Blaise Pascal. Pascal is one of my favorite historical figures to highlight when I teach math and science because he embodies the spirit of lifelong learning.
At Dalat, we are committed to providing “education for life” founded on a biblical worldview. One individual from history always comes to my mind when I think about someone who embraced the “education for life” mindset, and that is Blaise Pascal. Pascal is one of my favorite historical figures to highlight when I teach math and science because he embodies the spirit of lifelong learning.
Throughout his life, he was a scholar of mathematics, physics, literature, philosophy, and theology. From unraveling the patterns within “Pascal’s triangle” to the philosophical “Pascal’s wager,” that targets the foundation of belief, the connections he wove throughout his career as a scholar remain awe-inspiring.
Another amazing thing about Pascal is that throughout his diverse studies, he was able to provide a balanced perspective. For example, Pascal’s thoughts on reason and faith sought symmetry between the two, stating that “There are two equally dangerous extremes: to exclude reason, to admit nothing but reason,” and “if we submit everything to reason, our religion will have no mysterious and supernatural element. If we offend the principles of reason, our religion will be absurd and ridiculous.” He saw the value in understanding both the natural world around us and the supernatural that we sometimes struggle to comprehend.
Pascal also found the importance of hands-on learning, noting that “people are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.” This is why we value learning that emphasizes discovery and experimentation.
As an educator, looking at a career like Pascal’s emphasizes, to me, the value of allowing students to study as many different areas as possible and not limit them to one area of study (though that is what tends to happen as learners attain higher levels of education). It is the interplay of all areas that creates excitement and connection in our learning.
This quarter at Dalat, as we highlight our flagship of Scholarship, Dalat will strive to continue building an environment where students actively engage in critical thinking and self-discovery, fostering a genuine ownership of their education. As we navigate this new academic year, may we be inspired by Pascal’s love of learning and quest for understanding truth, reason, and the divine.
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