Posts tagged ‘maieutics’

February 17, 2013

Building knowledge

Theaetetus by Plato

“For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy.” [Plato,  Theaetetus] 

When we want to know something, what we do is to search for reliable sources of information, to look for people who spent their lives studying a subject, trying to give it a sense, trying to make the topic understandable and clear and adding their own insights by formulating some statements which should define – and sometimes confine – the realm of knowledge we can get.
When we search for information, the first thing we rely on is the literature on the topic: we delve into books and papers, read, listen and watch everything relevant. Like sponges, we absorb what the world have already said and thought about the subject at hand, we take one or two of those main concepts, adopt them and elaborate our personal and critical insights starting from there.
We might end becoming experts and authorities on that subject with people asking us to explain the mysteries we already faced in the early stages of our research.
We build our knowledge step by step, brick by brick, by collecting information and combining it in something that fits the existent knowledge and our experience.

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February 2, 2013

Harkness Table and LSP: Differences and similarities

Harkness Table

Harkness Table

I was reflecting on my experience with architecture students at University of Ferrara and LEGO SERIOUS PLAY. [See the video]

I find amazing how students who did not have any clue about the content and the goals of the workshop engaged in the discussion and raised a number of enlightening ideas about Heritage. They were not asked, neither provided, any books or papers to read, the idea was to understand how a bunch of students in their early-twenties could theorise and think about Heritage independently, critically and collectively.

So, in my research about educative approaches that capitalise on collaboration and collaborative meaning-making, I’ve found about the Harkness Table. For those who are not familiar with it, this is an educative approach introduced in 1931 when Edward Harkness, a philanthropist, challenged Exeter University asking them to innovate education and provided them with an oval table. The idea behind the table, which was meant to allow 12/15 students to sit around together with their teacher, was to create a different approach to education where students were seen as a team and could be encouraged to take part to a discussion, interact and learn about collaborative practices, by reducing the influence of the teacher.

The idea of a class as a team  that capitalises on teamwork and encourages interaction among students in a free environment sounded a pretty close approach to that I adopted. The Harkness Table focuses a lot on these concepts, and I’ve found it thrilling. Though the more I read about it, the more the differences emerged.

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December 16, 2011

LegoViews and Socrates’ Midwife

LegoViews Key ideas

According to Wikipedia, “An interview is a conversation between two people (the interviewer and the interviewee) where questions are asked by the interviewer to obtain information from the interviewee.”

LegoViews (LWs) do not much differ in the aim, though they deeply differ in the cognitive mechanisms they involve and in the process. Most of the best interviews we can think of, realised by investigative journalists, deeply delve topics in an argumentative way and the interview, in most cases, it’s a dialectic and cognitive fight between the interviewer and the interviewee. John Pilger, for instance, and most investigative journalists, are masters in the art of challenging their interviewee and dominate the dialectic fight.

LegoViews are not fights, they are collaborative dialogues, they are conversations.
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