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Christopher Hall

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What are the educational implications of holding on to objective truth in a culture that values relativistic truth?

Besides conflict, of course! This question is deliberately broad, not focused on teachers, students, curriculum, or institutions specifically, so that the soil of it may be tilled as completely as possible through discussion.

Let's start here: if one holds that objective truth exists, then the interactions with culture, peers, professors, course content, and even the disciplines themselves must be flavored and shaped by that assertion. In a postmodern, relativist culture, this questions is somewhat pressing: there are movements in education that favor both types of truth, and that can make plugging into education, for a student, disciple, or apprentice of an opposing view, feel something like a 120V appliance being plugged into a 220V outlet. Without a transformer, step-down or step-up, these learners seemingly would not be able to approach, apprehend, or socialize around the learning because the premises behind its whole gestalt are out of phase. Or could they? What are the transformers necessary to do so? And the greater question: what are the implications for our culture? Can folks who have these two views, and therefore different educations, inherently, create a functional society together?

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  • Jul 19 2013: May be a bit far fetched, but this reminds me of an issue in my state with how to teach children who are Spanish speaking immigrants in an English speaking culture. Would It be acceptable to educate in Spanish only? they would still have the knowledge but not the ability to use it in there current social environment.

    When it comes to whatever the truth is for you, as an educator you have to prepare the student to move and function within that culture and beyond. To help them understand their truth and put that aside in order to work from some common principles right? That's maturity.

    I would think that respecting someones truth and accepting it on some level (at least in appearance) and moving on to what the student needs to know about the field of study would work out fine. Could I not study paleontology and be a Christian? Can I be an atheist and still reference 2400b.c? I think so. hehe

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