There are a lot of debates over on the home ed facebook boards and quite often they can get very heated, wow betide anyone that has a difference of opinion to the majority.
You generally find the popular people get lots of backup in their attacks on anyone who holds any kind of different view, far from being a debate they usually end up in bitter insults and attempts to belittle the other person using usually very wrong assumptions about who that person who dares to have a difference of opinion is.
The debates usually hold the same tone and generally you will find people very uninterested in someone else's viewpoint and just need their view heard and agreed with. Rather than questioning those opposing views and understanding how those views have been formed by the other party, there is usually no attempt to take any notice of the other persons views, other than to mock and usually twist quite successfully what the other person has said, and the other person with those opposing views spends their time defending themselves from insults and vile vitriol.
You can compare these people to bullies and boy there are a lot of bullies in the home ed world that I have come across over the past few years.
Its their way or no way, they seem to be so stuck in their opinions and views and would never be capable of seeing that people form views according to their experiences and information provided. This usually means that people tend to hang on to what they have heard or read, rather than researching facts and figures for themselves.
Facts and figures are an interesting and vital part of any debate, and usually give a good debate credibility and can give great new insight into a formed opinion. On these boards you generally find it's, 'I read this' and 'someone said that', or 'I know someone who experienced this', it's never anything concrete, it's generally based on opinion and boy those opinions are strong.
Many of these debates come form an anti school system kind of angle or religion.
Lots of issues crop up within the topics of school, time and time again. Bullying and how this is handled perpetrated by both teachers and students, is a particularly common and many people have been affected badly by these experiences, although most people agree so there is I suppose not much to debate, there is a clear issue in schools that needs addressing, should parents have to be pulling their kids out of school to save their child from bullying from other students or teachers? should a child even have to face that kind of thing in the first place? some say it is character building, I strongly suspect those are the people who have never experienced being bullied.
Today's bullying goes beyond name calling in the playground, there is literally psychical and mental battery going on in most of these cases, and should this really be accepted the way as it is as character building?. Since joining the home ed world I have been shocked at the amount of children that have been pulled from school through bullying, it is pretty astounding.
Other issues to be commonly debated are the school system itself, holidays, fines, longer days, longer hours, more testing, generally improving standards, uniform policies or breaches of them, regulations on what food they can eat etc etc etc.
I can see where Gove is coming from but he is slightly out of touch with the average Joe.
Our school system does need to be producing better results but adding more restrictive rules and regulations is that really the way to go?, instead of being inclusive to parents he is alienating them, to me he has got things slightly wrong, it's like he has listened to the Ken Robinsons video but not quite listened at the same time.
Economics has changed and education really does clearly need to change to reflect that change, the problem I see is that it has changed too slowly and now trying to play catch up is not going to be pleasant to a nation that does not like or welcome change very easily.
The very fact that there are far more children in the education system is making the one size fits all model far more outdated and is leading to alienation!..
The fine balance between family life and work/school life is on a knifes edge, people demand more from the system than it is currently providing, Ken Robinson said in the above video at around 8 minute mark 'every generation has to rediscover democracy' this certainly rings true in this instance in the current climate.
Oh the religion,creation vs evolution debate, well what can I say about the religious debates but wow. You generally find in religious debates that anyone who is Religious will at some point be on the receiving end of some pretty vile insults.
For an evolutionist a Creationist in the most part is someone to be stomped upon and ridiculed in these forums.
You get very few evolutionists in these groups that stay respectful in an evolution vs creation debate, The ones who are usually respectful and refrain from vitriol are the ones that are in between, those that have an evolutionist view but are also on the fence about Creation, when you get to the bottom of most of the vitriol from evolutionists it is usually found that they have had some devastating experience that has coloured their view and evolution can now be the only possible option.
I had a fantastic debate recently on the evolution vs creation debate and despite being sworn at a couple of times by a couple of people not really even taking part in the debate, it was amazing, I learnt so much and it gave me some great and invaluable insight that I never even imagined.
I learnt a lot and took away more than I have ever done in any debate ever, it prompted me to do research for myself to understand some of the points put forwards and I discovered angles I never knew even existed, there are some pretty educated people on that topic in those forums, the debate went on for a few days and a new forum was created out of it.
I was even pointed in the direction of an upcoming debate by Billy Nye the science guy and Ken Ham which is being live streamed today, the video if you are reading this way after the event is over, can still be found here Bill Nye and Ken Ham Creation Vs Evolution Debate.
So I know that respectful debate is possible in these forums and people can get so much out of it and as an educational forum what better place is there to learn new facts and see things from different angles.....