Saturday, November 12, 2016
Paideia Philosophy (weekly essay H1)
I attended Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts from kindergarten until 8th grade. Why is that tidbit of information important? CSLA was a school that encompasses the Paideia philosophy. In our reading of Plato at the Googleplex this week, the word paideia was mentioned, taking me back to the education that I was fortunate enough to have. This is the quote from our reading, "In Greek, our word for play is paidia and the word for education is paideia, and it is very natural and right that these words should be entangled at the root… What one tries to force into a child against its own nature will never come to good. A child’s natural form of behavior is play, and in our aim to educate, play should be honored and preserved for as long past childhood as can be." When I was enrolled in CSLA, I never really understood what paideia meant, but I knew that if affected my education.
I can honestly say that, looking back on it, the quote from above makes a ton of sense when entangled with my schooling. I always looked forward to going to school because it truly was a fun environment. The teachers went out of their ways to plan activities and engage us in our lesson plans. I even had recess through 8th grade (which I found out later was apparently unheard of in most public schools). Education was fun and it made me want to work harder at CSLA.
Another thing about CSLA was the lack of divide between students. By that I mean students weren't subjected to tests to determine if they were honor roll student material. The curriculum we were taught was already honors level. So CSLA did not divide kids up into honors and not honors. When I went to high school (at a normal public school) I discovered that some kids were separated into honors as early as second grade! That whole idea doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. When you test kids and tell one group that they're brilliant and another group that they are just average, you give some kids a very low standard to live up to throughout their entire life. It sets a bad precedent.
So I believe that every school should encompass the paideia philosophy. It made me want to learn and taught me invaluable seminar skills. I use those skills to this day in classroom interactions, job interviews, etc. Every child should get the chance to experience an education that they enjoy, not dread. And paideia is the way to go.