Monthly Archives: January 2013

Confusion Leading to Learning

Professor Brian Cox has spoken up for confusion – Plato would agree.

Aporia 

Also in Plato’s Meno he discusses the importance of ignorance and perplexity (aporia in  ancient Greek) in the learning process. For many, not knowing and confusion are seen in a  negative light, often signifying stupidity or failure. Plato did not think so: only by going  through this essential stage of the learning process can one hope to arrive at insight and  clarity. The future teacher will celebrate this state and use it to 1) show how this signifies a proper engagement with the subject; 2) communicate how this can be harnessed to reach deeper levels of thought and insight and 3) use aporia to motivate rather than stifle a student. The future teacher will also not be afraid of their own aporia and will use it to collaborate with the students and will use Socratic irony (feigned ignorance about a topic) to encourage the students to think for themselves as Socrates did with his interlocutors in the marketplace of Athens. No longer will the teacher feel that they cannot be wrong and no longer will they feel the need to portray themselves as a fountain of all knowledge.

Taken from ‘Learning for the Past‘, an award winning comment piece by Peter Worley.

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