- Helpful blog, including brief introduction of educational theories by Socrates (and he wasn’t such a nice guy after all) and others. – Roger Harrison
Highlights and Sticky Notes:
What is Plan B? Not Plan A!
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Socrates (469-399 BC) – method man
Socrates was one of the few teachers who actually died for his
craft, executed by the Athenian authorities for supposedly corrupting the
young. Most learning professionals will have heard of the ‘Socratic method’ but
few will know that he never wrote a single word describing this method, fewer
still will know that the method is not what it is commonly represented to be.
How many have read the Socratic dialogues? How many know what he
meant by his method and how he practised his approach? Socrates, in fact, wrote
absolutely nothing. It was Plato and Xenophon who record his thoughts and
methods through the lens of their own beliefs. We must remember, therefore,
that Socrates is in fact a mouthpiece for the views of others. In fact the two
pictures painted of Socrates by these two commentators differ hugely. In the
Platonic Dialogues he is witty, playful and a great philosophical theorist, in
Xenophon he is a dull moraliser.
he was among the first to recognise that, in terms of learning, ideas are best
generated from the learner in terms of understanding and retention. Education
is not a cramming in, but a drawing out.
as a social activity pursued through dialogue
lie at the heart of learning to draw out what they already know, rather
than imposing pre-determined views
it is only in the last few decades, through the use of
technology-based tools that allow search, questioning and now, adaptive learning,
that Socratic learning can be truly realised on scale.
In practice, Socrates was a brutal bully, described by one pupil as a ‘predator which numbs its victims with an electric charge before darting in for the kill’.
He is best known for his problem-solving approach to learning
He was keen on ‘occupational’ learning and practical
skills that produced independent, self-directing, autonomous adults.
He was refreshingly honest about their limitations and
saw schools as only one means of learning, ‘and
compared with other agencies, a relatively superficial means’.
Perhaps his most important contribution
to education is his constant attempts to break down the traditional dualities
in education between theory and practice, academic and vocational, public and
private, individual and group. This mode of thinking, he thought, led education
astray. The educational establishment, in his view, seemed determined to keep
themselves, and their institutions, apart from the real world by holding on to
abstract and often ill-defined definitions about the purpose of education.
Tags: pedagogy, learning theory, theory, theories, teaching
by: Roger Harrison