On Pedagogy

My target audience - introducing students to philosophy

Since I primarily teach to students who are not familiar with philosophy my first goal is to give them a sense of how exciting the subject is and to inspire them to love philosophy - perhaps even to encourage some to become philosophy majors. I also make several assumptions about my students.

1. Very few of them can read difficult materials with great success. Instead they are primarily visual learners and need an exciting dynamic performance to keep their attention.

2. Most of them will come from a more conservative (philosophical) background.

So, to hold their interest I have to use devices. I take advantage of the web including

the following:

Using YouTube Using Google Using Google Earth Using Wikipedia Using web sites in general.

My newest venture: using a Weblog and Facebook in order to communicate with others via the web.

I also try to startle them with questions that are intuitively contrary to what I assume they have already been taught in order for them to become critical (in a good sense) about their previous beliefs. At least one major startling question should be the focus of each lecture.

Examples include things like contrasting different models of the cosmos and asking which model is true? (But then arguing all of the models are true even when they appear to contradict each other.)

I continue the class / discussion via the Internet and email during the week.

I make certain conclusions about how we learn. I assume that most learning is language learning and immersion is the best way to learn a language. (Russian immersion was my own most amazing educational experience), So rather than encouraging precise grammatically correct writing I instead shoot for volume. I encourage my students to write a lot and feel free to write as they think without worrying about format or correct answers. My questions call for essay responses and I encourage them to write as much as they like - but at least over a minimum requirement.




This page is maintained by William S. Jamison. It was last updated July 11, 2016. All links on these pages are either to open source or public domain materials or they are marked with the appropriate copyright information. I frequently check the links I have made to other web sites but each source is responsible for their own content.