Plato perceived education as one of the most fundamental things in people lives. He was the first philosopher to talk about education, begin a university as well as bring a greater course in ancient Athens. Most of his views on education were based on Athens and Spartan education systems in ancient days. Notably, the education sector in Athens during Plato's time was commercializing knowledge an act Plato strictly opposed as he considered it a crime as he advocated for an education system that was monitored and run by the state. Plato's theory of education was pivotal in shaping the morals, justice, virtues, and knowledge of the state resulting in an ideal state as envisaged by Plato. The theory introduced different levels and stages of education followed by learners and educators. The education system resulted in a fair competition in states leading to people living in peace and harmony despite its weaknesses. The paper focuses on analyzing and deeply describing Plato's theory of education as well as discussing its strengths and weaknesses. The analysis reveals reasons Plato adopted the education theory, what he wanted to achieve with it, the structure of the education system he provided, the relationship of the theory and justice and virtues as well as the importance of his education system in the attainment of an ideal state. Plato's theory was critiqued by providing by discussing its strengths and weaknesses.
Plato's Theory Of Education
Plato came up with education theory in order to influence the abolishment of individualism. In addition, he came up with theory with the aim of alleviating immaturity as well as lack of competence among the people. Through the theory, Plato also wanted to establish efficiency regulation. However, the main reason that triggered Plato to formulate the education model was to promote common good using education.
Plato's theory indicates that education plays a fundamental role in creating peace and harmony within society. Plato perceived that education can also contribute to the elimination of evils within society. In this theory, Plato equates education spiritual medicine, which has the power to cure people's psychological diseases (Mishra, 2018). Furthermore, the theory shows that Plato believed that education was the best in dealing with evils at their core. He added that through education, humans had the capacity to change their wrong deeds and their perceptions towards life.
According to Plato, one of the objectives of education is to transform people's soul towards light. This perception was motivated by Plato' view that primary role of education is not to enrich individual's souls with knowledge but to ignite the dormant talents and gifts inside people's souls by guiding the soul towards the correct objectives. By offering, this explanation on education shows his perspective and goals towards education and helps his readers understand the significance of his theory of education.
Plato's education model is linked to his justice theory. According to Lee (1994), Plato views education as a gateway towards the attainment of justice for both the individuals as well as the entire society. Plato indicates that people can acquire their personal justice by pursuing an education in order to acquire skills and grow their talents. Moreover, since education contributed to the attainment of justice, Plato perceived justice to be equal to excellence. Education was also critical in sustaining the precepts of justice appropriately. To add on this, Plato highlighted that in a perfect state, education is utilized to positively estimate the functioning of justice.
The theory also documents Plato's perceptions of the relationship between education and virtues. He noted that education helped in eliminating society ignorance, which was the biggest hindrance towards a virtuous society since education is the only way that individuals can become virtuous. Moreover, Plato highlighted three means through which knowledge is generated and ways virtue attained. First, Plato indicated that an individual can become virtuous by familiarizing themselves with their job. Secondly, by acquiring self-knowledge and thirdly, by learning about the ideas of good.
Plato also looked at the function of the state in education. He noted that the state has the mandate of offering its people access to education. Plato started by arguing that people within the three classes of the society (guardians, auxiliaries and producers) ought to be trained by the state in order to empower them to perform their roles effectively. This implies that the government should consider offering education to its people as the first priority. Plato perceives education as a technique that can be utilized by the community to increase their speed of reacting on consciousness as well as learning to undertake their role effectively within the society.
According to Plato's education model, platonic education framework was greatly motivated by the Spartan education system. Notably, Athens education system was largely controlled by the private sector as opposed to Sparta where the government largely managed the education system. The Spartan youths were encouraged to adopt the military spirit as the education sector also followed this trend. Despite Plato admiring state-controlled education system and Spartan applying military spirit to acquire knowledge, the literacy levels were still low among the Spartans as many were unable to read and write. Due to the low literacy, levels associated with Spartan education framework demotivated Plato from adopting most of the Spartan education system, as he perceived the Spartan education system to be unsuitable for producing intellectual capacity in men. Consequently, Plato ended up coining his education framework from Athens and some Spartan organizations. It is worth noting that Plato combined his education from these two countries since he valued a consolidated growth of the human personality.
The platonic belief in the state-managed and controlled education framework was meant for males and females within the society. Plato preferred this kind of system as he believed that men and women should be forced to undergo training in order to qualify for entering one of the three classes he identified within the society. Plato also highlighted that no member of the society was supposed to be segregated during the delivery of educational training. It is worth noting that Plato did not state that the educational system was meant for individuals who desired becoming leaders of the ideal states.
The platonic education scheme argued that individuals should commence their learning in the early stages of their lives in order to make the delivery of education more effective. In addition, Plato directed that children ought to grow up in a safe and healthy surrounding. He notes that the environment of children upbringing should cultivate and inculcate qualities of truth as well as goodness in children as they grow. Furthermore, Plato highlighted that the education given to learners in the early stages of their lives should be connected to the literature in order to empower children to work hard in order to reflect the best from their souls. To add on this, Plato directed the educators to start by story-telling before the children can be taught poetry after which they should learn music and art. Apart from directing how education should be delivered, Plato indicated that education should be regulated as effective ways of conditioning the learners.
Plato categorized his education system into elementary as well as higher education. In elementary education, Plato recommended the learners to study physical education within the first ten years of their studies (Majeed, 2014). This implied that every learning institution teaching elementary education to children ought to have a playing field as well as a gymnasium. Plato perceived that these facilities will boost the health and the physical appearance of the children as they grow as well as harden them. He also argued that this will boost their immunity as they will be resistant to illnesses and infections. To add on this, Plato insisted that schools ought to teach music in elementary learning institutions as music has the power to mold their character as well as enhance the wellbeing of their body and soul (Mishra, 2018). Despite recommending music in elementary schools, Plato argued that these subjects should not be compelled on children, as knowledge grasped under duress does not last for long in the minds of the learners (Nasaina, 2018). Plato generally discouraged forcing education on children as education and learning process should be enjoyable to both the learners and the educators. On top of this, Plato indicated that elementary education should include moral lessons.
The second category of education system identified by Plato was higher education. Plato highlighted that for learners in the elementary level to qualify to do higher education, they must do an examination that will qualify them or deny them the pursuant of higher education. Besides, Plato recommended that those who qualify to pursue higher education should be twenty years and over (Mishra, 2018). Plato indicates that individuals who do not pass this examination should pursue other engagements in life such as entrepreneurship, and farming, among others. Individuals who qualify for higher education ought to prepare to receive more education and training which will go for ten years. In the institutions of higher learning, individuals who qualify they learn physical sciences, mathematics, geometry, astronomy as well as dialectics among others.
Plato indicates that pursuing higher education allows learners to do an examination upon completing the ten years. The examination is used for elimination purposes. After the outcomes of this examination come out, individuals who sail through the test get another five years of extensive learning in dialectics while those who do not pass this exam start working as executive assistants, soldiers or auxiliaries. Plato education systems also added fifteen years for the learners who passed the test after ten years to do dialectics practicals. This is meant to equip them with experience in dialectics. Plato noted that individuals who succeeded in going through these tough education systems, they qualified to become rulers and leaders of their country or other humans beings. After the individuals took over the leadership of the country, Plato expects them to use ample time studying philosophical items and use their power to pursue the best interest of their country.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Plato's Theory Of Education
Plato's model of education came up with a learning design that focused on the needs of body and soul which was important in addressing the needs of the three classes of people in the society. The education design provided a step by step learning starting from the early stages of their life. These stages simplified the process of learning as individuals learnt different items at each level. Plato's education system also promotes peace and harmony by offering members of the society a chance of starting studies since childhood. Plato noted that peace and harmony results from allowing people to access personal as well as social justice. Hence, Plato observes that by providing education to people in the society from their childhood to adulthood is one way of delivering justice to the people which enables them to coexist peacefully with each other. Plato ensures that people are provided with equal opportunities for education as a way of delivering justice to the people (Lee, 1994). Plato's education theory also indicated that when education opportu...
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