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Today's Word " Maieutics"

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maieutics \mey-YU-tiks\ (noun) - The Socratic method of teaching by helping someone articulate ideas already in their mind; intellectual midwifery.

"I think teaching me how to program the timer on my VCR is beyond the power of any maieutics."

 

Greek maieutikos "midwifery" from maieuesthai "to act as midwife, help in delivery" based on maia "respected mother, midwife." The Greek term shares the same origin with "mama" and was used as a term of respect when addressing older women. Today's voweliferous word denotes an approach to teaching that has survived for 2500 years. Socrates believed that all humans innately possess the concepts necessary for understanding the world. Some people seem to understand it better than others because they are better at organizing those ideas or have had someone to help them "deliver" or raise those concepts to consciousness. Socrates did not give answers; rather, he asked carefully articulated questions that led his students, step by step, to logical conclusions. Socratic teachers do not deliver ideas to students but from them, teaching them in the process to think, to organize and focus the murky, innate ideas already within themselves. The adjective is "maieutic."

 

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