Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fact and opinion Yadd Yadda Yadda

If the (non-zero) numerator and the denominator of a fraction are the same then the fraction is equal to 1. That is something Michael Gove might recognise as a fact. It will doubtless astound him and the Tory blowhards that I have been teaching that fact successfully to pupils for 33 years. He pretends to believe that lefty teachers don't teach facts.

On the other hand, if a pupil is reading a newspaper article the "facts" in the story are carefully chosen to accord with the underlying attitude of the writer.

Stories about the abuse of white girls by Asian men are factual for the most part. Stories about the abuse of youngsters by Jimmy Saville and Stuart Hall have also been published.

The first set of articles have been used to foster a myth that the religious attitudes of Asian men in general and muslims in particular cause them to prey on white girls. It is a myth which fails to take into account the millions of Asian men and muslims who do no such thing.

The second set of articles have not been used by the Daily Mail to suggest that the attitudes of white men cause them to prey on children.

Studying that is not a matter of "facts". It is a matter of process. It involves looking at the facts which are included and thinking about the facts which are excluded. It involves looking at how the story is constructed and how that leads the reader to a conclusion.

And that kind of education has been eloquently described by the Secretary of State for education as "yadda yadda yadda."

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