Aristotle was a great philosopher and teacher of his time. He is often called ‘the best-educated individual’ of all time. His observations and thoughts are being examined by many great people and serve as guidelines not only for philosophers, but also for educators. The issues, which were analyzed by Aristotle, seem to be applicable to the variety of situations and time periods. The following paper is going to examine, how Aristotle’s philosophy can be applied to the modern educational institutions.
Education/ Individual approach
Aristotle has given a great contribution to the subject of an education. He has spent most of his life teaching and sharing his thoughts and experiences with his students of all ages. His claims were somewhat different for the era, which he lived in, and have brought many changes to the people’s perception of life and human being.
Aristotle was one of the first philosophers, who believed that each person is a product of a nature and is unique in whatever he or she says or does. He claimed that each individual has his or her own abilities and things he or she is the best at. Aristotle claimed that in order to understand a human being (or any other creation in this world) one must understand the purpose of his or her actions and seek the deeper examination of his or her essence (Johnson & Reed, 2008, p. 34).
This thought applies to the teaching practices. It illustrates that each student in the classroom needs an individual approach. This is hardly achievable in the modern classrooms, which consist of around 25 people. However, Aristotle’s teachings illustrate the importance of having smaller classes, where each student can receive more attention from a teacher.
Aristotle’s another important claim is that education, in general, plays a significant role in the further development of an individual. Johnson & Reed (2008) describe Aristotle’s approach toward the education as follows: “The ultimate goal of education is to assist human beings in developing their unique capacity to contemplate the world and their role in it”. Since the educational process in each class entirely depends on the teacher, it is important for the schools and universities to carefully choose people, who are dedicated to their job and understand its importance.
Aristotle also brings up the topic of an educator’s authority in the class. He claims that a teacher possesses a knowledge, which cannot be argued or questioned by the student, who is not experienced enough in the matter in order to do so. However, he also claims that every individual must observe and analyze his or her beliefs before sharing it with his or her students. It is important for every educational institution to develop its own policies and to communicate them to its workers.
“Now each man judges well the things he knows, and of these he is a good judge. And so the man who has been educated in a subject is a good judge of that subject, and the man who has receive an all-round education is a good judge in general” (Johnson & Reed, 2008).
This statement illustrates that in order for a man to be the best in a certain area, he or she must be educated only in that area. However, in the latter part, Aristotle tries to explain that it is very important for every person to receive an education in many different areas. He explains that a man, who knows many things, can be “a judge in general”. This means that he or she can apply the acquired knowledge to different situations and to feel confident while facing them or discussing them with others.
According to his claim, educational institutions must aim at providing their students with as much information as possible. Not only with information which applies to a certain subject, but which covers many different aspects of life. This must be done in order for a person to feel comfortable in the society and to be able to take part in his or her life and the life of others.
Aristotle claims that in order for a man, who possesses any kind of a special skill, to be able to put it into practice, he or she needs to have another person, who that skill can be applied toward. He states that the knowledge about a certain possible activity has a fewer value than the practical application of that activity itself. This means that every individual has certain necessities in his or her life in order to be able to apply the knowledge or skills he or she possesses.
The educational system must provide student with an ability to ask questions, receive answers, and discuss his or her thoughts and beliefs with others in the classroom. However, the classes, where students can exchange their knowledge and experiences, must be formed according to the subjects, which the students concentrate on. According to Aristotle, “It is evidently equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a mathematician and to demand from a rhetorician a scientific proof”.
Aristotle’s philosophy can be useful not only for every teacher but also for the entire educational institutions. He explains the basic things, which must be understood by every educator in order to achieve the best performance within any classroom. Through examining and applying Aristotle’s teachings educational institution can improve their performance and to provide their students with more effective and pleasant learning process.
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