Ralph Waldo Emerson's Educational Philosophy As a Foundation for Cooperative Learning (Article 27) (Report) - American Education History Journal

Ralph Waldo Emerson's Educational Philosophy As a Foundation for Cooperative Learning (Article 27) (Report)

By American Education History Journal

  • Release Date - Published: 2008-01-01
  • Book Genre: Education
  • Author: American Education History Journal
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Ralph Waldo Emerson's Educational Philosophy As a Foundation for Cooperative Learning (Article 27) (Report) American Education History Journal read online review & book description:

Ralph Waldo Emerson once claimed, "We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a belly full of words and do not know a thing. The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means of an education" (Schank 2004). Many parents, teachers, and citizens generally believe that education should be individualistic, that students should not be required to listen to lectures during every class, and that teachers should respect the individual needs of all children. These ideas are at the heart of Ralph Waldo Emerson's educational philosophy. He believed that students should walk away from classes having internalized subject-matter in a deep, existential way, not just having memorized information. Emerson argued that there should be a "mutual delight" in learning, and that "feeding the human mind is not to be fulfilled by any mechanical or military method" (Emerson 2004). Based on Emerson's ideas, it is safe to say that he would have thoroughly agreed with the teaching method of cooperative learning, which gives students an opportunity to learn not only from their teachers, but from themselves and their fellow students as well. Emerson's ideas shifted from time to time. As such, he has been criticized and often not considered a strong or consistent influence in the field of education. However, the authors of this paper will argue that Emerson's views on education are both steadfast and particularly relevant to education today. This paper will, specifically, discuss Emerson's views on educational philosophy and then connect these views to the contemporary practice of cooperative learning, demonstrating the relevance of these views in relation to today's classrooms.

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