Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Role of a Teacher (Elder)

In the time-honored Asian (and other indigenous) cultures, the title and honor of a "teacher," had a very special meaning, and not what it has become today -- to mean a person who is not a master and creator of that which he teaches, but merely "certified," because he has jumped through all the hoops of seeming to be one. But just because a trade association can determine who is certified to work in that field, doesn't necessarily mean they have those who actually created that knowledge, the masses now claim to own.

This is a very important distinction, because in the original meaning of teacher, that IS what it meant -- that the teacher learned it himself, as the originator of that knowledge -- and not merely accepting what was taught to all the other students, as the only truth they should then propagate. Such people would not know how to determine the truth of anything for themselves -- but are merely taught what the truth is, and that they should entertain no other.

And so "authority" and "authoritarianism" become very important in that institution -- rather than promoting the freedom of inquiry -- to entertain all the many ways of looking at a subject, and coming up with an idea that integrates all the old understandings, into a comprehensive, integrated better understanding that supplants the old, instead of merely teaching the old as the new -- to those who haven't heard it before, which are invariably the impressionable young, who understandably, haven't heard it all yet.

And that is why schools invariably target the young, rather than the old and wily -- who have heard it all, or at least heard a lot, to begin to suspect, that the "teacher" has no idea what they are talking about, and many of such students will actually likely know more (better).

But that is when education, or teaching, stands the test of scrutiny -- when ideas are presented to a group of peers, and not just the young and innocent (gullible) -- who don't know any better when they are being conned and coerced into believing what is not true. Obviously, many of the more able students are weeded out or persecuted in this way -- of not conforming to what the authorities demand they believe -- as the political/social correctness of the group in charge of determining that for everyone else.

Despite that indoctrination (socialization, education, institutionalization, etc.), there will always be a few who survive those pressures to conform -- and transcend the limits of the present knowledge, to discover the truth beyond the limits of that knowledge, or even its prohibitions, and the unthinkable, which often becomes the realities of the future.

Thus the role of the teacher, is to ensure that among his students, there is at least one, who go beyond the limits of the knowledge of the teacher, to discover what the teacher doesn't know or even thinks can be known -- as the great achievement and distinction, of a great teacher -- and not merely one who pumps out legions of mediocrities, who never dare to question beyond their "knowledge," as the limits of all that can be known.


Post a Comment

<< Home