What do you do when your teacher is wrong?

Aziyade

Well-known member
Spin off from the "Gypsy" thread:

So your teacher is telling you something that is either extremely controversial, or you know is downright wrong. How do you address this without appearing like a know-it-all jerk? Or do you? Obviously you don't want to say, "You're WRONG" in the middle of class, but do you take her aside privately or do you just stay mute out of respect? If you stay mute, aren't you just contributing to the spread of disinformation?

For instance, and this is an extremely minor issue, I have heard a well-known teacher describe silk veils as being 10 "millimeter" silk. Silk is measured in units called mommes -- usually pronounced "mommies" and abbreviated "mm." I see her confusion, but should I correct her? Is it my business to do so?

What if she gives the class information that can be considered terribly offensive by the cultures involved? I can overlook a mispronunciation, but what if the statement is just patently wrong and arguably offensive? What then?
 

mahsati_janan

New member
I would probably voice it in the 'ask for clarification' way with a time delay to give the teacher time to process it.

So for something that was a sensitive issue, I'd say something like, *raises hand* "While we are on this topic, I had heard something xyz on the internet and wanted to get your thoughts on it. I don't want to take up the class time, but is there a better time I can talk with you to find out more about resources on xyz that you feel are credible?"

For something more simple, like silk weights, I would probably just say it more openly, *raises hand* "I read that silk weights are usually measured in mommes. Is that the same thing?"

I think that most people tend to be more open and less confrontational about their beliefs when something is asked as a question, especially when the asker is also staying open to the answer.

Being open to the answer is key. I have heard a story of a student 'correcting' a master workshop instructor from Egypt about 'what they do in Egypt.' I would find that incredibly frustrating as both a teacher and a student, so I would always recommend phrasing it as a question and being open to hear the teacher's response.
 

gisela

Super Moderator
I agree with Mahsati that in a question form it is usually fine.
I have encountered it a few times. It depends on the situation if I say anything but I prefer to speak up in a polite way. One of my teachers once mixed up some instruments and said that the rababa was a wind instrument. I said with a confused look that I had always thought it was a string instrument and isn't that the one they play on their lap or up in the air etc. The next class she said that, yes, oops she had mixed them up in her head.
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
I agree with Mahsati and Gisela. When I've been confronted with this, for example, let's say the teacher used the word "ummies" and I always heard the word "omis" I would ask the teacher what is the difference so she would think I wasn't correcting her, just asking for her knowledge on both. But I like to be careful what I ask; in fact, I've sent an e-mail to my instructor the next day on something I disagree with using the same style as I stated before, just in case they may be a little sensitive (which some of them are extremely so).
 

walladah

New member
You just learn the things which are right

or those only you agree with!

At the end, even if one is sure about her teacher being wrong about something, there is no reason to disagree if this does not affect one's education. Particularly, you should not counter-teach the other students esp. during the lesson. THis is bad manners...

Personally, i have attended classes and workshops with several teachers that if they met together, they would fight with each other. However, all of them taught me great things and i think that no matter the choices i made concerning each specific issue, they have all been great teachers anyway!
 
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gisela

Super Moderator
I still think it is a good idea to speak up. It COULD be that you are the one who is wrong and if you ask "but... isn't it like this?" you might find ut that what you "knew" was not correct or just half the truth.
 

Belly Love

New member
I still think it is a good idea to speak up. It COULD be that you are the one who is wrong and if you ask "but... isn't it like this?" you might find ut that what you "knew" was not correct or just half the truth.
I agree.

Even if you know for sure it's something she is wrong about, I also think it's best to pull her aside after class and mention it. Like others said, you could phrase it like a question or say it like, "I think it may be this or that" vs. "Don't you know that..." Saying it in a concerned or lighthearted way is important too so they don't feel like they are being put down.

I think this is a good subject to bring up as I'm sure a lot of people run into this issue, even in non-belly dance classes.
 

LilithNoor

New member
My students are so fortunate to have a teacher who is never wrong. :cool:
Heehee!

I've never noticed my teacher getting anything wrong apart from the odd bit of choreo- we spent about ten minutes the other night debating on the direction of a shoulder roll- but I have no doubt she'd be open to correction if someone did notice something.

I think some teachers do labour under the belief that they have to be omniscient or their students won't respect them. Me, I can't think of anything less likely to inspire respect than someone who clings to ill-formed beliefs!
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
If you, your classmates, and your teacher all have Facebook pages, is it all right to post links to articles and info, saying something like, "I ran into something very interesting about XYZ. What are everyone's thoughts on the subject"?
 

Aniseteph

New member
If you, your classmates, and your teacher all have Facebook pages, is it all right to post links to articles and info, saying something like, "I ran into something very interesting about XYZ. What are everyone's thoughts on the subject"?
Great idea. :clap:

Alas, if I did that I would be instantly outed as a passive-aggressive know-all who spends too long on the internet. (why? Because I AM!!!! :lol: :dance:)

I would never do it in a workshop unless I felt it was an interesting matter of opinion or interpretation and could voice it as a question that did not imply the teacher was just plain wrong. If I knew it was utter hogwash I would not bother, and get on with learning what I could.

I've only once really thought "no that is not right" about something in class, and that was a bit of historical background that didn't really affect what the class was doing, and could have just been the way it came out. It would have been disruptive and pointless to question it at the time, so I didn't. And my viewpoint is just as much "I have heard that..." as hers.

I would only squeak up in class if I was going to be made to do something on stage I was not happy with. We are doing a melaya number at the mo, and if it was overtly slutty or we were forced to chew gum I would speak up. Actually with the gum I would probably throw up, because the smell alone grosses me out. Wild horses won't make me chew it.
 

AndreaSTL

New member
It all depends on who it is. Even privately and in a conversational tone (not challenging or argumentative) there are some people who can never be corrected or learn something from a student. It's just not in their mental makeup. If their mentor said the same thing, though, it would be gospel. If you do feel like it would be accepted, I probably wouldn't say anything in class. I would approach them later and say I was confused and wanted her point of view. It feels more like a question and less of an attack that way.

I have privately corrected someone on the millimeter thing, though, because I didn't want them to do it in the future. It was more of a desire to keep them from looking like they don't know what they're talking about rather than a need for me to be right. It's such an easy mistake since both words have the same abbreviation.
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
It all depends on who it is. Even privately and in a conversational tone (not challenging or argumentative) there are some people who can never be corrected or learn something from a student. It's just not in their mental makeup. If their mentor said the same thing, though, it would be gospel. If you do feel like it would be accepted, I probably wouldn't say anything in class. I would approach them later and say I was confused and wanted her point of view. It feels more like a question and less of an attack that way.

I have privately corrected someone on the millimeter thing, though, because I didn't want them to do it in the future. It was more of a desire to keep them from looking like they don't know what they're talking about rather than a need for me to be right. It's such an easy mistake since both words have the same abbreviation.
Exactly. This isn't coming from a need to be right. As I said in the "Gypsy Dance?" thread, I only want my teacher to be exposed to information that she might not have previously known, so that she will continue to learn and grow, and be the best teacher she can be.

I have a personal belief myself, that we're all put on this earth to help and lift one another up, and to encourage goodness in others. She's a wonderful lady and teacher, and I don't think she means to use the word "Gypsy/gypsy" in a derogatory way, nor purposefully promote myths or falsehoods. I think she just doesn't know.
 
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goddessyasaman

New member
My students are so fortunate to have a teacher who is never wrong. :cool:

I like you Shanazel you sound just like me :lol:, I have never come across this issue, I as a teacher study all the time so me making a mistake is unlikely the reason for this is because I don't want to teach my students wrong, and as far as disrespecting the cultures of belly dance, thats not likely to happen either since I study the cultures as well, and not to even go into the fact that part of my heritage runs in some of these cultures at least the east(indian, pakistani) but I want them to understand it all.

on the matter of how you should deal with it well, for one you should not ask her in the middle of class, I think this will under mind her in front of her students even if you make it in the form of a question this will not do either because if she is wrong then she will just repeat it again still teaching all these students wrong.

You could wait till class has ended and then say, about(what ever it was about), I heard it said this way or I read that it was this way, could you look into it for me, because I know you said that its like this, but now I feel confused so could you check the source i read and let me know what you
think?

Sometimes it's how you say things, not what you say, I would not throw her under the bus as she could have been taught by her teacher the wrong way as well, so giving her a chance is a good Idea I think;)
 
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