Tag Archives: educational theory

Philosophy: A dead field of study?

philosophyAs time passes I find myself more and more captivated by the core values seemingly promoted by philosophy — the way of thinking about complex issues in relation to one’s self, one’s knowledge and how one conducts his/her life.  Being someone who considers themselves in relation to others a relatively deep thinker, I enjoy the act of metacognating (thinking about one’s thoughts).  Philosophy has many different branches — metaphysics, epistemology, etc.  Broaching topics from existence, the process of thought, knowledge etc., philosophy is generally thought to be a large field of science with many sub-topics.

Why is philosophy so broad in comparison to other sciences? Well, the simple answer is, it’s not. However, the longer answer is due to the fact that figuring out how to best logically reason out one’s own rationality requires a lot of different elements in order to do so.  Now, why is it that nowadays people speak of philosophy as a “dead” field?  How can a field that involves critical thinking, self-awareness and determining the important questions surrounding one’s existence be pronounced dead?  Unbeknownst to me until recently this seems to be the common notion surrounding this study of thought as well as other humanity-related subjects and liberal arts. Continue reading

Grade-based Education System: Is it as motivating as we’d like to believe?

grades“You’re an Alpha and I’m an Epsilon,” he said in a defeated tone, “it’s that simple.”

“Why would you say that?” I replied confused as to why he’d reference the Brave New World caste system at a time like this.

“The reason is because it’s true; I’m always sub-par to you. I always get B’s and C’s even when I try, why is that?” he replied with aggravation in his tone.

I thought about this question for long after the incident itself has occurred.  What seemed like a normal day in my French 3 class has turned into a festered pot of jealousy that was dividing a good friend and I.  This jealousy was fueled by competition that I couldn’t help but wonder if education was to blame for.  I tend to be a strong academic student and he tends to have a bit more of a struggle.  He’s extroverted and outspoken.  I’m quiet and often too shy at times.  What could I say to him?  I didn’t know why he got B’s and below while I obtained A’s on most school assignments.

“Is intelligence a natural-born gift?  I mean, I try to surround myself with smart people and I think that it may help but it never does,” he asked in a concerned voice.  I remained silent—after all I was the one who “didn’t understand” what it was like to struggle in school.  “You’re so lucky, you have a high GPA and can get into any college you want when you’re older, you don’t worry like I do” he said very assured by his comment.  However, what he didn’t understand was that I faced the same worries; the “validation” of an A didn’t secure how I felt about my own work ability much less my intellectual competency.  I replied after some though in the most honest yet respectful way I knew how, “I don’t think it’s either or, I think intelligence is something we all have but it comes in a spectrum like everything else around us. Yet it doesn’t mean one can’t work to improve what they don’t like about how they perform, it’s one’s job to work towards improvement”. Continue reading

A Surprise Education

Nathan HaleI went to an after-school meeting, knowing only that it had to do with late start Tuesdays and education.  I went in expecting there to be lots of other students there, I thought this would be a huge group of students protesting the apparent end to late start Tuesdays.  It wasn’t. 

After tracking down the friends who had invited me, we went to the classroom this “meeting” was said to take place.  Given my previous conceptions of what this meeting would have in store, you can imagine my surprise and confusion when upon entering I was not greeted by the sight of other class members but instead, three history teachers whom I knew by reputation only (we were later joined by two Language Arts teachers whom I also didn’t know).  I also quickly caught on that this meeting was not just about the proposed cancellation of late start Tuesdays.  This meeting was about re-thinking the education system.

Almost every Tuesday at Nathan Hale High School, school starts at 10:00am.  From 8:00 until school starts students are given the opportunity to come in early and get homework done, retake tests, get help from teachers, work on group projects or sleep in.  Teachers will meet with one another and organize their curriculum so that their classes are in sync and complement each other.  These meetings allow for Integrated Studies, homework mediation, and a chance for teachers to collaborate on how best to structure their curriculum and plan projects and lessons that they think will be beneficial to all students not just the ones in their classes.  However because the school board has required all schools to meet a higher minimum amount of classroom hours, effective next year, these late start Tuesdays are slated for cancellation. Continue reading