Ideas About Adult Learning in Fifth and Fourth Century B.C. Athens

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The problem of this study was to determine to what extent contemporary adult education theory has similarities to and origins in ancient Athenian ideas about education. The methodology used in the study combined hermeneutics and the critical theory of Jurgen Habermas. Primary sources incuded Aristotle, Plato, Aristophanes, and Diogenes Laertius; secondary sources included Jaeger, Marrou, Dover, and Kennedy. In the analysis of Athenian adult education, three groups of adult educators were identified—the poets the sophists, and the philosophers. The poets were the traditional educators of the Greek people; their shared interest or way of perceiving the world emphasized the importance ... continued below

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v, 199 leaves

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Hancock, Donald H. (Donald Hugh) December 1986.

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  • Hancock, Donald H. (Donald Hugh)

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Description

The problem of this study was to determine to what extent contemporary adult education theory has similarities to and origins in ancient Athenian ideas about education. The methodology used in the study combined hermeneutics and the critical theory of Jurgen Habermas. Primary sources incuded Aristotle, Plato, Aristophanes, and Diogenes Laertius; secondary sources included Jaeger, Marrou, Dover, and Kennedy. In the analysis of Athenian adult education, three groups of adult educators were identified—the poets the sophists, and the philosophers. The poets were the traditional educators of the Greek people; their shared interest or way of perceiving the world emphasized the importance of community cohesion and health. In Athens in the mid-fifth century B.C., a new group of educators, the sophists, arose to fill a demand of adults for higher and adult education in the skills necessary to participate in the assembly and courts. The sophists emphasized a pragmatic human interest and taught the skill of rhetoric. Socrates and Plato created a new school of educators, the philosophers, who became vigorous ideological opponents of both the poets and the sophists. The philosophers exhibited a transcendental interest or approach to knowledge; the purpose of life was to improve the soul, and the preferred way of life was contemplative rather than active. The philosophers taught the skill of dialectic. Paideia was a Greek word that originally referred to childhood education but which came to mean education throughout the lifespan and the civic culture that supported education. Athenian citizens perceived their paideia to be among their greatest virtues, an attainment which could not be lost to the fortunes of time as could wealth or position. Modern adult education lacks the concern for the communal and transcendental human interests that were important to many ancient Greeks. Modern cultures tend to promote strong individuation of personality and to idealize pragmatic and individualistic concerns. Researchers in the field of adult education often assign to human nature the pragmatic and individualistic qualities of adult learners, but fail to recognize how these features reflect ideologies peculiar to modern American society.

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v, 199 leaves

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  • December 1986

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  • Aug. 22, 2014, 6 p.m.

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  • April 11, 2016, 1:44 p.m.

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Hancock, Donald H. (Donald Hugh). Ideas About Adult Learning in Fifth and Fourth Century B.C. Athens, dissertation, December 1986; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc330707/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .