By Emily Temple (The Whetstone, Staff Writer)
All political science professor Dr. Tony Armstrong wants to do is teach others to pursue their happiness.
“The value of everything we do and everything we teach has to touch the heart,” he said to about 20 students and professors during his faculty lecture seminar, The Dawn of Happiness Education, Sept. 19. “I believe that by taking students’ hearts and aspirations into consideration at schools, their behavior, creativity and morality will improve.”
He said that by adding emotions to lessons students remember more of the lessons and are able to apply those lessons to their lives.
“If you take away feeling, you don’t care about your experience,” he said. “You have to have some awareness of feeling to know what feels best. To make choices in life, you have to understand what the alternatives are and why people think as they do.”
Armstrong said students in the current education system aren’t given a chance to learn what they want because they’re not given enough options.
“Liberal education is being cut back because the emphasis is on passing tests,” he said. “Our kids spend about 15,000 hours in public schools being used by society. We’re teaching kids how to use people.”
Political science major Jackson Vari said he agreed with Armstrong.
“It makes a lot of sense,” he said. “The most interesting point Armstrong made is to look at how we’re doing things now. We use people for society, but what we want to do is make people happier.”
He said bringing morals into the education system would make it better.
“He’s [Armstrong] selling it as a moral argument,” he said. “In this case, if you make society moral, you make it better.”
Armstrong said there is a difference between “pursuing your happiness” and being selfish. He said people assume kids are selfish because they think about themselves.
“Kids aren’t aware of what they’re feeling,” he said. “They follow blind urges.”
Dr. Jeffrey Mask, professor of religion and philosophy, said he agreed with Armstrong.
“He’s absolutely right,” he said. “He points out most of what we’re doing wrong under the title of education.”
Armstrong’s book Educating Angels, will be published in November.
He said he wrote the book so he could bring all of his thoughts together and for others to consider the purpose of teaching