The Confines of the Modern Classroom
As a modern day student participating in today's education system, the more I think about it, the more I disagree.
Now, your question probably is, "What is 'it'?". "It" refers to the teacher-student learning method that has been practiced ever since the fall of Greece.
The most common learning style in the modern world, the problem with this method is that the teacher-student bond is similar to that of the master-apprentice relationship. In other words, there is a defined path by which students must learn, and if they are unable to be taught this way, then they are inadequate.
Drawing from a personal experience, while trying to learn geometry, I was faced with a problem. Despite all of my attempts to approach the subject from every angle, I was unable to grasp the concepts conveyed to me in my textbook.
On top of this, my teacher was determined to only teach through the book's definition of the concepts. With this, I was left by myself to stumble along until I figured it out on my own. The unfortunate part of the story is that I never really figured it out.
Because of this teaching method, I was forced to endure lectures that my brain merely didn't relate or understand well, further causing me to do poorly in the class and come to dislike math as a subject completely.
Because of this painful experience, the answer to this question is the Socratic method of learning. Although based on the far-fetched assumption that humans are born into the world with all worldly knowledge merely waiting to be tapped into, it is only through individual revelation that students are able to completely grasp concepts. In my case, my teacher could have shouted words at me till I knew the definitions backwards, but this still would not have developed any deep understanding of the subject or its purpose.
One of Socrates's most famous proofs to demonstrate the effectiveness of his method is in his "Meno" proof. Within this Socratic dialogue, as related by Plato, Socrates demonstrates to a doubter how a slave, obviously completely inept due to lack of an education or guidance, through self revelation can come to the conclusion of the area of a square.
Through this Socratic method of teaching, students will understand, through their own interpretations, a subject and its concepts much more thoroughly.
Problems with Teacher-Student Relationships
Other problems with this style of teaching are:
- Bottle-neck Knowledge - Because teachers are considered the ultimate holders of knowledge in a specific area, this discourages students from venturing out on their own to develop their own opinions on subjects.
- Teacher vs. Student - Ultimately, the teacher is assumed to be the master of the relationship while the student is considered the apprentice, with no knowledge what-so-ever. Because of this, relationships between teachers and students have the possibility of falling apart, therefore causing resistance from both sides of the classroom.
- The Discouraged Student - With the teacher as the acknowledged leader of the modern day classroom, the student who simply does not understand a subject is more inclined to give up than to figure out other methods of learning.
Further Benefits of the Socratic Method
Benefits of the Socratic Methods are:
- CTS (Content, Teacher, Student) - The meaning of this acronym is that it describes the change in the relaying of knowledge. Instead of the relationship between student and teacher merely that of the teacher as the ultimate source of knowledge while the student knows nothing, this system allows both teacher and student to reference content while discussing relevant topic. Because of this, relevant questions are raised by the student, who is then guided, not taught, by the teacher in the direction of the answer.
- Stronger Foundations - With this self-discovery comes greater appreciation for the teacher. Should this method of education by implemented, students will feel both proud of themselves, and thankful to their teachers. Participation, understanding and intrigue will increase, and the education system will find its answer to America's decreasing rate of knowledgeable students.
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I hope that this article has allowed you to understand yet another option to the education system, and demonstrated that there is never just one way to do things.
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