In this writing into the day excerpt I said that the believing game was fundamentally flawed because it is simply a method of stroking the ego of someone before you play (or after) the doubting game so they don't feel so bad when you (hopefully constructively) criticize their paper, work, or assortment of other things along those basis.
In my last blog I was asked to dig deeper into how these things we are learning are ideas that delve upon less tangible ideas. Here I go.
Theoretically this idea of forcing yourself to believe in what somebody is saying, and even yourself, as Peter Elbow describes can allow you to open your eyes per say and see things through a different perspective and possibly alleviate some of your opinionated biased on a topic. Also in theory, during the Manhattan project the scientist thought that detonating a nuclear device could set the entire surface of the planet on fire (Yikes!). Not advocating the use of nukes, simply stating that theories don't always turn out to be right in proven practice. Back to the believing game. While fundamentally a fun idea, practically in the working model of the American school system/ higher education system as far as I know preaching off of limited experience, the believing game doesn't really work. First off it requires a great deal of understanding, something that a lot of college students are absolutely capable of, but often don't have the patience or interests to follow through in many subjects.
In my last semester English class we played the doubting and believing game with our assigned papers. I got a lot of good contributions to my work when playing the doubting game. I found out which points to clean up, where things were confusing, and great feedback. When we played the believing game, I got a lot of, "Yea I totally agree", "that was really good", and "I believe the point you are trying to make". Really do you? And then I read through blogs now, and I'm totally guilty of doing this, and it seems the first line in most response post is "I agree", "I totally agree". Which is essentially the believing game. I'm not saying you shouldn't agree with someone, and I'm not saying you shouldn't let them know that they are doing something right. But everyone agrees with what everybody is saying? I've got into enough truthful(drunken) arguments to know that is not a truthful statement at all... Maybe it isn't the student's fault though. Maybe it's the content, or the subject. Maybe the students are disinterested with the topic, therefore write generic pieces that make no leaps into learning, make no bounds toward understanding, and most importantly don't ask any good questions.
Back to the main point. A part of me thinks the believing game is necessary. In a country where everyone needs a trophy just for participating, where learning should be more game-like, and failure isn't considered a negative thing but a learning experience instead (why not both); it seems to me people need positive feedback now more than ever, they need to be believed, just so they will push on because thick skin is something our grandparent's generation seem to have held on to and it never passed down the gene-pool.
“If you are pissing people off, you know you are doing something right” John Lydon
Just some food for thought.