Meno questioned whether knowledge (teaching) and experience (practice) are mutually exclusive at the beginning of the dialogue. This dichotomy has me ponder, “What is the way to obtain the best education?”
Before attempting to answer the question, I will differentiate knowledge (teaching) and experience (practice). First of all, knowledge might be superficial in one’s mind because it is often proved by someone else’s studies. Thus, teaching is the same as spreading one’s experience to other individuals. However, acquiring knowledge from teaching does not secure the meaning behind it because one’s experience is something that cannot be transferred. On the other hand, trials create experience that are realistic because of the consequences one receives. To sum up their differences, knowledge exists in a blurry vision while experience lives with vivid images.
In order to weigh teaching vs. practice, the issue of theoretical knowledge vs. practical knowledge is considered. The former is obtained from reading formal writings and listening to lectures, or so-called “book-smart.” Whereas, the latter is grasped by performing experiments and trial-and-errors, or so-called “street-smart.” According to the definitions above, they are completely distinct from one another, but share a common goal: personal improvement. Similarly, education is about acquiring and applying existing knowledge to increase overall human intelligence. Thus, teaching cannot bring the best results, nor can practice. They have to work together in order to yield the best results. For instance, a surgeon should not be allowed to perform a surgery if she has no ideas where the heart is. At the same time, she should not conduct the surgery for someone’s life if she has no prior experience.
In conclusion, knowledge and experience are two different perceptions. However, their differences are blessings because they are the final missing pieces of the puzzle called education.