Friday, September 23, 2005

Education of the Republic vs. VCS

The educational system of the Republic of Plato is designed to create the perfect humans to inhabit the perfect city. Socrates discusses this issue with Adeimantus and Glaucon in book three, and also begins to resolve the issue of who shall be admitted to the perfect city. As well as the idea of admittance, he focuses on the children and what means of education shall be taught to them. He then discusses in detail the artist education, and physical side of education that is required for the populous of the republic, and how even the best imitators mustn’t be allowed, but true practioners of what they pursue.
“Isn’t it for this reason that its only in such a city that we’ll find the shoemaker a shoemaker, and not a pilot along with his shoemaking, and the farmer a farmer, and not a judge along with his farming, and the skilled warrior a skilled warrior, and not a moneymaker along with his war making, and so on with them all? True, he said. Now, its seems if a man who is able by wisdom to become every sort of thing and to imitate all things should come to our city, wishing to make a display of himself and his poems, we would fall on our knees before him as a man sacred, wonderful, and pleasing; but we would say that there is no such man among us in the city, nor is it lawful for such a man to be born here. We would send him to another city.”
The importance of the city is discussed by Socrates, Adeimantus, and Glaucon in book three. In the previous books only the type of people that would be there were mentioned, but nothing of their specifics in education and wisdom were ever described. They continue that idea and express their personal philosophies of education.
The elements that make up the educational system of the first city are very strict. Socrates educational system consists of the teaching of one art to one person. This art can literally be art and poetry, or any form of a job which requires great dedication. Socrates mentions the teachings of poets and how they must be taught good disposition. These are expressed as requirements to be worthy of good poets in the city.
“Must we, supervise only the poets and compel them to impress the image of the good disposition on their poems or not to make them among us? Or must we also supervise the other craftsman and prevent them from impressing this bad disposition, a licentious, illiberal, and graceless one, either on images of animals or on houses or on anything else that their craft produces? And the incapable craftsman we mustn’t we, rather look for those craftsmen whose good natural endowments make them able to track down the nature of what is fine and graceful, so that the young, dwelling as it were in a healthy place, will be benefited by everything; “
The educational system in the Republic of Plato is based on similar and different values then Vermont Commons. The Republic focuses on subjects like poetry as well as the Vermont commons school, but the intensity of Socrates’ requirements for completely good disposition somewhat doesn’t exist at the school, because the school likes to make habits of good disposition frequent with the students but not force it completely upon them.” Hence, good speech, good harmony, good grace, and good rhythm accompany good disposition, not the folly that we endearingly call ‘good disposition’, but that understanding truly trained to a good and fair disposition.” Students at the Vermont Commons school are trained to a good disposition, not at a level of any of the republic but a good disposition nonetheless. Teachers try to impose good habits on students which include things like good rhythm. Good disposition exists in both educational systems which is a very strong relation between the two.
The educational system of the Republic also refers to education as training. Training the mind, which includes requiring intellect, but also the act of training the body.
“If we gave adequate care to the intellect and turned over to it the concern for the precise details about the body, while we, so as not to talk too much, showed the way only to the models, would we be doing the right thing? Most Certainly. Socrates believed that the body also must be maintained, while Glaucon agrees.
At Vermont Commons, gymnastic seems as a minor focus of the school. As it is a college preparatory school, they dedicate 2 hours of one week to physical activity. Even though Socrates doesn’t mention any time for physical activity in the republic, he does mention ones dedication to the body and has it must also be trained with the mind. Socrates would not approve of the physical education at the Vermont commons school.
The system of the Republic also “trains” certain people for certain tasks. They must be trained differently to successfully serve their purpose. This means different education. One example is the guardians of the republic. Their gymnastic was considered an important factor of being a guardian as well as the idea of no emotion, so that guardians would do the just thing, or perform the just action with no affect on the emotions of the guardian. They must be desensitized in the republic to fulfill their role and become a true guardians. These certain jobs also come with a great amount of rules that must be taught for the city to become a working system. In the case of the guardians, one of the rules was not to be drunk. “Now we said that they must keep away from drunkenness. Surely its more permissible for anyone, other than a guardian, to be drunk and not to know where on earth he is. Its ridiculous if a guardian needs a guardian. “
The idea of strictness and staying in the boundaries of your job is heavily payed attention to by Socrates.
Surly the boundaries of the Vermont commons school do not stretch this far, but boundaries are still emphasized throughout the school. The Vermont commons school has a strict policy on drinking, and does emphasize emotion which every student is encouraged to use in the school.

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