Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Response to Class 2 09/11/07

Pre-response to class 2 – foreword (if you will)

This work is the response to the discussion on class 2, because class 1 was mainly introductory. We had an opportunity to talk about our own education and this actually worked as thinking material for the educational biography assignment that is due next week. We also spent sometime discussing the program syllabus and finding out we would have to do this work that I start now – response to Class 2

Response to Class 2

This class seems to be a very reflective one, but the subjects brought up are not set in stone. The teacher brings up a subject and discussion goes many places. During the first part of the class we spent some time discussing a couple of the perennial questions. On the first class we received a sheet with perennial questions that would be discussed throughout the course.

We talked about how students should be educated. The professor shared his views, we talked a little about the history of education in the 20th century and personal experiences some of us had. I am guilty of not writing this response right after class, so very few of what was said is still fresh in my mind and I feel for that.

But we did talk a lot about the open school concept, for the professor and some other classmates has experience with it. The main point of the discussion was how to make sure children are well educated. A student from Brazil who was educated by her teacher , because there were no schools where she grew up talked about how she thinks education is about hard work and going after things, and how she valued that.

The main point of this class also was discipline issues. How to train children in the right way.

On this class I did my presentation of the 1st text of the semester. The text was very dense and filled with content. It addressed the educational philosophies of great thinkers throughout history. The text's goal was to give the student teachers an overview of how each of these great thinkers dealt with the perennial questions concerning education.

Being the first student to present, I know that every other work will be better than mine, because everyone will be able to use it as a model of do's and dont's. For instance, I know that every work, or most works from now on, will contain an out line handed out to the students. That was a suggestion of the professor at the end of my presentation and it makes most sense. Especially in a text as rich as mine. I felt very much helpless in trying to get the whole content to the class in the time I had allotted. Halfway through my presentation I wished I had really done an outline. That would also help the classmates to their own responses. This Outline was actually made and posted on the classes blog http://virginiased429.blogspot.com/

The philosophers covered were Socrates and Plato, Aristotle, and Rousseau. A few others were supposed to have been covered I believe, but there was a problem with the text copies and the end of the text did not happen.

The main idea of this text was to give students the tool to reflective thinking, that is to do philosophy od education. The goal is not to answer all questions , but to recognize bad philosophy and to reject it, to be able to build sound argumentation and deconstruct one-sided argumentation. One would do that by using language wisely and carefully considering the elements involved in the building of the argumentation.

Socrates's fame is mainly due today to his method of inquiry. Many people question if that should be used in education today and how. I personally do not like the way Socrates forced his idea on the exerpt in the book. But I do belive a socratic method done well can help students achieve further. It stimulates thinking. Not sure if that was Socrates's goal.

Plato is famous for his concept of educational justice.

I agree with Plato though on the idea of justice. I do think that justice means to provide equal opportunities and I am not sure what Noddings means by equal outcomes. I believe the teacher's and the school's goal should be to have equal outcomes for the students in each everyone will succeed in life. But I don't understand how one can argue that justice is satisfied with equal outcomes when people are different.

Also I am not sure I agree with the idea that all children can learn whatever the school sets out for them to learn. I read some books during the summer that talked about differences between man and women and one of these differences is the way they learn, and the types of things they will be able to master. It looks like of the things that are praised today in school, some are essentially male and some are essentially female, and it would be unrealistic to expect both boys and girls to succeed equally in those different areas.

But it looks like this argumentation of mine can't stand when against the next opposition to Plato's Justice by Jane R. Martin. And I agree with Martin, but I am still not sure if we should do that expecting equal outcomes.

Aristotle is still very much cherished today for his concern with moral education. And our days of youth disruptive behavior has led many to pay renewed attention to his work.

I did not spend too much time on this moral education in my presentation, and that is when I wished I had the outline ready. I would have been able to make sure that portion of my presentation had the right amount of attention. After the presentation, the professor did call our attention to it.

The main focus of the discussion was – how do you teach moral to children today? Or better stated, how to do you teach the children the right thing to do? Many things can not be said and done in school anymore, for fear of being offending someone or some group.

I am afraid I do not understand this mind-set. Schools can not talk about moral unless they are religious schools. I question the link between moral/ethics and religion. Yes, my religion does play a central role in my life, but I think as human beings, from different religions, we are perfectly of talking moral without religion. I think it is much harder to explain many things, because I do believe that god is the center of my morals, as he is to many Christians. But I also believe that God created Christians and non with equal capability for moral and ethical thinking. I do not need to recognize the judeo-Christian God to accept moral standards. Moral and religion should not have to be linked. I wish educators could come to this conclusion and end the mess that we are in today. I belive Aristotle's philosophy could help us greatly today.

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