Saturday, October 06, 2007
Reasons: Thoughts from a Logic Teacher
Our favorite word in Logic class is "tangible". Not because it seems to contradict what Plato is known for, but because it best describes our worldview in teaching logic. I want my students to be overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of the world of thought. But in the end I want them to have such a practical grasp of the scope of thought that it prods them into deliberate awareness and attentiveness. In other words, I want them to think about what they are thinking about and act accordingly.
Our second favorite word is "obstreperous". Not because it seems to contradict the lessons of "tangible", but because I was once called that by one of my teaching mentors who happens to be of Welsh birth. I want my students to see me modeling tangibility. I have come to be more aware than they are about themselves at this point of who I am, why I do what I do, and the people that have helped shape that awareness most. And now I want to share that realization with them. Do they know at the beginning of the school year why I use the word "obstreperous" so much? No. But that too is intentional. I want them to be curious about the word, to be annoyed by my frequent use of the word, to call one of their friends "obstreperous"—after they have used our class dictionary to look up the word—and then I will share my Welsh "obstreperous" story.
Everything in life has a meaning. Everything a purpose. As teachers, we must be deliberate about thinking through such things ourselves then walk with—and sometimes pull along—our students as we discover together.