Friday, March 07, 2008

When I say "Jump!"

Most good teachers will agree that critical thinking skills are high on the list of things he or she hopes their students will become competent in while in their care. However, the exercising of these skills in the wrong context can be frustrating.

For instance, Mark was coaching his girls' basketball team at a tournament the other day. And coaching girls, I'd argue, is nicer than coaching boys because boys can be so competitive. Girls, on the other hand, are nicer to deal with in a team situation. Some disadvantages include: They cry easily if you don't let them play enough. And they want to talk about everything.

So Mark found that during a short huddle during a time-out of a critical game, the girls began to question and debate the instructions he was giving. So he had to pull out his dictator-ish shpeel. "This is not a debatable topic. I am the coach. I will tell you the plays and you need to listen without questioning," was the jist of his speech. He spoke very firmly and maybe even caused a few quivering lips. The girls stood humbly as he ended with, "When I say say HOW HIGH? Got it?" He looked around. The girls, eyes wide, nodded fiercely.

Then one girl put her hand up slowly and said, "May I ask a question?"

Okay, he thought. "Shoot," he replied.

So she turned and took a shot on the net.

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