Emerson begins his essay by explaining why educators must respect the child in order to create an ideal educational system. He states a paradox between genius and drill in which he backs up by giving insight to the educators about the natural abilities of the scholar. He does this in order to resemble how complex and developed these young students minds are and that they need room to develop their minds on their own. To address drill, Emerson uses short, straightforward sentences like, "Give a boy accurate perceptions. Make him call things by their right names. Pardon him in no blunder” to dictate the reader in what they have to drill into the children’s minds (Emerson 103). The use of short sentences also serves to relate to the ethos of the reader by making the sentences "larger" than what they mean, earning Emerson his credibility and persuading the educators. He then uses longer sentences to describe how genius should be implemented. The manipulation of sentence length assists in describing his method of educating the youth by providing declarative or descriptive sentences.
Emerson illustrates his theory through an anecdote about how the natural way of learning is possible and actually more efficient than its traditional counterpart. He does this by giving examples of