of Dr. Steven L. Berg

Dhamma Talk

I sent a version of this message to all three of my Spring classes:

Earlier today, I had the privilege of giving a Dhamma talk as part of a Children’s Vesak Celebration. The topic of my talk was on the value of education and thinking; about how the Buddha encourages us not to to accept things blindly but to consider what others say because they might be right.

Although today’s talk was given in a religious setting, I will use a similar theme during Tuesday’s class. I firmly believe that education is not a process where I sit in the front of the class and tell you what is right and then expectat that you blindly accept what I have to say.

Contemporary world history is designed so that you will be actively involved in your learning. You will not be able to memorize my lectures to feed back my beliefs on a test. Instead, you will have to think about the material presented during class and consider issues from a variety of points of views; points of view that we will listen to carefully because we will approach them with the hypothesis that they might be right.

Unlike with most classes, I do not plan to read you the syllabus on the first day of class. Instead, we will spend the first part of class getting to know each other. Then we will discuss how we will go about covering the course material and how our work will be assessed.

I use the word “we” because I am not the only person who will be organizing class sessions and presenting material. We will all have that responsibility.

After our discussion on Tuesday, I will put together a syllabus for us to have on the second day of class; a syllabus designed around our discussion.

If you would like to learn more about my thoughts on education, you might want to consult Etena Sacca-vajjena which is my teaching blog. I also write a Microblog that gives additional information about my approach to teaching, research, and service.

I look forward to seeing you Tuesday.


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