Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bloom's Taxonomy vs The Times Colonist

So the Times Colonist posted a link talking about a poll on the foundation of Canada.  The question simply asked “Who do you think founded Canada” and the poll revealed that the response depends on who you ask.  Essentially, if you live in Quebec or are French speaking you are more likely to say the French; otherwise you will most likely say English.  Funny that no one mentioned the Vikings who arrived in Canada long before other Europeans.  Oh but wait.. what about the First Nations?  They have existed here for thousands of years and well before European explorers ever set foot on Canadian soil.  There was some backlash when this was talked about on a local radio station.  Feelings were hurt even though that was not the intent.
The truth is all of those answers are correct; the answer really depends upon perspective.  The question is very open ended.  What constitutes the founding of Canada?  Is it the first people to set foot on the territory?  Is it the first people to map the area and label it as Canada?  Is it the people who established Canadian confederation?  None of this is asked in the question and yet all of these factors must be addressed as they key to tempering one’s response.

I bring this up because it brings up the issue of what makes a good question and a bad question.  Had this question been “Who do you think founded Canada and why?” there would have been the opportunity to explain what one implies in the term found, but as it stands now that is not what the question is asking.  It is a good question in that it allows wide interpretation but if one is looking for a specific answer it is rather horrible.  This brings up the necessity for precision of language even though language is not very precise. 

That is an idea I shall explore in the next post.

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