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Topic: Re: "by type" and Problem solving
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Michael Paul Goldenberg

Posts: 7,041
From: Ann Arbor, MI
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: "by type" and Problem solving
Posted: Dec 9, 1995 10:30 PM
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At 7:58 PM 12/9/95, Juliet J. Rogers wrote:
>Dear MG:
>Am I incorrect to interpret your message that a teacher's reflections are
>insignificant and that they must be a subject of a research study to
>carry any weight?
>Although anecdotal evidence is not always considered to be scientific
>method...sometimes it is extremely important. In fact, because we are
>very individual learners it is imperative for teachers to be sensitive to
>daily actions and there corresponding reactions.


Yes, that interpretation would be quite incorrect. I am in fact suggesting
quite the opposite. My point was and is that there's a huge difference
between, on the one hand, reflection on one's practice and what one
perceives to be the case with particular students, and, on the other, gross
generalizations about ALL students and EVERYONE'S practice. In addition, I
was suggesting, based on some experience with Mr. Lutemann, that he isn't
even bothering to give us any basis for his conclusions: he's simply
stating his opinions as if they were clearly established facts.

Anyone who knows my work would tell you that I am quite interested in the
reflections of educators (and even researchers, who, I've been told, are
also valuable, sometimes intelligent human beings). I would never attempt
to devalue, in general, the reflections of educational practitioners at all
grade levels. But I make no bones about questioning the basis for the
claims people make. In the case of Mr. Lutemann (and, I might add, Mr.
Toom), I exercise what I consider to be well-justified skepticism. We all
have biases that inform our perceptions and judgment. When I write about my
research, I try very hard to make as many of mine explicit as I can (to the
extent that doing so seems relevant). I'm simply asking that we all make an
effort to restrict the scope of our claims to that which seems plausible
(i.e., the experiences and insights of one teacher in a particular time and
place may be very useful for other educators, but it can hardly be
considered THE DEFINITIVE experiences or perceptions). And when one is as
as biased against the NCTM Standards as some folks on this list clearly
are, it would be reasonable to expect them to provide more than simply a
statement of opinion. I can accept anecdotal evidence (though I reserve the
right to make my own judgments as to its "meaning"; but I believe it would
be foolish to simply accept assertions that aren't supported by anything
more than someone's claim that an opinion is a fact.

|Michael Paul Goldenberg
|University of Michigan 310 E. Cross St.
|School of Education 4002 Ypsilanti, MI 48198
|Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259 (313) 482-9585
|(313) 747-2244
|"Truth is a mobile army of metaphors."
|Friedrich Nietzsche

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