The Golden Rule

50 Phiosophy Ideas book cover

50 Phiosophy Ideas, Ben Dupre

Browsing a book on pop-philosophy (at least that’s what my fully trained Philosophy friend called it!), I came across the Golden Rule. No matter what your cultural background, you might be familiar with:

Do unto others what you would have them do unto you“, as a familiar way of expressing it.

It set me thinking (it’s philosophy after all…); is that what we do as teachers? My learning style is very visual. I like diagrams, I draw mind maps, I sketch on the board, I will spend (too many) hours searching for the perfect image to support a concept I’m teaching. And there’s the rub: I often catch myself imposing my learning style on my classes, when we all know that one of the most common ways of classifying learning styles allows for two others: kinesthetic and auditory.

Now, according to my pop-philosophy book, in 1945 Karl PopperĀ suggested a restating of the Golden Rule:

Where possible, do unto others as they would want to be done by

Much more student friendly; let’s teach in the way our students want to learn. And, to be fair, that is what I and my colleagues endeavour to do in the IT Learning Programme courses.

And then my wife volunteered her version of the Golden Rule:

She who has the gold, makes the rules!

Which is also, up to a point, true in teaching too. Here in the ITLP we are often approached by a department willing to fund us for developing and delivering a closed course. Something we like to do, but we do sometimes spend time convincing them that the best way to teach the topic is not the way they would want us to do it…

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