The TeatimeTeaching's Podcast

A podcast of stories for and about teachers, teaching, students, and everyone who ever went to school.

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Episode 32 - Breaking Boundaries with Jared Fritzinger

Sunday Oct 10, 2021

This podcast is available in iTunes, Google, Spotify, and many other pod catchers. Subscribe with this URL: https://feed.podbean.com/teatimeteaching/feed.xml  In today’s episode, we share another part of my conversation with Edjacent designer Jared Fritzinger. Last time we talked about his student’s capstone project and how they conceptualized, then refitted and ecobus to help teach other schools about sustainability. If you haven’t’ listened to episode 31 yet, I suggest that you do. It’s a fascinating conversation. Today, though, we talk about how the ecobus project developed through the pandemic and how that and other capstone projects align to the true purpose of education. We also touch upon how the act of breaking boundaries is a key part of the good work that educators should do. If you want to contact Jared directly you can get in touch via twitter @jaredfritzinger or email him at jared@edjacent.org.  This podcast is a proud member of Edjacent, a design collaborative that connects teachers to their legacy. If you are looking for community, coaching, or content based around your needs, point your browser to www.edjacent.org and become a member for less than the cost of a pumpkin spice latte a week.   One thing we all have in common is that we’ve been to school. Everyone has an educational story to share. So if you would like to contribute to the pod in any way, if you have a story to share, long, short, tragic, or comic, if you have comments to make about the podcast, or just want to say “hi”, you can send an email to TeachersTeaTimePod@gmail.com or alternatively you can send emails to me directly using mark@edjacent.org I love to read what you have to say.  
If social media is your thing, you can follow me on Twitter @markdiacop. You can find our contact information, copies of the show notes, and you can download previous episodes of the podcast at www.teachersteatimepod.com 
The podcast artwork was created by Phaedra.  
Opening and closing music is by Bryan Boyko.     

Episode 31 - How to start an Ecobus with Jared Fritzinger

Monday Sep 27, 2021

This podcast is available in iTunes, Google, Spotify, and many other pod catchers. Subscribe with this URL: https://feed.podbean.com/teatimeteaching/feed.xml  In today’s episode, we continue our conversation with Edjacent designer Jared Fritzinger. Last time he told us a little about the capstone experience that he provides for his students. Today we will learn about the first two years of implementation of just one of those student driven experiences, and we find out some interesting information about using cooking oil instead of diesel. You can contact or follow Jared on Twitter @jaredfritzinger This podcast is a proud member of Edjacent, a design collaborative that connects teachers to their legacy. If you are looking for community, coaching, or content based around your needs, point your browser to www.edjacent.org and become a member for less than the cost of a pumpkin spice latte a week. One thing we all have in common is that we’ve been to school. Everyone has an educational story to share. So if you would like to contribute to the pod in any way, if you have a story to share, long, short, tragic, or comic, if you have comments to make about the podcast, or just want to say “hi”, you can send an email to TeachersTeaTimePod@gmail.com or alternatively you can send emails to me directly using mark@edjacent.org I love to read what you have to say. If social media is your thing, you can follow me on Twitter @markdiacop. You can find our contact information, copies of the show notes, and you can download previous episodes of the podcast at www.teachersteatimepod.com The podcast artwork was created by Phaedra. Opening and closing music is by Bryan Boyko.

Episode 30 - Capstone with Jared Fritzinger

Monday Sep 13, 2021

This podcast is available in iTunes, Google, Spotify, and many other pod catchers. Subscribe with this URL: https://feed.podbean.com/teatimeteaching/feed.xml    In today’s episode we speak to Edjacent designer Jared Fritzinger. Jared was on our pub talk episode (way back in episode 14) so you’ve met him before. I suppose this now makes him a “Friend of the pod” as they say in the podcasting world. Whenever I get a chance to talk with Jared, we always talk for hours about so many things. In our conversation shared over the next few episodes we talk about capstone projects, sustainability, using cooking oil as fuel, punk rock, independent record labels, and why educators should be treated as artists. But for today’s episode we get to know Jared a little better as he shares his teacher story and introduces us to the eighth-grade capstone experience.   You can contact Jared on Twitter @jaredfritzinger If you would like to contribute to the pod in any way, if you have a story to share, long, short, tragic, or comic, if you have comments to make about the podcast, or just want to say “hi”, you can send an email to TeachersTeaTimePod@gmail.com or alternatively you can send emails to me directly using mark@edjacent.org I love to read what you have to say. If social media is your thing, you can follow me on Twitter @markdiacop. You can find our contact information, copies of the show notes, and you can download previous episodes of the podcast at www.teachersteatimepod.com The podcast artwork was created by Phaedra. Opening and closing music is by Bryan Boyko.

Episode 29 - Being brave & imperfect with Jamie Kurowski

Sunday Aug 29, 2021

This podcast is available in iTunes, Google, Spotify, and many other pod catchers. Subscribe with this URL: https://feed.podbean.com/teatimeteaching/feed.xml  In today’s episode, we finish our conversation with Jamie Kurowski, one of Edjacent’s designers. This is a great conversation where we look ahead to the things that we would like to change, and we talk about helping teachers to be brave. I think I’m going to take Jamie’s advice this semester and be ok when things are not perfect, to be brave, and to reflect as much as possible. If you want to see Jamie’s work, go to www.shemakes.art .  We also recently persuaded Jamie to open a twitter account, so go ahead and follow her @jlskt to stay up to date with all that she does. This podcast is a proud member of Edjacent, a design collaborative that connects teachers to their legacy. If you are looking for community, coaching, or content based around your needs, point your browser to www.edjacent.org and become a member for less than the cost of a pumpkin spice latte a week. For me, it’s the stories of teachers, students, and school communities that matter. As such, this podcast is only possible with the help and support of its listeners. Please leave positive reviews wherever you are able. If you are an iTunes or Spotify subscriber, leaving a good review can really help our visibility.  Also, please don’t keep this podcast to yourself. Tell your friends to subscribe and listen too.  One thing we all have in common is that we’ve been to school. Everyone has an educational story to share. So if you would like to contribute to the pod in any way, if you have a story to share, long, short, tragic, or comic, if you have comments to make about the podcast, or just want to say “hi”, you can send an email to TeachersTeaTimePod@gmail.com or alternatively you can send emails to me directly using mark@edjacent.org I love to read what you have to say. If social media is your thing, you can follow me on Twitter @markdiacop. You can find our contact information, copies of the show notes, and you can download previous episodes of the podcast at www.teachersteatimepod.com The podcast artwork was created by Phaedra. Opening and closing music is by Bryan Boyko.

Episode 28 - Perfecting the Art of Imperfection with Jamie Kurowski

Thursday Jul 01, 2021

This podcast is available in iTunes, Google, Spotify, and many other pod catchers. Subscribe with this URL: https://feed.podbean.com/teatimeteaching/feed.xml  In this episode, Jaime reflects on what has been a challenging year for educators by sharing two of her writings.  I’ll say no more except to pay attention to all the things that are expected of teachers described in these writings, then I dare you to tell me that teaching as a profession is self-evident… I’m pretty sure Jaime would also like to hear what you thought about her work. So, if you would like to get in touch with her, you can email her at Jaime@edjacent.org This podcast is a proud member of Edjacent, a design collaborative that connects teachers to their legacy. We create, write, talk, teach and learn about the things that matter most in education. To find out more, point your browser to www.edjacent.org One thing we all have in common is that we’ve been to school. So, if you would like to contribute to the pod in any way, if you have a story to share, long, short, tragic, or comic, if you have comments to make about the podcast, or just want to say “hi”, you can send an email to TeachersTeaTimePod@gmail.com or alternatively you can send emails to me directly using mark@edjacent.org I love to read what you have to say. If social media is your thing, you can follow me on Twitter @markdiacop. You can find our contact information, copies of the show notes, and you can download previous episodes of the podcast at www.teachersteatimepod.com The podcast artwork was created by Phaedra. Opening and closing music is by Bryan Boyko.

Episode 27 - Standards, Stress, Strokes and the Joy of Writing with Jamie Kurowski

Sunday Jun 13, 2021

This podcast is available in iTunes, Google, Spotify, and many other pod catchers. Subscribe with this URL: https://feed.podbean.com/teatimeteaching/feed.xml  You can contact today's guest at: Jaime@Edjacent.org In the last episode we wrapped up the history of education in the ancient world. We learned how fundamental the control of knowledge as a currency was to the development of ancient civilizations, so now is a good time to take a breath and shift our attention back to stories about teachers and teaching. In this episode we feature the teacher story of Jamie Kurowski, one of the designers at the Edjacent collaborative. Hers is a cautionary tale about what the stresses of standardized testing can do to our health. Jaime is really into the doing and teaching of writing, so I took the opportunity to find out her insights into how we might help reluctant writers engage in the process. As the last few episodes demonstrated, writing is a key component of a knowledge currency, and as a reluctant writer myself, I found this a fascinating conversation. If we make writing a chore, and I will admit, I really don’t like the process myself, then we lose the ability to communicate creatively and effectively. I’m glad that educators like Jaime are trying to help kids experience some joy in themselves and the process. If you would like to get in touch with her, you can email her at Jaime@edjacent.org. Next time, Jaime will share some of her writings, based on her experiences of teaching during the pandemic. This podcast is a proud member of Edjacent, a design collaborative made up of educators who exist to connect teachers to their legacy, thus creating a better world for our students and their teachers. We create, write, talk, teach and learn about the things that matter most in education. To find out more, point your browser to www.edjacent.org If you would like to contribute to the pod in any way, if you have a story to share, long, short, tragic, or comic, if you have comments to make about the podcast, or just want to say “hi”, you can send an email to TeachersTeaTimePod@gmail.com or alternatively you can send emails to me directly using mark@edjacent.org I love to read what you have to say. If social media is your thing, you can follow me on Twitter @markdiacop. You can find our contact information, copies of the show notes, and you can download previous episodes of the podcast at www.teachersteatimepod.com The podcast artwork was created by Phaedra. Opening and closing music is by Bryan Boyko.  

Episode 26 - History of Education Part 3: Education in Ancient Rome

Monday May 31, 2021

This podcast is available in iTunes, Google, Spotify, and many other pod catchers. Subscribe with this URL: https://feed.podbean.com/teatimeteaching/feed.xml  In this episode we will complete our quick tour of education in the Ancient World by looking at what went on in Ancient Rome.  As we have seen in our brief foray into the ancient world, early civilizations relied on a knowledge currency that centered on the ability to record information – writing, and use that information to organize society and find out how the world worked. By the time we got to the Ancient Greeks, we began to see how this knowledge currency could be leveraged to encourage people to be productive citizens and future leaders, as in the Athenian systems, or to train citizens to be good soldiers and fulfil their duty to the state, as in the Ancient Spartan system. We also saw examples in both Athens and Ancient China of how encouraging young people to ask questions and think critically was sometimes thought of as dangerous and unpatriotic, as it might lead to younger generations wanting to change things. It’s amazing how this struggle between those that want to use education as a tool for progress and change, versus those that want to use education to preserve the status quo, has continued over the centuries. This podcast is a proud member of Edjacent, a design collaborative made up of educators who exist to connect educators to their legacy, thus creating a better world for our students and their teachers. We create, write, talk, teach and learn about the things that matter most in education. To find out more, point your browser to www.edjacent.org. You can send an email to TeachersTeaTimePod@gmail.com or alternatively you can send emails to me directly using mark@edjacent.org I love to read what you have to say. If social media is your thing, you can follow me on Twitter @markdiacop. You can find our contact information, copies of the show notes, and you can download previous episodes of the podcast at www.teachersteatimepod.com The podcast artwork was created by Phaedra. Opening and closing music is by Bryan Boyko.

Episode 25 - History of Education part 3: Education in Ancient Greece

Sunday May 16, 2021

We are going to continue with our exploration into the history of education for this episode. Although we have some more teacher stories, interviews, and big ideas to share very soon, I figure that as we are on a roll, we should do what we can to do the topic justice.   This podcast is available in iTunes, Google, Spotify, and many other pod catchers. Subscribe with this URL: https://feed.podbean.com/teatimeteaching/feed.xml Part one: Before we can discuss the history of education in Ancient Greece, we first must define where end when we are talking about. When we talk about Ancient Greece, we are referring to the civilizations, states, and people who inhabited the Greek peninsula and islands of the Aegean from around the 12th century BCE to the 6th Century AD. During this time, there were several epochs, or ages. The earliest evidence we have of civilizations in the area is from around 12th century BCE with the Minoan civilization. If you are familiar with the stories of the Iliad and the Odyssey, they come from this era. The Mycenean civilization was a literate and complex one, but when it collapsed – and we are not sure how exactly, although natural disaster is likely – so was their writing. What was left behind were a scattering of smaller villages, towns, and cities, usually on the coast, and reliant on trade with other Mediterranean civilizations. This period between the 8th century BCE, and the 6th Century BCE is sometimes referred to as the Greek Dark Ages. Over this time, the city states, evolved into their own systems, referred to themselves as Polis, and borrowed and adapted the Phoenician alphabet into what we recognize as Greek. With a script in place, knowledge began to be written down again, and so we have our first historian Herodotus wrote between the 450s and 420s BCE, and his tradition was followed by such as Thucydides, Xenophon, Demosthenes, Plato and Aristotle. One of the things we need to be aware of when we talk about Ancient Greece is that we are not referring to one Empire or political entity. Effectively Greece was a collection of independent city states geographically cut off from one another by mountains and the sea. It is through trade that knowledge was passed, and ideas spread, but effectively we are talking about areas which evolved their own laws and traditions – for example, Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and Macedonia. I could spend hours talking about ancient Greece, but we need to focus on our main question. What was education like in classical Greece? There were some general similarities between city states in Ancient Greece. For example, by the 5th Century BCE there was some “democratization” of education. Most free males could go to a public school, referred to as a gymnasium, while wealthy young men were educated at home by a private tutor. How you were education was a central component of your identity. For example, we know that Alexander the Great was tutored by Aristotle. For most Greeks, education reflected your social status and who you were as a person. We have a similar attitude today, often asking folks where they went to college, or who conferred their degree, as a sign of status and rank. You will notice that slaves did not have access to an education (in some city-states, slaves were forbidden), and women did not get a formal education (although this varied from city state to city state). In Athens, until about 420BCE, every free male received an elementary education. This was split into two parts – physical and intellectual. The physical aspect, “gymnastike” prepared citizens for their military service – they were taught strength, stamina, and military tactics. For Athenians, physical fitness was important for both aesthetic and practical reasons. Training was conducted in a “gymnasium” (a word still used to describe some elementary schools in this area today). The intellectual aspect, “mousike” was a combination of music, dance, lyrics, and poetry. Students learned to write with a stylus on wax tablets. When students were ready, they would read, memorize, and recite legends and Homeric stories. In this period, once a boy reached adolescence, his formal education ended. Around 420 BCE, we begin to see Higher Education in Athens. Philosophers such as Socrates, along with the sophistic movement led to an influx of teachers from all over the Mediterranean. It became fashionable to value intellectual ability over military prowess. This causes a clash between traditionalist, who feared that intellectuals would destroy Athenian culture and lead to a military disadvantage, while sophists believed that education could be a tool to develop the whole man, including his intellect, and therefore move Athens forward. (I’m sure you can think of similar arguments between traditionalists and progressives today – some things never change). Anyway, the demand for higher education continued and we begin to see more focused areas of study – mathematics, astronomy, harmonics, and dialectic – all with the aim of developing a philosophical insight. For these Athenians, individuals should use knowledge within a framework of logic and reason – what we call today – critical thinking. However, this level of education was not democratized. Wealth determined your level of education in ancient Athens. These formal programs were taught by sophists who charged for their teaching and advertised for their services, more customers meant more money could be made. So, if you were a free peasant, your access to higher education was limited (something that also resonates today), while women and slaves were excluded from this process altogether. Women were considered socially inferior in Athens and incapable of acting at a high intellectual capacity, while it was dangerous to educate slaves, and in Athens, illegal. Part Two: So, who were the sophists? Let’s begin with the most famous – Socrates, or as Bill and Ted call him Socrates. Now the problem with learning about Socrates is that he didn’t write anything down himself. Indeed, most of what we learn about him comes from two of his students: Plato, and Xenophon. Some of their writings about Socrates, particularly Plato’s often contradict themselves. But generally, he is considered the father of philosophy. He advocated that a good man pursues virtue over material wealth, and he mused upon the idea of wisdom. The story goes that he decided to ask every wise man about what they know, and he found that they thought themselves wise,  yet they were not, while Socrates himself knew that he was not wise at all, which paradoxically, made him wiser since he was the only person aware of his own ignorance. This stance threatened the status of the most powerful Athenians, so he was eventually tried and when asked what his punishment should be, he proposed free dinners for the rest of his life, as his position as someone who questions Athens into action and progress should be rewarded. Unfortunately, Athenians didn’t see it that way, and he was found guilty of corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens, and of “impiety” (not believing in the official gods of the state). As punishment he was sentenced to death by poisoning. Again – we see a similar theme in today’s educational debate, where educational stances that encourage students to question the status quo and take a critical stance are considered threatening to those in power. Some things just don’t change, do they? Isocrates was a student of Socrates who founded a school of Rhetoric around 393BCE. He believed education’s purpose was to produce civic efficiency and political leadership, therefore the ability to speak well and be persuasive was the cornerstone of his approach. While his students didn’t have to write 5 paragraph persuasive essays, you can see this approach in modern day social studies classes as well as middle and high school English curricula. Plato, on the other hand, travelled for ten years after Socrates’ execution, returning to establish his Academy, named after the Greek hero Akedemos, in 387 BCE. He believed that education could produce citizens who could cooperate and members of a civic society (like the aims of 19th and 20th century public educators). His curriculum focused on Civic Virtue. The idea that a good citizen would act for the common good, at the expense of their individual gains. In his work “the Republic” he outlines that everyone needs an elementary education in music, poetry, and physical training, two to three years of military training, ten years of mathematics science, five years of dialectic training, and 15 years of practical political training. Those who could attain all that knowledge would become “philosopher kings”, the leaders in his ideal society. Aristotle was a student of Plato, learning in his academy for 19 years. When Plato died, her travelled until he was invited by Philip of Macedon to educate his 13-year-old son, Alexander (later the Great). In 352 BCE he moved back to Athens to open his school, the Lyceum. Aristotle’s approach was based around research. There was systemic approach to the collection of information, and a new focus on empirical methods, like what we see as the foundation of our modern research methods. So, these were the developments in Athens, however, this was not the same for all of Greece. Whereas the Athenian system evolved away from a focus on preparation of male citizens for military service, Spartan society kept military superiority as the focus for its education system. Education in Sparta was focused around what we would probably call a military academy system – called “agoge” in Greek. In general, all Spartan males (except for the first born of the two ruling houses), went through a system which cultivated loyalty to Sparta through military training, hardships, hunting, dancing, singing, and social preparation. It was divided in three age groups, young children, adolescents, and young adults. Spartan girls did not get the same education, although we think there was a formal system for them too. The three age categories were the paides (7-14), paidiskoi (15-19) and the hebontes (20-29). Within these age groups boys were divided in to agelai (herds) with whom they would sleep (consider these like a house system in British private schools, or the Harry Potter stories). They answered to an older boy, and an official who was the paidonomous, or “boy-herder). So, the Paides, were taught the basics of reading and writing, but the focus was on their athletic ability. They did running and wrestling, they were encouraged to steal their food, but according to Xenophon, if they were caught, they were punished. Boys participated in the agoge in bare feet, to toughen them up, and at the age of 12 were allowed one item of clothing, a cloak, per year. Around the age of 12, a boy would gain a mentor who was an older warrior, called the “erastes”. As the boy transitioned into the Paidiskoi, so the mentor would act as a sponsor, while the student further developed his physical and athletic training. By the age of 20, the young Spartan graduated from the paidiskoi into the hebontes. If he had developed leadership qualities, these would be rewarded. At this stage, they were considered adults, they were eligible for military service, and could vote in the assembly, although they were not yet full free citizens. By 30 a Spartan man should have graduated, been accepted into the military, and was permitted to marry. He would also be allocated an allotment of land. This state education system not only prepared Spartan men for war, but also instilled a strong Spartan identity. They were away from their families for most of their childhood and this likely instilled a sense of favoring the needs of the collective over themselves as individuals or their own families. Indeed, the legend of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae clearly illustrates this concept of individual sacrifice for the collective good. This Spartan education provides a contrast to Athenian education. In Sparta education was state sponsored, designed to create a citizen who put the collective first. In Athens, higher education was private, and intended to create a citizen who put the collective first by way of virtue. However, Plato intended only a select few to be philosopher-kings, while Sparta expected everyone to be a military citizen. There is one other aspect of Ancient Greek education that I want to talk about. The symposium. In ancient Greece this was a part of the banquet that took place after the meal, where men would retire to the andron (men’s quarters) recline of couches, and drink, and be entertained, and discuss a multitude of topics. While these were the precursors to the drinking parties that we associate with Ancient Rome, I can see many parallels with academic conferences in the modern day, where scholars share their research in a common location, eat and drink together, and find excuses to sample local entertainments. Of course, the pandemic has curtailed many of these activities, but one day we might be able to meet and talk in person again.  One thing we all have in common is that we’ve been to school. So, if you would like to contribute to the pod in any way, if you have a story to share, long, short, tragic, or comic, if you have comments to make about the podcast, or just want to say “hi”, you can send an email to TeachersTeaTimePod@gmail.com or alternatively you can send emails to me directly using mark@edjacent.org I love to read what you have to say. If social media is your thing, you can follow me on Twitter @markdiacop. You can find our contact information, copies of the show notes, and you can download previous episodes of the podcast at www.teachersteatimepod.com The podcast artwork was created by Phaedra. Opening and closing music is by Bryan Boyko.   Part One:  Before we can discuss the history of education in Ancient Greece, we first must define where end when we are talking about. When we talk about Ancient Greece, we are referring to the civilizations, states, and people who inhabited the Greek peninsula and islands of the Aegean from around the 12th century BCE to the 6th Century AD. During this time, there were several epochs, or ages. The earliest evidence we have of civilizations in the area is from around 12th century BCE with the Minoan civilization. If you are familiar with the stories of the Iliad and the Odyssey, they come from this era. The Mycenean civilization was a literate and complex one, but when it collapsed – and we are not sure how exactly, although natural disaster is likely – so was their writing. What was left behind were a scattering of smaller villages, towns, and cities, usually on the coast, and reliant on trade with other Mediterranean civilizations. This period between the 8th century BCE, and the 6th Century BCE is sometimes referred to as the Greek Dark Ages. Over this time, the city states, evolved into their own systems, referred to themselves as Polis, and borrowed and adapted the Phoenician alphabet into what we recognize as Greek. With a script in place, knowledge began to be written down again, and so we have our first historian Herodotus wrote between the 450s and 420s BCE, and his tradition was followed by such as Thucydides, Xenophon, Demosthenes, Plato and Aristotle. One of the things we need to be aware of when we talk about Ancient Greece is that we are not referring to one Empire or political entity. Effectively Greece was a collection of independent city states geographically cut off from one another by mountains and the sea. It is through trade that knowledge was passed, and ideas spread, but effectively we are talking about areas which evolved their own laws and traditions – for example, Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and Macedonia. I could spend hours talking about ancient Greece, but we need to focus on our main question. What was education like in classical Greece? There were some general similarities between city states in Ancient Greece. For example, by the 5th Century BCE there was some “democratization” of education. Most free males could go to a public school, referred to as a gymnasium, while wealthy young men were educated at home by a private tutor. How you were education was a central component of your identity. For example, we know that Alexander the Great was tutored by Aristotle. For most Greeks, education reflected your social status and who you were as a person. We have a similar attitude today, often asking folks where they went to college, or who conferred their degree, as a sign of status and rank. You will notice that slaves did not have access to an education (in some city-states, slaves were forbidden), and women did not get a formal education (although this varied from city state to city state). In Athens, until about 420BCE, every free male received an elementary education. This was split into two parts – physical and intellectual. The physical aspect, “gymnastike” prepared citizens for their military service – they were taught strength, stamina, and military tactics. For Athenians, physical fitness was important for both aesthetic and practical reasons. Training was conducted in a “gymnasium” (a word still used to describe some elementary schools in this area today). The intellectual aspect, “mousike” was a combination of music, dance, lyrics, and poetry. Students learned to write with a stylus on wax tablets. When students were ready, they would read, memorize, and recite legends and Homeric stories. In this period, once a boy reached adolescence, his formal education ended. Around 420 BCE, we begin to see Higher Education in Athens. Philosophers such as Socrates, along with the sophistic movement led to an influx of teachers from all over the Mediterranean. It became fashionable to value intellectual ability over military prowess. This causes a clash between traditionalist, who feared that intellectuals would destroy Athenian culture and lead to a military disadvantage, while sophists believed that education could be a tool to develop the whole man, including his intellect, and therefore move Athens forward. (I’m sure you can think of similar arguments between traditionalists and progressives today – some things never change). Anyway, the demand for higher education continued and we begin to see more focused areas of study – mathematics, astronomy, harmonics, and dialectic – all with the aim of developing a philosophical insight. For these Athenians, individuals should use knowledge within a framework of logic and reason – what we call today – critical thinking. However, this level of education was not democratized. Wealth determined your level of education in ancient Athens. These formal programs were taught by sophists who charged for their teaching and advertised for their services, more customers meant more money could be made. So, if you were a free peasant, your access to higher education was limited (something that also resonates today), while women and slaves were excluded from this process altogether. Women were considered socially inferior in Athens and incapable of acting at a high intellectual capacity, while it was dangerous to educate slaves, and in Athens, illegal. Part Two: So, who were the sophists? Let’s begin with the most famous – Socrates, or as Bill and Ted call him Socrates. Now the problem with learning about Socrates is that he didn’t write anything down himself. Indeed, most of what we learn about him comes from two of his students: Plato, and Xenophon. Some of their writings about Socrates, particularly Plato’s often contradict themselves. But generally, he is considered the father of philosophy. He advocated that a good man pursues virtue over material wealth, and he mused upon the idea of wisdom. The story goes that he decided to ask every wise man about what they know, and he found that they thought themselves wise,  yet they were not, while Socrates himself knew that he was not wise at all, which paradoxically, made him wiser since he was the only person aware of his own ignorance. This stance threatened the status of the most powerful Athenians, so he was eventually tried and when asked what his punishment should be, he proposed free dinners for the rest of his life, as his position as someone who questions Athens into action and progress should be rewarded. Unfortunately, Athenians didn’t see it that way, and he was found guilty of corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens, and of “impiety” (not believing in the official gods of the state). As punishment he was sentenced to death by poisoning. Again – we see a similar theme in today’s educational debate, where educational stances that encourage students to question the status quo and take a critical stance are considered threatening to those in power. Some things just don’t change, do they? Isocrates was a student of Socrates who founded a school of Rhetoric around 393BCE. He believed education’s purpose was to produce civic efficiency and political leadership, therefore the ability to speak well and be persuasive was the cornerstone of his approach. While his students didn’t have to write 5 paragraph persuasive essays, you can see this approach in modern day social studies classes as well as middle and high school English curricula. Plato, on the other hand, travelled for ten years after Socrates’ execution, returning to establish his Academy, named after the Greek hero Akedemos, in 387 BCE. He believed that education could produce citizens who could cooperate and members of a civic society (like the aims of 19th and 20th century public educators). His curriculum focused on Civic Virtue. The idea that a good citizen would act for the common good, at the expense of their individual gains. In his work “the Republic” he outlines that everyone needs an elementary education in music, poetry, and physical training, two to three years of military training, ten years of mathematics science, five years of dialectic training, and 15 years of practical political training. Those who could attain all that knowledge would become “philosopher kings”, the leaders in his ideal society. Aristotle was a student of Plato, learning in his academy for 19 years. When Plato died, her travelled until he was invited by Philip of Macedon to educate his 13-year-old son, Alexander (later the Great). In 352 BCE he moved back to Athens to open his school, the Lyceum. Aristotle’s approach was based around research. There was systemic approach to the collection of information, and a new focus on empirical methods, like what we see as the foundation of our modern research methods. So, these were the developments in Athens, however, this was not the same for all of Greece. Whereas the Athenian system evolved away from a focus on preparation of male citizens for military service, Spartan society kept military superiority as the focus for its education system. Education in Sparta was focused around what we would probably call a military academy system – called “agoge” in Greek. In general, all Spartan males (except for the first born of the two ruling houses), went through a system which cultivated loyalty to Sparta through military training, hardships, hunting, dancing, singing, and social preparation. It was divided in three age groups, young children, adolescents, and young adults. Spartan girls did not get the same education, although we think there was a formal system for them too. The three age categories were the paides (7-14), paidiskoi (15-19) and the hebontes (20-29). Within these age groups boys were divided in to agelai (herds) with whom they would sleep (consider these like a house system in British private schools, or the Harry Potter stories). They answered to an older boy, and an official who was the paidonomous, or “boy-herder). So, the Paides, were taught the basics of reading and writing, but the focus was on their athletic ability. They did running and wrestling, they were encouraged to steal their food, but according to Xenophon, if they were caught, they were punished. Boys participated in the agoge in bare feet, to toughen them up, and at the age of 12 were allowed one item of clothing, a cloak, per year. Around the age of 12, a boy would gain a mentor who was an older warrior, called the “erastes”. As the boy transitioned into the Paidiskoi, so the mentor would act as a sponsor, while the student further developed his physical and athletic training. By the age of 20, the young Spartan graduated from the paidiskoi into the hebontes. If he had developed leadership qualities, these would be rewarded. At this stage, they were considered adults, they were eligible for military service, and could vote in the assembly, although they were not yet full free citizens. By 30 a Spartan man should have graduated, been accepted into the military, and was permitted to marry. He would also be allocated an allotment of land. This state education system not only prepared Spartan men for war, but also instilled a strong Spartan identity. They were away from their families for most of their childhood and this likely instilled a sense of favoring the needs of the collective over themselves as individuals or their own families. Indeed, the legend of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae clearly illustrates this concept of individual sacrifice for the collective good. This Spartan education provides a contrast to Athenian education. In Sparta education was state sponsored, designed to create a citizen who put the collective first. In Athens, higher education was private, and intended to create a citizen who put the collective first by way of virtue. However, Plato intended only a select few to be philosopher-kings, while Sparta expected everyone to be a military citizen. There is one other aspect of Ancient Greek education that I want to talk about. The symposium. In ancient Greece this was a part of the banquet that took place after the meal, where men would retire to the andron (men’s quarters) recline of couches, and drink, and be entertained, and discuss a multitude of topics. While these were the precursors to the drinking parties that we associate with Ancient Rome, I can see many parallels with academic conferences in the modern day, where scholars share their research in a common location, eat and drink together, and find excuses to sample local entertainments. Of course, the pandemic has curtailed many of these activities, but one day we might be able to meet and talk in person again.   

Episode 24 - History of Education Part 2: The Ancient World Part Two

Sunday May 02, 2021

This podcast is available in iTunes, Google, Spotify, and many other pod catchers. Subscribe here: https://feed.podbean.com/teatimeteaching/feed.xml  In this episode we a going to complete our brief tour of early civilizations in the Neolithic era.  We will begin with a quick discussion of the Indus River Valley civilizations, then travel to Ancient China, and finally take a look at Meso-American systems. This podcast is a proud member of Edjacent, a design collaborative made up of educators who dream of a better world for our students and their teachers. We create, write, talk, teach and learn about the things that matter most in education. To find out more, point your browser to www.edjacent.org.  One thing we all have in common is that we’ve been to school. So, if you would like to contribute to the pod in any way, if you have a story to share, long, short, tragic, or comic, if you have comments to make about the podcast, or just want to say “hi”, you can send an email to TeachersTeaTimePod@gmail.com or alternatively you can send emails to me directly using mark@edjacent.org I love to read what you have to say. If social media is your thing, you can follow me on Twitter @markdiacop. You can find our contact information, copies of the show notes, and you can download previous episodes of the podcast at www.teachersteatimepod.com The podcast artwork was created by Phaedra. Opening and closing music is by Bryan Boyko. Transcript:  It is argued that the civilizations that developed in the Indus River Valley were even more advanced than those in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.  At its height, the Indus-Sarasvati, or Harappan civilization extended for more than 1 million square kilometers from the Arabian Sea to the Ganges. We know that around 7000 BCE there were permanent agricultural settlements there, and by 2500 BCE the area was populated by an estimated 5 million people. On the banks of the Indus, the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro grew. Streets were planned in a grid system with wide roads. Houses were built from mud bricks and were often raised. These cities also had a sewer system, and a water supply. It is often assumed that even the poorest citizens had a better standard of living than in Mesopotamia, but we cannot know for sure. What we do know is that throughout the second millennium BCE, the area was populated by Aryan groups who settled from the steppes (an area that stretched from modern day Eastern Europe – the Ukraine, through to the south of Russia in to today’s Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan). Don’t get these Aryans mistaken for the cos-play supremacists who claim that white folks are Aryans. That is something completely different, and dangerous, whose connections are rooted in 19th century Colonial and Fascist ideologies). These Aryans are important, though, as they wrote down a collection of stories from the area, known as the Vedas. These are the oldest known stories told, from as long ago as 7000 BCE.  Their writing formed the basis for the literate society that traded with the other civilization to it’s East and West. With this literacy, and no doubt it’s advanced societal needs, came a need for learning. While we don’t have any evidence of formal places of education, as we do in Egypt or Mesopotamia, we can assume that there were complex institutions that served as places of learning. We know that as a culture, they mastered astronomy, time, elementary mathematics, and medicine, plus their religious lore and writes needed to be learned and shared, and as always in a complex society, there needed to me an administration, so we can assume that there was some formal education based around learning the Indus script. However, we have little evidence of an education process. Climate change caused the monsoons and floods to lessen and change in predictability, and the way of life in this region began to change over a period around 600BCE. Larger cities were abandoned for smaller villages, and so we are left with more questions about this fascinating period of human history.   Part Two: At the same time as civilizations were beginning along River Valleys in Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, so life began to change in Ancient China too. As early civilizations grew along river valleys here, so did writing, and a subsequent need to spread, and control who gets access to that knowledge. Early hieroglyph writings emerged in China around 2000 BCE, and professional institutions were created to teach knowledge and writing, akin to what we have seen in other early civilizations. We know the first schools in Ancient china were establishes during the Xia dynasty (2070 BCE – 1600 BCE) – please excuse any poor pronunciations on my part. To the East of the Capital of the Zhou dynasty (1046 – 221 BCE) stood buildings where the children of the nobility were educated. To the west were buildings where ordinary children could be educated. Throughout the region, a state and local school system soon developed. State schools were for children of the nobility. There were elementary schools and colleges. Village schools, also known as local schools, were divided into four levels. It was possible that a poorer student could pass through all four levels and get into college. This implies that education may have provided a pathway for upward mobility. We don’t know how or who paid for education and schooling, but we can assume that it was privately funded. These schools taught writing, mathematics, and rooted instruction in Confucian Philosophy. Now when Emperor Qin Si Huang, the first emperor of a unified state, took over. He abolished the private schools, wanting a more centralized control of education, and forbade people to read Confucian classic texts. Indeed, he gave orders that Confucian books were to be burned and scholars of Confucianism were to be burned alive. He wanted to establish an education system based on legalist principles. Without going into too much detail legalism was a philosophy which sought to organize society, using reward and punishment. Akin to modern-day autocracies, it was felt important to educate people on how to be compliant citizens in society, as opposed to how to be participatory citizens who look to improve societies. State bureaucracies grew in this period, and rulers increasingly needed educated, thoughtful, and scholarly administrators to run the empire.  Thus, the education system was reformed to make people compliant, and to provide a number or competent administrators to make sure things run efficiently. It would be another 1000 years until the development of the civil service examination, but the beginnings of a bureaucracy supported by an education system can be seen growing at this time. Indeed, over the next 800 years, there would be a swing from private schools, which could follow their own philosophy and education method, to state schools which were more centralized and controlling. This struggle between the compliance of legalism, and the more humanistic philosophies of Confucianism, Taoism, and much later, Buddhism, would continue until the last emperor and the introduction of communism in the 20th century. Meanwhile, in Mesoamerica, there were similar evolutions of civilizations.  For example, by 1000 BCE the Olmec were established and had developed their own writing system, as had The Maya. We know more about the Mayan civilization in this ancient period. We know they developed an accurate calendar, counting 365 days in a year, as well as maintained a 260 day calendar and a 360 day calendar for use in agriculture, religious holidays, and “understanding the present so that we might know the past, and predict the future”. This civilization also recorded a better understanding of medicine and anatomy than even the Greeks in Europe – all this knowledge needed to be learned by those who needed to know it. In the case of Mayan civilization, this was the nobility and leadership. It is a common theme in these societies that as soon as we get a social structure, those in charge realize that knowledge and literacy is an important commodity, and therefore only their own children need to have access to it. This would be different to the later Aztecs and the Incas further south, but as they come later, there is more that we need to know before we return to this area of the world. So, with the Neolithic revolution, we see the emergence of writing and what we would consider modern civilization, with knowledge and literacy as a key commodity, leading to issues of power and control of society, in five key areas at about the same time. In Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, we have clear evidence of schools and schooling. In the Indus River Valley, we know that there were complex cities which needed organizing, we know that there was a need for scribes and scholars, and we know that this all had to be learned. This is similar to Olmec and Mayan civilizations where we know that writing emerged, and complex societies developed, and we know they developed some important knowledge that needed learning and preserving – but we don’t have evidence of an education system as we know it. Then we have China, where formal education developed along with writing and philosophy. In China, we see the emergence of a centralized education system used to control and promote social classes, as well as private schools and colleges which followed their own philosophies and curricula.  

Episode 23 - History of Education Part 1: The Ancient World

Monday Apr 19, 2021

This podcast is available in iTunes, Google, Spotify, and many other pod catchers. Subscribe with this URL: https://feed.podbean.com/teatimeteaching/feed.xml    In today’s episode we take our first periodical dive into the history of education. In one of the courses I teach, we do a unit about the history of public education in the US, and I get asked lots of questions by my students about education in other places, and at other times. As a result, it is only fitting to use this podcast as an excuse to find out more. So today, we are going back in time. Way back to the dawn of civilization, to find out if there was any formal education in the ancient world? This podcast is a proud member of Edjacent, a design collaborative made up of educators who dream of a better world for our students and their teachers. We create, write, talk, teach and learn about the things that matter most in education. To find out more, point your browser to www.edjacent.org. For me, it’s the stories of teachers, students, and school communities that matter. As such, this podcast is only possible with the help and support of its listeners. Please leave positive reviews wherever you are able. If you are an iTunes or Spotify subscriber, leaving a good review can really help our visibility.  Also, please don’t keep this podcast to yourself. Tell your friends to subscribe and listen too.  If you would like to contribute to the pod in any way, if you have a story to share, long, short, tragic, or comic, if you have comments to make about the podcast, or just want to say “hi”, you can send an email to TeachersTeaTimePod@gmail.com or alternatively you can send emails to me directly using mark@edjacent.org I love to read what you have to say. If social media is your thing, you can follow me on Twitter @markdiacop. You can find our contact information, copies of the show notes, and you can download previous episodes of the podcast at www.teachersteatimepod.com The podcast artwork was created by Phaedra. Opening and closing music is by Bryan Boyko.

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Welcome to the Teacher's Teatime Podcast.

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