What would Socrates do?

Posted by Debby on 21st June and posted in It's the Process

“The revolution of Socrates is to change education from the transmission of culture, to the development of self-reliance. If you want to function at the highest effectiveness as a teacher, then it is not enough to teach a subject to a student. Your goal must always be to teach the learner to be a teacher. Then the student is functioning at his highest relationship to the content, and to himself.”(1)

 This comment struck me as being very true. You seem to learn the most when you have to teach something. How can I change how I teach students to give them ownership over the process and over the content so that they can truly internalize and use what they have learned? Turn them into teachers? This presents an interesting pedagological challenge and may very well change the way that I approach my curriculum.

I can see utilizing this for my advanced students as I put them into mentoring situations with the beginners. Maybe I can have them each create a tutorial, an artifact they can pass down to the next group of students. My Internet Research class could each take a search engine and create a tutorial for the next class. How much teaching should I expect from the complete beginners?

I am always amazed at the power of a simple thought to change my perspective, to open new avenues for creativity, to bring into focus that which is unclear. What a wonderful thing language is!

(1) Jensen, Brad. “Education is not broken.” Online posting. 19 June 2003. DEOS. 19 June 2003 < http://lists.psu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0306&L=deos-l&F=&S=&P=18812>.

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