The Education Of Children Essay

1510 words - 7 pages

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was born on February 28, 1533, into a time when only the wealthy received the privilege of a good education. At around 1539, Michel was sent to the College of Guienne in Bordeaux, where he completed the curriculum under the direction of George Buchanan by the time he had reached his thirteenth year. Michel spoke well of his educators and praised their teaching techniques, but he chastised the stern discipline of most of the schools during his time, saying that if one were to visit a college where lessons were in progress, nothing could be heard, save “the cries of children being beaten and of masters drunk with anger.”1 In his essay, Of the Education of Children, ...view middle of the document...

The hard work of a student should always be rewarded, as this will encourage the child to study harder. Teachers should learn to understand the children they are teaching. They should not punish students who take a little longer to grasp certain subjects for being slow learners. Instead, the educators should teach their subjects with passion, so as to inspire the students to study more readily and with enthusiasm. Education should be taught by enticing the interest and feelings, not by harsh words and a whip.
Learning should be one of the greatest pleasure in the life of a child. Humans are born with a natural curiosity of the world around them, and want to learn the answers to all the “why's” and “how's” of the world. Our minds find delight an education that is well taught. The goal of education is to make the process of learning satisfying and enjoyable. The responsibility of an educator is making sure that the students understand what is being taught. A tutor should not always “bawl into a pupil's ears as if one were pouring water into a funnel”5, but make his pupil “taste things, select them, and distinguish them”6 by his own ability of perception. Montaigne suggested that teachers should quiz their students on their studies to be sure they are grasping the concept. Some students will grasp concepts quickly, and others will be a little slower. A good teacher knows how to teach each student according to their abilities. Montaigne recognized the fact that each student is individually different from birth. He also understood that children cannot be formed to a certain commerce that they have no interest in, just as all children cannot learn in the same manner. He believed that children should be allowed to experience different things according to their interest and not be forced into a career in which they have no talent or liking. Montaigne stressed, with great importance, that children are individuals and should be treated as such.
In addition to teaching how children should be taught, Montaigne also discussed the subject of what they should be taught. Educators should always keep in mind that the object of education is to yield righteous men and women. Montaigne mentions in his essay that virtue is knowing “how to die well and live well.”7 He claims that it is sensible to familiarize children with other parts of the world, so that they may properly judge themselves from the correct position and not become intolerant. He also saw history as an important subject because through the past, children are able to associate themselves with the souls of great men, such as St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine of Hippo, and St. Patrick. Montaigne advises teachers not to emphasize the importance of names, events, and dates in history, as these facts will not make children better people. In a way, history is the skeleton for philosophy, and Montaigne holds philosophy with great importance. According to Montaigne, philosophy is not a worthless subject...

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