A Comparison of Classic and Contemporary Philosophers

Topics: Plato, Education, Teacher Pages: 6 (2416 words) Published: April 29, 2002
A Comparison of Classic And Contemporary Philosophers

Why is it so important that young children in our society receive a good education? The answer to that question is very simple; because they are our future. The old saying "the youth of today are the leaders off tomorrow" holds more truth than many people realize. By giving children a good start at an early age we are only helping ourselves as well as the children. A good example of this is can be seen in our society. By the time a teacher in our society retires from his or her position their students will have made it out into the real world and taken jobs. This new generation will be the ones to make the decisions about laws such as Social Security, and Medicaid. The students will be able to turn these programs around and make them more beneficial to their recipients. These teachers who are now retired will be the ones who are collecting Social Security and reaping the benefits of the children's solid education. The idea of educating the youth is not even close to a new idea. Philosophers such as Jean Jacques Rousseau in the seventeen hundreds and even farther back than that to the time of Plato in three hundred eighty six B.C. and after. Both of these great men shared similar ideas on how children should be taught so that they can get the most out of their education. Though educational philosophy dates back thousands of years, there are still many great thinkers who are revolutionizing teaching with their philosophies today. In the later part of the twentieth century there was also Paulo Friere who is considered by some to be the greatest thinker of his time and also Maxine Greene who has also greatly changed education in today's society. Thanks to these great minds along with many others, modern day education was revolutionized. Many of the teaching techniques and ideals that are practiced in the classroom today originated from these philosophers. These four philosophers though from two very different time periods had some very similar ideas about education. Jean Jacques Rousseau said that children are born innocent and pure, and become contaminated by the world, as they grow older. "Everything is good as it comes from the hands of the Maker of the world but degenerates once it gets into the hands of man". (Cahn 163) This quote shows that Rousseau saw the world as an imperfect place that corrupted the youth. It was Rousseau's thinking that it is imperative to teach children what they need at an early age before they become corrupted. He said that children are like plants; they need to be nourished and for them to flourish and thrive. " Plants are fashioned by cultivation, men by education". (Cahn 163) The idea behind this is that children are given a good foundation from which to start and then there is nothing left that we can do. Rousseau said that aside from a human teacher people are also taught by nature and by things. " The internal development of our faculties and organs is the education of nature". (Cahn 163) He said that nature can teach us through internal growth and development and things teach through how they affect us. Something else that Rousseau strongly believed in was that the development of a child couldn't be rushed in the slightest. He said "let them be children when they are children, playing games and the like." Trying to force things on children would be bad for their development. Rousseau said that children should be left alone so that they can become more self-reliant, the more that they can achieve on their own the less they will have to come to others for help with. This is important because it will promote children to keep on educating themselves once they are out of school. If children or young adults rely on themselves they will go out and figure things out on their own instead of coming back to someone else for help. One other theory that Rousseau had was to let children learn from experience. He...

Cited: Cahn, Steven M. Classic And Contemporary Readings In The Philosophy of Education. Apr 20, 2002. McGraw Hill Co. 1997.
"Educational Philosophy". http://home.pacbell.net/altsch/Philosophy.html. Aug 11, 1999. HotBot.com. Accessed Apr 20,2002.
"Plato". http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Plato.html . Jan 1999. Google.com. Accessed Apr 20,2002.
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