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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Ed Philosophy Re: History - 775 words
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To understand history, you must grasp how your everyday view of the world developed, how it was created by the reality of the people who lived before you. It took 1000 years to evolve the modern way of looking at things, and to really understand where you are today, you must take yourself back to the year 1000 and then move forward through the entire millennium experientially, as though you actually lived through the whole period yourself in a single lifetime." (Redfield, 1994) I have chosen to become a history professor to open the minds of college students who have despised history, not because of the contents of what they are taught, but because of the way that they were taught. With an existentialist point of view on education, my teachings will be based on how individuals influences and reacted to certain events in history, not the events themselves. In order to fully explain why I agree with the existentialist philosophy, I should point out why I feel this will help my ability to teach my students. Existentialists rely on self-reflection as a major tool. I can't think of a better way to show a student what happened throughout history than by asking how he or she would react in that time period.
Imagine being a journalist trying to capture the feeling of a nation on November 23, 1963, the day after President John F. Kennedy was shot. Take your imagination further to capture the torn emotions felt by Mary Todd Lincoln, President Abraham Lincoln's wife, who's half-brother Ben Hardin Helm was killed as a Confederate General in the Civil War (Find A Grave, Retrieved 2002). By throwing yourself into a situation and expressing those emotions you feel about that situation, your reactions will bring about a deeper meaning; one not so easily tossed aside after an exam is taken or the course is completed. Existentialists also believe that a classroom should be an open forum for discussion
I plan on lecturing for the first half of my class and letting the students share their thoughts in the remaining half of the class. Knowing that all individuals think and act differently, this help to explain all sides of an event. One student may feel that our current situation warrants military action against Iraq while another student may be strongly opposed to America's use of force. By letting these individuals express their true feeling without judgment, I believe other students will better understand the situation at hand. There is opposition to my thoughts on teaching, yet I feel that the age group that I will be working with is mature enough to handle true honesty in a classroom setting. A behaviorist would say that my classroom set up would create chaos by sheer lack or rules and regulations.
An essentialist would detest my way of teaching because he or she would see no concrete way of evaluation. I must disagree with both. Most individuals that attend college know that their ideas and their values will be challenged and that they themselves must live according to their own set of rules and regulations. They can choose to come to class or they can choose to stay in bed all day. My responsibility as a teacher is not to play the parenting role, but act as a guide to a more in-depth enlightenment.
It is up to the student to take an active role in my class. Class participation is going to be at least 30% of my grading system, but it is up to the student to speak out about his or her thoughts, no matter what they may be. History, itself, is easy to grade. Either you understand a concept/event or you don't. My evaluation will be placed on the ability to clearly portray what you have learned in my class through essay form.
I will probably give the students a set list of terms in which they can choose the 10 or 15 that they feel they know best. In doing this, the problem with evaluation is non-existent. My educational philosophy is simple: let individuals express who they are and they in turn will want to reveal more to you. By letting an individual share his or her thoughts with a group gives them a feeling of self-gratification. Apollonius Rhodius once said, "those who learn to know themselves will surely discover that they themselves--through their own thoughts and deeds--create their own suffering." (Rhodius, 3d Century BC) Isn't it then true that the individuals that enlighten themselves through the knowledge of history and the knowledge of one's true-self will inevitable create a more complete person? I hope to prove this theory in my classroom.
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