Tuesday, September 22, 2015

When egos clash he who stays humble wins

Educators like a lot of professionals do have strong egos. We want to be considered experts in our fields, we want our reputations to be flawless, and pity the fool who does not follow our logic or does not know what we know!

However, sometimes we are simply wrong, because to be human is to make mistakes. Sometimes we let our egos get the best of us and we end up insulting someone who does not deserve it, we end up underserving our students, or we end up becoming legends in our own minds and believing our own hype.

If you have like-minded, dedicated individuals, with the same qualifications, do you really need to point out that you went to a traditional school versus their non-traditional newer school? Maybe there was no possible way for the other person to give up everything for school; it does not make them less qualified, especially if they did the work. It seems like we are now measuring whose PhD is bigger instead of measuring what we need to do to achieve the mission, and measuring the intention our hearts.

There is an old story about two women talking about two different British politicians who they met. The first lady went on and on about how this man was “the smartest man in the room”. The other lady thought about it for a second and said: “this other man made me feel like smartest person in the room”. Are you making those around you feel valuable, or are you constantly belittling them?

Sometimes we need to step back and get our egos in check, sometimes we have to remember what our mission is, and sometimes we have to remember who this is really all about.

It is not about us, it is about the students. Educators, stay humble.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Children are not our enemy: part 2. An #education problem

Image result for children are not the enemy

There is a huge uproar over the recent arrest of Ahmed Mohamed in Irving Texas, and rightly so. Yes, he was probably racially profiled, yes, the police should not be questioning a minor without their parents, and no, he should not have been led away in handcuffs.

The thing that truly burns me is that this is a child! Why is it that five grown men (police officers) felt that their lives were threatened by a child? Why is it that the school assumed the worst of a child who has never posed a threat? Why are they still potentially pursuing this instead of apologizing and admitting they screwed up?

We still have a long way to go in our treatment of some of our most vulnerable population: children and the elderly. We continue to legally abuse them and then say, “Whoops’, and that is all.

Do you remember show and tell at school? Do you remember being excited about bringing in your latest invention, toy, or something to show your teachers? Do you remember the smiles of encouragement from your teachers that made your day? I do. What is difficult about encouraging student’s creativity instead of stifling them? What is difficult about assuming the best about our kids, not the worst?

We do care about kids, right?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, September 7, 2015

So what is an American? An #education question

Image result for what does it mean to be an american

One of the interesting things about the political season is that it gives you plenty of things to write about, and since this an education question I am keeping this as politically neutral as possible (even though I know some will be offended no matter what).

Let us look at some current political buzzwords:

  • We need to take this country back
  • Political correctness
  • Marshall law (yes spelled this way)
  • Destroying everything this country was built on
  • Act like an American (speak American)

I could go, but let us stop here for now and look at the context of these words.

If we took this country back, my marriage to my wife would be illegal, slavery, lynching, and segregation would be strong. This country was built on the backs of poor people, specifically black slaves, so yes, we do want to destroy the mentality that says it is ok to sell people, separate their families and make them work until they die, all the while telling them they are only 3/5 of a human? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9T2C-TXavk

News flash, the army is not going to take over and occupy Texas or any other state, do not believe the hype of Jade Helm 2015 (this does not mean we do not have issues, especially with the militarized police force). http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/operation-jade-helm-is-not-a-military-takeover-of-the-a-1700890963

Act like an American? This is a country with so much diversity, so many cultures, etc: so what exactly does that mean? Native Americans certainly have something to say about what that means. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sarah-palin-donald-trump-american_55ec4d8ce4b03784e27619b3?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular


These are things that are being said by people running for the office of president of the United States, these are things being said by people who are currently occupying political offices, and these are things being said by people who are supposed to be our leaders.

Since when have we accepted such blatant disrespect for the office of the president? Since when has it been ok to publically discuss removal of a sitting president “by any means necessary”? You might not like him, and that is your right as an American; however, remember the country voted for him twice. I wonder what is so different about this particular president that is causing such casual and commonplace disrespect for the office? Rhetorical question because we know the answer. http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2013/01/13/1440471/colin-powell-condemns-republican-party-racism-there-is-a-dark-vein-of-intolerance/

This should not be a country of hate but a beacon of hope, a beacon of light. It should and can be example of unity, possibilities, and success. We need to be more than just tolerant; we must truly love thy neighbor: that is what it means to be an American.

We owe future generations a better world without fear, we owe the next generation a time to love, a time to heal.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I am right and you are wrong: an education issue

It seems like a fair number of discussions I have gotten into recently end with “agreeing to disagree’ or something similar. I am not an argumentative type, but I do think I use logic (or try to) in my discussions, and I am most definitely open to be wrong and learning from that.

Have you encountered that person or persons who feel that they know everything but yet have nothing to back it up? We actually have great examples of this from the last eight years of politics, and more recent example with the myriad of presidential candidates.

When did honest debate and admitting when you are wrong go out of style or has it really gone out style? Why are we so afraid to talk about the various elephants in the room? When did we all become so rude? Have we forgotten how to communicate with each other on a simple human level due to all the various forms of electronic communication (keyboard warriors), or is it we really just do not care anymore?

These are things that I think about sometimes, but as educator, thinking about them is not enough because solutions are needed.

What are the solutions? More to come…

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, August 17, 2015

Do you truly believe in the constitution?

Disclaimer: this is not about politics or religion, this is simple right and wrong, the wrong being "creative interpretations" of things when it suits yourself.

I am not a constitutional scholar nor do I claim to be an expert on the constitution. Nevertheless, I am an educator and I have read the constitution (have you?).

Just because I do not agree with your points of views,  it does not make me less of an American, it also does not mean I still do not like you as a person. We are not always going to agree with our friends and relatives all the time and educated debate can be good for progress.

However, please understand that the true beauty and strength of the United States of America, is that I do have the right to disagree with you within the boundaries of the law because just like you I too have the same  constitutional rights.

The constitution does not use a George Orwell Animal Farm approach such: "everyone is equal but some are more equal then others". It gives us all equal rights, equal protection under the law, including the right to do things you personally might find abhorrent and/or morally wrong. Blood was shed to protect all our rights, and some of it was shed by the very people you might despise.

So, I ask you: do you believe in the constitution you so espouse? If so, believe in all of it, not just some of it, otherwise you really do not believe in it all. https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/constitution

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How to run a Presidential campaign in 2015, I am not kidding

As I listen to the latest asinine, irrelevant, horse manure, “political scandal”, I feel I must educate on some very important issues about campaigns nowadays. They are full of Fallacies!
Rhetorical Fallacies
ž  Rhetorical fallacies, or fallacies of argument, don’t allow for the open, two-way exchange of ideas upon which meaningful conversations depend. Instead, they distract the reader with various appeals instead of using sound reasoning. They can be divided into three categories:
      1. Emotional fallacies unfairly appeal to the audience’s emotions.
      2. Ethical fallacies unreasonably advance the writer’s own authority or character.
      3. Logical fallacies depend upon faulty logic.
ž  Rhetorical fallacies often overlap.
Emotional Fallacies
ž  Sentimental Appeals use emotion to distract the audience from the facts.
      Example: The thousands of baby seals killed in the Exxon Valdez oil spill have shown us that oil is not a reliable energy source.
ž  Red Herrings use misleading or unrelated evidence to support a conclusion.
      Example: That painting is worthless because I don’t recognize the artist.
ž  Scare Tactics try to frighten people into agreeing with the arguer by threatening them or predicting
                Unrealistically dire consequences
      Example: If you don’t support the party’s tax plan, you and your family will be reduced to poverty.
ž  Bandwagon Appeals encourage an audience to agree with the writer because everyone else is doing so.
      Example: Paris Hilton carries a small dog in her purse, so you should buy a hairless Chihuahua and put it in your Louis Vuitton.
ž  Slippery Slope arguments suggest that one thing will lead to another, oftentimes with disastrous results.
      Example: If you get a B in high school, you won’t get into the college of your choice, and therefore will never have a meaningful career.
ž  Either/Or Choices reduce complicated issues to only two possible courses of action.
      Example: The patent office can either approve my generator design immediately or say goodbye forever to affordable energy.
ž  False Need arguments create an unnecessary desire for things.
      Example: You need an expensive car or people won’t think you’re cool.
Ethical Fallacies
ž  False Authority asks audiences to agree with the assertion of a writer based simply on his or her character or the authority of another person or institution who may not be fully qualified to offer that assertion.
      Example: My high school teacher said it, so it must be true.
ž  Using Authority Instead of Evidence occurs when someone offers personal authority as proof.
      Example: Trust me – my best friend wouldn’t do that.
ž  Guilt by Association calls someone’s character into question by examining the character of that person’s associates.
      Example: Sara’s friend Amy robbed a bank; therefore, Sara is a delinquent.
ž  Dogmatism shuts down discussion by asserting that the writer’s beliefs are the only acceptable ones.
Example: I’m sorry, but I think penguins are sea creatures and that’s that
ž  Moral Equivalence compares minor problems with much more serious crimes (or vice versa).
      Example: These mandatory seatbelt laws are fascist.
ž  Ad Hominem arguments attack a person’s character rather than that person’s reasoning.
      Example: Why should we think a candidate who recently divorced will keep her campaign promises?
ž  Straw man arguments set up and often dismantle easily refutable arguments in order to misrepresent an opponent’s argument in order to defeat him or her
      Example: A: We need to regulate access to handguns.
      B: My opponent believes that we should ignore the rights guaranteed to us as citizens of the United States by the Constitution. Unlike my opponent, I am a firm believer in the Constitution, and a proponent of freedom.
Logical Fallacies
ž  A Hasty Generalization draws conclusions from scanty evidence.
      Example: I wouldn’t eat at that restaurant—the only time I ate there, my entree was undercooked.
ž  Faulty Causality (or Post Hoc) arguments confuse chronology with causation: one event can occur after another without being caused by it.
      Example: A year after the release of the violent shoot-’em-up video game Annihilator, incidents of school violence tripled—surely not a coincidence.
ž  A Non Sequitur (Latin for “It doesn’t follow”) is a statement that does not logically relate to what comes before it. An important logical step may be missing in such a claim.
      Example: If those protesters really loved their country, they wouldn’t question the government.
ž  An Equivocation is a half-truth, or a statement that is partially correct but that purposefully obscures the entire truth.
      Example: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” – President Bill Clinton
ž  Begging the Question occurs when a writer simply restates the claim in a different way; such an argument is circular.
      Example: His lies are evident from the untruthful nature of his statements.
ž  A Faulty Analogy is an inaccurate, inappropriate, or misleading comparison between two things.
      Example: Letting prisoners out on early release is like absolving them of their crimes.
ž  Stacked Evidence represents only one side of the issue, thus distorting the issue.
      Example: Cats are superior to dogs because they are cleaner, cuter, and more independent.
We teach children in school and college that this is an improper way to debate. However, it seems that true facts and figures, evidence or even relevance is needed anymore; this also seems to be the problem with the news media as well by the way.
I do not care what your political affiliation is because that is not the point. The point is the election process is essentially a sham, a smoke screen, a dog and pony show, and we are all buying tickets the show.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Please compete for my vote

The Presidential election season has already started, and it looks to be a season based upon sound bites, ad hominin fallacies, and a lot of assumptions; not to mention a very expensive election.
The candidates will be after your vote, or in some cases depending on the color of your skin, age, state, or how you label yourself; they will simply be expecting you to vote for them.
We have very little true choice with our current presidential election process, usually it is the lesser of two evils, and that is scary. The Republican Party of today is more like the Democratic Party of yesterday (study your history, the party of Lincoln is gone); and the Democratic Party does not truly know where it stands except they feel entitled to and are expecting the vote of people of color. These are not assumptions, there are enough facts if you do the research yourself, and I am about to make a point.
Candidates on both sides do not clearly discuss and define issues because they think we are stupid, instead what they try and do is simply woo you into voting for them without giving any substance. Some candidates feel that if they insult you enough you will vote for them out of sheer fear, some candidates think that because they never had to work for your vote before than they do not have to now.
News flash, the people are not stupid, we see through the lies and deceptions, and I would like it to be known that you still have to earn our votes. Do not assume that because someone is labeled “conservative” they will vote for a Republican, especially if you are spewing hate and bigotry in this increasingly diverse world (you do not know their life’s story). Do not assume that because someone is labeled “liberal” or because they are African-American, they will vote for a democrat; you still need to campaign in those neighborhoods and convince them.
So as the political circus begins, politicians, here the words of this educator: YOU NEED TO EARN OUR VOTES!
Good luck and may common sense be with you.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam