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This essay is divided between two separate yet related themes. The first theme can be generalized as the question and problem of the enlightenment project in education. This theme is articulated in various ways by the course readings between September 23 and October 7 (Plato, Freire, Du Bois, Precious Knowledge). One of the challenges of this paper, then, given that we are largely an elementary education section of 410, is to discuss how the enlightenment project in education might be made relevant and meaningful to a group of students who obviously do not take formalized courses in philosophy. So, for example, what have you learned personally about “philosophy” and the enlightenment project in education, and how might this understanding serve to enhance your teaching within an elementary school classroom?
The second theme requires you to have read and carefully considered both Plato’s Euthyphro and the Apology. The purpose of reading these texts is to encourage you to familiarize yourself with the world-historic figure of Socrates, including the moral and educational controversies that swirled about him and that resulted in his execution for “corrupting the youth.” Your task will be to weigh-in intelligently regarding the ability—or not—of the figure of Socrates to shape your identity as a teacher. Have you learned anything of import from the study of Socrates that might possibly change your image of what it means to teach? What would it mean to “corrupt the youth” in today’s context? Or, alternatively, you may want to discuss the extent to which the so-called “Socratic seminars” that exist in the elementary education curriculum today, line-up with and partake of the Socratic spirit as you understand it.
The first section of the essay, in layman’s terms, asks you to conceptualize what “philosophy” means to you and then it asks you to reflect upon how your understanding of philosophy and the enlightenment impulse and tradition, might possibly enrich your understanding of what you do as a teacher. The etymology of philosophy–the love of wisdom–challenges us to speculate how this moral spirit might be recruited to help inform one’s practice as an elementary education teacher (or whatever the profession may be). I suppose that some elementary education practitioners might argue that philosophy–including its underlying enlightenment quest– have no role to play in elementary education. It seems that such an anti-philosophical approach, however, would be sad indeed for all of those curious, questioning beings that fill elementary classrooms across the nation. But even if we are prepared to say the opposite of this view, and instead affirm the role of philosophy in the el ed classroom–this by itself would not explain how this moral spirit might clarify and perhaps deepen the teaching of el ed……So, using the sources we have studied most recently, leavened crucially by your own experience, how would you describe your relation as a teacher to this longstanding yet largely overlooked, tradition?
The second section is related to the first, but is specific in asking you to interpret the meaning of Socrates and to what extent he should be held in esteem as a model of teaching. My bias here is the conviction that every teacher in the country, and every citizen in the country, should devote some serious thought to Socrates at some point in their life. I would say the same thing about another world-historic figure, Jesus–and I say this as a non-christian. Many of us are familiar with how Jesus was crucified on a cross, essentially for posing a radical challenge to the powers that be in the ancient Roman empire. Socrates lived four hundred years before Jesus, and he, too, was killed by the state for posing a radical challenge to the prevailing truths of ancient Athens. He was a poor man who walked the streets engaging all kinds of Athenians in his brand of philosophy–he didn’t have a doctorate or credential–he just did philosophy and had the audacity to ask people to give an honest accounting for why they were living their life the way they were. This got him in trouble. He was charged with teaching about different gods and for corrupting the youth, even as he denied he was a teacher. Thus, the sublime paradox: The Western world’s greatest teacher denies his status as a teacher!
This essay needs to be grammatically correct, plagiarism-free, NO OUTSIDE RESOURCES, resources will be provided. Needs to be 5 pages in length, work sited throughout the essay, Reference page also needs to be added that is not included in the 5 pages
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