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jrlewis's picture

Psychology of Chemical Reactions

My philosophy of education is about increasing awareness of oneself and one's environment. Awareness in terms of experiences and knowledge that lead to the analytic ability to compare and contrast concepts. This might take the form of a child differentiating between themselves and their puppy. Conversely, the teacher might compare the response of a chemical system and a human to the appearance of stress. Le Chatelier's Principle may be described as when stress is applied to a system at equilibrium, the equilibrium position shifts to reduce the stress. This idea is applicable in both science and psychology. In biology, its application to living systems as homeostasis. Anthropomorphic principles can be incredibly powerful tools for facilitating a student's connection to an abstract topics, such as chemical reactions. Primo Levi's work, "The Periodic Table," treats the elements and their properties metaphorically and for literary purposes. This technique augments the meaning of each chapter in the text by comparing it to a particular element.

While anthropomorphic principles can be useful techniques for teaching students, they can be abused. These principles promote a homocentric or speciesist perspective. This is the assignation of rights or values to beings based on their species membership. They should not place a special significance on features that make "things" similar to themselves. By things, I mean all the animate and inanimate objects that populate the universe. It is important for students to be able to appreciate the difference between themselves and the "things" in their environment. This is part of the practice of engaging with diversity. Some "things" have properties that are not present in humans, yet are very important to know about.

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