Education Has Evolved Substantially Term Paper

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¶ … Education has evolved substantially over the years, from an almost strictly oral tradition in the Greek era, from the beginning of what is recognized as the Greek classical period to the end of the Hellenistic period. (500-30 BCE) the next educational period to be discussed is the Renaissance from roughly 1400 to 1550 CE, with an education based almost entirely on a revival of such rhetorical thought and an emphasis on speaking and listening once again but with careful assimilation of the newly codified written works of both the Greek and Roman great thinkers. Lastly to modern 1970's educational tradition with many of the traditional oral lessons being emphasized while a myriad of new ideas came to be a part of the system. Throughout the periods the evolving role of women is also discussed as evidence is uncovered in the past of at least fringe teaching by women, to an almost exclusive female position of the traditional educator in the modern era.

During much of the historical representation of the Greek tradition of education the guiding principles of rhetoric ruled the day, and most educational pursuits surrounded the traditional idea of the rhetorical or the art of public speaking as the transmission of ideas was largely an oral tradition. It isn't until the likes of people like Aristotle and Plato that the ideas were written down and that formal education began to adopt the idea of writing as a key institution.

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The Homeric poems portray Greek society before the introduction of writing. This society had its own oral poetry, the songs of bards on heroic or mythological subjects. How such poetry can be created and transmitted is now reasonably well understood from study of modern oral poets in the Balkans and other areas.

Kennedy 5)

TOPIC: Term Paper on Education Has Evolved Substantially Over the Years, Assignment

Aristotle developed a tradition of rhetoric as well, as most of his students were not expected to learn to write but were instead expected to develop intent listening and response skills, associated with the rhetorical style of education.

Classical rhetoricians later became interested in defining the species of oratory: When are speeches employed and how do they differ with different functions? Beginning with Aristotle, the usual classification is into deliberative, judicial, and epideictic forms. Deliberative rhetoric was viewed as concerned with determination of the advantages of some future action; judicial rhetoric with the determination of the justice or legality of a past action; epideictic with praise or blame of what was honorable or dishonorable.

Kennedy 7)

The tradition of Greek education left little room for egalitarian principles and women were an unlikely receptor of education and there were no real educators of sort who where women. Yet, there is a tradition of at least some fringe educators and rhetorical speakers in the day.

Women rarely spoke in public in classical Greece, but there is some evidence of their rhetorical skills and of their voices in ancient society. The ancient Greek woman who is best known directly from her own words is Sappho of Lesbos. 14 She wrote lyric poetry on themes of love and marriage in the first half of the sixth century B.C., over a century before the first writing about rhetoric, and she may have directed a kind of finishing school for young girls. Her poetry was greatly admired in antiquity. The grammarians of Alexandria included her works in their canons of classical poetry, and extensive fragments of it have been recovered in modern times from papyri written in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Her works, however, were not copied into codex manuscripts in the early Middle Ages, perhaps because of Christian distaste for homosexual love, and thus are known to us only from the chance survival of papyri and from quotations by male authors of the Roman period.

Kennedy 15)

As is true of most contemporary society, though there were sporadic inclusions of women in at least marginal education, the actual equal education of women in Greece did not officially begin until late in the 19th and early 20th centuries. First male teachers began to fight for equal education of women and then women themselves began to demand it eventually leading to the inclusion of women in higher education, a likely link to the strong sense of the tradition, and the classical notion that women just were not acceptable public speakers. (Pantziara 28)

In the nineteenth century, women entered Greek universities for the first time, and female writers began to get published in respected publications like Artemis (1866), Thaleia (1867), and Eurydice (1870-73). Emerging Greek women writers-such as Calliope Kehagia, Sophia Laskaridou, Sebasti Callisperi, Sappho Leontias, and Penelope Lazaridou-reflected the concerns of women of their time. (10) (Pantziara 28)

The tradition of oratory was a long-standing one and is likely the foundation of the limited recorded history associated with the ancient Greek tradition. As we must remember the foundation of the tradition is based on a relatively small number of written accounts, that grew in number with the ages but represent only a small body of the actual cannon, which boasted many locations of learning and many rhetorical teachers, never translated into a written form for later perusal. The general consensus on writing was that it created a faulty memory in the student, who would then set aside the ideas, to be read at a later date and never assimilate them or further their ideas, and would likely not remember them at the next lecture. "Written Texts, 12 and Plato criticizes writing at the end of Phaedrus on the ground that it destroys memory and that a written text cannot defend itself in dialogue."

Kennedy 13) Though there is also considerable evidence that writings helped transmit ideas across distance and time, it was not considered the center of education, the way a textbook might be seen today.

The Renaissance also proves an interesting period for the study of the history of education as the time is often seen as an awakening of ideas, but the ideas themselves were borrowed from the Greek and Roman tradition, newly codified by the discovering scholars. Interestingly enough it is a well-founded claim that not only did the traditional materials become a core of the education system, the ancient teaching style was also revived and the oratory/rhetorical was once again emphasizes as the best manner in which to impart ideas. In an example, the history of the educator and writer Milton is examined.

That Milton should aspire to such literary and oratorical ideals as moved the orators and poets of antiquity is natural enough, for he had an early education very like their own. Indeed in Milton's boyhood formal education in the English grammar schools was as exclusively literary as formal education had been in the Roman schools of the first century. In Imperial Rome and in Renaissance England all seven of the Liberal Arts were honored as the basis of a liberal education, but in both periods the mathematical arts of the quadrivium (Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy) were honored more than taught. The core, flesh and skin of the educational apple were comprised in the linguistic arts of the trivium (Grammar, Rhetoric, and Logic)....For St. Paul's School, which prepared Milton for Cambridge, was as completely given over to the study of the trivium, in Latin and Greek, as was the grammar school Ovid attended in Rome. Milton read the same school authors, practiced the same imitative exercises of translation and paraphrase, and wrote and spoke themes on the same sort of assignments. That Milton received such a grammar school education was the all but inevitable result of the Renaissance in England, for the Renaissance humanists, Erasmus, Colet, and Lily, who organized the course of study for St. Paul's in process of bringing about a rebirth of classical culture through a renewed study of classical languages and literatures simultaneously brought about a rebirth of the classical educational system. (Clark 3-4)

The system can also boast that the official education system, e.g. that outside of the home and past the remedial level was not open to women. Despite this fact there were at least a few women who developed ideas beyond the household education, that they would have received in the period and one of if not the first professional female writer, a contemporary of Joan de Arc, Christine Pizan (1364-1430?) and her works became prized objects in many royal libraries. Yet, it is an accepted truth that most education, for women began and stayed at home, with a long-standing tradition of tutors limited to class distinction and wealth. Christine was even privy to the position as an official educator to a prince, but she did so with writing rather than an actual tutorship.

Brown-Grant 89) Though precicely during the time that the transition from what some people call the dark ages or the meidieval period, into the Rennasance women were again largely excluded from official education, possibly as a result of the establishment of the ancient texts, in which women were not represented and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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