“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
As a blossoming English and Social Studies teacher I often find myself confronted with knowledge that is contrary to my worldview. However, I find this kind of information the most useful into creating me into a more well rounded educator. By experiencing different views and trying to understand why others would hold that view, it flexes my empathetic muscles that I would not have to otherwise. These exercises I often find myself in will no doubt help in my abilities to relate to students, who’s viewpoints I may be in conflict with.
This quote by Aristotle has many implications for how a teacher must instruct his class. As many totalitarian teachers we have experienced through high school hold the viewpoint of “everything I say is fact,” this quote lets us remain humble. The knowledge we pass onto students may be what we think is right, but as educators we must be able to remain outside of our fixed opinions. Aristotle’s quote essentially makes it possible for us to accept that what we say is not set in stone, rather it is what we are attempting to teach. It also encourages us to promote critical thinking within the classroom, which I think is extra important in an English class.
There is not much that this quote makes “impossible” in relation to teaching. I guess if you do think that everything you say is the “right” answer, then it will make it impossible for you to be a teacher.
This quote relates to both the student and teacher in profound ways. As stated above, it humbles the teacher, but on the flip side I also think it should motivate students. The world is how they perceive it, and that is A-OKAY. They need not agree with everything I say, but I would encourage them to think critically about what I am TRYING to say. While this quote exercises the empathetic skills of the teacher, I would argue that it likewise exercises the empathetic skills of the student. Some students have this ability naturally within themselves, but for others it is a skill that must be taught. With this quote in mind, the mental stretching would come naturally.
Aristotle’s quote mainly relates to my educational philosophy because I would say that I do not agree with everything this program has been teaching us. However, I do try to think deeply about what the program is TRYING to teach us. Likewise, as stated above, I would not expect my student to agree with everything I say. If they did, they would simply become another brick in the wall. That is not the point of education. The point of education in relation to my educational philosophy, is to create students who can think for themselves and accept what knowledge they think lines up with their worldviews. I understand that this can have negative consequences, but that is the beauty of living in a free society. The notion of freedom has the inherent possibility of people making bad decisions. And that is alright with me. If I did not have the choice to make bad decisions, then it would cheapen all the good decisions I have made.
- Garrett J. Bates