A pragmatist is someone who values pragmatism over ideology. A pragmatist is not a snob. Rather, they value truth over ideology. A pragmatist would agree with Oscar Wilde that it is shallow to judge people by appearances. The pragmatist will see that there are no absolutes. It is the person who puts the importance of truth above everything else.
A pragmatist educator places a high value on flexibility and adaptability in the teaching process. They leverage individual interests and use real-world scenarios and settings to teach students how those interests relate to organized knowledge. Because pragmatism is all about problem-solving, it emphasizes the importance of real-world experiences and situations. Understanding the philosophy behind pragmatism is crucial to effective teaching. In addition to ensuring that students are successful, practicing this philosophy fosters diversity.
Another aspect of pragmatism is the use of demonstrative words and expressions. This is known as deixis. This requires the speaker’s context to make sense. If the listener can’t guess the context, they won’t understand what the speaker is trying to say. The pragmatic way to learn about language is by applying pragmatism to everyday situations. So if a speaker uses a phrase like “I’m a pragmatist,” they’re not trying to be clever.
An overview of the philosophy of action and meaning is necessary to understanding how it relates to social life. Several recent texts discuss pragmatism. Stuhr and Thayer have both written books that explore the philosophy. Royce has also written about it in The Pragmatic Philosophy of William James, while Haack, R., and Thayer, H.S., have all written important books about it. All of these texts are a useful starting point for a student’s study of pragmatism.
In the context of language, pragmatics have a different definition of truth. James and Dewey have traditionally argued that true hypotheses are those that work, whereas Peirce argues that true opinions are those that people will accept at the end of an inquiry. In addition, a pragmatist will not judge the utility of a verbal definition without the context. When a word is used in this way, it must be clear that it is useful to the speaker.
Despite the differences in approach between pragmatism and philosophy, some children have difficulty with pragmatic language. Children with language disorders, such as autism, will likely have difficulty with this aspect of language. Visual supports, role models, and role-playing situations will help children with poor pragmatic skills. Children with poor social skills can also benefit from social stories and role-playing situations. There are also several psychological tests that will evaluate pragmatism.
Another example of a case in which pragmatics is used when discussing language: A speaker might talk about a new car, his favorite TV show, or an opinion. The listener interprets these signs as an unawareness of his or her presence, or as a rude monopolization of his or her time. The speaker, on the other hand, sees the talk as a simple exchange of information while the listener interprets it as a rude monopolization of time.