Recognizing and Appreciating the Other in Teaching

Ludwig Wittgenstein did a lot of philosophy in few words. He wanted to speak well, to speak meaningfully, and to communicate effectively. As a teacher, he wanted his students not to just mimic his thoughts, but to come to them independently — to think for themselves.

These two links (one to a short paper, one to a blog post) set forth some of the great ways that Wittgenstein’s philosophical thought can be assimilated into the classroom and teaching theory: :

“Teaching happens in the space where the other exists. There remain two crucial points about teaching: the other in teaching is not the being who merely stands next to us but the being whom we have to teach; and, since he is different from us, we could not understand him, either. What should be asked is how we can teach such a stranger that we do not understand and how we have the right to teach him. These questions are not properly answered, however, until otherness is recognized. As long as we ignore otherness, we would not be aware that we might project ourselves to a learner and mistreat him.” :

“From beginning to end, I try to avoid nonsense and encourage my students to do the same. This means using words with specific and definite meanings. Most importantly, this entails pinning down concepts in as few words as possible. Being efficient and specific when using language avoids confusion and makes students confident they can follow a train of thought from start to finish.”


About utagtateaching

This blog is dedicated to providing resources to the Graduate Teaching Assistants in the UTA MFA program pertaining to teaching strategies, methods, and materials. We aim to start a public discussion that serves to enhance the classroom experience for both teacher and student.

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