Socrates: How can we know that we are learning?
Students: What do you mean?
Socrates: All we do is talk. There is no proof that we are learning. What do we do to prove that we are learning?
Students: But we are learning!
Socrates: That’s not good enough. Take out a sheet of parchment and prove it.
Students: Can’t we just tell you? That would give us extra time to talk today.
Socrates: No, because I would only know if the people who said anything learned anything. I couldn’t know about the others.
Students: Don’t you trust us?
Socrates: No.If you don’t prove that you are learning, then your parents won’t be happy and they might tell my supervisors.
Students: You have supervisors?
Socrates: Yes.
Students: And they don’t trust you?
Socrates: No.
Students: So you don’t trust that we are learning because they don’t trust you?
Socrates: Correct.



4 thoughts on “Socrates”

  1. To misquote Lloyd Benson, Dan Quayle’s debater: I know Socrates. Socrates is a friend of mine. And that, sir, is no Socrates.
    Socrates would encourage discussion with no limits on talking.

  2. But the point I wanted to make is that we claim to do Socratic work with our kids but don’t. We grade them instead. The real teachers are gone, replaced by a bunch of assessment driven imposters.

  3. Where can one learn more about “non-grading”? I’ve read Punished by Rewards, and I think I get it now, but where are these places and how exactly have they functioned. I mean, there has to be some public school somewhere that is enlightened enough to have figured out how to not burden their teachers, their students, or their community with grading. If anyone has more info, I would love to hear.
    BTW, I was thinking about reading this to my students, but I’m not sure I want to go there. Any brave souls out there that gave it a whirl?

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