President Javier Cevallos took audience members on a journey through the history of teaching during his keynote address at World Teachers’ Day on Oct. 4.
The event was hosted by the Education Club, and held in the Forum. Approximately 30 students and faculty attended the event.
Alyssa Figueiredo, junior and president of the club, said, “World Teachers’ Day is an event promoted by UNESCO. … It represents a significant effort to raise awareness, understanding and appreciation, for the contribution educators make to education and students’ development around the world.”
President Cevallos began his keynote address titled, “From Framingham to the World,” with a quote from Aesop, a Greek storyteller – “No act of kindness however small is wasted.”
In Ancient Egypt, only priests and nobles had access to “knowledge,” Cevallos said. “They guarded the knowledge really carefully because they knew that knowledge actually opened the doors to a different kind of world.”
A theory about the extinction of Mayans, according to Cevallos, was related to a large portion of the population not having access to education. After the people revolted and killed the nobles, who held all the knowledge about agriculture, the people had to abandon the city because they “didn’t know what to do.”
The first steps in education happened in Ancient Greece. “Philosophers started to debate all these high notions in public. So, they were starting to talk about things and people were starting to be educated,” but that education was still limited to the people in the upper society, Cevallos said.
Much educational progress occurred during the Ancient Greek and Roman periods.
It was during the Middle Ages that universities were created, “These colleges actually depended on student fees to survive. So, the Romans invented tuition and the Middle Ages continued with the idea that someone had to pay,” Cevallos said.
He addressed how the first universities in North and South America were connected with the church. Until the nineteenth century, universities were religious intuitions or divinity schools.
FSU was founded in 1839 by educator Horace Mann, who thought, “It’s wonderful to have superior knowledge, but that knowledge cannot really be limited to very few people. It has to be spread for all,” according to Cevallos.
He added, Mann needed someone to implement his vision and that was Cyrus Peirce, the first president of FSU who, “should be considered the father of modern pedagogy in the United States. He is one of those individuals history has bypassed and yet his thoughts and his ideas were truly amazing.”
Peirce believed in interactive learning and wanted people to be engaged in their education. He also believed in educating women. “That is why this college started as a women’s college, because he believed that was really important. He also believed in equal pay for equal work,” Cevallos said.
He added, “That amazing vision is where we are today.”
Cevallos ended his keynote address with a quote from Cesar Chavez, an American Civil Rights activist and labor leader – “The greatest tragedy is not to live and die, as we all must. The greatest tragedy is for a person to live and die without knowing the satisfaction of giving life to others.”
He added, “And that’s what teachers do – teachers give life to others through the life of the mind.”