Current Dr. Bob Jackson is employed as the head of the accounting department in a small university. For more than 15 years he worked as an accountant and then decided to become an educator. Overall, at the given moment, he acts as a teacher and administrator who need to organize the work of other professionals. Dr. Jackson kindly agreed to take part in this interview and respond to questions about the role of a teacher. He believes that a teacher has to make students think beyond the material, prescribed for the course.
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In his opinion, only in this way one can elaborate the skills of learners. In his opinion, they must be able to critically question the opinions of distinguished scholars since this is an indispensible condition for professional and personal growth. It is possible to argue that his professional views strongly rely on the ideas of Aristotle and Plato.
These philosophers believed that teachers should encourage their pupils to question even those statements which appear to be self-evident truths (Benson, 2006, p 30). Furthermore, according to them, the task of an educator is to make a student look at the same problem from different perspectives. To a great extent, they were also influenced by the ideas of their predecessor Socrates, who laid the foundations of modern learning theories.
Dr. Jackson believes that a teacher should not act only as some authoritative figure who forces students into conclusions since such an approach can entirely deprive learners of critical thinking skills. Again, this opinion is largely reminiscent to the opinions of Plato and Aristotle. These philosophers regarded an educator as a facilitator who prompts student’s learning, rather than a dictator, who leaves no room for discussion. In his interview, Dr. Jackson mentions that he is often considers as a “tough” teacher but he does not want to be perceived as tyrannical figure, since perceptions undermine the process of education.
Apart from that, Dr. Bob Jackson believes that an educator should encourage students to look for practical application of their knowledge. From his standpoint, the process of education becomes pointless. Again, Dr. Jackson’s teaching philosophy is derived from the ideas of ancient thinkers, especially Aristotle. He stressed the importance of the so-called demonstrative knowledge (Sedley, 2008, p 145). He believed that learning through action was equally important as speculative reasoning.
Additionally, Dr. Jackson’s approach to education largely echoes the ideas of Quintilian who thought that a teacher has to emphasize the usefulness of knowledge (Lawton & Gordon, 2002, p 27). The task of an educator is to show or even prove the benefits of knowing and a student’s poor results can be his/her fault. Thus, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Dr. Jackson shares Quintilian’s about the responsibilities of a teacher.
Thus, one can argue that the ideas of ancient philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Quintilian have long-standing legacies. These people influenced modern perceptions about teacher’s role, his/her relationships with colleagues, and methods which need to be used in order to achieve the best results. Dr. Jackson’s teaching philosophy is strongly influenced by his ideas, although he did not refer to them in his interview. Being a teacher and college administrator, he attempts to adhere to the principles which were laid down many years ago. At to this point, they still remain relevant to the needs of modern teachers.
Benson H. (2006). A companion to Plato. NY: Wiley-Blackwell.
Lawton D. & Gordon P. 2002. A history of Western educational ideas. London: Routledge.
Sedley D. 2008. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.