A New Way to Educate Children Essay

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A New Way to Educate Children

Rousseau lobbies against an educational system that tries to teach children concepts and facts before such time, as they would make use of them. He believes that a child should not neglect those studies, which meet his present needs, in order to learn that which he may acquire in later years. He claims that experience and emotion are our real teachers, thereby reinforcing the theory that a child should not be educated in matters which are not pertinent to their current station in life. He contends that a child should “remain in complete ignorance of those ideas which are beyond his grasp” (p686). In essence, Rousseau argues that the healthy spontaneous impulses of children were being repressed by the
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I don’t think Rousseau’s plan appealed to the peasants and urban workers in the 18th century. These people were hard workers who would have their children working to feed the family rather than wandering about the countryside learning. If their children had to be schooled, they most likely would have preferred they were subjected to the discipline provided by formal schools in towns and villages which were beginning to appear. Not only did these schools provide a more Christianity based education but kept the children busy and out of the parents way. The people of this time were very focused on discipline and control of their children, allowing the child to explore and learn on their own was the opposite of traditional treatment of children at this time. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” was a catch phrase of the 18th century and was taken quite literally. Any indications of an independent nature in a child were beaten out them and asking questions was often viewed as a challenge to authority and children were expected to accept all knowledge provided them on faith which was again the opposite of Rousseau’s plan. Since Rousseau’s plan was focused on education based on scientific principles it would go against many of their hardened Christian beliefs about how the world worked. The enlightenment may have been a big influence to Rousseau, but the peasants and urban workers of the 18th century

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