Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Classroom Opinion Polls

After having yet another one of these awkward experiences yet again, I've decided classroom polls aren't very useful and perhaps sometimes dangerous.

In school the other day, the teacher asked "How many of you don't want your parents on Facebook?", meaning they don't want their parents to see their profile for whatever reason. I misheard this: "How many of you don't have parents on Facebook?" and so I raised my hand. It wasn't until maybe 5 minutes later after the discussion had moved on that someone mentioned something related to hiding identities from parents and it clicked what the question really was.

I thought: "No, no! I didn't want to vote for that! I've been completely misrepresented, and since it was a public poll everyone saw." But there was no way to express that; the vote was long gone, we were on a different subject now. My only solace is the observation that students don't pay much attention to class polls.

I've had this situation a number of times, and the problem really is just people mishearing. So as a general solution to this problem, I propose we try and at least limit the number of situations in which such an embarrassing occurrence can arise. So no more random public polls. (Better solutions but harder to implement: let everyone know of this problem and to take first replies with a grain of salt, or fix everyone's hearing, or let everyone know that this 'embarrassment' isn't really embarrassing and most people forget about what happened immediately.)

Just another example. I was listening to a conversation (sort of) and thought I heard the words "dumb and dumber" followed eventually by movie, and as I glanced over one party asked me:

"Do you like that movie?"

"Oh yeah, I love it."

"...look of shock, then continues talking with other person"

In retrospect, I think the movie this person was referring to is High School Musical, which I don't even want to see, instead of Dumb and Dumber, which I do enjoy.

Posted on 2009-09-11 by Jach

Tags: daily life, personal, stupidity


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