Thinking about thinking 
Author Message
 Thinking about thinking

I judged two rounds of debate yesterday.   http://www.*-*-*.com/

After I watched and listened to four most amazing young men and women go at
each other for 80 minute rounds I began to wonder if the purpose of
programming in Logo is to develop ones thinking skills maybe it is not the
most efficient(time and money) use of a students study time.

I doubt that sitting at a computer programming the turtle would ever produce
such poised, well spoken, able to think on their feet under pressure,
critical thinkers as formal debate tournaments do.     Dale

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Fri, 29 Oct 2004 13:16:37 GMT  
 Thinking about thinking

Quote:

> if the purpose of programming in Logo is to develop ones thinking skills
maybe
> it is not the most efficient(time and money) use of a students study time.

Questions of efficiency should be answered by the student. So should
questions about the purpose of any activity.

Quote:
> I doubt that sitting at a computer programming the turtle would ever
produce
> such poised, well spoken, able to think on their feet under pressure,
> critical thinkers as formal debate tournaments do.

Let's dump Logo and start debating... in the interest of poise under
pressure, of course!
Really, Dale, I find your comments most out of character. What's up. Are you
going mainstream on us?

Tom

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Fri, 29 Oct 2004 13:21:44 GMT  
 Thinking about thinking

Quote:
> I doubt that sitting at a computer programming the turtle would ever produce
> such poised, well spoken, able to think on their feet under pressure,
> critical thinkers as formal debate tournaments do.     Dale

To the contrary.  In the nature of things, debaters must be able to
adopt either side of a question and argue it, whether believing that
side has "the right" or not.  Debate thus teaches hypocracy and
skills in following after falsehoods.  As another correspondent
remarked, from such training we inherit politicians and lawyers.

Any programmer is required, to be successful, to be utterly logical,
analytical, and a slave to "truth"; software is remarkably free of
compromise, tolerance of superstition, or hypocracy.  If you were
supposed to say "rt 30" and you said "rt 31", it is going to come back
to bite you when your dodecagon doesn't close properly.

Logo programmers may or may not be successful at winning arguments on
their feet, but I'd suggest that they are much better equipped to deal
with real life, where both sides of an issue are typically _not_ of
equal value, and skills at analyzing where the right lies are highly
useful.

xanthian.

--
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Fri, 29 Oct 2004 13:52:11 GMT  
 Thinking about thinking

Quote:
>> Are you going mainstream on us?

>Tom my question is not mainstream for the LogoForum.  There have been two
>interesting comments so far and I am looking forward to what Brian Harvey
>has to say.

>Just thinking outside the box. Stirring the pot. Delurking the troops.
>Things were kinda slow and actually, no joking, I was doing some thinking
>myself after my very first formal debate experience.

>These were homeschool debaters so no one was forcing anyone to do anything.
>In fact everyone was having a very good time. Debators, parents, little
>brothers and sisters, judges, organizers...

>Especially me.

Dale,

I'm glad you brought up the topic of public speaking.  My father required
his boys (unfortunately he didn't think females belonged in the work place)
to take drafting and speech in high school.  My 2 brothers and I all
benefitted from taking speech.  I was very shy and reserved and taking the
speech class was an excellent experience for me.  I entered high school
speech tournaments in impromtu, humorous interpretation, and debate.  All
of it was valuable but the debate developed the most useful skills which
helped me to be a better overall student in school.  I'm very sad that
there is no speech elective class in my old high school today.

However, I agree with Chuck Friesen that debate and Logo programming
involve very different problem solving skills.  Both are important.

-John

John St. Clair  Vina Danks Middle School, Ontario-Montclair School District

LogoForum moderator    Board of Directors - Global SchoolNet Foundation

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Fri, 29 Oct 2004 14:41:02 GMT  
 Thinking about thinking

Quote:
>>Tom my question is not mainstream for the LogoForum.  There have been two
>>interesting comments so far and I am looking forward to what Brian Harvey
>>has to say.

:-)

I agree with both sides, and I'm not sure I have anything interesting to
add...  Yes, I think debate can teach that truth doesn't matter, which
does indeed help grow lawyers; but yes, I think there is a fluency with
verbal reasoning that isn't exactly the same thing as program debugging
or mathematical reasoning, and these days I teach a lot of engineering
undergrads who can't put together a coherent and well-reasoned paper
even though they're terrific programmers.

Maybe debate competitions should have a debriefing phase in which the
participants form one big team, abandon their assigned positions, and
try to work out their opinions honestly while also exposing their own
dishonest tricks during the debate phase.



Fri, 29 Oct 2004 23:58:34 GMT  
 Thinking about thinking

Quote:

>[...] these days I teach a lot of engineering
> undergrads who can't put together a coherent and well-reasoned paper
> even though they're terrific programmers.

The local college paper had a bigger-than-the-paper insert on why up to
85% of graduates of some local high schools flunk the math or English
proficiency tests, or both, and waste time and resources taking remedial
training for no credit to enter Fresno State U.

I may be naive, but when I saw that the requirement to graduate from
12th grade was a 7th grade reading proficiency, I pretty much stopped
looking further for causes.

Don't you think it is sad that these kids pay 12 years of their lives
for an education, and only receive 7/12ths of one?

Keeping expectations low is a pretty sure guarantee that results will be
lowered to meet your expectations.

Sounds like you are teaching some of the products of diminished
expectations.

Quote:
> Maybe debate competitions should have a debriefing phase in which the
> participants form one big team, abandon their assigned positions, and
> try to work out their opinions honestly while also exposing their own
> dishonest tricks during the debate phase.

I'd like to call it a "detoxification" period, but yes, that is a good
idea.

xanthian.

--
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Sat, 30 Oct 2004 01:59:44 GMT  
 Thinking about thinking
On page 224 of "Outsmarting IQ, The Emerging Science of Learnable

Quote:
Intelligence" David Perkins writes:

<snip>
Learning the logic imbedded in algebra or in Latin should, for example,
yield improved scores in standard IQ tests or better learning in other
seemingly unrelated fields.  Similarly, learning to program computers in
powerful languages such as LISP(popular for AI research) or LOGO(designed by
Seymour Papert of M.I.T. and colleagues as an accessible computer language
for children) should improve students" reasoning and planning abilities.

   However, the track record of far transfer has not been good.  A variety
of investigations, initiated as far back as the turn of the century, has
shown little far transfer from the study of intellectually rigorous subject
matters.  Early in the twentieth century, E. L. Thorndike reported
experiments, some on a large scale, showing that training in such fields as
Latin and mathematics had no measurable influence on other cognitive
functions, helping to dispel a then-prevalent believe in the training of a
mind's faculties.
<snip>

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Sat, 30 Oct 2004 12:44:45 GMT  
 
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