Education or Emile?
As a preliminary for the Academy session on Rousseau, Professor Dennis Hayes will ask whether we must choose between ‘Education or Emile?’
Emile is little read but the ideas Rousseau put forward dominate contemporary thinking about education in teacher training departments - and in the heads of teachers. Indeed a good teacher is now often thought of as one who, as Melanie Phillips says, relies on ‘intuition, empathy and kindness to nurture and guide the child’s natural curiosity through personal discovery and problem solving’. That is Rousseau and, for many, that is also ‘education’ today. But the dominance of such child-centred thinking can also be challenged.