Analysis of teaching method by Richard Dawkins
In the first article “ The wonder of Science” written by Richard Dawkins, he talks about the misconceptions about science and how we should tackle the problem. Dawkin explains how the public perception of science is “dull” or “difficult.” He received a letter from a clarinet teacher whose only memory of science at school was a bunsen burner, Dawkin seems somewhat irritated over the sly remark. He calls out the music teacher by saying “One can enjoy a Mozart concert without being able to play the clarinet. One can be a discerning and informed concert critic without being able to play a note. Of course, music would come to a halt if nobody learned to play it. But if we all left school thinking we had to play an instrument before we could appreciate music, think of how impoverished many lives would be.” Dawkin wants people to appreciate the art of science, he suggests maybe we could have a separate science class for science appreciates appreciation, the wonder of science, scientific ways of thinking, and history of scientific ideas rather than laboratory experiences. Dawkin is very passionate about science, he quotes Einstein's aesthetic scientific axiom “ the most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is a source of all true art and science.”
Richard Dawkins seems like a science teacher/professor. He wants us to learn and appreciate the art of science before experiencing it. I would disagree with his method of teaching because I understand things better with hands-on learning. Whenever I think of science in school, I remember not only bunsen burners but dissecting animals/ plants, microscopes, chemicals, and much more. Oddly enough, those hands-on laboratory experiences made me appreciate science. I think it is wrong to say everyone should appreciate something the same way, everyone appreciates things differently. In one of Dawkins' quotes, “one can be a discerning and informed concert critic without being able to play a note,” it reminded me of yelp. Yelpers leave reviews on restaurants like they know how to cook the menu. Just because they don’t know the recipe does not mean they can’t enjoy the food. I think it’s great Richard Dawkins is so enthusiastic about science, but hands-on laboratory experiences shouldn’t be looked down upon.
“When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer” by Walt Whitman, the first time he’s ever heard about them was in a lecture room with the proofs and figures ranging in columns before him. The poem itself seems very monotone, there isn’t much expression or emotions coming out. There were charts and diagrams shown to add, divide and measure. Whitman seems “tired and sick” of the topic of astronomy that would often “wander’d off” by himself. In the ending line, he would “look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.” Whitman seems bored and toneless of the learn’d astronomer. Nothing appears to cause him joy or pain when he wrote about this poem.
The emotionless tone of Whitman's “ When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer ” poem resonates with how I would feel at school. Everything seems to be a complete cycle. Instead of “ add, divide and measure” I would wake up, work, eat, and sleep. There isn’t much joy when you do something you don’t love. My mind would often “wander’d off” thinking about the future, what will I do? How will I get there? Will I be successful? What is my dream? That expressionless tone says a lot about how empty and bored a person is.
Comparing the two stories, Dawkin gives off this enthusiastic and warm feeling of science while Whitman is more apathetic and cold towards astronomy. When reading the two articles back to back, you can distinctly tell the difference in their tone. While reading about Dawkin loves and appreciates science, I felt cheerful talking about my past experiences with science. After reading Whitman's “ When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer ” poem, I felt drained and dreaded talking about how I felt. Both passages made me think of my previous experience with life.