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I can’t even imagine what a class would look like without these voices.
I don’t remember the class or even what the assignment was, but I do remember doing this project on using “The Socratic Method” as a pedagogical practice, a modified version of the Socratic dialogue, the purpose of which is to help students think for themselves as they come to grips with whatever subject is being taught.
The Socratic Method has become the signature pedagogy in every class I have ever taught.
Inspired by his belief that “the search for an authentic self is one of the primary tasks of adolescence,” his new curriculum would require a classroom model that fosters a supportive, trusting environment for seniors to navigate life’s philosophical questions together.
His hope was that such a class could help students build compassion and strength of character — in his opinion, far better indicators of a senior’s success.
The Philosophy Club reminded me of my own longing in high school for something more meaningful than what the standard curriculum offered.
By 1996, the curriculum was completed for, what turned out to be, a standard introductory philosophy class and, under the guidance of my then principal Bob Galardi, I was able to pilot the first class.Or is it the function of education to prepare us while we are young to understand the whole process of life? Krishnamurti Pioneer High School social studies teacher Jim Robert is known to many, including his students, simply as “JR.” At age 58, he has been teaching for 25 years, 24 of them at Pioneer.In 1996, while teaching a philosophy class to seniors, he began to develop an innovative curriculum idea: how could he create an experience for students to explore self-awareness and self-examination in an academic setting, especially as our culture moves toward test results driven measures of success?Helping students become self-aware, critical thinkers has been my central mission as an educator.It was clear early on in my career that a 53-minute history class period was not going to suffice for many of these students to quench their thirst for meaning and for delving deeper into the world of thoughts and ideas.I heard Robert describing Senior Passage in a TEDx Talk he gave at U-M and was moved by his unique approach to education.He agreed to meet with me and collaborate on a I met JR on a busy Friday afternoon at Pioneer.“I wonder if we have ever asked ourselves what education means.Why do we go to school, why do we learn various subjects, why do we pass examinations and compete with each other for better grades?From the very beginning, my classes have been a cradle for discussion; a place where the facts of history became secondary to the ideas embodied in these facts, and that my task as an educator was to help my students learn to grapple with these ideas and connect them to their own lives.Making my students’ voices the center of the classroom, and helping them find their voices and confront the fears that prevent their voices from being heard, became foundational to my educational philosophy.