mortimer adler the paidea educational reforms paidea history dr. rafael cartagena


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  • What is the history of Paidea? Paideia is a Greek word meaning the upbringing of a child. There are many different pronunciations, but the one we use is pie-day-ah. Paideia has long been used as a term for education projects. One particular use developed into a major program centered around basis principles and regular use of Socratic seminars for all students.
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  • Between 1979 and 1985 a group of educators met with Mortimer Adler, then Chairman of the Board of Editors for Encyclopedia Britannica, to discuss education reform. They referred to themselves as the Paideia Group. Some of their concerns were the high use of lecture by teachers (85% of teacher time) as reported by John Goodland in A Place Called School, excessive stress on coverage of material, lack of equal opportunity to education in the schools, and poor conditions for learning within the school environment created by such elements as large class size numbers.
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  • The Paideia Group published three books: Paideia Proposal (1982), Paideia Problems and Possibilities (1983), and the Paideia Program (1984). These books sparked public interest across the country. By 1994 the Paideia Proposal was translated into 6 different languages. In response to many requests for training, Dr. Adler formed the Paideia Associates in 1985.
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  • The Paideia Associates designed and conducted the early training and implementation programs. The Paideia Associates formulated the Paideia Principles (below) summarizing major points in the Paideia concept of education. PGI is a national not-for-profit organization with national and international members. Mortimer Adler is the Honorary Chairman. Its purpose is to monitor and guide Paideia development, foster networking and sharing of information. In 1992, PGI instituted the stages of development and the essential elements for a Paideia school. In 1993, the board issued the certification process for trainers. PGI conducts regional workshops, an annual national conference and on site Paideia training programs.
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  • Paidea Principles 1. That all children can learn; 2. That, therefore, they all deserve the same quality of schooling, not just the same quantity; 3. That the quality of schooling to which they are entitled is what the wisest parents would wish for their own children, the best education for the best being the best education for all;
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  • 4. That schooling at its best is preparation for becoming generally educated in the course of a whole lifetime, and that schools should be judged on how well they provide such preparation; 5. That the three callings for which schooling should prepare all Americans are (a) to earn a decent livelihood, (b) to be a good citizen of the nation and the world, and (c) to make a good life for oneself; 6. That the primary cause of genuine learning is the activity of the learner's own mind, sometimes with the help of a teacher functioning as a secondary and cooperative cause;
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  • 7. That the three kinds of teaching that should occur in our schools are didactic teaching of subject matter, coaching that produces the skills of learning, and Socratic questioning in seminar discussion; 8. That the results of these three kinds of teaching should be (a) the acquisition of organized knowledge, (b) the formation of habits of skill in the use of language and mathematics, and (c) the growth of the mind's understanding of basic ideas and issues;
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  • 9. That each student's achievement of these results should be evaluated in terms of that student's capacities and not solely related to the achievements of other students; 10. That the principal of a school should never be a mere administrator, but also a leading teacher who should cooperate with the faculty in planning, reforming, and reorganizing the school as an educational community;
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  • 11. That the principal and faculty of a school should themselves be actively engaged in learning; and, 12. That the desire to continue their own learning should be the prime motivation of those who dedicate their lives to the profession of teaching.
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  • The Paidea Curricular Framework Column 1Column 2Column 3 GoalsAn AcquisitionDevelopment ofEnlarged organized intellectual skills-understanding of knowledgeskills of learningideas and values (knowing that) (knowing how)(knowing why) Paideia Goals - The goals are to prepare students to: earn a living; be a good citizen; be a lifelong learner.
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  • Column 1 Column 2Column 3 Meansby means of by means ofby means of DidacticCoaching, Socratic instruction,exercises,questioning lectures andsupervisedparticipation responses,practice textbooks and other aids
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  • Column 1 Column 2Column 3 Areas,Language, Reading, writingDiscussion of Literature, and speaking, listeningbooks (not the Fine Arts textbook) and other works of Mathematics and Calculating, art and Natural Sciences problem solving,involvement in observing,artistic activities, measuring,e.g., music, History, estimatingdrama, visual arts Geography, and Social Studies Exercising critical judgment
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  • The Three Types of Learning Promoted by Paidea Paideia stress three types of teaching and learning: 1. Socratic teaching in seminars with primary sources (e.g., documents, essays, speeches, stories, art and math and science experiments) for understanding;
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  • 2. Coaching sessions for developments of specific skills (e.g., reading, writing, listening, analyzing, computing, and problem-solving); 3. Didactic instruction for recall of important facts and information.
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  • The Great Ideas- Mortimer Adler The following 102 topics are the called the Great Ideas, and represent the index of the Syntopicon. Invented by Dr. Mortimer J. Adler, the Syntopicon is a topical index of Britannica's Great Books.
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  • Comprising the first two volumes of the Great Books set, the Syntopicon allows readers to locate within the set any text that addresses that particular idea. Each Idea is accompanied by an introductory essay, and an outline which breaks down the main issues regarding the Idea that have been discussed and debated throughout history.
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  • The development of the Syntopicon was a monumental task that took Dr. Adler and a staff of 90 ten years to complete. With the Syntopicon, the Great Books set becomes the single greatest reference set of the greatest body of knowledge in history.
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  • 1 Angel 2 Animal 3 Aristocracy 4 Art 5 Astronomy and Cosmology 6 Beauty 7 Being 8 Cause 9 Chance 10 Change 11 Citizen 12 Constitution 13 Courage 14 Custom and Convention 15 Definition 16 Democracy 17 Desire 18 Dialectic 19 Duty 20 Education 21 Element 22 Emotion 23 Eternity 24 Evolution 25 Experience
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  • 26 Family 27 Fate 28 Form 29 God 30 Good and Evil 31 Government 32 Habit 33 Happiness 34 History 35 Honor 36 Hypothesis 37 Idea 38 Immortality 39 Induction 40 Infinity 41 Judgment 42 Justice 43 Knowledge 44 Labor 45 Language 46 Law 47 Liberty 48 Life and Death 49 Logic 50 Love 51 Man 52 Mathematics and Science
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  • 53 Matter 54 Mechanics 55 Medicine 56 Memory and Imagination 57 Metaphysics 58 Mind 59 Monarchy 60 Nature 61 Necessity & Contingency 62 Oligarchy 63 One and Many 64 Opinion 65 Opposition 66 Philosophy 67 Physics 68 Pleasure and Pain 69 Poetry 70 Principle 71 Progress 72 Prophecy 73 Prudence 74 Punishment 75 Quality 76 Quantity 77 Reasoning
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  • 78 Relation 79 Religion 80 Revolution 81 Rhetoric 82 Same and Other 83 Science 84 Sense 85 Sign and Symbol 86 Sin 87 Slavery 88 Soul 89 Space 90 State 91 Temperance 92 Theology 93 Time 94 Truth 95 Tyranny and Despotism 96 Universal and Particular 97 Virtue and Vice 98 War and Peace 99 Wealth 100 Will 101 Wisdom 102 World