I’m watching “Difference of Opinion”…

26 Feb

…and I am learning very little, except that Kevin Donnelly is still cherry-pickings stats, and relying on anecdotal evidence if it suits him. Further, it appears he left public school teaching because he felt his particular brand of reactionary ideology was not sufficiently rewarded. He strikes me as a resentful man being avenged now “on the whole pack of you”. (I imagine he values Twelfth Night as much as I do and will get the allusion.) He is as lacking in real substance in 2007 as he was at the time I reviewed his great thoughts a few years back — see links on the right under “education”. He is on an ideological mission diligently finding “facts” to support his fetishes or to condemn his Aunt Sallies. He is very good at undermining public confidence in education and at preventing serious thought about where our culture, and education, may stand in this 21st century world, which he seems to reject, so far indeed as he actually comprehends it. As long as we can spell it doesn’t matter that we can’t think. (I believe in both by the way.)

Matthew Arnold he isn’t.

Compared with the educational thinkers I actually met over the past several decades, many of them eminent and from all over this country, from the UK, and from the USA, and the far greater number I have read, he is a joke — an angry bull in a chinashop. I refer there to people like Professor Dame Leonie Kramer on the Right — a conservative thinker whom I respected if not always endorsed — through linguist Professor Michael Halliday, through Professor Roslyn Arnold on writing development, through Donald H Graves of New Hampshire, through Professor James Britton of London…

Donnelly personifies the dumbing down of discourse on education. He doesn’t even know (or misrepresents) what outcomes based education means. No wonder the public gets confused when such a dubious “expert” gets taken so seriously. He is utterly simplistic in his grasp of educational and intellectual history. I really find it hard to believe he ever was a teacher… I said in 2004 that his book was the worst book on education I had read in forty years, and that is still my view.

If he says CHOICE one more time I’ll put my boot through the TV set… Harsh words, I know, but I really believe them. Donnelly is hardly worth the time of day and it shows the poverty of our recent discussions on education that he gets so much exposure. He’s not even a good conservative commentator.

URGENT MEMO TO ABC MANAGEMENT: Insight on SBS does it much, much better. And without a cartoonist.

“Putting Education to the Test”??? — No, but it put Difference of Opinion to the test, and it failed dismally. 2/10

I gave 2 points there to the audience. Associate Professor Robyn Ewing was too nice; Judy King became too angry — not that I blame her, obviously, given my rant so far, but I am blogging and she was on TV; Stephen O’Doherty was as suave as ever, but we knew precisely where he was coming from.

The format failed because no-one really had a chance to come to grips with anything. There were too many topics, making Difference of Opinion a definite, a total, dog’s breakfast tonight. Dumbed down, even. It almost achieved the distinction of being a total waste of time.

On the other hand, ABC has had a generally brilliant night. Four Corners broadcast CBC’s The Denial Machine, a very convincing expose of “the campaign to deny the science of global warming and slow international action against it. It tracks the activities of a small group of North American scientists, some of whom previously worked for Big Tobacco and who are now receiving donations from large oil and coal interests. It also examines how key planks of the fossil fuel industry’s case were adopted by governments in the US and Canada…”

Perhaps there is a parallel between the climate denialists and Donnelly in the field of education. They have both been favoured in the past by much the same circles. You may watch The Denial Machine courtesy of Google Video.

[TAG: climate, climate change, global warming, denialists]

Media Watch returned, and you will see how the media (and not only The Telegraph) cooked up a rental crisis, or greatly exaggerated one, and how two Uraguayan models did not in fact die of anorexia. Great start for the year.

Australian Story (Transcript) was extraordinary and very moving, but I found I really enjoyed Helen Reddy on Talking Heads. (A transcript will appear soon.)

Next day

Go to the thread Putting Education to the Test (Feb 26, 2007) on the Difference of Opinion site. I am not Robinson Crusoe about Donnelly and about the show, it seems.

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Posted by on February 26, 2007 in Aussie interest, climate change, Current affairs, Education, Films, DVDs, TV, Pontification and raving



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