Beyond the Program of Studies: Intro to Philosophy
By Kirsten Batitay
“It seems as generations come and go, the focus on what is truly important has been lost,” and idealistic thinking and objective standards have nowadays been replaced by immediate gratification and materialistic ideals.
However, it doesn’t take much to break a fake bubble of reality, which is precisely what the Intro to Philosophy class intends to do. Sitting under the dim glow of artificial lights, Mr. Devoid explains what his class is all about.
Intro to Philosophy is described as a class that “gets students to engage in ways of thinking that they otherwise would not engage in” and teaches a “way of thinking [that] is extremely important in everyday life regardless of profession or life plan.” This semester-long elective teaches students to think beyond what they know and challenges their viewpoints.
So how exactly is this done? Mr. Devoid explains, “I put a question on the board and start the class with students sharing their opinions. By asking questions that challenge them to think deeper or in a different way, they end up recognizing that their definition or viewpoint was lacking.” This process, he says, is called the Socratic Method, and it intends to explore the beliefs that shape the opinions of the students.
But then you might be wondering just what types of topics are covered in this class. According to Mr. Devoid, “With philosophy, the scope is infinite, and the way you think about it is unlike any other course.”
And because it is such a broad field, he says that topics of class discussions include “ethical and moral dilemmas, the art of improving yourself, and how to conduct life so as to maximize its potential.” The class focuses on zooming out of the big picture of these topics, and Mr. Devoid describes it as “Philosophy takes anything in existence and asks the most general questions possible.”
And whereas core academic classes are focused on the fundamentals and intricacies of subjects geared toward certain professions, Intro to Philosophy goes beyond these classes. As Mr. Devoid says, “Students in the future use the thought process they engaged in during the course…beyond the course, beyond high school, [and] beyond college.”
And despite being a math teacher and the head of the math department here at Canton High, Mr. Devoid thoroughly enjoys teaching this class, believing that what the students contribute to the class allows him to gain much more from teaching the class even compared to the students taking it.
“I consider myself blessed to teach this course to students at Canton, for sure.”