little kid, I thought that the hair went through the scalp and right to the brain. Somehow that clarified for me (at that age) why blondes are dumb.


* Stereotype i know its a joke.

Whirlpool
2007-Mar-02, 03:40 AM
It would be more accurate to say that the government (taxpayer) funded schools require teachers to adhere to the curriculum approved by the school boards and not be permitted to waste valuable class time on every wild hair brained scheme a teacher may happen to espouse. Citizens have every right to utilize private schools in lieu of publicly funded institutions if they wish to entertain concepts that lay outside the norm of educational standards.


umm. im a bit cofused ..
Do you mean that we should use private schools for these kind of concepts that lay outside of the educational standards? Are private schools dont have the same educational standards as the public school has?

:confused:

jamini
2007-Mar-02, 03:46 AM
umm. im a bit cofused ..
Do you mean that we should use private schools for these kind of concepts that lay outside of the educational standards? Are private schools dont have the same educational standards as the public school has?:confused:
Huh? Can you please be more specific and perhaps rephrase that. I honestly have no idea what you are trying to say.

Whirlpool
2007-Mar-02, 04:56 AM
Hi Jamini.

Thanks for clarifying over on PM.

I have misunderstood what you are saying.

;)

Musashi
2007-Mar-02, 04:59 AM
Public schools are funded by the government and have curriculum decided at the local, state and federal levels. Private schools are funded by private dollars (mostly, there are some voucher programs) and are allowed to set practically any curriculum they desire. So, no, private schools are not subject to the same educational standards as public schools (in the USA). This is not inherently better or worse.

jamini
2007-Mar-02, 05:14 AM
No problem Whirlpool - Sometimes I don't even understand what I'm saying. :)

Thanks Musashi That was a sound and clear description of what I was trying to say.

Musashi
2007-Mar-02, 03:42 PM
There are still some administrative controls the government has over private schools. This sentence, from Wisconsin, lists a few:

"...numerous state statutes and administrative rules affect how a private school can administer curriculum, employee regulations and protections, student health services, facilities, enrollment reports, pupil records, special education, and transportation."

I am pretty sure there are also some curriculum minimums they must meet. More from Wisconsin:

"...provides at least 875 hours of instruction each school year,...must provide a sequentially progressive curriculum of fundamental instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and health."

In fact, here is a link to the relevant portions of Wisconsin law:
http://dpi.state.wi.us/sms/psstat.html

Xander
2007-Mar-06, 05:28 AM
Does anyone know if this person kept her job?

Sticks
2007-Mar-06, 03:36 PM
Long before I got involved in that debate, IIRC at High School we had a teacher who mentioned they went along with the Genesis account.

I am waiting for the day when a student is told that ther veracity of the moonlandings is an opinion and not a fact (or has it happened already?)

The nearest we got to lessons about critical thinking was when we were given different newspaper cuttings about the same event, to see how the various rags put their slant on it.

BertL
2007-Mar-06, 03:38 PM
I know a teacher who believes 9/11 is a conspiracy.

He once said "When I watched that documentary Fahrenheit 911, I knew something had to have been wrong..."

Poor bloke.

PhantomWolf
2007-Mar-06, 08:24 PM
"When I watched that documentary Fahrenheit 911, I knew something had to have been wrong..."

Well he was right, he'd shelled out money so that MM could line his pockets even further with a big pack of lies and halftruths. That's totally wrong.