dyjeng@jengacademic.com

805-777-3437 (Office)

Monday-Saturday: 10 am-8 pm

Sunday: Closed

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171 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

Suite 202

Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

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Jeng Academic Center, Inc.

Serving Local Communities since 2004

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What do I teach at JAC?

My teaching, broadly speaking, can be classed into three categories:


(1)Philosophy and wisdom

(2)Language and thinking

(3)Test-taking and academic performance


All students, when they first come to JAC, come for category (3). This is not to be surprised since the stated function and purpose of Jeng Academic Center is to help students perform well academically. That said, it remains abundantly true that I do include in my teaching a hidden message, one that I would like to pass on to all students who choose to come to JAC.


Let me explain (2) first. I have been stressing the importance of English not simply because English is my favorite subject, but because English as a language, I believe, determines one’s depth of thinking and the degree of subtleties to which one can grasp thoughts. We need not emphasize the importance of thinking since it controls everything we do, from the choice of our mood to the contents of our dinner to the answer to a question to our political inclination to the selection of a profession to the management of marriage, all dictated by our thoughts. It is estimated that about 60 – 80% of my students agree with this understanding.


Now let me explain (1), to which only about 5 – 15% of my students would thoughtfully respond. This is, again, not to be surprised. At a time when applied technological gadgets, consumerism, utilitarianism, and business modes of thinking permeate every aspect of our daily life, talking about philosophy is like trying to look for someone, carrying a lantern, in broad daylight. It is something most people would find suspicious and watch in awe; few, if any, would give a nod to it with understanding. Fortunately few does not mean none. One of the students who scored 2400 in a recent SAT test told me,


“…thank you… for the countless tips and the unimaginable effort you put into improving us, and of course for the enlightening and entertaining philosophical lectures about the deeper meaning of learning. These two summers were more than just SAT training, they were an experience that will have a positive influence on me for the rest of my lifetime!”


Apparently even students in their teens know the value of philosophy. But, if you ask me, why do I care about philosophy in my SAT class, which is so remotely related to philosophy? To this my reply is, “I could not help it.” Stephen Hawking mentioned in his book, The Grand Design, that philosophy is dead, because today’s philosophers do not understand astrophysics and hence have no idea how high the sky is and how thick the earth. It is well, Hawking said, that the only sensible thing to do is to pronounce the death of these philosophers and seal their coffins, where they cease to talk about metaphysics. An ordinary teacher like me, facing a world figure like him, could only humbly utter my dissent and continue, patiently, the dialogue with my students in the classroom.


What do I teach at Jeng Academic Center (Chinese Vserion )?


我的教學, 大略而言,有三層意思:


(1) 哲學與智慧

(2) 語言與思考

(3)考試與應用


所有學生剛來時,為的都是第三項,此無可厚非。因為我開張立舖,便以幫學生考試應付學業營生。但「項莊舞劍, 意在沛公」。我自然無意行刺任何人。 學業之餘,我有我所要向學生傳達的概念。


先說第二層意思。我重視英文, 並非單純因為英文是我所好。我重視英文的學習,因為我相信一個人對語言的掌握決定他思考的深度與細膩程度。思考的重要性,不待我多言,從決定心情的微細意念轉動到晚餐的內容到考試的答案到政黨的傾向到職業的選擇到婚姻的維繫,無一不由思考來左右。我估計學生中約有60-80%可以理解並認同我的觀點。


再談第一層。我估計約只有5-15%的學生有感應。這也難怪。在應用科技當道,消費觀念盛行,商業模式思維充斥一切活動的現代享樂主義氛圍中欲談哲學, 好比白晝提燈尋人,側目狐疑者或有之, 頷首會心者恐寥寥無幾, 但無幾並非無人。另一位考2400的學生要我姑隱其名, 便向我表達他上課的心得 (以下引文已徵得其本人同意轉載)


“…thank you… for the countless tips and the unimaginable effort you put into improving us, and of course for the enlightening and entertaining philosophical lectures about the deeper meaning of learning. These two summers were more than just SAT training, they were an experience that will have a positive influence on me for the rest of my lifetime!”


可見得十餘歲的學生也知哲學的必要。為什麼非把哲學帶進那看似毫不相干的升學考試教學?我只能說,「吾豈好事哉? 吾不得已也。」當代天文物理大師史蒂芬。霍金(Stephen Hawking)去年在他一本書 ( The Grand Design)中宣稱“哲學已死,” 因為現代哲學家不懂得天文物理學, 正所謂“不知天高地厚”者,如何夸夸其談玄說理?對此思維與言論,普通人如我者, 面對大人物如彼,只能以「礙難苟同」四字相應,並耐心地在教室與學生對話。