I found this article I really enjoyed, called Jean-Jacques Rousseau on Nature, Wholeness and Education by Michele Erina Doyle and Mark K. Smith, and thought I’d share it with you in honor of his birthday. I regret I ran out of time to write an original one, but Doyle and Smith’s is excellent and I’m so glad to have discovered it! You’ll also find links below to more great resources to introduce you to the life and ideas of this strange and interesting man.
The article begins, ‘Why should those concerned with education study Rousseau? He had an unusual childhood with no formal education. He was a poor teacher. Apparently unable to bring up his own children, he committed them to orphanages soon after birth. At times he found living among people difficult, preferring the solitary life. What can such a man offer educators? The answer is that his work offers great insight. Drawing from a broad spectrum of traditions including botany, music and philosophy, his thinking has influenced subsequent generations of educational thinkers – and permeates the practice of informal educators. His book Émile was the most significant book on education after Plato’s Republic, and his other work had a profound impact on political theory and practice, romanticism and the development of the novel….’ Read more:
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Sources and inspiration:
Bertram, Christopher, ‘Jean Jacques Rousseau‘. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Cranston, Maurice. ‘Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Swiss-Born French Philosopher.’ In Encyclopædia Britannica.
Delaney, James J. ‘Jean-Jacques Rousseau, (1712—1778)‘, in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Doyle, Michele Erina and Mark K. Smith (2007) ‘Jean-Jacques Rousseau on Nature, Wholeness and Education’, from The Encyclopaedia of Informal Education