O Americano Outra Vez

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Richard Feynman’s essay is primarily based on his experience with teaching physics in Brazil, where he discovers that students actually do not know how to learn because they are memorizing rather than applying their knowledge. The essay begins with building credibility for Feynman’s credentials. Feynman’s experience is unlike many of his contemporaries in the top levels of theoretical physics. Feynman had the reputation of being the most patient and brilliant teacher. Furthermore, Feynman was one of the most cherished theoretical physicists of the twentieth century. One of the main points in “O Americano Outra Vez” comes from Feynman’s passionate advocacy for “learning about something” rather than “learning something” (Austin 53). In “O Americano…show more content…
He supports his position by appealing to the audience’s emotions and logic (pathos and logos). When Feynman was asked to share his experience in Brazil, he says that “the main purpose of [his] talk is to demonstrate to [the students, faculty, and educational department] that no science is being taught in Brazil!”(57). This statement evoked emotions of surprise and shock among the students and teachers. Many said, “What? No science? This is absolutely crazy! We have all these classes” (Feynman 57). This also stirred the audience’s attention to what Feynman had to say. After grabbing the attention of audience, Feynman uses logical appeal, he says that “there are no experimental results mentioned anywhere in [the elementary physics textbook]” (58). Furthermore, he continues his argument by saying that through flipping pages of this book and stopping at any random page, he can prove that the content in this book is not science but, facts and definitions that contain no meaning without the experimental results and demonstrations. Feynman also provides ground for his claim by demonstrating; he flips through pages and comes up with the page that defines “triboluminescence” (58). He reads the text aloud and then says that the students are only told what “triboluminescence” means in terms of other words. They are not “told anything about nature” (58) - what, why, and how. Thus, they cannot go home and try it. But, instead, if they are given an example or experimental result associated with the definition that can easily be done at home with home appliances. Then, at least some students will go home and apply their knowledge. “Then there is an experience of nature” (59). Then, students can actually learn something from their experience and have genuine understanding of the

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