Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a native Genevan in Switzerland. Growing up motherless, Rousseau spent a great deal of his time on his own education, particularly in the form of literature. He delved into Greek and Roman works and different romantic pieces, completely enthralled by them.
As he aged, Rousseau's interest in politics, education, and Social work grew with him. The first, and most interesting to me, is his work Emile, or On Education.
The title itself, Emile, is the name of the leading character in this work. The story follows an almost fictional tale of Emile as he grows and evolves, prompting Rousseau to make some pretty bold comments on education. That's kind of what I love about Rousseau, actually. He speaks whatever he pleases to speak.
Within this story, Rousseau proposes many educational ideas, which, to him, help the citizens of, well, everywhere educate themselves more fully.
Emile is divided into five different books, each following different years or ages in a lifetime.
Second Stance and Onward: Rousseau then goes on to state that, during the teen years, humans must be singularly taught (preferably by a tutor) whatever they want to learn. It should be on a relatively useful yet interesting-to-the-pupil subject. Finally, as the human gets older, the certain person can then begin religious education, because he/she is fully prepared to decide religion for themselves.
Rousseau's philosophy that education should be postponed until a human was older was pretty polarizing for the era. Education was essentially forced down children's throats at a young age and here was bold Rousseau, telling everyone that that was shameful. Actually, though, I think what Rousseau pointed out was pretty valid for today's society. If you look at 'early education,' it's centered around taking nap breaks or recess with fun learning skills to keep the kids engaged. I do wish that 'studying what you find interesting' had stuck in America, but I can, unfortunately, see why it couldn't ever work here. Still, though he was preaching these things during the Enlightenment, his theories on education were unheard of, so I commend him for voicing his opinion.
Here's a video about Rousseau's Educational ideas that I thoroughly enjoyed:
Favorite Quote from Emile:
“All wickedness comes from weakness. The child is wicked only because he is weak. Make him strong; he will be good. He who could do everything would never do harm.”
I'll be honest, it's a little daunting being the first project blogpost up, so let me know if any of you have any suggestions or anything! Thanks for taking the time to read this.