What is right with education today? Well, mainly the students. Oh, and many teachers who truly care about those students. However, not much else is right and the reason that so much controversy exists revolves around something that many people, including the students AND teachers, don’t consider very often. Even if they do, they, along with most of us, think: Boring! That important piece of the puzzle is not boring if we grasp and apprehend the true value and impact of it. What is this important and life-determining concept? Philosophy!
Yes, philosophy! Often not looked at as being of any consequence, however, when people don’t consider what drives them and determines their actions, they suffer because they are not in control of their lives. Do you know the etymology of the word, the origin? Philosophy comes originally from the Greek philosophos, meaning lover of wisdom. Who doesn’t want to be wise to be able to make decisions and choices about life that enable one to live a fulfilling, fun, and rich life? The trick is to accept the reality that your underlying foundational beliefs about yourself and life determine what happens in the real world, and this is where many find philosophy boring. They think it doesn’t have anything to do with the real world, but it has everything to do with it. What we say and do in everyday life expresses our philosophy in regard to self or anything else. Now, wouldn’t it be better to be consciously aware of this and use it to make your life what you want it to be, to create your own fate rather than just accepting fate? Do you want to be one of the people who, according to Thoreau, are part of “the mass of men [who] lead lives of quiet desperation?” Do you feel like you simply have to accept the way things are, to accept what life throws at you? Then hopefully you will consider the sentence immediately following Thoreau’s famous quote: “What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.” People think, “It’s just the way it is. Whaddya gonna do?”
Many students feel like this, as if they must accept without question what is being thrown at them. Guess what? They do. This reveals a foundational flaw in the current philosophy of education that so many genuine educators feel they must purvey. Teachers feel they have no choice, either. How sad. How liberating would it be to determine your beliefs, your philosophy, that would allow you to function—as I mentioned before—in a fulfilling, fun, and enriching way? Even more than that—how about making an impact, a difference to yourself and others?
Philosophy, you see, determines not only how you learn but how you live both personally, relationally, and professionally. Do you think it’s worth exploring a bit more?
All the best,