What aspects of Plato's theory of education have succeeded or failed in our modern day world?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the areas of success in Plato's philosophy lies in his stress on scholarship.  Platonic notions of education depend on the student pursuing the end of learning and scholarship for their own intrinsic good.  There is a reveling in this pursuit, one that lies outside of external motivation and high stakes assessment.  In Platonic notions of education, there is a deification of the process of learning and a lessening of product based learning.  This makes the pursuit of scholarship possible and more readily available for all learners who are able to participate in such pursuits.

Yet, it is here where I think that there are some challenges in Platonic notions of education.  Platonic notions of education fail to take into account the freedom and diversity of options that are intrinsic to the modern student.  Plato's conception of education took place where freedom was limited, reserved for the very few.  This is not the case of the modern classroom and the modern student.  His philosophy of education is not entirely encompassing of student choice.  For example, Platonic philosophies of education included mandatory political service, something that would fly in the face of modern notions of educational choice.


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