Make us interested to learn and we'll learn

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In Plato's story of his mentor Socrates telling "The Allegory of the Cave," Socrates relates his main argument to some educator's claims that they can put new knowledge into their pupils. Socrates says "our argument shows that the power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already; and that just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being, and learn by degrees to endure the sight of being, and of the brightest and best of being, or in other words, of the good."

These lines from Socrates' dialogue got me to thinking about how I and my fellow English majors will talk about books that we've read for past school assignments and are either re-reading them on our own or for a recent class. Several times my friends and I have been amazed that they disliked reading a book or short story earlier in their educational career, but have re-read that same work and liked it. I think that there are some bits of homework and other work assignments that students are more interested in depending on their own preferences in addition to how this assignment may be taught. This interest is much like student opening up to the "learning [that] exists in the soul already."

If students, or anyone for that matter, has told themselves that they will be against learning some new concept, then the battle is over and you might as well stop trying to teach them because they won't learn it if they don't want to. Then again, we all have to do things we don't want to do, so I suppose we'll just have to settle for only half-understanding some concepts and disliking some assigned readings. The point is that the ability to learn is inherent within each of us, we just have to be open to learning new ideas, or at least no kill them like the men in Socrates' cave.

Take a look at what my coursemates have to write on this subject.

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This page contains a single entry by MadelynGillespie published on April 19, 2010 11:04 PM.

Free classics to educate the masses was the previous entry in this blog.

Reading into the past is the next entry in this blog.

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