"It Is More Important to Be Kind Than to Be Right"

We want our schools to teach our children critical thinking. We also demand that schools promote good manners and right conduct. With all the things we desire, do we clearly understand what we are asking for? Do we simply want critics? Or do we want thinkers? Do we also want blind obedience? One thing I know about learning is that it requires, first of all, an openness. It starts with some degree of trust. And, as with any gift, it is a fruit of kindness. Critical thinking requires if not kindness, at least, respect. In our pursuit for knowledge, our objective is to find the best ideas. It should never be about knocking another person down. Philippines president Duterte recently attached the word "stupid" to Catholic doctrines. Where he comes from actually is logically sound but, unfortunately, the way it has been delivered is a long way from being considerate. The response from the other side is equally laced with abomination.

As discussed in the previous post, character education is indeed a challenge. As teachers and parents, I think a good starting point is to model not so much being right, but more on demonstrating acts of kindness. A good list to begin with is enumerated by cooperative learning experts David Johnson and Roger Johnson:

 ■ I am critical of ideas, not people.
 ■ I focus on making the best decision possible, not on "winning."
 ■ I encourage everyone to participate.
 ■ I listen to everyone's ideas, even if I do not agree, and restate (paraphrase) what someone said if it is not clear.
 ■ I try to understand both sides.
 ■ I change my mind when the evidence clearly indicates that I should do so.

Above copied from
When Did Being Right Become More Important Than Progress

Without kindness, learning becomes so much more difficult if not impossible.


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