I was reading a Facebook post (and then subsequent comments) about a somewhat controversial issue the other day. I know this is generally a bad idea because no one has ever changed their mind based on an anonymous argument they have over the internet with strangers, but I read it anyway.
The argument (and I am NOT looking to re-hash it here) was about the current Public Education System in the U.S. There were, as you might expect, many opinions on what is wrong with the current state of affairs. Then, one of the people stated, “If you have never taught or never been a teacher, you can’t be a part of this debate.”
And this is when all debates go off the track.
No matter what the debate, this seems to be the default setting for dealing with those that disagree with us. We either shut them completely down (and stop listening) or we label them as evil. In neither case can we learn from the other side, meet in the middle, grow, or help.
And most importantly, we never find a better solution.
So the next time you are in a debate (not on Facebook please, that will never make it better!), make sure you are willing to listen to every side of the debate. We all should be a part of the conversation. We all have a viewpoint…and most of them are valid.
I am pretty sure a teacher taught me that.