Discuss and illustrate Thoreau’s ideas on education.I have to answer this question about Walden and I can't remember where in the book he talks about school/education.  Could someone please tell...

Discuss and illustrate Thoreau’s ideas on education.

I have to answer this question about Walden and I can't remember where in the book he talks about school/education.  Could someone please tell me a chapter or point me in the right direction? Here's the question:

"Some of Thoreau’s ideas about education seem to have anticipated modern educational philosophy. Discuss and illustrate Thoreau’s ideas on education."

Asked on by sarab428

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The previous thoughts were well warranted.  The basic idea of differentiation of instruction and treating each student as an individual was vitally important in Thoreau's work.  His basic epistemological premise is one where the learning of the individual is directly contingent on what one knows and how one perceives the world.  When Thoreau is appealing to a sense of the individual and the notion of individual spirit, he is echoing the sentiments of basic ideas of differentiation of instruction.  This form of learning that is becoming accepted in more schools emphasizes the idea that each child learns at their own pace and through their own sense of understanding.  In this vein, one can see how Thoreau was ahead of his time in predicting where education would be.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Walden is a work in which Thoreau expresses his views and philosophies about all manner of things--from bugs to books to "brute neighbors."  His conversation in chapter 3, "Reading," seems to me the jumping off point for the question you've been given.  Here, Thoreau bemoans the failure of the current (to his time, of course) educational system and students who are no longer being taught the classics.  He goes on to make the case for using the classics to enhance both the mind and the spirit.  Hope that gets you started!

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