Philosophical Position Poster The Impact of Teachers at everY Level

The Elementary Years: Ms. Hudson - Realist

Ms. Hudson wasn't unfeeling or mean; she was factual and expected her little 1st graders to learn all the knowledge she presented. This was particularly true with learning letter sounds and words; it was essential to know the sound each word or word blend before working on comprehension strategies. With math, all the facts had to be memorized before word problems or other equations could be tackled. And it was absolutely necessary that the little ones knew the beginnings of food chains, how to count money, and recite Abraham Lincoln facts.

Ms. Husdon's focus in the classroom was, "the mastery of facts in order to develop an understanding of natural law." She was precise and broke down the facts and required knowledge into manageable pieces, but her teaching was "objective and dehumanized" (Knight, 2006, p. 54).

The Middle School Years: Mrs. Vanderslice - Realist (with Neo-Scholasticm undertones)

Ms. Vanderslice coordinated lessons with other teachers frequently to give students a hands-on and in depth understanding of material. The Salem Witch trials were studied in history, Ms. Vanderslice taught The Crucible in language arts. The drama department created a play. And the tech education (shop) class created stocks for the set. We couldn't go to Salem Massachusetts, so Ms. Vanderslice brought the historical period to her students. Many discussions around the beliefs of the people and the lack of objective truth were had; the dangers of believing information without validation was driven home.

Ms. Vanderslice was open about her Christian faith and her believe that facts or can be observed and defined through analytic and synthetic statements. While her faith was clear, it wasn't forced upon the students and was not the obvious focal point of her learning objectives. But as a modern realist, she favored, "demonstrations in the classroom, field trips, and the use of audio-visual aids in situations where field trips would not be practical or would be too time-consuming" (Knight, 2006, p. 54).

The High School Years: Ms. McGrath - Pragmatist

This teacher had her students read literature and participate in Socratic seminars. This teacher had her students evaluate the truth of texts and author's views. This teacher had students pretend to be Dante and create a modern day "sin", choose a level hell that sign should reside based upon the student's judgement, and the provide the punishment the student's saw fit. I choose abortion and eternal labor; I can't remember the level of hell I categorized this particular sin.

Ms. McGrath would say, "We live in a world of experience and have no way of knowing whether what some people claim lies beyond human experience has any truth or reality" (Knight, 2006, p. 67). She would also say that truth changes with time and circumstance. As a high school student, this mindset was quite confusing to me, but it was the catalyst for some pretty cool assignments and project-based learning.

The Post-Secondary Years: Dr. Shirley Kilpatrick - Neo-Scholasticist

As a member of the Geneva College humanities team, she helped design the three-course series required of all students which examined art, literature, music, and philosophy on a historical time scale. Both the course and the material of focus stressed, "the intellectual and spiritual aspects of culture." (Knight, 2006, p. 60). Lectures were designed to explain the world to students. Small group discussions were designed to train the intellect of the students.

Dr. Kilpatrick told her students they were rational, spiritual beings and capable of understanding truth and knowledge. And, "truth can be known through reason and intuition" (Knight, 2006, p. 57). Like Aristotle, she clearly communicated her belief that, "the universe has design and other, and that every results has a cause" (Knight, 2006, p. 56). Unlike Aristotle, Dr. Kilpatrick did not point students to "an Unmoved Mover," but to the Holy Trinity. That Holy Trinity could be observed both through the works in the world (Job 12: 7-10 New International Version) and the work in our lives and hearts (Job 22:22 New International Version).

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12: 7-10 New International Verison

“Receive, I pray thee, the law from His mouth, and lay up His words in thy heart” (Job 22:22)

Blackaby, R. (Ed). (2006). The Blackaby Study Bible (NKJV, ed). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

Knight, G. R. (2006). Philosophy & education: An introduction in Christian perspective (4th ed.). Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press.

Credits:

Created with images by Freeimages9 - "chalk color red" • DanceERB - "scissors supplies classroom" • Nasos3 - "Teacher" • familymwr - "Army Photography Contest - 2007 - FMWRC - Arts and Crafts - Eye of the Holder" • familymwr - "Army Photography Contest - 2007 - FMWRC - Arts and Crafts - Canal Path #2"

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