Renaissance Education

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The Renaissance is seen as a time of great change and where a rebirth of trade, political centralization, and interest in the Classical periods of Greece and Rome emerged. As a result education also started to change, for example, Vittorino da Feltre made a model for secondary schools called The Happy House which gave scholarships to the poor, allowed girls to attend school, and taught a humanist curriculum. During the Renaissance the values and purposes of education was to gain social status or self-development and to fight oppression but these values and purposes were often challenged in order to allow absolute monarchy.

Aeneas Piccolomini; Battista Guarino in Method of Teaching and Learning; and Francesco Guicciardini all support that the values and purposes of education was to gain social status or self-development. In Method of Teaching and Learning, Piccolomini states that in order to be a successful Prince, he must be educated. Without education the Prince would be “a helpless prey of flattery and intrigue” that could be easily overthrown. But if the Prince were to be educated he would be able to keep his throne (social status) because he would have the intelligence to handle any situation. (Doc. 1) Guarini states “Learning and training… are peculiar to man, for they are the pursuits and the activities proper to mankind” which infers that in order to be successful in life, one needs to get an education because learning is “proper” or comes natural to mankind. (Doc. 2) Guicciardini states that skills like “good penmanship, knowing how to ride, play, dance and sing, and dress” which are all parts of a humanist curriculum would “open the way to the favor of princes and sometimes to great profit and honors” therefore rising in social status. Francesco Guicciardini is a reliable point of view because he is an experienced statesman and historian that has seen people rise in social status as a result of a humanist education. (Doc. 6)

Michel de Montaigne;...
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