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But then he leads the class through a couple of weeks of
questioning the existence of God, followed by another two weeks
devoted to creating an almost fool-proof argument in favor of the
existence of God. At that point, they're usually totally confused.
"Yes, it can be confusing, but it's supposed to disarm you. That
state of confusion is what we need to take advantage of. It forces
you to take a position, and rather than fall into patterned old
responses, you'll think before you speak."
As the semester continues, and the class tackles more
contemporary issues, things begin to change. "Students discover
they can have an informed opinion and that they might have
something to say that is well argued about police shooting young
black men, or transgender bathrooms."
Being intentionally provocative is one way Brocatto empowers his
students to believe they can succeed something he didn't always
feel when he started college.
"My first time at a community college was very scary. I had
dropped out of high school and I felt inadequate. I drove up to the
parking lot and saw all these people that didn't quite look like me.
So, I didn't even get out of the car. It just felt wrong, like it wasn't
for me." It was two or three semesters before he returned to
campus and took a seat in a college classroom.
"I want my students to turn around and say, `Wow, I can actually
do this stuff!' I want them to learn how to learn how to be
successful in any class they take. They just need the confidence to
realize they belong here, and that they have a voice.
"At community college, the point is to wake up students. I wouldn't
want to teach anywhere else."
Kathy Register
Carlos Brocatto, chairman of the Philosophy Department, dropped out of high school in California and credits community college with turning his life around. He's devoted
to giving his students the confi dence to be successful in any class they take.
"I often encounter students whose fi rst
questions is, `How can I get a "C"?' They
just want to pass the class and keep
moving forward. My classes are meant
to disrupt that. My classes are meant to
push students in the direction of, `What
do you want to do with your limited
time on earth?'"
Carlos Broccato
Associate Professor of Philosophy
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