Classes in Perú are NOT classes in the US

… Classes here are proving to be quite interesting indeed, for their schedule, their meeting places, and their content.

We arrived in Piura the first week of August, under the pretense that classes would begin August 15. However, August 15th came around, and no classes were to be found anywhere (And I looked!) Finally, I procured a schedule from the secretary of the Masters Program (Rosa, who is incredibly nice and helpful, if a bit forgetful too). A matrix of complex abreviations for class names and class rooms (since each class period seems to meet in different rooms, in different buildings throughout the campus.. although the majority are in La Facultad de Educación). As it turned out classes didn´t begin until the 22nd. And then I went to my first class.

It was the Philosophy of Education and it is being taught under a pretty interesting premise… that our modern world has forgotten the roots of education in its hustle for theory and science, and that we must return to think of this in order to “save” education, if you will .. or in order to be the best teachers we can..

so it´s using anthropology and ethics as a base in order to understand where education came from and what its real purpose is (so far its been taught that education is naturally occurring because humans are born weak and need this education in order to grow into their potential selves, that is to say “To educate is to help grow”), and then it is also using philosophers ranging from Aristotle to Sartre to understand what ideas have been shaping education along the way.

The teacher is quite nice, there are 3 other people in the class besides me, all of whom are from Perú and probably in their 30s, one maybe is in her 40s. Very much a class where the teacher lectures most of the time, although we are also asked to share our thoughts on the readings we do for homework usually. Homework readings are interesting, from a variety of sources, all with quotes and theories from aristotle, tomas aquinas, nietzche, marx, sartre, kant etc.. which is very cool!!

I would say that I am definitely learning from the class, enjoying class time and the readings. The challenges I see are (1.)everyone talks very fast and so i am always scurrying to copy ideas and understand at the same time, and … (2.) in addition to the wonderful philosophers mentioned, the entire class is taught under and through the assumption that we are all children of God before anything else and this must play a role in the creation of education and our paths through it … which of course i could do without.

I have decided just to take it with a grain of salt though; try to learn despite how silly religion seems in a classroom to me, and attempt to learn something not only about education, but also about a culture that allows entire thoughts and classes to be based on the assumption of something unprovable.. It is interesting!

And then, after two weeks of having just one class every Friday for 3 hours, I finally had my second class. It met for an hour.

Axiology, which is the study of values, seems like it will be quite hard. The teacher actually asked me “And they told you to take this class?” when I told him that I was an exchange student here for the semester. Eek! But I have lots of time for reading and researching online, … since after having my first Axiology class, three weeks ago this Saturday, neither of my classes have met again (which is what allowed us to travel to Cajamarca and Chiclayo for so long)

We´ll see how it goes… I have my first test tomorrow in my Education class and I have been studying for days! I´ll let you know 🙂

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