Philosophy / Philosophy Of Education
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Autor: anton 13 October 2010
Words: 1126 | Pages: 5
"Mr. Hart, please fill this room with your intelligence", booms the ancient Harvard professor to one of his students on the first day of class. (Paper Chasers video clip) The student has been put on the spot in the middle of a classroom full of students. He appears intimidated, as well as humiliated. He had been expected to have found an assignment sheet posted elsewhere in the school, complete some readings, and memorize some information all before the first day of class. This is not how education should be. Students do not look forward to being humiliated in front of their peers. However, in another scenario we hear students monotonously repeating word after word of Latin grammar (Dead Poet's Society video clip). Students are lined up spewing forth information like an old dot-matrix printer in the back room of an editing office. Is that really what we are supposed to be molded into? In yet another scenario, we see a new teacher at an all women's school, presenting slide after slide of art in an art history class (Mona Lisa's Smile video clip). She attempts to tell the class of the history behind each photo only to be interrupted by student after student spouting off what she is about to say. All the students have memorized the textbook! When the teacher returns the following class and puts more art in front of them (that which is not found within the text book), the students are dumbfounded. They can't think, on their own, of anything to say! "Eww, that's not art!". A correlation amongst the students in all of these scenarios is that they have not been taught to critically think. I propose a system of education in which teachers are not just depositing information in students, in which students are not just passive observers in an active world and in which knowledge is not just an absolute.
In most of today's classrooms, as seen in the example using Mr. Hart, we the students are seated in rows of desks. We are forced to sit and listen to the teacher, be it in biology, math, English, and memorize line after line of information. We are "receptacles" to be "filled" by the teachers (Friere p 1). We have attained "knowledge" as an absolute if we complete the course with a %100. As society is seeing today, students being given the stamp of approval aren't really ready to enter today's world. If you're going to school to be a biologist, it isn't just enough to know that water enters and exits the cell through a process called osmosis. You need to know why! You need to be able to see all of this information on a much broader scope than it has been presented to you. Students need to be taught to absorb this knowledge rather than to memorize it.
The first thing that needs to be done to achieve my system (philosophy) of education is to change the way teachers are teaching all together. How many times do students talking amongst themselves outside the classroom about how good their teachers are. They go to class and interact with one teacher, and are taught everything from that one teacher's perspective. In order to give the students a much broader perspective, two or maybe even three teachers, depending on the subject, should be placed in a class room. Each teacher would then present the information to the class. The students would then have a much broader spectrum of information to learn from. I am not implying that these teachers should tag-team forcing information down the student's throat, but take different approaches in helping them absorb the information through problem posing. The teachers are not placed in this system to stand high up on their pedestals throwing assignments at the students, but are to be working hand in hand with them. They would be learning from the students almost as much as they would be teaching them.
In an educational environment such as this one, the students should be able to stand in the teachers place and teach the teachers and their fellow students as well. The students are active participants here. They should be learning as much from their peers as their teachers, if not more. This system could create a lot more "work" for the students, but not as much of the "busy work" we receive, and tire of, today. For example, students could be asked to do reflective writings, in which they would share what they have learned in the lessons. Student lead discussions would also take up a large portion of the time in these classroom environments. What better test of one's knowledge than being put in a position where you are required to teach your fellow student? After each session both the student and the teach will go home feeling not stuffed with information, but a new view on some things that they would ponder as they head out into the rest of their daily routines.
The basis of this system isn't what the teachers are teaching, or what the students are learning. It is how we perceive this thing we call knowledge. In this world knowledge isn't something tangible. It is not viewed as an absolute. Knowledge is an ongoing process that will never have a climax or an end. It is something that will continue to grow and change through the timeline of our people. Knowledge is not what the students are learning, or what the teachers are teaching. It is the process of self-discovery. A teacher could tell a student that when you mix chemical A and chemical B they make chemical C. That isn't the knowledge. The student can then actually mix chemical A and chemical B and watch them make chemical C. That isn't knowledge. Knowledge is that individual's learning of how those to things interact and why when they mix they form chemical C. Knowledge is the process of education through self-discovery.
This system I have shown you would change the way education is viewed in this world. If we had teachers that actually "taught", and students that questioned the answers they were given, we'd be much better off as a whole. If we keep going the way we're goingÐ’â€¦ where are all the creative minds going to be coming from in the next few years? If students continue saying that A + B = C, what are we going to do when the world poses us more complex problems that require ingenuity, creativity and drive to solve? We just need to understand that knowledge is not just some gold star, or trophy each of us can achieve, but a method of learning and understanding that our society needs to grasp as a whole.
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