I was listening to a live on line today with our highly experienced Charles working with a willing and eager pupil. They were doing harder averages. Bother were happy – and communicating in a lively and involved manner – even though a distance of some fifteen miles lay between the two.
I thought of Socrates. He had been a stone mason and carver by trade. He conducted his teaching through what we would call a `severe cross examination’. He questioned people, events and contemporary institutions. He questioned school boys, friends, critics and admirers.
He maintained first of all that he was ignorant – but he was so cheerful that he could keep a conversation going even when the other had lost his temper. He questioned and questioned until his opponent feel silent – helpless against a barrage of questions.
An online lesson sets out to provide communication over vast distances. There is give and take – added to the excitement of being able to use technology to provide the right teacher to the pupil. It could be difficult to entertain the idea that a gifted subject specialist would be prepared to travel to a child’s house to cover a special topic. If we, however, put the pupil and the teacher into a situation where they can talk to each other and share work and ideas though whiteboard technology – then we have a learning and teaching situation worthy of consideration.
Plato was the pupil of Socrates. How Plato may have loved to have had the opportunity of sitting at home, with his headphones on, sharing ideas.