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I. M. R.

Pinheiros Teaching Philosophy



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Statement of Teaching Philosophy
I. M. R. Pinheiro

Even though my experiences, in terms of quality and importance, have changed greatly with time,
my teaching philosophy has never changed. I believe in helping individuals reach their full potential
and grow independently, by themselves, through education. In democracy and capitalism, in first
world, we should obviously aim at active participation and initiative. At the same time, we should
aim at highest levels of loyalty in competition, and therefore civilization. I then also believe in
helping individuals be aware of the laws and principles that govern our society and, more than
anything else, in helping them apply those principles and laws in practice when dealing with fellow
human beings.
I have varied experiences: an eclectic upbringing, mostly based on very strict moralistic paradigms,
an even more eclectic set of professional groups (from photographic models and catwalk performers
to top researchers and world managers), and an impressive list of personal contacts (from top
psychologists to top salary earners). More than anything else, I have experienced life in different
cultural settings (Asian, Brazilian, American, Australian, and etc.). All these experiences have made of
me someone with an enormous understanding of cultural differences and mental paradigms, so that
I am able to connect to students and staff to a level that is unexpected and yet absolutely
professional. On the spirit of Paulo Freire, I search for the most complete care that we can provide
with my educational actions, so that I search for learning that is transferable and that serves as a
basis for all other sorts of learning. Teach for Freedom, my current project, is about all this and
suggests a change of educational paradigms in order to have something more centered on skills.
Academic and non-academic advice has been part of my life since I turned five. People usually trust
me and therefore ask me questions that they would not ask others. The primary purpose of
academic advising is guaranteeing that the objectives of the students are realistic and best as
possible for our society. It is also guaranteeing that the student will be psychologically and
psychiatrically well during their search for an identity. In second place comes the strategy involved,
which we would hope would be optimized through the knowledge and experiences we can share
with them during these so priceless opportunities. Learners need freedom and freedom can only be
achieved through the possession of a huge amount of reliable and objective information. I find that
the most important part of this process of passing information to students is obviously making sure
that they have understood all. What seems to set me apart from my fellows on this item is my
patience, will of truly helping the other and our society to best that I can, and my listening skills.
What I really think our students should be is themselves, so that we are after getting them rid of any
possible subliminal or non-subliminal manipulation of their thinking through what we do. We are
actually after empowering them as individuals and making the paradigms of democracy, so well
designed by John Dewey, be a reality in their lives. We want minds that think for themselves, based
on the learning, of any type and order, that they have accumulated throughout their existence.
Mentorship comes more from capability of observing, judging, and drafting strategies than from
practice. We mentor about-to-become professionals by giving them not only our experience, but the
experience of several we have observed or learned from ourselves. It would not be mentorship if we
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limited things to our own experience. That would be discipleship, what is done in research
supervision, for instance, instead. A mentor is someone the about-to-become professional will trust
and therefore someone who will help them not to commit mistakes, or not to commit serious
mistakes, when working in their field of choice. A mentor exists to polish and refine the reasoning of
those they mentor, so that mistakes, especially of large proportions, are avoided.
My approach to teaching could probably be defined as being something similar to the constructivist
approach. I like when the students can build theories themselves or can slowly walk with the creator
through their path of enlightenment. I am against all types of mechanicism and I am therefore
against repetitions that aim at blind memorization. At the same time, I try to democratize all systems
involved in the process, so that my students will definitely know what I expect from them, therefore
what will make me reward them to best or punish them to worst, on the first day of classes. Even
though I am against mechanicism in all senses, I do try to imitate the machines in at least one aspect
of my work, which is that that has to do with how I perceive my students. Before me, they will
always be equal and will only stop being regarded as equally capable/deserving of my services if a
physical problem (therefore also something like an intellectual disability) is detected on the path to
achievement. I do not see my students with my personal eyes, but I see them with the eyes of
human kind, so that when I am teaching I really do not have any personal relationship with my
students and I withdraw my individuality to an extreme in terms of personal life when I am serving
them. I also consider us to be servants of theirs in the learning process and servants of human kind
in general in terms of preserving the declared values of our society. I do charge my students quite a
lot in terms of loyalty in competition, respect, and reciprocity. As a constructivist, in my own terms, I
accept questioning over the basic elements of Mathematics and I am ready to converse about those.
I then try to treat the student as a fellow in research when I do that. Nothing is immutable and
everything is extremely fragile, so that we should all do that.
My strength comes from some very solid pillars. To mention a few: determination, logical thinking,
and rational passion.
To have great educational processes, we probably need to worry about the student in first place. In
those regards, we are not actually very worried about whether they choose to be homosexual or
heterosexual, in case that is a choice, what I perhaps doubt, but we are worried about having them
establish meaningful and solid relationships with others, relationships based on the democratic
values, therefore based on loyalty, reciprocity, and equality. We are worried about giving them
proper choices, so that we do not want to make them have a pair at our schools and drive them to
like that person because we decided that they would be a couple and we also decided that the world
runs on couples. We actually want our students to analyze all the possible perspectives on the topic
and learn about the outcomes without having to live the experience, since the experience will mark
them forever and it might not be pleasant or might force them into something that they never
wanted or into something that makes them be less happy than they would be if not doing that
something. I see schools as experimental spaces, where everyone will play with possible scenarios
and study those without having to actually live them. I once had a female student asking me for
advice in what regards abortion, for instance. I would like to have helped her not to get to that stage
instead. Abortion is a very traumatizing experience for women, even though it may save our society
from a fair bit of injury. If she had contact with me as an educator in a discipline that matters, say
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Modern Sexual Themes, I would have gone through that with her and she would not be in trouble or
there would be a good chance that she would not be in that situation.
In second place, we should worry about trivializing the machine instead of trivializing the human
being, so that we should teach the students the value of what is purely human. Even though we
teach them Maple, Matlab, Latex, and things like that, and we use these aids quite a lot, the
important thing is that in the same way that we do not really pay attention to a hammer lying on our
table, we should not pay attention to our mechanical aids. It is finding the value in the human part of
humans that the students will appreciate their own individuality, their persona, and the individuality
of the others. Computers work for as long as we like, do not get paid, and can always be replaced.
They get fed solely from energy, therefore non-human elements. We must teach them to accept and
appreciate the time it takes an old person to answer a question, the much they think, for instance,
instead of driving them to go to the Internet and search for answers, perhaps getting them in a
fraction of second. We must talk about what could be gained from speaking to the person instead of
searching on the computer. Perhaps speed will not be there, but other things will, say concern with
our world and preserving it to best.
Technology is very useful and sometimes at least the individual must pretend to be a machine in
order to help society, so that I am always trying to learn about new technologies and stay on the
forefront of all control techniques in terms of our own actions. I believe more in pens, board, and
printed material than in computers to teach Mathematics for real. When we are teaching logical
reasoning, we cannot eliminate our own logical reasoning and use the mechanical brain. Once more,
it has to do with being an individual and grow enough, up to the point in which the computer can be
of service, but cannot replace our own thinking processes: We must win the Turing fight and be
more powerful than the machine somehow.
I do not believe in connecting students learning to something that they see in their daily lives
because Mathematics is a paradise only in the abstraction: By the moment we apply it to real life,
distortions occur and mistakes are unavoidable. Because of this sort of irrational attempt, going on
for long in our schools, we have paradoxes being perpetuated in the scientific mtier, paradoxes that
would never appear if those people had understood the foundations of Philosophy, Science,
Mathematics, and Language. To have some idea about what I am saying, one could read my work on
The Sorites, The Liar, The Dichotomy, Russells Paradox or The Unexpected Hanging Problem.
Mathematics is entertainment and can only be seen as such if dealt with properly. The fun of
Mathematics is that it creates a world that is similar to our virtual world, from our computers: A
world of perfection, where everything is logical, precise, and harmonious. This world would be
changed into something polluted and imperfect if we decided to include, for instance, real news in it.
The extrapolation, if ever experienced by the student, has to happen because of their own initiative,
like for real, without manipulation. It is important that the students keep a clear line between what
is academic and what is real. It is this line that will teach them the difference between good and evil,
machine and human, and etc.
In short, my teaching philosophy is a mix: Some ideas that appeared with John Dewey, Paulo Freire,
Gestalt, the constructivists, and a few others, and some ideas of my own.