Why I hated Philosophy

by steven n fettig

I want to play devil’s advocate to my own post about open curriculum. So a short story from my younger days. In college I was required to take a basic philosophy class. Most students took it freshman year. I knew that it was going to be a “pie in the sky” class that I would hate. So I avoided it and saved it until my last year. I finally signed up for a once a week three hour class that I knew would be so painful.

The class started and I loved it. I have always loved math, logic, and arguing deep questions. In other words everything that the class was about. I seriously considered getting a minor in philosophy but I was too close to being done and did not want to stay in school any longer (later I considered going to grad school in philosophy).

So hopefully my point is clear. If I had never been forced to study philosophy I may never have been exposed to a great field that I find very interesting. (on the other hand I was forced to take a music appreciation course of classical music that I hated. The reason may very well have been the skill of the teacher).

So my question is should learning every be forced on a learner? If so when? What content is so important that learners should be coerced to learn it.

If not, how do we ensure that learners in an open system are exposed to varied and critical content for being a successful citizen?

2 thoughts on “Why I hated Philosophy

  1. Steven Barber

    Great points here & good post- HAPPY HOLIDAYS by the way! Sometimes with high school students I think as a teacher we all face that quintessential paradox with regard to students in that – “they don’t know what they don’t know”- so sometimes learning dynamic CHANGES when that “awakening” on the part of the learner occurs!

  2. Sue VanHattum

    I don’t know the answer to that. If only every required class were taught by a great teacher, huh? Hmm, how about a ‘requirement’ of one class a year from outside your interests. No way to properly enforce that… And the college would provide lists of classes that students thought they’d hate and ended up loving, with descriptions from the students about why.

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