Ralph Emerson's Philosophy Of Education Essay

1530 Words 7 Pages
“I’m only human,” a mundane response to committing an innocent mistake, but this seemingly naive rejoinder carries a deeper meaning of how human beings are anything but perfect. Every week from childhood to early adulthood, people spend more waking hours in school the majority of the year, rather than with family or friends, pursuing their prosperous futures. At school, students are required to take specific classes in order to graduate with little to no choice in what courses they select. Also, students place prodigious amounts of pressure on themselves to perform well in school, often making themselves feel inferior by comparing their grades with others. In a school environment, students are expected to act more like automatons than human …show more content…
When it comes to material taught in school, Emerson believes the “power of performance is worth more than the knowledge” (103). In other words, Emerson believes the substance of knowledge is inane if the intellectual lacks the will to utilize that knowledge outside of the classroom. Most schools lack individualized teaching for students because they aim at mass learning, but the concept of quality over quantity shows true in Emerson’s philosophy of education. “A rule is so easy that it does not need a man to apply it; an automaton, a machine, can be made to keep a school so” (Emerson 106). Every student has his or her own pace for learning, but when teachers act as machines in the school environment, they show little regard for their students’ individual needs. Today, over a century later, the ideals of Emerson and Dewey remain steadfast. President of Bard College, Leon Botstein, articulates “the rules of high school turn out not to be the rules of life” (153). When will a person have to use the Pythagorean theorem to find the hypotenuse of a right triangle in the real world? When

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