A Philosophical Summer

by Esmat

This is my third summer in the United States. The first two were for participating at programs at Yale University and at Seeds of Peace International Camp. This year however, I am here for a couple of programs, starting with the Summer Session program at Phillips Academy Andover.

It has been nearly a week that I am at Andover, and I couldn’t be more happier! I have four courses, two of them are on Philosophy. When I was asked which courses I wanted to take, there were about 103 courses to select, and I found both of the course on Philosophy – Introduction to Philosophy, and Introduction to Ethics. Both are taught by the same instructor – Mr. Larson, who teaches at another private school, Hotchkiss. I think among hundreds of participants from around the world this summer, I would be the only one who has taken such similar courses back to back. In my dorm, among 15 people, I am the only who has taken the Philosophy courses, which brings me to the point that how much people think less of philosophy, while philosophy is the womb for all the other science subjects before they separated and got their own fields.

Anyways…

I love the classes so much! The other days I was talking to someone and she asked me if I liked my classes, and my response was, “This is the first time, I am smiling when I see the teacher coming in the classroom.” The whole classroom is based on the model of the Harkness teaching method, which is basically a round table made for discussion. There is no teacher at the front of the classroom lecturing everyone, it’s just everyone discussing the topic openly, albeit with some moderation by the teacher which is really helpful in guiding the discussion forwards. Mr. Larson poses a question to everyone during the discussions and everyone talks about it with more questions raising up. I enjoy this because I think talking with my peers and my teacher directly is more important than just lecturing alone. I don’t even notice when the time is up, it passes so quickly because the discussions are really interesting to me. However, this method has it’s challenges too to some people, and that is that participation in this method is key for it’s success. In my case, this is not the problem and everyone is really having interesting points to make which I enjoy to hear.

So far, I have been caught up in all the reading assignments and the home works. But hey this is the most fun I have had learning something and I love doing this!

I have few more weeks of the Summer Session program at Andover left, and I can’t wait to experience all of it!

This was enough procrastination for me. Now I have to go back to writing the essay on the allegory of the cave.