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Kenneth Primrose

Teacher of religion and philosophy, Scotland

Kenneth Primrose is head of Religion and Philosophy at Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen, Scotland. He also runs the Examined Life website - examined-life.com

Written by Kenneth Primrose



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KP

Night school

Kenneth Primrose

When thinking philosophically about the purpose of education one could come up with a number of worthy aims; creating rational minds, whetting an appetite for learning, or simply teaching pupils to manage life’s challenges. All of these purposes sound worthwhile, though one of the more interesting I heard recently was from the mouth of the polymath Noam Chomsky, who commented that education was ultimately about creating better human beings.

Behind each idea of education is really a doctrine of humanity. If we think of human beings as primarily thinking animals, then we will try to form students primarily through their intellect. We might, for example, expect a child to read the sch...

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KP

The examined life

Kenneth Primrose

It is difficult to disagree with the article - thank you John Taylor. There are good examples of this kind of education going on in various schools - Wellington College have embraced Harkness teaching, and school’s like Winchester have Div, which sounds like an unexamined enrichment course that is taught to each year group. However, unless the institution embraces a culture of Socratic learning throughout a school, it seems a difficult method to sustain for those few teachers who are interested in teaching subversive thinking - or even just thinking. I agree that teachers can be taught to teach in this method, though the problem is that teachers are not taught to think when they are learn...

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