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Topic: [math-learn] Platonic vs Socratic Methods (was ". . . . Physicists Seek To
Lose The Lecture As Teaching Tool" )

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Richard Hake

Posts: 1,218
From: Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Registered: 12/4/04
[math-learn] Platonic vs Socratic Methods (was ". . . . Physicists Seek To
Lose The Lecture As Teaching Tool" )

Posted: Jan 10, 2012 5:01 PM
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Some subscribers to Math-Learn might be interested in a recent
discussion-list post "Platonic vs Socratic Methods (was '. . . .
Physicists Seek To Lose The Lecture As Teaching Tool')" [Hake
(2012)]. The abstract reads:

*************************************************
ABSTRACT: Joe Redish, in a PhysLrnR post wrote (paraphrasing): ". .
. I tell my TA's not to do Socratic dialogs, guiding the students
through the answers as in the classic 'Socratic dialog' of Plato's
'Meno'. There Socrates shows a slave that he knows everything he
needs to prove the Pythagorean theorem."

But Joe's so-called "classic 'Socratic dialog'" of Plato's Meno is
actually "Platonic dialogue" not the "Socratic Dialogue" of the
"historical Socrates" as (1) researched by the late classics scholar
Gregory Vlastos <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_Vlastos>; (2)
practiced by the late Arnold Arons, myself, and possibly a few
others; (3) exhaustively explained in a post "The Socratic Method of
the Historical Socrates, Plato's Socrates, and the Law School
Socrates" [Hake (2007)].

IMHO, Joe would have done better to have written: ". . . I tell my
TA's not to do *Platonic* dialogs, guiding the students through the
answers." For almost two decades, ever since Robert Morse (1994)
published "The Classic Method of Mrs. Socrates". . . [Morse should
haven titled it "The Classic Method of Mrs. Plato")]. . . Joe Redish
has persisted in giving Socratic Dialogue a bad name by confusing it
with Platonic Dialogue.

This pedagogical misconception is probably a factor in the nearly
complete neglect of effective Socratic pedagogy by Physics Education
Researchers.
*************************************************

To access the complete 17 kB post please click on <http://bit.ly/y4l2Eh>.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize the
Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)
<rrhake@earthlink.net>
<http://www.physics.indiana.edu/~hake>
<http://www.physics.indiana.edu/~sdi>
<http://HakesEdStuff.blogspot.com>
<http://iub.academia.edu/RichardHake>

"If Confucius can serve as the Patron Saint of Chinese education, let
me propose Socrates as his equivalent in a Western educational
context - a Socrates who is never content with the initial
superficial response, but is always probing for finer distinctions,
clearer examples, a more profound form of knowing. Our concept of
knowledge has changed since classical times, but Socrates has
provided us with a timeless educational goal - ever deeper
understanding."
Howard Gardner (1989)

REFERENCES [All URL's shortened by <http://bit.ly/> and accessed on
10 Jan 2012.]
Gardner, H. 1989. "The Academic Community Must Not Shun the Debate
Over How to Set National Educational Goals," The Chronicle of Higher
Education, 8 November.

Hake, R.R. 2011. "Platonic vs Socratic Methods (was ". . . .
Physicists Seek To Lose The Lecture As Teaching Tool" ) online on the
OPEN! AERA-L archives at <http://bit.ly/y4l2Eh>. Post of 10 Jan 2012
10:59:16-0800 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the
complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists and
are also on my blog "Hake'sEdStuff" at <http://bit.ly/wXfWse> with a
provision for comments.

Morse, R.A. 1994. "The Classic Method of Mrs. Socrates," Phys. Teach.
32(5): 276-277; online as a 287 kB pdf at <http://bit.ly/iT1ksI>,
thanks to the University of Colorado PER group.



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