About Paideia

What is Paideia?

Paideia is active learning—engaging students through thought-provoking Socratic seminars, growth of intellectual skills, and mastery of information.

Benefits of Paideia for students and educators

Educators who use Paideia’s active learning approach find that:

  • Seminar girl -crop2Students are more motivated to learn, because of the excitement of generating, articulating, and developing their own thoughts.
  • Students’ self-confidence grows, because their teachers and classmates listen to them with interest and respect.
  • Quiet children speak up, because they know that their teachers and classmates will pay attention.
  • Students build communication skills by speaking, listening, and responding to each other.
  • Students improve their writing by first developing ideas through conversation.
  • Students exhibit fewer behavioral problems, because they get to be more active and expressive, rather than bored and restless.
  • Test scores improve, because students are more interested in learning.
  • Schools meet current state standards for reading, writing, and speaking and listening, through lesson plans that emphasize these skills.

Don Burton, an elementary school teacher in Milwaukee, WI, said of the Paideia method, “This is what children need. It’s good for educators. It’s good for community… I’m in heaven again.”

Want to bring Paideia to your school? Check out our Socratic Seminar lesson plans and professional development opportunities.

Paideia’s story

584Paideia comes from the Greek word for the holistic upbringing of a child. The Paideia approach is rooted in the ancient Greek ideal of raising a child to live a full life as a citizen in a democracy.

The Paideia method was developed in the early 1980s by the philosopher Mortimer Adler. Adler and the Paideia group authored The Paideia Proposal, outlining the Paideia Principles and Three Columns of Instruction.

Today, thousands of teachers in hundreds of schools across the United States and other countries use the Paideia method to engage students in active learning.

Bring Paideia to your school

The Paideia approach can be adapted to all subjects, from kindergarten through high school. Paideia offers resources for teachers and principals, including:

Paideia regards both educators and students as lifelong learners. Through Paideia, you can discover opportunities to reenergize your classroom.