"Make progress, and, before all else, try hard to be consistent with yourself." ––Seneca
The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday has been my go to book during this quarantine period. My love for reading on Stoicism started when I first read Seneca's On the Shortness of Life many years ago. Somehow I had forgotten what a valuable resource it was until I realized I was again craving for a Stoic wisdom. When I came across the Daily Stoic at the bookstore, I knew that it was time to go back for it, especially during these dark times. The Daily Stoic provides practical wisdom from Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus and Seneca, and is a timeless guidance on modern living. While reading it, I came across a chapter where it talked about how we have no time for integrating philosophy into our daily life, and we perceive it as an external part of our life. This sparked an idea: How could philosophy be useful for 21st-century learning and what we might be actually missing out in our classrooms.
CRITICAL THINKING, POINT OF VIEW, CURIOSITY, OPEN-MINDEDNESS AND EMPATHY
––not to mention speaking, reading, writing and vocabulary skills––
Philosophy has fundamental contributions to education. It instills critical thinking through reading, listening and speaking it. When students think critically, they evaluate various viewpoints to look through one's lens. This brings the practice of open-minded attitude in our classrooms. In an era where we need empathy the most, I cannot think of a better time to bring this book to my classroom. Not only, students will use this book as a tool to think critically (21st-century skills) about daily living, but also they will develop high-order skills through reading, speaking and writing about it. To be more specific; students can formulate, articulate and defend their point of view in an open-ended discussion or through a writing prompt. Especially for language learners where diverse group of students bring their unique minds, it also creates a classroom culture where all ideas are listened to. Through expressing opinion and listening to differing ones, students can defend an argument and practice empathy skills.
The way the book is designed is to provide daily insights featuring translations from Stoic philosophers. For the purpose of a lesson, teachers can assign a page and create a reading, speaking and writing class.
"NOTHING TO FEAR BUT FEAR ITSELF"
For example, one daily wisdom titled "Nothing to fear but fear itself" includes the excerpt below:
"But there is no reason to live and no limit to our miseries if we let our fears predominate"
––Seneca, MORAL LETTERS, 13.12b
(from The Daily Stoic, Ryan Holiday, pg.271)
This part can be a great conversation starter, or a moment to tune in to the lesson as an ice-breaker. The same page follows with how this idea has replicated during the Great Depression and what the Stoics thought about fear. It concludes with a wisdom on why we must resist the fear.
The paragraph provides historical knowledge where your students can do research on. It can be useful for vocabulary development, as well as prompting discussion.
If you are interested in introducing and incorporating philosophy to your class for developing critical thinking skills, point of view, curiosity and open-mindedness, The Daily Stoic can be an excellent start!
More on The Daily Stoic? Check out TheDailyStoic.com
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