Why do so many people think children are stupid?

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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#21  Postby starr » Mar 15, 2010 11:31 pm

LIFE wrote:
campermon wrote:

"Stupidity is a lack of intelligence, understanding, reason, wit, or sense."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stupidity


That's a stupid definition.


I agree.




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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#22  Postby Emmeline » Mar 15, 2010 11:33 pm

Ciarin wrote:
campermon wrote:
Ciarin wrote:Why would you debate with a 10 yr old?


To teach critical thinking perhaps?

;)


I don't think debating with a 10 yr teaches critical thinking.

It depends on the 10 year old. Some that I know could teach you a lot about critical thinking.
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#23  Postby Grimstad » Mar 15, 2010 11:37 pm

Topsy wrote:
Ciarin wrote:
campermon wrote:
Ciarin wrote:Why would you debate with a 10 yr old?


To teach critical thinking perhaps?

;)


I don't think debating with a 10 yr teaches critical thinking.

It depends on the 10 year old. Some that I know could teach you a lot about critical thinking.

My own experience agrees with you. I have found that if you actually talk to them like adults they think like adults.

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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#24  Postby LIFE » Mar 15, 2010 11:41 pm

Let me quote the great Neil deGrasse Tyson:

Neil deGrasse Tyson wrote:We spend the first year of their lives, teaching them how to walk and talk.
And the rest of their lives telling them to shut up and sit down. There's something wrong here.
"If you think education is expensive, try the cost of ignorance" - Derek Bok
"Words that make questions may not be questions at all" - Neil deGrasse Tyson
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#25  Postby Ciarin » Mar 15, 2010 11:49 pm

Wouldn't asking questions work better? Debating is more adversarial.
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#26  Postby ChrisTaylor » Mar 16, 2010 6:49 am

Ciarin wrote:Wouldn't asking questions work better? Debating is more adversarial.


Yes.

Critical thinking--or 'inquiry', as educators now call it--shouldn't be taught as a hostile process. Asking questions and, yes, showing children that sometimes you have to look it up/Google it/etc is a positive step. You're not doing them a huge favour if you have all the answers and insist on 'winning' all the time. Yes, sometimes wrong is wrong--2 plus 2 doesn't equal 3--and you can tell them that, but there's no need to be a dick about it. Probing questions like, 'What makes you say that?' Or, 'What will happen if?' can work wonders. For example, today a nine year old showed me one of her first pieces of persuasive writing. She was arguing that everything should be free. Why? Some people are poor and can't afford food/shelter/toys. Asking her if people would still work to make stuff or provide services there was no money and how that problem could be alleviated (assuming she sees it as a problem) is more productive than simply shutting her down. It's a wild argument she's making, of course. But that's not really a problem, so long as she's going through the motions of backing up her case and crafting rebuttals to inevitable critiques. In examining her own work for holes she may eventually realise the case is weak and abandon it. And good for her if she does that. If she doesn't, those reasoning skills --which are just starting to develop--will reach the point where she realises it's silly. There's no need to barge in and explain, in hideous detail, exactly why her utopia could never be a reality.
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#27  Postby Melhael » Mar 16, 2010 10:58 am

Grimstad wrote:My own experience agrees with you. I have found that if you actually talk to them like adults they think like adults.


I completely agree. So many so-called adults turn into drunk monkeys when interacting with children: they produce barely understandable words, repeat syllables and use moronic words. It's pathetic and doesn't help at all: children need to be treated with respect in order to learn and achieve their potential.

Childhood is wonderful: we can explore without consequences. Adults deal with consequences for children, that's our role: not dumbing down the world for them. On the contrary, we should encourage them to excel not to be mediocre. Childhood is the only brief time in our life when we are free of worries, can dream, play, imagine, create and think without having to worry about food, rent, responsibilities and all those things.

Besides, treating kids as idiots only has one effect: kids start to mistrust adults and reach the inevitable conclusion... adults are a bunch of helpless idiots. ;)

Which we aren't most of the time. But it's our loss if we give up on children, causing them to give up on us. (I gave up on adults very early in my life and became very lonely. I'm still in the process of embracing adulthood as something not so despicable as I thought... work in progress... ;))
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#28  Postby King David » Mar 18, 2010 12:52 am

Valden wrote:
Ciarin wrote:Why would you debate with a 10 yr old?


Doesn't matter.

campermon wrote:
Ciarin wrote:Why would you debate with a 10 yr old?


To teach critical thinking perhaps?

;)


Well surprisingly enough, I've learned in just the past year of debating young one's that if you keep your patience, and don't actually talk to them like they're stupid, that they'll open themselves up to new information. :cheers: Though there are those who get all snotty as well of course. :lol: Once one starts behaving like that, I ignore them.


You know, I have a secret...don't tell anyone...but this advice goes for adults as well. :grin: If you really want to have a dialogue with someone which could result in them learning something new or changing their opinion about something, you have to go at it in a non adversarial way. The dialogue can't be framed such in a way that you are trying to "win" an argument and beat the other person. People don't like to be made to feel inferior, especially in front of others. Such a negative emotion blinds people to the truth. People will cling to believing an argument that at some level they know rationally is wrong simply because to concede the point would be to admit defeat. You become a threat to their ego. It makes you the winner and them the loser, and no one wants to be the loser. When you come from the perspective of trying to examine each other's opinions and come to the correct conclusion together, from a calm headed, non judgemental state, people become much more open to new ideas and opinions. It becomes a win-win situation instead of a battle of egos. Of course if someone is deliberately spreading misinformation or making dishonest arguments, then you should rightly tear them a new one and put them in their place, but in the case of someone whose opinion you actually care about, the non-judgmental, non adversarial approach works much, much better.

In the case of children, I agree with the OP. Children are not stupid. They behave as they are taught to behave by following the example of their parents and teachers. If a parent tells their child to shut up and not ask questions, then they won't question. If a parent makes a child feel stupid for thinking for themselves or being curious, then their critical mind will be stifled. The best thing you can do for a child is have non judgmental dialogues with them. Ask them questions. Encourage them to question everything. Encourage their own thinking process instead of just telling them what to think and not to question it. When they are wrong coax them to realize on their own why they are wrong instead of just saying "you're wrong" which makes them feel inferior and shuts down their thought process.
Nothing is so fatal to the progress of the human mind as to suppose that our views of science are ultimate; that there are no mysteries in nature; that our triumphs are complete, and that there are no new worlds to conquer. -Humphry Davy
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#29  Postby GreatApe » Mar 18, 2010 8:47 am

Personally, I've had to revisit the topic of this thread discussion based upon my recent drastic change in cultures. I moved to China to help run a Language Centre and to teach, and I KNEW it was going to present some very challenging and "uncomfortable" situations for me as a 43 year old teacher of American adolescents and young adults. I moved to China never having taught below the 8th grade level, and with most of my teaching experience (11 years of it) coming from grades 9 and 11, as well as freshmen at the university level.

Now, in China, I still mostly teach English to young adults and young professionals, but I also teach four times a week at a local kindergarten, and I've been able to experience teaching very young children for the first time in my professional career. It was initially extremely uncomfortable for me because I knew it was well outside of my teaching "comfort zone," but now, even though it's only for three 20 minute classes a day, four times a week, I find myself REALLY enjoying it! I've come to realize it's because these kids are really very bright. They are full of enthusiasm, energy and their eyes and faces light up like crazy when they truly understand something that you're attempting to convey. They generally want to please their teachers, and most of them go out of their way to learn, and to reach out, and to work to communicate.

I have to admit, the grade level was just ONE of the reasons I was initially uncomfortable. Reasons two and three being: I was in a completely new and strange environment, as a foreigner, and all eyes were on me (as a teacher and as an "oddity"); and three, I'm a fairly shy and introverted man. I'm not exactly boling over with enthusiasm to make a spectacle of myself. But as all teachers know, you have to wear many different hats, and there's always the element that I refer to as "The Dancing Bear." This is when the teacher willingly reduces himself/herself to doing whatever it takes to get the lesson across and bring it to the students effectively -- so that they are entirely engagd and learning is definitely taking place. This is where the teacher is willing (even eager, sometimes!) to make a complete "ass" of themselves and basically go to just about any length with no concern for embarrassment or looking ridiculous. You cast all cares aside and get down on the ground and embrace your "inner fool" and make faces, use wild gestures, over-emphasize ... hop, skip and jump ... make stupid sounds ... basically forget all manner of professional courtesy and re-live your childhood vicariously through the children.

One thing that my kindergarten experience has taught me so far, is that I see how crucial it is to actively engage children's minds, to keep them busy, entertained, and progressing. They do that here in China, but it generally stops later in grade school when "real school" begins. Kindergarten is for fun, and games and playing. "Real school" is for learning, and "serious study." It doesn't take long here before the "fun" of education gets knocked out of most students, and whether I'm teaching in America or China, one thing remains the same, having the fun knocked out of learning is NOT the best way to generationally "grow" intelligent adults. This becomes particularly true when you're trying to teach (or acquire) a second language. I play language board games with my older students now, as well as my Business students. I just mold the games to fit the subject, and to fit the student's age. So far I've received nothing but positive responses, and most of my students keep coming back, so I think it's working.

I'm currently re-reading Susan Blackmore's "The Meme Machine" and I keep going back to her discussion, as well as the points made by Dr. Dawkins in the book's Introduction, about the importance of "imitation" and how it is a natural and vital way to convey and acquire information. Human beings basically never stop doing it, and, as "independent" or "free-thinking" as atheists tend to be, I'm sure we can all think of many, many examples where we learned a wide variety of things from watching or copying or following the actions of others. This children are definitely not "stupid" ... it's just that once "real education" gets turned over to the "adults," the fun of learning is often the first thing to leave.

Just my .02 ... great topic!
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#30  Postby Warren Dew » Mar 20, 2010 7:45 am

campermon wrote:In my experience it takes a stupid parent to make a child stupid...

Pretty much. Our daughter seems to be well ahead of the standard milestones for her age, and we certainly didn't do much to help her, aside from providing adequate nutrition. There were, however, a myriad ways in which we could have stunted her.

In answer to the topic, I think one of the reasons people think children are stupid is because people assume that other people can't think anything more complex than what they say. In fact, children usually have much larger passive vocabularies than active vocabularies, and there are a lot of things they can think and be smart about that they can't express in a way that most adults can understand.
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#31  Postby Loren Michael » Mar 20, 2010 8:55 am

Rome Existed wrote:I'm always amazed at how so many people think children are stupid. I find it interesting how intelligent so many children are if they're just given the chance to talk to you without being dismissed as just a child and yet so many people aren't willing to discover this. :doh:


Children are tiny sociopaths, but they're not stupid. Only ignorant.
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#32  Postby Paul G » Mar 20, 2010 4:23 pm

I've argued before that there is no rational reason why children, perhaps over the age of say 12, shouldn't have the vote. Perhaps that's for another thread.
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#33  Postby Warren Dew » Mar 20, 2010 6:21 pm

Paul G wrote:I've argued before that there is no rational reason why children, perhaps over the age of say 12, shouldn't have the vote. Perhaps that's for another thread.

As long as they have jobs and pay taxes, great!
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#34  Postby GenesForLife » Mar 27, 2010 6:24 am

Dunning Kruger perhaps?
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#35  Postby Goldenmane » Mar 27, 2010 6:37 am

Loren Michael wrote:
Rome Existed wrote:I'm always amazed at how so many people think children are stupid. I find it interesting how intelligent so many children are if they're just given the chance to talk to you without being dismissed as just a child and yet so many people aren't willing to discover this. :doh:


Children are tiny sociopaths, but they're not stupid. Only ignorant.


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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#36  Postby Mantisdreamz » Mar 27, 2010 8:46 am

Jain wrote:I work with the general public, I am not saying a word!


Ditto, yet I will say something. Adults quite often sulk when they don't get their own way. But what is worse, is that if they don't agree with something, they reason that they should get something for it.... something to compensate for their irrationality!

I think children are pretty smart. Not necessarily smart in the way of knowledge... but they are good at picking up on bullshit, I think. I watched some man with a few of his children the other day, and I heard the father say in a warning voice: "Noow, you kids BE CAREFUL". :naughty: And then one of the older kids imitated him, in a mocking way. As if to say, "I know dad, we're not stupid". The thing is, kids make these responses without thinking or realizing what they saying - but do it as a reaction to the tone in a voice. When you're able to see past words and pick up on the true meaning of a statement through tone or action, I think that is smart. And kid's are pretty good at that.
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#37  Postby Segundo » Apr 12, 2010 6:13 pm

Children really are stupider than adults. It's a fact - IQ increase with age and stabilizes in adolescence.
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#38  Postby mmmcheezy » Apr 12, 2010 6:15 pm

Clearly, adults like you are quite intelligent--just look at your impeccable grammar!
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#39  Postby Segundo » Apr 12, 2010 6:17 pm

Paul G wrote:I've argued before that there is no rational reason why children, perhaps over the age of say 12, shouldn't have the vote. Perhaps that's for another thread.


Children as young as 12 are too inexperienced to make sound judgments. Relatedly, I wonder if we should permit only certain sectors of the population to vote. It is by no means obvious that it is "a good thing" to give the vote to everyone regardless of competency or temperament.
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Re: Why do so many people think children are stupid?

#40  Postby Segundo » Apr 12, 2010 6:18 pm

mmmcheezy wrote:Clearly, adults like you are quite intelligent--just look at your impeccable grammar!


Are you joking?
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