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Cascade Matters is the blog of Cascade Educational Consultants. Cascade has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations and civic development. We are committed to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens. Learn more about us.

Cascade Educational Consultants is an educational consulting firm committed to high-quality equitable teaching, learning and serving environments for all students to succeed in school and in life. Click here to learn more about our services...




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Tell Me I Am Wrong

wrong
On a local sports radio station there is a daily segment titled “Tell Me I am Wrong.” Callers, texters and/or e-mailers send in a statement that begins, “Tell me I am wrong.”

The listener makes a statement that she or he believes is correct. Here’s an example, “Tell me I am wrong, but football has replaced baseball as America’s national past time.” The co-hosts then debate whether the caller was wrong or right.

This concept of “telling me I am wrong” got me to thinking about how, in education, we discourage or encourage students to make statements they believe are correct and then are willing for others to consider the statement and agree or disagree.

During recent school visits in schools throughout the country, I have observed students being willing to take a stance, take a risk and know they are in a safe environment to express an opinion and prepared for critical feedback.

Later, I asked students about their sense of safety that allowed them to express their opinion with no guarantee of agreement. Here is what I heard:
How else are we going to learn if we do not challenge ourselves to share our thoughts with others?
  • I never thought about it as a “safe place”. I think of it as our classroom where everyone is encouraged to share their opinions.
  • I still think some students do not feel at ease, but most of us are eager to share what we are thinking, because it helps us to make sense of the course.
  • We are expected to tell others what we think, even if it is not popular, because we all have feelings and they need to be expressed.
  • It does not happen in every class, but it is actually pretty fun to hear what others think of my opinion.

If we value critical thinking as an expected skill of every high school graduate, creating a safe classroom climate for students to express themselves and receive critical feedback seems like an excellent strategy.

We need to create and sustain school climates that are safe, equitable, engaging and challenging where students and adults are encouraged to express their opinions and willingly accept critical feedback.

Tell me I am wrong.

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