A Teaching MomentPosted in Society on July 29th, 2009
One thing that has, for good or ill, come out of the whole Gates-Crowley-Obama affair is the creation or dissemination of the phrase, “a teaching moment.” It seems to be the new catchphrase in the lexicon of race relations, especially relations between Blacks and Whites.
I assume, possibly incorrectly due to the odd inconsistency with which social engineers’ expropriate and redefine words and terms, that “teaching moment” is a corruption of Robert Havighurst’s term, “teachable moment.”
Pronunciation: \?t?-ch?-b?l\ \?m?-m?nt\
- A moment of educational opportunity: a time at which a person, especially a child, is likely to be particularly disposed to learn something or particularly responsive to being taught or made aware of something.
Specifically, in 1952 Havighurst advised educators that,
A developmental task is a task which is learned at a specific point and which makes achievement of succeeding tasks possible. When the timing is right, the ability to learn a particular task will be possible. This is referred to as a ‘teachable moment.’ It is important to keep in mind that unless the time is right, learning will not occur. Hence, it is important to repeat important points whenever possible so that when a student’s teachable moment occurs, s/he can benefit from the knowledge.
— Robert Havighurst
Human Development and Education
Both the phrase and its meaning make perfect sense to me. Likewise, I cannot do other than agree with the idea that repetition is often necessary in order give the best chance of teaching someone something. It makes even more sense in the context of social engineering or any of its sub-disciplines. If you keep repeating something, people will eventually believe it and accept it as fact.
But, since these phrases, “teachable moment” and “teaching moment” are currently coming to forefront of the rhetoric surrounding prejudice, racism, and race relations between Blacks and Whites in America, I have a couple of very serious questions:
- Who is intended to be the Teachers and who the Students?
- Who decided upon the Curriculum?
If these “teachable moments” are solely meant to be uni-directional and solely meant to be used by Blacks to teach Whites about the Blacks’ perception of America, as I suspect that most of the people using the term intend things to be, then they need to cease and desist misusing and abusing such lofty terms as “race relations” and “racial reconciliation.” Both relationships and reconciliation requires compromise, collaboration, and bi-directional learning / teaching.