A piece of teacher’s pedantry

One of the things I lament most about the Philippines is the prevalence of pedantry in its Education system. The teaching process is focused too much on assessment that what the student actually learns is of little importance. Teachers give lectures oriented such that the students would know what to answer in exams, and students would focus on getting the answers right, getting rid of any learning once the exam is over. Teachers make grades, students earn grades, end of story.  Some would call it Textbook learning, but I wouldn’t even call it “learning,”  all it involves is memorizing. “Zombies,” Jose Garcia Villa would call them.

While cleaning up some of my old files, I came across a recent instance of it, for in my academic life I’ve suffered the mind-numbing effect of this kind of teaching all too well. It was a quiz in a Philosophy of Morality class, which I took in the Ateneo de Davao when I was in 4th year college. The teacher was one of the worst I’ve ever had, his grading system (like many Philo teachers) was unclear and he was boring to the point of paralysis. I made it a point to enter his class late.

I reproduce below an item in my quiz, with the pedant’s annotations (grammatically incorrect as they may be) as italicized parentheticals. The annotations show how he is obsessed with exactness of reproduction from the assigned text to the point of absurdity. A student can fail his class for a trifle under his teaching.  I forget exactly what  question the item was supposed to answer, but I always answer questions directly (I never bluffed, I knew admitting ignorance earns points). He gave it a 70 out of 100. You be the judge of the soundness of my point!

 

“That which is evil is a frustration of Life, its preservation and actualization. The label of “ontic” evil is attached to this most fundamental of evils.The very existence of evil, then, is a consequence of the evil of life.

When ontic evil is deliberately and consciously (UNJUSTIFIABLY) inflicted upon others, the evil becomes a “moral evil.” People – and ultimately all lifeforms – will inevitably inflict moral evil in (MORAL EVIL CAN ONLY DONE BY MAN) their struggle to preserve and actualize themselves and their potentials.

Moral evil, then, originates  two-fold from Life: by the very definition of evil, and as a consequence of the lifeform’s struggle to continue living.”

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