Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Socrates

From: Woty <woty_at_bellsouth.net>
Date: Tue Apr 5 13:26:01 2005

On Apr 5, 2005, at 12:21, Marc Kivel wrote:
>
> I would agree that Socratic method does lead folks to
> solutions already defined by the questioner.
> However, that does not make the pre-defined, if not
> disclosed, solution wrong de facto, even if you object
> to the manipulation.

And the hypothetical correctness does not render the manipulation
acceptable.

> Manipulation is after all the
> purpose of rhetoric. And I do think that rhetoric has
> its place in human relationships.

But manipulation doesn't have a place in education.

> To be a purist is a noble aspiration, but who is
> greater, the purist who stands by the man in the ditch
> and points out the man's plight, or jumps in the ditch
> and helps the man find a way out?

The purist who helps someone out of a ditch without dehumanizing him.

And the purist who does not consider childhood to be a ditch which one
must be dragged out of.

> I also agree that "sincere respect" for a student is
> not how any sage regards their disciples in any
> learning tradition, East or West. That is reserved
> for one's peers. Rather, a sage loves her or his
> disciples and can say, as in the Mishnah, "Much have I
> learned from my teachers; more from my peers, but most
> from my disciples!"

Certainly sages do not regard their disciples with sincere respect --
that is a major argument against sages.

Scientists can respect younger scientists and take their ideas
seriously. They do not need followers. What do we need sage-disciple
relationships for when we can relate this way?

> And while I accord my fellow learners (notice I don't
> refer to them as students) equality of voice and
> respect for being themselves, I do not assume that
> their 14 years of life experience is automatically
> equivalent to my 48 years.

Of course it isn't. But neither are your 48 years equivalent to someone
else's 68, and I would guess that you do not regularly defer to those
who are older than you are. Equality of voice is not something yours to
accord -- if it's a gift, then it's something you can take away, and
that is not true equality. In any case, giving young people equal voice
with yours over direction of their own lives is hardly respectful --
it's taking half of what is theirs rather than all of it.

> I ask, assess where they
> are on their own path, and respond to their questions
> based on what I know at this time or raise issues and
> ideas of my own for their reflection and response. I
> consider what is said and done and respond by my
> choices.

Sure, what one should say to people is governed by what you know about
them. That doesn't really have anything to do with age.

> The sincere respect you seek can be seen alive and
> well in yeshivot around the world today, where talmid
> chochamim go at one another hammer and tong over the
> meaning of a text. But I would ask if the sturm und
> drang of intellectual gladiators is the best or only
> way of learning that meets all needs or is most noble
> or pure?

Genuine respect = intellectual battling? Since when? There is nothing
disrespectful about teaching a subject to someone who wants lessons
from one, but there is something inherently disrespectful about
ignoring someone's thoughts in order to ask them leading questions
until they give up and agree with one.

~Woty
Received on Tue Apr 05 2005 - 13:25:34 EDT

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