Up@dawn 2.0

Friday, November 14, 2014

Section 10: Final Report #1 of 4, Rousseau and Emile

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.


I suppose Emile is most interesting to me because of my connection to education. My parents were both teachers, with my Dad 'moving on up' in the system to become a principal.
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.
First stance: In the first two books, Rousseau proposes that, to learn, a child must do what he/she does naturally. This development of lifetime is referred to as the Age of Nature by Rousseau, and he believes that a child must be loved by their mother and go outside to play in order to absorb the want for knowledge. As they age, they must learn practical work to develop coordination in everything they do. See, children at that time were basically taught to sit still and proper. Actually, really, children were born to really be adults. They were even dressed like adults, which Rousseau frowns upon. This whole children-as-adults is depicted in the picture above,
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:
Also, here's another link about Emile that I really enjoyed as well! (it wouldn't let me imbed this one)

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. 


  1. Excellent post, Katherine! You've set the bar high for us. Maybe in your next installment you can include a link to the etext of Emile or whichever work of Rousseau's you'll be spotlighting next - my personal favorite, btw, was his late "Reveries of the Solitary Walker."

  2. Anonymous9:11 PM CST

    Katherine- your post was quite well done. Informative, well laid out, and clearly made from subject matter expertise. Good job leading the way.

    My only suggestions for you would be these...

    1) Consider adding links to things that you might not have the time to go into detail on, but consider good info for others. For instance, when Dr. Oliver talks about Emile, the way to give your readers the opportunity to get it for themselves by hyper-linking this with the text- http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5427 Project Gutenberg is a great resource for ebooks of works in the public domain (ie: old) without having to pay Amazon or online publishers.

    2) Make sure you are watching the formatting, spacing and all that jazz between sections and paragraphs. Play around with it to gain experience. Web based user interfaces aren't too difficult to pick up. Use the preview button to make sure everything looks like you want it to before posting. Treat it like a paper, get it done, then take a break and come back to it with fresh eyes to catch any mistakes you might have missed from being so immersed in it.

    Your work is solid and you should be good to go for your next follow on posts regardless, however.


  3. Thank you, Dr. Oliver and Billy! I will most definitely take in to account all of your suggestions!