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Requiem for the Classroom?

Author Anne Daly and Pat Proctor
Abstract Even a cursory appraisal of the available literature suggests that methods of teaching and engaging students in higher education has become a major topic for debate in recent years. In the 4th century BC the Greek philosopher Socrates said 'I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think' underlining that interest in methods of education has a long history. Socrates invented a practice of philosophical interrogation, in responding to that challenge, which became known as Socratic dialogue, a method which is still used to engage students. Cicero, the Roman philosopher, lawyer and orator described Socrates as the first to call philosophy down from the sky and put her in cities and bring her even into homes and compel her to inquire about life (Saunders 1987, 15). Like most lecturers today, the ancient teacher and philosopher was similarly preoccupied with devising ways that encouraged students to think independently. Socrates was fortunate to have inherited money from his father, the sculptor Sophroniscus, which provided him with the independence and intellectual freedom to think. Socrates, through his dialogue, challenged the aristocratic young male citizens of Athens over their unwarranted confidence in the truth of popular opinions(Saunders 1987, 15). Today we are told we live in a risk society (Watts 2001) a system where individuals must construct work and identity as part of a reflexive process connecting personal and social change (Watts 2001, 211). If the old order was based on a medical model, with the expert diagnosing the individual's characteristics and prescribing appropriate actions, the new model represents a careerquake (Watts 2001, 210 ). In other words, our approach has to be redefined in terms of the individual's lifelong progression in learning and in work (Watts 2001, 211).
Published In ICEP Proceedings
Year 2010
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