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They also take ownership by reconstructing arguments on their own and presenting lines of reasoning to their classmates.In conjunction with learning about themselves and their place in the world (Are you merely an animal? ), students in my courses learn how to assess lines of reasoning and respond successfully to related challenges (If you accept Thomson’s argument, does that mean late-term abortions are permissible? To make ownership of learning a priority, I plan our classes around participation, encourage personal connections between course content and everyday life, and structure courses to fit students’ needs by taking their feedback seriously.
Students in my metaphysics class should understand the merits of different accounts of personal ontology.
And all my students should be able to appreciate the motivations behind views that oppose their own and provide thoughtful responses to related challenges.
Have you found logical fallacies in your friends’ Facebook rants?
Understanding philosophical ideas in the context of their lives gives my students motivation to invest personally in the course.
I learn whether students feel safe participating in my classes and whether the environment is conducive to their learning by collecting student feedback several times during the semester.
The feedback helps me address students’ concerns and interests while upholding my pedagogical goals (so, no, we won’t watch a movie every day) and encouraging a responsive classroom.After receiving their input, I tailor activities to suit different groups of students in order to better accomplish my learning objectives.Some groups of students request more whole-class discussions; others, more small-group discussions.Before assigning papers, I display a familiar Calvin and Hobbes comic to demonstrate what not to do – don’t take Calvin’s advice that “the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning, and inhibit clarity”!Students then contrast Calvin’s standards with the standards in a supplied rubric and learn how to improve their writing.These methods appeal to opinions or affinities that students already have and use them to give students a stake in serious philosophical engagement.In addition, I create an environment that requires students to provide the framework for our discussions by using philosophical methodology.My primary goal as an instructor is to help students take ownership of their learning experience so they may apply skills developed in the philosophy classroom to their lives and careers.Students take ownership of their learning in part by connecting traditional philosophical content, like the debate over whether we have free will, with their own experiences and opinions.Students also take ownership of their learning by drawing personal connections with philosophical content.I assign reflection papers that prompt students to connect course material to their lives: Would Kant approve of your weekend plans?