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Teaching the Great Books

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  1. Introduction
    Teaching the Great Books: Course Introduction (Preview Content)
    4 Topics
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    1 Quiz
  2. Lessons
    Lesson 1: What Should We Read? (Preview Content)
    4 Topics
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    1 Quiz
  3. Lesson 2: How Should We Read the Classics?
    4 Topics
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    1 Quiz
  4. Lesson 3: How to Do Deep Reading
    5 Topics
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    1 Quiz
  5. Lesson 4: Ancient and Modern Modes of Interpretation
    4 Topics
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    1 Quiz
  6. Lesson 5: How to Teach Great Books—Part I
    4 Topics
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    1 Quiz
  7. Lesson 6: How to Teach Great Books—Part II
    5 Topics
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    1 Quiz
  8. Lesson 7: Classroom Habits and Practices
    4 Topics
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    1 Quiz
  9. Lesson 8: Who Do We Teach?
    4 Topics
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    1 Quiz
  10. Lesson 9: Students Afflicted with Acedia or Ennui
    2 Topics
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    1 Quiz
  11. Lesson 10: Helping Students Overcome Acedia or Ennui
    2 Topics
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    1 Quiz
  12. Lesson 11: Who Is the Teacher?
    2 Topics
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    1 Quiz
  13. Class Observations
    Lesson 12: Observe 7th Grade Classroom (with preclass interview)
    1 Topic
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    1 Quiz
  14. Lesson 13: Observe 10th Grade Classroom (with pre- and post-class interviews)
    1 Topic
  15. Lesson 14: Observe 10th Grade Classroom (with pre- and post-class interviews)
    1 Topic
  16. Lesson 15: Observe 10th Grade Classroom (with pre- and post-class interviews)
    1 Topic
  17. End of Course Test
    End of Course Test: Teaching the Great Books
    1 Quiz
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In Plato’s Apology, after the Oracle of Delphi declares that Socrates is the wisest man, Socrates decides to test this conclusion. He compares himself to others who are supposed to be wise, saying, “Well, although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful or good, I am better off than he is–for he knows nothing, and thinks he knows; I neither know nor think I know. In this latter particular, then, I seem to have slightly the advantage of him.” What Socrates is saying here is that those who are wisest are the ones who know just how little they actually know. This is why the Socratic method is so valuable. If we must recognize our own ignorance in order to be wise, asking questions seems the best way to educate. When a teacher asks questions of a text instead of pontificating about it as a master, the teacher shows the students how to be wise. Josh Gibbs says that a teacher must approach a book with the mind-set of a student, not a master, and Socrates’s method of questioning seems to be just that.