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Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early

3rd century BC. The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment,
and that a sage, or person of "moral and intellectual perfection", would not suffer such emotions.

Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human
freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is in accord
with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life, and they
thought that the best indication of an individual's philosophy was not what a person said but how
that person behaved.[2]
Later Stoicssuch as Seneca and Epictetusemphasized that, because "virtue is sufficient for
happiness", a sage was immune to misfortune. This belief is similar to the meaning of the phrase
"stoic calm", though the phrase does not include the "radical ethical" Stoic views that only a sage
can be considered truly free, and that all moral corruptions are equally vicious.[1]
1) Its not events that cause us suffering, but our opinion about events.
People often think stoic means suppressing your emotions behind a stiff
upper lip. This is not what ancient Stoicism meant. The Stoics thought we
could transform emotions by understanding how theyre connected to our
beliefs and attitudes. Often what causes us suffering is not a particular
adverse event, but our opinion about it. We can make a difficult situation
much worse by the attitude we bring to it. This doesnt mean relentlessly
thinking positively it simply means being more mindful of how our
attitudes and beliefs create our emotional reality. We dont realize that often
we are the ones causing ourselves suffering through our thoughts. Have you
noticed how people react very differently to exactly the same event, how
some sink rapidly into despondency while others shrug it off? Perhaps we can
learn to be more resilient and intelligent in how we react to events.
2) Our opinions are often unconscious, but we can bring them to
consciousness by asking ourselves questions.
Socrates said we sleepwalk through life, unaware of how we live and never
asking ourselves if our opinions about life are correct or wise.Yet we assume
automatically theyre true. The way to bring unconscious beliefs into
consciousness is simply to ask yourself questions: Why am I feeling this
strong emotional reaction? What interpretation or belief is leading to it? Is
that belief definitely true? Where is the evidence for it? We can get into the
practice of asking ourselves questions and examining our automatic
interpretations. The Stoics used journals to keep track of their automatic
responses and to examine them.

3) We cant control everything that happens to us, but we can

control how we react.
This is another very simple and powerful idea from the Stoics, best presented
by Epictetus, the slave-philosopher, who divided all human experience into
two domains: things we control and things we dont. We dont control other
people, the weather, the economy, our bodies and health,our reputation, or
things in the past and future. We can influence these things, but not entirely
control them. The only thing we have complete control over is our beliefs if
we choose to exercise this control. But we often try to exert complete control
over something external and then feel insecure and angry when we fail. Or
we fail to take responsibility for our own thoughts and beliefs and use the
outside world as an alibi. Focusing on what you control is a powerful way to
reduce anxiety and assert autonomy in chaotic situations; in my book, the
stories of Rhonda Cornum, James Stockdale, and Sam Sullivan illustrate this
idea they all faced profound adversity but managed to find a sense of
autonomy in their response to it. The Serenity Prayer also encapsulates this
idea nicely.
4) We can choose our perspective.
Every moment of the day, we can choose the perspective wetake on life, like
a film director choosing the angle of a shot. What are you going to focus on?
Whats your angle on life?
A lot of the wisdom of Stoicism comes down to choosing your perspective
wisely. One of the exercises the Stoics practiced was called the View from
Above if youre feeling stressed by some niggling annoyances,project your
imagination into space and imagine the vastness of the universe.From that
cosmic perspective, the annoyance doesnt seem that important anymore
youve made a molehill out of a mountain. Another technique the Stoics used
(along with Buddhists and Epicureans) was bringing their attention back to
the present moment, if they felt they were worrying too much about the
future or ruminating over the past. Seneca told a friend: Whats the point of
dragging up sufferings that are over, of being miserable now because you
were miserable then?
5) Habits are powerful.
One thing the Stoics got which a lot of modern philosophy(and Religious
Studies) misses, with its focus on theory is the importance of practice,
training, repetition, and, in a word, habits. It doesnt matter what theory you
profess in the classroom if you dont embody it in your habits of thinking and

acting. Because were such forgetful creatures, we need to repeat ideas over
and over until they become ingrained habits. The Stoics used the technique
of the maxim: theyd encapsulate their ideas into brief memorizable phrases
or proverbs (like Everything in moderation or The best revenge isnot to be
like that), which they would repeat to themselves when needed.Stoics also
carried around little handbooks with some of their favorite maxims in them.
What sayings do you find inspirational? Where could you put them up to
remind yourself of them throughout the day?
6) Fieldwork is essential.
Another thing the Stoics got, which modern philosophy often misses, is the
idea of fieldwork. One of my favorite quotes from Epictetus is: We might be
fluent in the classroom, but drag us out into practice and were miserably
shipwrecked. Philosophy cant just be theory, it cant just be talk,it also has
to be practice. If youre trying to improve your temper, practice not losing it.
If youre trying to rely less on comfort eating, practice eating less junk food.
Seneca said: The Stoic sees all adversity as training. I love the bit in the
movie Fight Club where students from Tyler Durdens school get sent out to
do homework in the streets(even if the homework is a little, er, inappropriate,
like intentionally losing a fight). Imagine if philosophy also gave us street
homework, tailor-made for the habits were trying to weaken or strengthen,
like practicing asking a girl out, or practicing not gossiping about friends, or
practicing being kind to someone every day. Imagine if people didnt think
philosophy was just talking.
7) Virtue is sufficient for happiness.
All the previous main points are quite instrumental and value-neutral, but
Stoicism wasnt just a feel-good therapy; it was an ethics,with a specific
definition of the good life: living in accordance with virtue.They believed if
you found the good life not in externals like wealth or power but in doing the
right thing, then youd always be happy, because doing the right thing is
always in your power and never subject to the whims of fortune. This is a
demanding philosophy, and yet also in some ways true doing the right
thing is always in our power. So what are we worried about?
8) We have ethical obligations to our community.
The Stoics pioneered the theory of cosmopolitanism the idea that we have
ethical obligations not just to our friends and family but to our wider
community, and even to the community of humanity. Sometimes our
obligations might clash between our friends and our country, or between
our government and our conscience (for example, would we resist the Nazis if

we grew up in 1930s Germany?). Do we really have moral obligations to

people onthe other side of the world? What about other species, or future
What is Pedagogy?
Pedagogy is the art (and science) of teaching.
Effective teachers use an array of teaching strategies because there is no single,
universal approach that suits all situations. Different strategies used in different
combinations with different groupings of students will improve learning outcomes.
Some strategies are better suited to teaching certain skills and fields of knowledge
than are others. Some strategies are better suited to certain student backgrounds,
learning styles and abilities.
Effective pedagogy, incorporating an array of teaching strategies that support
intellectual engagement, connectedness to the wider world, supportive classroom
environments, and recognition of difference, should be implemented across all key
learning and subject areas. Effective pedagogical practice promotes the wellbeing of
students, teachers and the school community - it improves students' and teachers'
confidence and contributes to their sense of purpose for being at school; it builds
community confidence in the quality of learning and teaching in the school.
Why is it important?
Pedagogy is the "how" the teaching and learning occurs. Students are not empty
vessels to be filled with our expert knowledge. They must construct their own
understandings through our considered learning experiences.
Do I need variety or do I need consistency?
The answer is both. Students need to feel safe to learn effectively. You need variety
in order to reach all the students in the class. Therefore a wide variety of teaching
strategies are essential in order to develop effective methods of teaching at the
highest level.