Ryan Gallagher Presents:This website is for the work I do in education. I teach high school literature and journalism at Malden High School in Malden, MA. This is my 12th year.
My Philosophy of Education:
Students, like all people, are diverse, variable, and in a state of constant change, as is the world. The most important thing that students can learn is self-awareness, so that they continue to be meta-cognitive and critical thinkers. Schools should cultivate independent, self-motivated, and creative thinkers—not produce standardized vessels of knowledge.
Great minds possess imagination. Great societies possess empathy. The study of literature and the arts is an immersion in both. The study of any language is also an investigation into how the mind processes information, emotion, and beauty.
I also believe, as Alfred North Whitehead notes in the “Preface” to his Aims of Education, which was written in the 1920s as a response to the British instituting a series of standardized tests, “[that] students are alive, and the purpose of education is to stimulate and guide their self-development. It follows as a corollary from this premise, that the teachers also should be alive with living thoughts…” and he continues that “[his] book is a protest against dead knowledge, that is to say, against inert ideas"(v).
"Culture is activity of thought, and receptiveness to beauty and humane feeling. Scraps of information have nothing to do with it. A merely well-informed man is the most useless bore on God’s earth. What we should aim at producing is men who possess both culture and expert knowledge in some special direction. Their expert knowledge will give them the ground to start from, and their culture will lead them as deep as philosophy and as high as art. We have to remember that the valuable intellectual development is self-development, and that it mostly takes place between the ages of sixteen and thirty."
Alfred North Whitehead The Aims of Education