False dichotomies in education theory

By Gordon Rugg & Sue Gerrard

False dichotomies involve presenting something as if only two choices were possible, when in fact there are other possible choices.

Some false dichotomies are easy to spot; those don’t usually get very far. Others, though, are much subtler, and have become part of our everyday world; for instance, the dichotomy between work and play, or the dichotomy between feminine and masculine, or the dichotomy between healthy and unhealthy.

When you unpack what’s going on in a false dichotomy, you usually end up with a much clearer and more useful understanding of what’s really happening. That’s the topic of this article.

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