I always find when people debate/disagree/argue about things more often than not the people involved rarely succeed in getting their point across because they get defensive. They see the alternative point as a personal attack and therefore they must defend themselves. I witnessed this last night when ‘discussing’ calculation methods with a maths advisor from the local authority. I have not been convinced by the new division method being promoted so challenged her to prove its success to me. She couldn’t; all she could do was tell me that it works and I should take her word for it. Having seen an alternative method work successfully with my class I am not convinced yet to change my ways. I guess it’s just the scientist in me but I want a proper full-blown experiment with parallel sets of children from the same school being taught each different method, or a variety of all the methods, and then assessed and the results compared and analysed.
But this is the challenge I set to all people trying to convince someone of something: actually prove it.