The Education of Children Essay

The Education of Children Essay

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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, Montaigne emphasizes some very important subjects, such as the need to teach children with gentility, make learning an enjoyable experience, and the importance of training a child's personality.
Though Montaigne's thoughts on education may be contentious to the world today, he understood the process of learning so well, that his ideas may be applied to instructional theory of 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, and that instead of children being invited to study, they are being “confronted with terror and cruelty.”3 The goal of a teacher is to educate the children, but they renounce that goal when they use the fear of punishment to get them to study harder. Cicero even mentioned in his dialogue 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 and can have a paralyzing affect on the mind. A chil...


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...It is essential that we know what and how to teach to each generation. Education is so critical because it ensures that we will be able to preserve the knowledge that has been stored up since the beginning of mankind. Montaigne's essay Of the Education of Children is beneficial in comprehending how to complete the task of education our youth with gentility, joy, and character.


Works Cited

1. Wikimedia Foundation. "Michel de Montaigne." Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_de_Montaigne (accessed December 19, 2013).
2. de Montaigne, Michel. "Of the Education of Children." In Essays of Michel de Montaigne. New York: D. Appleton and company, 1899. 271-325.
3. Cicero, Marcus Tullius, and Arthur Stanley Pease. De natura deorum;. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1955.
4. Cicero, Marcus Tullius, and H. Rackham. De Natura Deorum. London: W. Heinemann, 1933.

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