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CRITICAL THINKING ACTIVITIES VISUAL ESSAY (THE CAVE ALLEGORY)
The Cave Allegory is one of the most famous passages of philosophy, and I think all students should study it sometime during their education. It asks its readers to liberate themselves from the conventional bonds that chain them. There are many essays, articles, lecture series, etc. on this fundamental text; there are more nuanced and rigorous academic writings and talks available, but my intention is to provide a 90 minute to two-hour lecture to high school, college, and first or second year university students.
In all of my first year undergraduate classes I employ Visual Notetaking as a way to engage my students in the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. I always find this assignment rewarding for my students - a helpful way to study, a different type of assignment, a way to engage visual learners, and I am always surprised by their work.
Included in this product are the following:
⚫ A six page excerpt from Plato’s – Book VII the Cave Allegory. The is one of the Platonic dialogues that I do my VNT assignment on. I also lecture on Plato’s and , Nietzsche’s , and excerpts from Thucydides. I will be creating VNT text specific lectures in the coming months. This is the second in this series.
⚫The Cave Allegory works well with , , , , , , and more.
⚫I have created two different products, and a third that combines them, to offer teachers a choice in case they want the lecture notes but not the VNT information.
⚫One page of endnotes. The dialogue may be found online and is in the public domain. I have included these pages for your convenience and only included the pages that I cover during my VNT lecture. These are just the pages without notes. I have a lecture on Book VII that provides notes on this section of the text. You will find it here:
⚫11 student examples:
- I use student examples from previous semesters to help my class understand my expectations.
- TWO of the examples have an explanation of elements - a new component of my VNT assignments.
- These explanations are done by students and are not edited by me.
⚫An explanation on how I use VNT in my classroom.
My success with Visual Notetaking (VISUAL ESSAYS) has absolutely changed my teaching style. I have noticed, however, colleagues who attempt to recreate the VNT in their classes are not always so successful. The reason I surmise, through conversations, is that the text they are teaching is not visually engaging. The allegory is the perfect lecture. Its main components are easily adapted to imagery – in fact, the Cave Allegory begins with the line “make an image.” More than that, the allegory is a liberating and thoughtful text and loudly proclaims to its listeners to break the chains that bind them! Teenagers often think they are enslaved or trapped, and love the idea of liberation and freedom from the oppression that they feel. It is a wonderful text to pair with works of fiction; for instance, I teach it alongside , , , , and many others. The Republic is in the public domain.
VISUAL AND INTERPRETIVE NOTE-TAKING - COMBINED
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