Plato Education: How This Theory Supports Learning
As a former student of Socrates, Plato himself contributed a lot to the education system. He says that nothing plays a more important role in intellectual development and physical prosperity than education. Plato emphasized education and dedicated every chapter of his books, excluding one, to learning. His pressure on the establishment to educate more people says a lot about the importance of a lifetime of learning.
To decide how the system of education can have any effect on the learning of the mind through its lifespan, let’s take a deeper look into Plato’s education system.
In the era that Plato was preaching his educational beliefs, Greece had two leading powers that decided and dominated the type of education for its people. And since it was a society built on principles of patriarchy, women were obviously deprived of getting any sort of education at all and therefore were taught domestic values instead.
The prevailing education systems belonged to Athens and the Spartans, who limited their political education for the ruling classes of men and excluding everyone else below. In Athens, philosophy, mathematics, poetry, and subjects related to wisdom and knowledge was taught in private institutes for a fee while Sparta focused more on giving military education and disciplinary methods.
Plato’s education system combined the best of both worlds and introduced a system ideal for both men and women. He divided his educational scheme into two parts. The first part being called “Elementary Education,” and the second called “Higher Education.” These two parts were further divided into more sub-parts in order to walk students through different levels of crucial knowledge without burdening them or making things too easy.
Plato’s education theory doesn’t target only the young minds, it also includes people older than the typical age of learning.
Elementary education includes the first stage of childhood development that typically begins around 4 years of age, the second stage at 6 to 18 years, and the third stage at 18-20 years. This keeps the child on the path of learning and increases their intellectual capabilities from the moment of birth.
Higher education, according to Plato, is for people who have reached a point of maturity in their lives and thus need to be subjected with more potent and elevated type of education. The three stages of scientific education ranges from 20 to 30 years of age, education in dialects from 30 to 35 years, and the third stage called practical dialects for age 35 to 40 year. Education doesn’t stop here, but at this stage so much of the student’s essential knowledge will have been obtained.
And this is how Plato’s theory of education can be said to support a lifetime of learning.