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Education Of Children Essay

1248 words - 5 pages

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was born on February 28, 1533, in a time when only the wealthy received the privilege of a good education. Around 1539, Montaigne's father sent him to the College of Guyenne in Bordeaux, where, by the time he had reached his thirteenth year, had completed the curriculum under the direction of George Buchanan. Montaigne spoke well of his educators and praised their teaching techniques, but chastised the stern discipline of most of the schools during his time. He said 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 work, The Essays, Montaigne emphasizes some very important subjects, such as the need to teach children with gentleness, make learning an enjoyable experience, and train a child's personality. Though Montaigne's thoughts on education may be contrasting to the world today, he understood the process of learning very well. His ideas may be applied to instructional theory to this day.
One of the first things Montaigne mentioned is to teach with understanding and tenderness. Montaigne said that “education ought to be conducted with a gentle severity”2, instead of being “confronted with terror and cruelty.”3 The hard work of a student should always be rewarded, as this encourages the child to study harder. The goal of a tutor is to educate the children with love, but he renounces that goal when he uses fear to get them to study harder. Cicero mentioned that “the authority of those who profess to teach is often a positive hindrance to those who desire to learn.”4 Fear is not to be used when educating a child; it can have a paralyzing effect on the mind. A child cannot think properly if he is constantly afraid of punishment; effective study requires openness of the mind, which is a thing fear does not provide. Teachers should learn to understand the children they teach. They should not punish students for being slow learners, but rather teach their subjects passionately, so as to inspire the students to study with enthusiasm. Education should entice the interest and feelings, not punish with harsh words and a whip.
Learning should be one of the greatest pleasures 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 “whys” and “hows” of the world. 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 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 the pupil's 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 slower....

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