by: Arvic O. Baldoza,SHS-TIII
Make learning simple. After a school year of teaching Introduction to the Philosophy of Human Person and Introduction to World Religions and Belief Systems, this is what I have learned. Actually, not the thing itself, but on how to strengthen such. It has been my belief that teachers must not make learning process complicated. I remember when I was still studying Philosophy as a course, I have encountered some professors who do not discuss to us anything but just give us reading materials to learn by ourselves. I remember still, that there are professors who, discuss everything to us using highfaluting and hallucinating terms thereby diluting the lessons to the point of no learning. Every time this happens, I would always prefer reading and learning alone.
Now that I am teaching philosophy in senior high school, I always maintain two principles in mind. The first one is from William Occam’s razor which says “Entia nun sunt Muliplicanda Praeter Necessitatem”, translated in English “Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity”. In simplest of terms, go directly to the point. Expound only whenever it is needed. The second is from a certain Fr. Marquez from the Order of Preachers. In one of his short but concise lectures, he shared, and I quote, “I rather teach you a few things and learn something than teach you everything and learn nothing”. By the way, he lectures in less than an hour yet one will go out full of learnings from his one-hour class. He does not want his students to suffer from indigestion of the mind.
To do it, one must have mastery of the lesson and think of a good example that capsulizes the philosophy to be explained. When I presented the ancient philosopher Parmenides’ principle that “Nothing is being, and therefore, nothing is something”, students wore that “question mark” mask on their faces. Challenging them to think for a few seconds, they attempted to explain it. It was not a surprise though that only a few understood it, so I have to share mine. “Nothing” is present when something is absent, missing or lacking. Suppose you are looking for a coin in your pocket but it is empty, when there is nothing inside a box or all students decided to be absent at once, “nothing” therefore, is present in that pocket, box and in the classroom. Nothingness can also fill a person’s heart, thus, making his life empty and meaningless and there is also that “Nothing” that created every “something” in this world. For a religious person, it is God. For a non-believer, it could be energy. Whatever it is, it is nothing. But it is something that is present. It was of great joy on my part when, upon hearing my explanation, the students said “ahh…ok…” as they smile, perhaps feeling more intelligent than ever.
And so, I need not to expound further, even though my points can be expressed better. Teaching philosophy and philosophy itself needs not to be harder, it is a duty for a teacher to make it easier for the younger. But not too easy I guess, put some challenges might be of help nonetheless. So, a balance of mastery and experience I suggest, that makes teaching philosophy may reach in its finest. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I am the best but just sharing my insights to the rest.
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