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For SJWs in education, I became a template for villains

Since the February 14th conference, the media have approached the "revolutionary methods to teach" in a somewhat more balanced way – equivalently, a conflict of a sort continued. H-mat.cz is the website promoting Hejný's method or the VOBS method (the acronym means "Education Oriented to the Building of Schemes" in Czech) and they post various press releases.

Several recent press releases are dedicated to the debate about the right ways to teach mathematics.

The newest one reposts some text published in Lidovky, the global pseudointellectuals' preferred daily, on Thursday. The daily chose a following title:

Children have to be pressured to do some math, critics of the playful method claim
LOL, that's a textbook example of a manipulative title. Needless to say, they quote your humble correspondent to justify the title.




The part of the statement that deals with facts is accurate, I think. I said it and I think that most of the critics of the VOBS method would agree that one simply needs some pressure to make sure that kids learn how to count – and to do many other things, too.

What's manipulative is the emotional encapsulation. The choice of the words "pressure" and "playful" was clearly made with the desire to associate the "playful" guys with the common good, and the "pressure" guys with the evil. You know, I am against most types of pressure and in favor of playful approaches in many contexts. But here we're discussing a serious particular question – what the mathematics classrooms should look like.




The article starts with a description of their paradise. "Kids, we will play the bus game," the teacher tells the kids. Annie is picked as the driver. (Of course, a girl had to be hired for that job.) Kids count how many figures are left in the bus. (...) Everyone applauds to everyone else. That's the paradise seen in 750 out of 4100 Czech elementary schools where 12 principles are followed, starting with the thesis that the kids have to be happy. It's such a great method that [far left-wing activist Kartous] recently brought the method to the "Aula of the Fame".

But there's also the hell, the anti-progressive renegades and criminals, the daily basically tells its readers. They include officials in the evil Mathematical Institute of the Academy of Sciences. But what about Lucifer in His undiluted form?
"Most children – including those who are interested in various things – obviously need to be pressured if the goal is for them to learn a particular thing. Something that they're not terribly interested in. And it is clear that a majority of children is naturally disinterested in a majority of things," physicist Luboš Motl mentioned in his presentation.
Imagine the horror. The kids should be pressured to learn some things!

Now, every teacher who has seen the actual children in the classroom and who isn't a complete fruitcake agrees: These days, kids aren't interested in many things. They're not even interested in things that were cool – and signs of some rebellion – just a few decades ago. It's very clear that if the system allows the kids to do merely things that they really want to do, they will spend all their time with various messenger services.

Let me tell you something. Kids look different. But they're not really terribly different from the previous generations when those were kids. What has actually changed is the social system – the system of duties and expectations. At some moment, children couldn't have been spanked under any circumstances. And a bit later, it was becoming criminal to pressure the kid to learn anything that the kid isn't interested in. This "progressive" evolution has obviously run into another extreme.

In the previous generations, kids obviously had to do lots of things they didn't naturally like – everyone assumed that this is how things have to be. And to compensate for these duties, the kids also did other things that could have been seen as "somewhat rebellious". Because the first side of the equation was largely neutralized, the second side has largely disappeared, too.

The "progressive" transformation of the society and the education system has gone very far and the question "whether the teachers may exert any pressure at all" is really the question we're solving these days – or, if you're just slightly more optimistic, a question we will be solving very soon. That's where the society seems to be heading.

Even today, it's difficult to find a sufficient number of kids who can study engineering – and, of course, a sufficient number of kids who would be willing to be trained as apprentices etc. But they're still kids who were "sometimes pressured" by the teachers when they studied the elementary school. In ten years, when the kids who have seen no pressure at all get to the high schools and universities, the situation may be dramatically worse. The civilized occupations – related to science, technology, and engineering – may fail to find any young people who could continue to preserve them.

The people who demonize any hard education – as "pressure" that brings kids away from the "playful" paradise – are really enemies of the nation's future, enemies of the Western civilization. Some kids may sometimes be wiser than adults in their environment but most kids simply aren't wiser than the typical adults. They lack the required experience to make decisions – such as the decision whether they should learn any mathematics at the elementary school.

This confrontation has many levels, of course. Aside from the questions about the right way to teach mathematics, I am annoyed by the propagandist character of some newspapers. On November 22nd, 1989, after the Velvet Revolution started, I was sent – along with the chairman of our class MŠ (who had a great working-class communist background and who was the chairman of SSM in our class, the Socialist Youth Union, as well) as our representative to an event where the high school was writing a petition to protest the beating of the university students in Prague. (All other classes sent the chairman of SSM and the vice-chairman; I wasn't a member of SSM at all.) OK, we – led by Ms Morávková, the top communist at the school – were mostly copying the petition by (what is now called) The University of Western Bohemia.

At some moment, we got to the demand "Lidovky [a dissident's newspaper at that time" have to be liberated. Comrade Morávková said: "Kids, we can't include this sentence. If you liberated Lidovky, you could very well allow Nazi newspapers, too!" – I, somewhat affected by the daily listening to Radio Free Europe, responded: "Dear Miss Morávková, the ideology of your Rudé Právo [communist daily, Red Right or Red Law] is comparable to the fascist ideology!" Of course, she got angry, "I am a communist party member and you insulted me", and I was expelled. Some guys slapped me on the back for my courage. The Velvet Revolution was very fast and I believe that within days, what I said was common mainstream wisdom.

But I am saying these things because of the new twist. By defending Lidovky, a dissidents' newspaper, I helped to create something that grew into a new pro-totalitarian monster. Lidovky became the main daily written and read by the Prague Café, the mindlessly PC, pro-EU, globalist SJWs. And look what they're doing to me personally these days. I was one of the people who struggled hard to save their necks when it made sense. And they became another Rudé Právo.

They became another Rudé Právo because they also attack, either explicitly or in between the lines, everybody who doesn't have the "right" opinion about any social or political question. And just like communists did, they use the adjective "progressive" for the only allowed political opinions. Everything that is positively correlated with "progressive" is described by "nice" words such as "playful" or "applause" and everything that is negatively correlated with "progressive" is described by "damning" words such as "pressure". And it's totally clear that the writers expect all their readers to mindlessly copy these appraisals.

Sorry, new comrades in Lidovky, but you can't rationally and meaningful debate and solve problems in a democratic society if you have this attitude or if you "color" every single sentence with this kids of idiotic propaganda. "Pressure" may sound like a bad word to you but it's really a neutral thing – the spatial-spatial components of the stress-energy tensor \(T_{ij}\) (I am sure that 99% of you, SJWs, have no idea what it means). Pressure in the physical sense has various values at different places and in different moments, and even the "metaphorical" pressures in the real life are variable and may have good or bad implications. If you're using the word "pressure" as a slur, you're crippling the quality of any discussion about difficult matters. And if your readers are enough to immediately conclude that "something is bad" because it was linked to the word "pressure" in Lidovky, they're brainwashed idiots (or what is the politically correct synonym? You don't have any, do you?) who can't contribute to a meaningless discussion and policymaking in a democracy.

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