Assistant teacher course/Instructors' guide/Proposals for philosophical workshops/Imagine you were alone as an assistant teacher

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Imagine you were alone as an assistant teacher[edit | edit source]

Imagine you were alone as an assistant teacher. What would be your obligations? Would you have any obligations?

Here are some questions that can be discussed in this context. All questions allow to speculate about surrounding conditions of the school and society. Are the answers the same in a developing country, in a developed country and in possible future societies that have further improved education?

  1. Do you have an obligation to (help to) teach?
  2. Do you have an obligation to learn pedagogy and psychology?
  3. Do you have an obligation to become a mentor?
  4. Do the same obligations exist for an individual in a group of assistant teachers?
  5. Can the policies of the group change the obligations of the individual?
  6. Does the individual have an obligation to participate in the governance of the group?
  7. If you were alone on an alien planet and the aliens didn't seem to have proper teachers - would the same obligations apply?

The instructor should be tolerant and allow most opinions. Socratic debate should be useful to challenge positions that are not yet well-founded.

  • Questions 1-3 may ask for an explanation of the categorical imperative and how it can be applied in this context. The instructor can discuss each of the three questions for several minutes and allow the participants to develop their views. After question 3 the instructor can then explain the categorical imperative in abstract form and allow the participants to review their positions. After several more minutes the instructor can then explain how it can be applied, if the participants haven't applied it appropriately themselves. Question 2 hides an answer by combining pedagogy and psychology: One could see it as an obligation to learn psychology to better understand one's own thinking, which is not directly related to pedagogy.
  • Question 4-6 allow the discussion of citizenship education topics.
  • Question 7 introduces a new perspective and allows, among other things, to verify if the group has understood the arguments in the earlier questions. The instructor can invent conditions on an alien planet and make claims that simply refuse that earlier arguments apply (the aliens have a culture that rejects education; the aliens are aggressive; the aliens don't seem to understand much). The new perspective can invite the participants to reconsider their earlier positions or to fail to notice that they might apply.