Final Panel Ideas - sorting out D*C proposal!

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kiless

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Feb 17, 2009, 1:43:11 AM2/17/09
to Critical Teaching
Okay, there's been some great buzz - should we narrow it down to what
can be done? We can't exhaust ourselves but can at least provide some
good offerings!

I'm of the impression that this is a great 'template' for future
presentations people could do at other cons / functions and we could
provide great feedback as to 'how this topic went down'. Some of what
I'm proposing here may be WAY too unwieldy and need sensible unpacking
by the professionals like yourselves! :)

I'm also still looking for any more local science teachers (Georgia,
particularly Atlanta) who might be a part of all of this. Sadly, it
appears that the Georgia Science Teachers website is dead as a parrot
and I've since taken to contacting a parent who presented at the
Atlanta SkeptiCamp for some pointers as to who to talk to next. :(

1) * Topic One: Science teaching in the primary and secondary years *
- an overview of what is happening in the USA, perhaps overseas and
what critical thinking teaching and syllabi DOES exist for the younger
years, so it doesn't just have people saying 'there is no such thing'
when (as Mike has said to me before!) that there are in fact great
programs that should be recognised?
Mike and I recently discovered someone doing yet another 'petition'
online to the UK government which was completely oblivious about how
there is a fantastic syllabus in the UK, for example. This would also
include the current issues in Texas that Cathy Stein has mentioned (we
should get something to read out by you if you're not able to attend!
A great soundbite and some suggestions by you!).
Overall, an informative panel dedicated to telling what is happening
_now_ with the younger years, what we think _will_ happen and what are
some really proactive things that can be done and how to support those
who make a difference!
Rather than just more 'let's lobby the government!' or 'we need a
skeptic on the radio / TV!' - let's give some ideas about what factors
are educational-system relevant and what can be done by parents and
pressure groups - that don't just add to the problem?
[I'm also wondering if 'critical thinking' as a topic (as a
different / overlapping discipline) should be included or avoided as
part of another suggested topic - simply because there are other
resources I know of that don't end up in the science class? Like the
Philosophy for Children program. Certainly if someone asks a qu, it
could be talked about though!]

2) Cathy also mentioned - * Topic Two "talk or two on how people learn
thinking skills - would be good. Perhaps even a workshop with some
external critical thinking groups. I think discussions on how to
effectively evaluate educational goals wouldn't go astray" *.
Having heard Margaret Kitson talk about the chaos that 'Brain Gym'
made in her school and how they're running thousand-dollar workshops
that scam schools - and what Barb said about Multiple intelligences -
this could be really cool topic! Should it be a symposium? With the
participants chosing a particular 'bug bear' to discuss? :)
[I am also mindful of this paper - that's in the files under "Carter
and Wheldall.pdf" - ‘Why Can’t A Teacher Be More Like A Scientist?
Science, Pseudoscience and the Art of Teaching’ by Mark Carter and
Kevin Wheldall.]

3) Matt mentioned: * Topic Three: "Provide some stories from our own
classroom experiences about how to handle skeptical topics. These can
either be related to lesson plans designed to deal with a specific
topic (such as "dangers" of EMFs) or personal one-on-one interactions
with students (or even colleagues)."*
This is something that I've become really interested in, after being
an English teacher who was censored from teaching skepticism. And how
there are 'fine lines' about what is 'acceptable' in some communities.
The recent 'psychic said a kid was abused' in Canada and the 'child
who cried demon possession' would be good ethical cases to mention.
Ouija Boards, for example, would be completely out of the question in
some institutions and what support networks out there (or SHOULD be
out there) if a teacher is told to quit? Do we have a 'right' to be
skeptical, in some schools or are we denied that?

4) *Topic Four: Workshop on 'how we are fooled' * - this could really
become something that is a two-parter, with the Mystery Investigators
team, perhaps? They have a 'science show for kids' they could do and
then maybe a panel straight after with them and science teachers about
the impact of demonstrations upon learning and a run-down of really
good lessons that could be done by teachers and / or parents?

I was reminded that Daniel Loxton of Junior Skeptic will be attending
and he might very, very well be the sort of person who does have the
power to provide good direction for us for future projects? I'm
wondering if I should contact him once we've got an idea and see if
he'll join in?


cste...@yahoo.com

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Feb 17, 2009, 10:02:48 AM2/17/09
to Critical Teaching
First, a thought on possible hand outs if anyone is still interested
for TAM or dragon*con.
At the Sigma Pi Sigma congress, we received our packets in really cool
stuff sacks. See http://www.chicobag.com/t-custom_chicobags.aspx. I
have no idea how expensive these things are but they are really cool
and I actually use them.

Second, since my name came up (kiless, you take great notes or have a
great memory for detail) I thought I ought to chime in.

> 1) * Topic One: Science teaching in the primary and secondary years *
> - an overview of what is happening in the USA, perhaps overseas and
> what critical thinking teaching and syllabi DOES exist for the younger
> years, so it doesn't just have people saying 'there is no such thing'
> when (as Mike has said to me before!) that there are in fact great
> programs that should be recognised?
> Mike and I recently discovered someone doing yet another 'petition'
> online to the UK government which was completely oblivious about how
> there is a fantastic syllabus in the UK, for example. This would also
> include the current issues in Texas that Cathy Stein has mentioned (we
> should get something to read out by you if you're not able to attend!
> A great soundbite and some suggestions by you!).

Unfortunately, the US school system is no where near as coordinated in
what it teaches (primary through secondary) as Australia seems to be.
Quite frankly, I have always marveled that basically the same courses
wind up getting taught in a very similar schedule throughout the
country since there is no national curricula. (I'm guessing that
trying to have what colleges need incoming freshman to know helps keep
things somewhat standardized on the basics.) The states develop their
own curricula standards (they are called the Texas Essential Knowledge
and Skills (TEKS) here) and it is up to the local school districts to
implement them. There is very little oversight or ramifications if a
school district deviates (at least in Texas) from what the state
requires.

I was speaking with a former English teacher recently and she said
that they had a great book years ago that helped teach critical
thinking skills. She said it was before its time though and was not
well received. We need to remember that even though the sciences are
an obvious place to teach critical thinking skills, it is not the only
place that students should see it.

Unfortunately, I don't see being able to go to Atlanta this year. If
there is a need for me to write up something specific, I would be
happy to. The TX State Board of Education will be deciding the science
curricula at the end of March and adopting text books based on the new
curricula in 2011. I can get what is required by the TEKS as far as
critical thinking skills goes, but trying to find out what is actually
being implemented statewide would be a costly and time consuming
study.

> 2) Cathy also mentioned - * Topic Two "talk or two on how people learn
> thinking skills - would be good.

I think this would be useful. Looking back on teaching physical
science many, many years ago, I realize that I did a very poor job
teaching the scientific method. To me it is so obvious, so that
learning what the steps are seemed like all that was needed for a
lightbulb experience for the students. I know now that that was far
from what was needed for the majority of my students.

> 3) Matt mentioned: * Topic Three: "Provide some stories from our own
> classroom experiences about how to handle skeptical topics. These can
> either be related to lesson plans designed to deal with a specific
> topic (such as "dangers" of EMFs) or personal one-on-one interactions
> with students (or even colleagues)."*

I think this is very helpful. Also mentioned in another post was how
to handle creationism/evolution. Remember that we have a great paper
by one of our members addressing this for junior high and high school
students.

I thought all of your suggestions were worthy of inclusion. It just
boils down to who has the time and resources to address them. I am
willing to do what I can fit into my schedule as support for those of
you that can get out there and give the talks.

cstein

Mike....@csiro.au

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Feb 17, 2009, 6:20:24 PM2/17/09
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Hey all,

I'm starting to wish I had the funding to make it to D*C this year. I'll see where I stand next year - by then, I might even have a bit more research to contribute. :)

I agree that some sort of 'template' might be a good idea. For the most part, I feel this is necessary to focus the key messages, prioritising the points which are most important to get out there regarding critical thinking and skepticism in education.

In my opinion, these main messages should cover:

1) The curricula from various boards or state departments that already emphasise the need for good science literacy, critical thinking, critical literacy etc. As Kiless said, I cringe every time somebody advocates lobbying an education board or their minister for education in getting critical thinking or skepticism into the curriculum. The problem does not lie on a bureaucratic level! It's one that lies with the experience, understanding and behaviour of the individual teacher.

2) Skepticism and critical thinking are not the same thing, however are both useful (and intimately entwined). The former is a philosophy and a set of values, the latter a set of skills that are used to evaluate information. In both cases, neither can be taught via transmission method teaching. Hence 'education' is context dependent. This is my main beef with the JREF, as many of you might already suspect. When it comes to skepticism, not all education is equal. I think it needs to be clear that for an educator to be effective in having their students practice critical thinking, they need to understand precisely what this requires.

3) Critical thinking has to be seen as something that gives, and not takes. It's a positive experience that can help find more robust, more useful answers to questions rather than a means of destroying cherished beliefs.

Each of these three points relates directly to Kiless' three points below. I just felt I needed to put my spin on them. :)

Mike


Mike McRae
Science by Email, CSIRO Education
PO Box 225, Dickson ACT 2602
Phone: 02 6276 6291 Mobile: 0423 596 774
Email: mike....@csiro.au | Web: www.csiro.au/education

badrescher

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Feb 17, 2009, 6:40:26 PM2/17/09
to Critical Teaching


On Feb 16, 10:43 pm, kiless <kil...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Okay, there's been some great buzz - should we narrow it down to what
> can be done? We can't exhaust ourselves but can at least provide some
> good offerings!
...


> 2) Cathy also mentioned - * Topic Two "talk or two on how people learn
> thinking skills - would be good. Perhaps even a workshop with some

Here's the major problem with this topic: we really don't know.

There are many things that we understand do NOT work, but those are
things that apply to all academic areas.

Most of the developmental literature describes various stages of
reasoning (e.g., Piaget), but most of the education literature focuses
on basic academics. For example, phonics approaches are better than
the old-school approaches for reading. Concrete manipulatives help
some students learn math, but harm those who are already struggling.
Although I have seen a good deal of material designed to teach
critical thinking, I have seen little research on its effectiveness. I
have my opinions, but as a parent they may be somewhat biased.


> Having heard Margaret Kitson talk about the chaos that 'Brain Gym'
> made in her school and how they're running thousand-dollar workshops
> that scam schools - and what Barb said about Multiple intelligences -
> this could be really cool topic! Should it be a symposium? With the
> participants chosing a particular 'bug bear' to discuss? :)

There's certainly a lot of crap to discuss. I just wish we could offer
something more positive than critical. I hate that so much of my life
is telling people what NOT to do.


> 3) Matt mentioned: * Topic Three: "Provide some stories from our own
> classroom experiences about how to handle skeptical topics. These can
> either be related to lesson plans designed to deal with a specific
> topic (such as "dangers" of EMFs) or personal one-on-one interactions
> with students (or even colleagues)."*

I certainly have some of these. The problem, though, is sparking that
flame you're trying to avoid - the over-reactions of extremists who
want laws saying you can't use the word "God" in public...


> 4) *Topic Four:  Workshop on 'how we are fooled' * - this could really
> become something that is a two-parter, with the Mystery Investigators
> team, perhaps? They have a 'science show for kids' they could do and
> then maybe a panel straight after with them and science teachers about
> the impact of demonstrations upon learning and a run-down of really
> good lessons that could be done by teachers and / or parents?

I've got a ton of these.

I also had an experience that changed my life when I was in high
school. A magician (I don't know for certain who it was; Randi,
Shermer, & Hyman all suggested it may have been Bob Steiner, but I
haven't tracked him down to confirm it) visited my psychology class
and did some fake psychic demos. The previous week we'd had a "real"
psychic wow us, so we were pretty well primed. After an hour of this,
he admitted that he was not a psychic, then told us about the
Challenge (at the time I think it was $100K and only about 4 years
old) and showed us how he performed each trick. He covered the basics
of cold readings, too. Before this, I was certainly a skeptic, but I
was also a believer. I tried many, many times to study ESP, but, of
course, I didn't know anything about statistics or how to calculate
complex probabilities. That was the death of my belief in woo.

These are the kinds of things that affect students - direct, blunt,
shocking demos that make them question their beliefs.

I also have a success story to share along these lines. My 3rd & 5th
graders asked me about Occam's Razor. I told them that the "simplest"
explanation is not the best way to put it, but that parsimony really
means "the explanation that requires the fewest assumptions". Of
course I had to define "assumptions" for the younger one. Then I said,
"You see someone trip as they walk on the sidewalk. Why do you think
they tripped?"

They gave me a few answers like:
- There was a bump (there are a lot of old sidewalks here that are
bumpy from tree roots pushing them upward)
- He is clumsy
- He lost his balance

Then I ask them which was most likely and why. BOTH of them said that
the bump is most likely because they can see that there are bumps, but
they don't have a reason to think that he was clumsy (no evidence) and
people don't usually lose their balance for no reason.

I'm so proud.... : >

kil...@gmail.com

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Feb 17, 2009, 8:11:37 PM2/17/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Cutting and pasting two conversations!
 
Mike Said:
In my opinion, these main messages should cover:

1) The curricula from various boards or state departments that already emphasise the need for good science literacy, critical thinking, critical literacy etc. As Kiless said, I cringe every time somebody advocates lobbying an education board or their minister for education in getting critical thinking or skepticism into the curriculum. The problem does not lie on a bureaucratic level! It's one that lies with the experience, understanding and behaviour of the individual teacher.

We could probably even do a summary of 'what people think will solve it, what are the issues with that, what are some more proactive directions the general public can supoprt'? Certainly what Cathy has said about '"The TX State Board of Education will be deciding the science curricula at the end of March and adopting text books based on the new curricula in 2011" and what has / is happening with national curriculum in this country are good examples of 'flash moments' where you can seize some initiative and have a say; there is also teacher-training programs, workshop running, support networks (hey, we're doing one right now! :D)...

Mind, it is rather a huge topic - maybe we could prep for such a question, prepare for a future presentation or ask the likes of Derek who is the Director of the track about suitability? Maybe, instead, this could be a 'discussion paper' that could be given out for people to consider? I would certainly like to see our group contribute to publications like the Australian Skeptic, Skeptical Inquirer, Skeptic, et al, on these issues.
 
*Thinking Skills Topic*

Mike Said:  2) Skepticism and critical thinking are not the same thing, however are both useful (and intimately entwined). The former is a philosophy and a set of values, the latter a set of skills that are used to evaluate information. In both cases, neither can be taught via transmission method teaching. Hence 'education' is context dependent. This is my main beef with the JREF, as many of you might already suspect. When it comes to skepticism, not all education is equal. I think it needs to be clear that for an educator to be effective in having their students practice critical thinking, they need to understand precisely what this requires.


3) Critical thinking has to be seen as something that gives, and not takes. It's a positive experience that can help find more robust, more useful answers to questions rather than a means of destroying cherished beliefs.

Barb Said: "Although I have seen a good deal of material designed to teach critical thinking, I have seen little research on its effectiveness. I have my opinions, but as a parent they may be somewhat biased."

Yes, we're currently struggling to get empirical evidence about the efficacy of COI in Western Australia, after implementing it in several states and internationally. Stephen Law, for example, has a lot to say about it, but there just isn't enough for us to be _certain!!_ :/

About this point I'm wondering if I should contact Martin Bridgstock about his experiences teaching a skepticism course and if he can join this group. Whilst it is by no way a 'final say', I'd be interested in what he has done when lecturing on this topic and how it might be tackled?

* Pseudoscience in education topic*
Barb Said: "There's certainly a lot of crap to discuss. I just wish we could offer something more positive than critical. I hate that so much of my life is telling people what NOT to do."

I think we can have a lot of fun with it! :) We can do a bit of the 'horror stories' and then give some polite, proactive suggestions where parents (and teachers and the community!) can present information about certain practices and approach Parent and Teacher meetings and School Boards with a 'we have a concern' attitude.

It was one thing that I felt I did contribute to the panel last year - Lori Lipman Brown and I were in strong agreement that parents can and should check out schools and be like the parents who stopped Dover just steam rolling creationism in.
 
Which leads to Barb's point about: 'I certainly have some of these. The problem, though, is sparking that flame you're trying to avoid - the over-reactions of extremists who want laws saying you can't use the word "God" in public...'

We can stick a sign on the door saying 'Leave Your Penn Jillette At Home'. :p

Bugger it, I've taught exclusively in religious schools and it's just not realistic to be discriminating on such things on either side of the fence. We could ask Daniel Loxton to have a say on this, since he's been battling it for a while?

Ohh!! Speaking of the Penn attitude, I had a great chat with an Atlanta Skeptic who presented at the recent SkeptiCamp in Atlanta, all about Parenting and Skepticism. Check out her Powerpoint and you can see some of the solutions she came up with? I do not, mind, agree with her fully, but that is the sort of message that is being generally promoted. It might be a very useful bounce-off document:
http://tinyurl.com/powerpointskepticparent


I will say - I think the *Topic - How We Are Fooled* will be a winner and I'll let you guys figure out what to do and have fun with! Although I'm doubtful Richard Saunders will join this group, I know he'll be absolutely over the moon to be a part of such a topic. Dr Rachael Dunlop, his assistant, would probably also be a part.

k.

kil...@gmail.com

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Feb 17, 2009, 8:16:14 PM2/17/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Yike, forgot to add: Cathy!



First, a thought on possible hand outs if anyone is still interested
for TAM or dragon*con.
At the Sigma Pi Sigma congress, we received our packets in really cool
stuff sacks. See http://www.chicobag.com/t-custom_chicobags.aspx. I
have no idea how expensive these things are but they are really cool
and I actually use them.

Pretty... gosh! I'm wondering, if like SkeptiCamp, we might get a grant or some funding...gah. :/ Maybe we should start small, get ourselves a profile and then start for future ventures getting sponsorship... how does one get sponsorship? Here we just contact the one and only Educational Booksupplier in the state and they stick their logo on the other side of our fliers and that covers printing of adverts.


 
. Remember that we have a great paper
by one of our members addressing this for junior high and high school
students.

Yes! Getting info like that out is vital.
 


I thought all of your suggestions were worthy of inclusion. It just
boils down to who has the time and resources to address them. I am
willing to do what I can fit into my schedule as support for those of
you that can get out there and give the talks.

Please make sure no one gets too overwhelmed! I think that's why I'm pondering all the panels, if some could be set for the future or lead onto 'goals' that could be disseminated in other ways.


badrescher

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Feb 17, 2009, 10:42:25 PM2/17/09
to Critical Teaching
Amen. (Hey, has anyone else come across religious valentines? My
older son got one...)

On Feb 17, 3:20 pm, <Mike.Mc...@csiro.au> wrote:
> Hey all,
>
> I'm starting to wish I had the funding to make it to D*C this year. I'll see where I stand next year - by then, I might even have a bit more research to contribute. :)
>
> I agree that some sort of 'template' might be a good idea. For the most part, I feel this is necessary to focus the key messages, prioritising the points which are most important to get out there regarding critical thinking and skepticism in education.
>
> In my opinion, these main messages should cover:
>
> 1) The curricula from various boards or state departments that already emphasise the need for good science literacy, critical thinking, critical literacy etc. As Kiless said, I cringe every time somebody advocates lobbying an education board or their minister for education in getting critical thinking or skepticism into the curriculum. The problem does not lie on a bureaucratic level! It's one that lies with the experience, understanding and behaviour of the individual teacher.
>
> 2) Skepticism and critical thinking are not the same thing, however are both useful (and intimately entwined). The former is a philosophy and a set of values, the latter a set of skills that are used to evaluate information. In both cases, neither can be taught via transmission method teaching. Hence 'education' is context dependent. This is my main beef with the JREF, as many of you might already suspect. When it comes to skepticism, not all education is equal. I think it needs to be clear that for an educator to be effective in having their students practice critical thinking, they need to understand precisely what this requires.
>
> 3) Critical thinking has to be seen as something that gives, and not takes. It's a positive experience that can help find more robust, more useful answers to questions rather than a means of destroying cherished beliefs.
>
> Each of these three points relates directly to Kiless' three points below. I just felt I needed to put my spin on them. :)
>
> Mike
>
> Mike McRae
> Science by Email, CSIRO Education
> PO Box 225, Dickson  ACT  2602
> Phone: 02 6276 6291     Mobile:  0423 596 774
> Email: mike.mc...@csiro.au | Web:www.csiro.au/education

badrescher

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Feb 18, 2009, 1:42:34 AM2/18/09
to Critical Teaching


On Feb 17, 5:11 pm, "kil...@gmail.com" <kil...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Mike Said:
>
> In my opinion, these main messages should cover:
> > 1) The curricula from various boards or state departments that already
> > emphasise the need for good science literacy, critical thinking, critical
...
> We could probably even do a summary of 'what people think will solve it,
> what are the issues with that, what are some more proactive directions the
> general public can supoprt'? Certainly what Cathy has said about '"The TX

I agree whole-heartedly with Mike that individuals are the key. Even
with a forced curriculum, if the teacher doesn't get it, the kids
won't. In most cases, I don't think the standards themselves are what
needs to be changed; most are more comprehensive than people think.
Your suggestion of a "things to think about" type of paper is a good
idea.

> I would
> certainly like to see our group contribute to publications like the
> Australian Skeptic, Skeptical Inquirer, Skeptic, et al, on these issues.

Yeah. When the big D is off my plate, I will definitely work on that.

> *Thinking Skills Topic*
> About this point I'm wondering if I should contact Martin Bridgstock about
> his experiences teaching a skepticism course and if he can join this group.
> Whilst it is by no way a 'final say', I'd be interested in what he has done
> when lecturing on this topic and how it might be tackled?

Is his course at the secondary level?

> * Pseudoscience in education topic*
> Lipman Brown and I were in strong agreement that parents can and should
> check out schools and be like the parents who stopped Dover just steam
> rolling creationism in.

How about a side trip to Louisiana to talk some sense into that
bunch? ; P

> Which leads to Barb's point about: 'I certainly have some of these. The
> problem, though, is sparking that flame you're trying to avoid - the
> over-reactions of extremists who want laws saying you can't use the word
> "God" in public...'
>
> We can stick a sign on the door saying 'Leave Your Penn Jillette At Home'.

LOL! But I agree with him on a lot of stuff! Also, he may not
tolerate the religious, but passing laws about ANYTHING are probably
not on his list of things to lobby for! Regardless, I get it.

> *http://tinyurl.com/powerpointskepticparent*

Ugh. I'm sorry, but this turned me off immediately, and I have to talk
about it. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SKIP DOWN to the next Kylie quote.

She would have been better off sticking with the facts about pregnancy
and early childhood claims (caffeine, co-sleeping, circumcision,
breast-feeding, etc.).

She starts with a definition of skepticism that is just wrong.
Skepticism is not about questioning claims which lack evidence. Claims
that lack evidence are a no-brainer. It's about evaluating the
evidence for claims. There's a big difference. Then she discusses the
decision to become a parent as if it is somehow important to have more
babies because we need to outnumber the faithful. She implies that the
religious decision to forgo birth control is irrational. It's TOTALLY
rational. If you believe that to control birth (or death) is God's job
and birth control is killing an unborn child, it's perfectly rational.
I don't agree with the premises, but the argument is valid.

"Be prepared that skeptical children are not always the best behaved,
and may not be suited for all child care/public school situations.
Private school/homeschool may be necessary (great option for paranoid
libertarian types!)"

WTF?? I can take my kids ANYWHERE. Skepticism has ZIP to do with how
well-behaved children are. Children who have boundaries and know what
to expect in response to their behavior are well-behaved. That has
nothing to do with teaching them to think. I don't teach my children
"respect for evidence over authority". Respect does not mean you have
to believe what a teacher says over what the evidence says and
questioning the message is not disrespecting the messenger.

I don't prepare my children for others telling them they're going to
hell because they won't hear that. My children believe in God... at
the moment. I didn't raise atheists. I'm not telling them what to
think. I'm teaching them HOW to think. Of course they believe in God.
They're children. When they have put enough thought into it, I am
quite certain that both will reject the concept outright. They're
already halfway there.

President Obama's mom was an atheist. SO WHAT?

Okay, sorry about that. Back to regular programming.

> I will say - I think the *Topic - How We Are Fooled* will be a winner and
> I'll let you guys figure out what to do and have fun with! Although I'm

I have a few options for that one that are ready to go:

- Visual Illusions
- Reversed Audio clips & visual examples of the effects of expectation
on perception
- Cognitive biases & reasoning errors
- Change blindness and Selective attention (Wiseman's video at TAM6 is
a good example)
- Probabilities & chance outcomes - I have a great ESP demo in which I
ask students to try to predict which shape or color will appear next
in a series of about 25 trials (Zenar-Card type), then discuss the
expected ranges of scores. This can go along with discussions of
sample-size fallacy, illusory conjunctions, and conjunction errors.

All are interactive in that the audience gets a chance to "test their
skills" at something fun and will do the "ooo" and "aaahhh" thing for
a lot of it.

-Barb

kil...@gmail.com

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Feb 18, 2009, 3:34:28 AM2/18/09
to critical...@googlegroups.com
Just quick note (long day at work and argh....) -

> *http://tinyurl.com/powerpointskepticparent*

Ugh. I'm sorry, but this turned me off immediately, and I have to talk
about it. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SKIP DOWN to the next Kylie quote.

Yes - I think the big thing we have to recognise is this is what's being said by an example of a skeptical parent and being nodded at by the crowd? And whilst not all parents would agree, nor audience... I guess it's something that we can do something about proactively. Maybe I should tell Daniel Loxton about it too - as a dad, he seems to be much more on Barb's mindset!!

MInd,  I'm glad when I wrote to the author of that presentation, saying,  'I'm not onside for several reasons, but I'd still like to know if you'll be at D*C and for me to pass you on some books' that she was responsive and interested! :) Penn is, for good or bad, a somewhat 'role model', with his contributions to the likes of Dale McGowan's book on 'Parenting Beyond Belief' (I think McGowan even spoke to the Atlanta Skeptics?).

So, here's to somewhere between extremes of that and (urgh) Jenny McCarthy... :(

badrescher

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Feb 18, 2009, 2:37:38 PM2/18/09
to Critical Teaching


On Feb 18, 12:34 am, "kil...@gmail.com" <kil...@gmail.com> wrote:
> So, here's to somewhere between extremes of that and (urgh) Jenny
> McCarthy... :(

Ugh. Don't get me started. I hope the latest news has put her in her
place.

What I like about Penn is that he at least listens with an open mind
(a true skeptic) and admits when he's not being rational.

-Barb

Matt Lowry

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Feb 19, 2009, 10:15:35 PM2/19/09
to Critical Teaching
Regarding what's below:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
3) Matt mentioned: * Topic Three: "Provide some stories from our own
classroom experiences about how to handle skeptical topics. These can
either be related to lesson plans designed to deal with a specific
topic (such as "dangers" of EMFs) or personal one-on-one interactions
with students (or even colleagues)."*
This is something that I've become really interested in, after being
an English teacher who was censored from teaching skepticism. And how
there are 'fine lines' about what is 'acceptable' in some communities.
The recent 'psychic said a kid was abused' in Canada and the 'child
who cried demon possession' would be good ethical cases to mention.
Ouija Boards, for example, would be completely out of the question in
some institutions and what support networks out there (or SHOULD be
out there) if a teacher is told to quit? Do we have a 'right' to be
skeptical, in some schools or are we denied that?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I have many stories & lessons related to such things. In the days to
come, I will attempt to summarize them for the list. I'd be happy to
provide handouts & packets on these for the SkepTrack session, as well
as performing some demos live if people are interested.

Cheers - Matt

Matt Lowry

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Feb 19, 2009, 10:24:09 PM2/19/09
to Critical Teaching
Btw, I strongly suggest we have at least *one* activity that
incorporates the audience. I think if we can take a page from Richard
Wiseman's spoonbending trick at TAM6, we can go a long way towards
making our session(s) more useful by including some kind of audience
participation.

Cheers - Matt

badrescher

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Feb 20, 2009, 9:32:51 PM2/20/09
to Critical Teaching
As I discussed in the other thread, just about anything that I bring
to it will involve the audience.
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