In one of my previous entries, I posted the part of my final education paper that talked about my goal and objectives for American education. Now these are four methods I devised for meeting some of those objectives. Remember I love comments and opinions!!!!
In order for students to gain a thorough understanding and recognition of the cause and effect relationship between the undue importance humans place on superficial classifications such as race, ethnicity, wealth status etc. and human conflict and suffering, I would implement feedback, group projects, and reflective logs in my lesson plans. The teacher will develop an extensive list of historical and contemporary topics that demonstrate this cause and effect relationship. Students will also be permitted to do preliminary research and choose their own topic for the assignment if they prefer. Suppose one student chooses the Rwandan Genocide as his or her topic. The goal of the project will be to identify the origins and progression of the Rwandan Genocide. Students will be asked to identify the main causes of the Rwandan Genocide. The project may be presented in any public format; however a specific rubric will be developed to ensure that each project is held to a certain standard. The rubric will be as follows: if the requirements of the assignment are not met the project will receive a 1, if they are met it will receive a 2, and if the expectations are exceeded the project will receive a 3. So as not to be repetitive, every assignment in this class will be graded according on this scale and according to this basic rubric. After each presentation, the class will form a roundtable and have discussion and debate about the presentation they just heard. It will be a student- led discussion but the teacher will initiate the debate with pointed questions about how the cause and effect relationship is exemplified in the Rwandan Genocide. As homework, students will be asked to construct a reflective log, reflecting on their own feelings about the Rwandan Genocide. A question sheet will be provided as a guide but students will be permitted to write freely.
In order to develop the student’s capacity to critically think, I might take one contemporary issue such as illegal immigration in America and expose them to the myriad positions and arguments that have been formulated regarding that issue. The whole spectrum of opinions will have to be presented in order to give the students as much understanding of the issue as possible. As homework, students will be asked to construct a paper detailing their solutions to the issue of illegal immigration in America. Students will be asked to frame their papers as a point of comparison to other viewpoints and arguments they have heard in class. They will present their papers to each other in class in the form of a student-led roundtable discussion and debate that will focus on critiquing each other’s solutions. Perhaps multiple discussions will be required. During this process, students will be producing multiple versions of their original paper based on critical consideration of each other’s ideas and the forces that influence and drive each other’s opinions on the subject. Through this exercise, students will learn all the angles and aspects of all the opinions on illegal immigration as well as engage in self-reflection by realizing what influenced their initial viewpoint on the matter and how it evolved once the roundtable discussions had concluded. The teacher will initiate this self-reflection process requiring the students to think critically about why they have their certain positions on the issue of illegal immigration. Perhaps, by the end of the exercise students will have devised one solution that will tackle the problem for the betterment of society or perhaps there will remain differences in opinion. Once the discussions are over, students will write a reflective journal entry on not only what they have learned from the exercise but also why differences of opinion may still exist and what they think was the purpose of the project as well. These will be shared in class.
Occupy Wall Street has become a significant movement in American and around the world. It is a clear case of citizens being dissatisfied with their governments, their economies, and the prevalent culture of our society. I defined the ability to critically think as the ability to recognize what harms society and the individual and what benefits the society and the individual and why. To have students learn about the origins, causes, demands, detractors, supporters and participants of Occupy Wall Street in a comprehensive unit of study will foster this recognition. Students will learn about the movement through handouts, lectures, and internet group work. Students will develop their own solutions to the problems and demands of the movement by not only gaining an understanding and assessing the core values that lie at the heart of these protests but by comprehending how the current functioning of our government and society could have driven these people to protest out on the streets and public places of our country. The students will propose their solutions in a series of organized roundtable discussion and debates. Students will critique one another’s proposals on the basis of whether they truly benefit society and the individual. After the discussions are over, students will be assigned to do a series of entries in their reflective journals, assessing what they learned from the experience and what they identified as the purpose of the unit. The teacher will provide guiding questions such as “How do see yourself as fitting in with the demands and concerns of Occupy Wall Street.” A roundtable discussion will then be held in which students will share their entries.
An educational system that seeks to teach the realm of metaphysics and philosophical thought and therefore tries to address the fundamental nature of human existence and being would be wise to draw from the thoughts and experiences of its own students since they are, in fact, human. Even before beginning an instructional unit on the various categories and subcategories concerning metaphysics the teacher will engage his or her students in the metaphysical thought process. The students will be given an initial journal assignment asking them to express their views, opinions, and justifications on a series of various metaphysical and philosophical questions that concern us today. The teacher will develop these questions. Examples of questions might be “Does God exist”, “What do you see as the inherent conflict between science and religion today”, Do you believe that science and religion are at odds with each other, “What do you believe is the purpose of religion?” “Why do you think anything exists at all?” “Do you believe that there is a standard morality or that morality is relative?” These are just some of the questions that would be posed to the students. Students need not answer all the questions, and inevitably there will be some questions which students will not know how to answer. This exercise is not meant to be judged by the teacher, but it will be graded on the amount of effort. Its purpose is self-reflection, and thereby it also connects to the self-awareness objective. Students will be provided two nights to do this assignment. In the next class, they will then engage in a student-led roundtable discussion and debate on their answers to the questions posed. The teacher will guide the discussion by identifying points of contention and agreement and also pushing the students on why they believe their views may differ from others. This also connects to the objective of self awareness in that students will attempt to become aware of how their environment shapes their answers to certain questions.