Plato's Philosophical Ideas

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There were many great philosophers of education, such as Vygotsky, Piaget, and John Dewey. Among the great philosophers of education is Plato. Plato founded the Academy which was the centre of study and research and which used dialectical methods of teaching; however, the information about the methods are unknown (Hummel, 1994). This essay will discuss Plato’s educational philosophies with reference to the role of the teacher, the role of the learner, Plato’s views on educational policy of the state and Plato’s view on the curriculum. This essay will also present an argument as to why a school should hire Plato as a level one teacher.

According to Farooq (2010) and Muhammad (2008) Plato says that the education of each child should be given by the state and not the parents. This means that each child will receive the same education paid for by the state. This means that there will be no discrimination against children whose parents cannot afford to send them to school as the state will be paying for the education of every child. This also means that all children have equal right and equal opportunities to be educated and that hierarchy will no longer determine the rulers of the state but rather by the system of education.

According to Oliveira (1999) Plato was not concerned as to who received education. This is also emphasised by Farooq (2010) who states that education for males and females should be the same. According to Farooq (2010) Plato believed that females should be taught music, gymnastics as well as be trained for war. Hummel (1994) is in agreement with this statement because he said that even though some females may be weaker than males there are females who possess the strength equivalent to that of males and they should be awarded with equal opportunities to show this strength. This is in essence a good point as there will be no discrimination between males and female within the classroom. All learners will receive equal and just treatment and the quality and standard of education will be the same for all learners i.e. females will not receive an inferior standard of education as opposed to males or vice versa.

According to Farooq (2010) Plato has founded the idea of kindergarten in which children learn with amusement and not with the teacher forcing children to learn. The teacher uses innovative ways in which to teach learners and not by drill or the monotonous chalk and talk method. Learners are able to interact with the teacher and learn whilst having fun, even though learning may happen unconsciously. According to Oliveira (1999) Plato suggest that games be used at different levels of children’s development. For example, children aged three to six will play different games from children who are older than them. Children within the three to six year age group can come up with their own games or play the games that by other children have invented, whilst the teacher observes the way interaction between the children is taking place. In this way, children start thinking independently, or with the help of peers, and the teacher does not force learners to think in a boring manner. Muhammad (2008) also makes mention of Plato recommending that children should play at elementary level i.e. children should learn by doing, as this enables the training of reasoning i.e. the process of thinking and abstracting information would be developed at an earlier stage for later use. Plato is against forceful learning and wants to give children the motivation and interest to learn.

Plato’s views on the curriculum a child has to be taught according to Farooq (2013), Hummel (1994) and Muhammad (2008), is divided into phases of education, namely the elementary phase and the higher phase. Although, the opinions of the three authors may differ slightly as to when each phase begins and ends, the content of what Plato discusses in the phases remain the same. The phases are divided, further, into stages. The first stage is...
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