[LMB] When World-Views Collide, books

WILLIAM A WENRICH wawenri at msn.com
Sat Jan 8 15:37:36 GMT 2022

During the McMartin panic Gayle was teaching preschool. (She taught for 25 years before she retired.) I was worried because through leading questions a dishonest person could make a child say or even believe almost anything.
Consider the following sequence:

  1.   The child has an accident with a bowel movement.
  2.  The teacher or assistant helps the child clean up.
  3.  The teacher comforts the child and takes them back to class.

Now look at the questions:

  1.   Did the teacher ever touch you there? Yes.
  2.  What happened afterwards?  She hugged me and told me not to be sad.

Gayle's school always had two people present in those circumstances but I'm not sure how much that would have helped. As the saying goes, "A prosecutor can indite a ham sandwich."

William A Wenrich

  *   A sinner dependent on God’s grace.

From: Lois-Bujold <lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk> on behalf of Gwynne Powell <gwynnepowell at hotmail.com>
Sent: Saturday, January 8, 2022 6:49:44 AM
To: lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk <lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
Subject: [LMB] When World-Views Collide, books

Alex Kwan <litalex at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Jan 5, 2022, at 19:26, WILLIAM A WENRICH <wawenri at msn.com> wrote:
>> The only trouble I had with Darmok was that I couldn't understand how
>> children could learn the background stories behind the phrases.
> Osmosis. You learn what the phrase is supposed to mean, then later the
> stories. When I was growing up, there was a television animated short
> program explaining the story behind the various phrases. Other languages
> have the same thing, too, just not as much. For example, most kids in
> the West learn that Eden means utopia and only later learn about the
> biblical story behind it.

Gwynne: It doesn't work as well as you'd think. When I was working with
kids I was often surprised by things that they didn't know; information that
isn't taught because 'everyone knows...' And they don't. There's plenty of
adults who suddenly find out that something they'd assumed to be true,
or the meaning of some expression they'd known for ages, was totally
different. We have a lot of code words that are used without really noticing,
and we expect everyone to pick up on it.

I think I've used this example before: when AIDS first hit they had ads on
TV coyly telling us to 'use protection' to avoid getting AIDS. I heard a ten-year
-old telling someone that he wasn't going to get AIDS because he used
protection - he had sunglasses. They were for protection. He had no idea
of the particular sexual connotations of 'protection' in certain contexts.
Another one is 'touching'. "Did the man touch you?"  "Yes."  Yes, he did -
he touched the child's hand when they held hands to cross the road. The
child has no idea that there's a different meaning in that conversation - and
it is REALLY important for the person talking to the child to be aware of that.

Children pick up a lot of the sayings, and codes, and meanings - but it's
surprising how many people get into adulthood before they find out certain
meanings. When you add cultural differences from country to country, I'm
amazed that we can communicate as well as we do.

Lois-Bujold mailing list message sent to wawenri at msn.com
Lois-Bujold at lists.herald.co.uk

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