Thinkers In Ancient Greece And In The Enlightenment Education Essay


In the centuries between Ancient Greece and the Enlightenment, revolutions irrevocably altered the position quo in many Fieldss. One of the largest beginnings of extremist alteration was found in the instruction system. Whether analysing the methods of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Jean Jacques Rousseau, John Locke, or Mary Wollstonecraft, the importance of the parts made by each mind is manifested non merely in their several period, but besides in the modern universe. The most of import differences in the instruction systems of the Enlightenment and Ancient Greece lie non in the lessons taught, but in their deductions on pupils and society. The displacements in progressive attitudes held by the minds of these periods, the focal point and importance of humanistic disciplines instruction, and the function of adult females in the schoolroom are the extreme representations of alteration between two of the most radical periods in history.

Thinkers in Ancient Greece and in the Enlightenment

Ancient Greek minds Sappho, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are arguably the most outstanding educational revolutionists of the period, and their replies sing inquiries of humanity, citizenship, truth and morality have held influence relevant beyond their old ages ( Murphy, 2006 ) . Murphy argues that Sappho ‘s educational political orientations revolved around cultivating the pupil as a whole while besides functioning as a wise man for immature adult females in order to better their abilities as married womans and Greeks, while Socrates questioned the function of the instructor in inquiring inquiries to develop their pupils ‘ abilities – known as the Socratic Method – and the importance of the morality in the schoolroom ( 2006 ) . Socrates besides argued that the ultimate donee in social instruction was society itself ( Harris, 2009 ) . Influenced by the methods and theories of Sappho and Socrates, Plato and Aristotle developed their ain doctrines ; Plato ‘s political orientations argued that the “ intent of instruction is to assist the pupils to turn and develop their character, ” ( Murphy, 2006 ) and that instruction is straight correlated and catered to those who will hold power in their state. Aristotle saw instruction as “ enquiry into everything, plus airing of the end point cognition, ” particularly when separating between “ right ” and “ incorrect ” ( Harris, 2009 ) .

While the minds in Ancient Greece aimed to understand the human encephalon and how to outdo cultivate it, radical heads in the Enlightenment sought to understand the deductions of this cultivation. In a survey sing schools in the Enlightenment conducted by Owens ( 2011 ) , it was found that “ early schools focused on instilling pupils with proper cognition to i¬?rst be good members of the church, and secondly be good Christian members of their immediate community. ” Outstanding minds of the Enlightenment, including Jean Jacques Rousseau, John Locke and Mary Wollstonecraft held positions that built upon the Ancient Greek foundation of instruction. Rousseau ‘s purposes, as argued by Jonathan Israel ( 2012 ) , were to guarantee that instruction and nature were in harmoniousness ; he advocated gender segregated instruction under the comprehension that males and females of course learned in different ways. Authority, Rousseau argued, could non be used as a instruction method ; if a kid was taught under a rigorous authorization, they would larn nil but the power of this force ( Zuckerman, 2012 ) . John Locke sought a liberated pupil. Through learning a “ natural equality ” ( Ruderman & A ; Godwin, 2000 ) , therefore leting him to use his rules in a general manner, Locke opposed political intercession and segregation in instruction while recommending for the modern thought of home-schooling. Mary Wollstonecraft has been hailed as the outstanding “ feminist pedagogue ” of the Enlightenment ( Murphy, 2006 ) . Her educational theories included speculations on Locke ‘s doctrine and the Socratic Method ; through recommending equality for adult females in the schoolroom and in society, Wollstonecraft was able to construct her theories around moral individualities of pupils and the deductions of gender on instruction ( Murphy, 2006 ) .

The attitudes of minds in Ancient Greece revolved around groking the basic capablenesss of human cognition, while their Enlightenment-based opposite numbers sought the ability to construct upon and use these instructions in order to make an ideal pupil. Assorted theories, such as the Socratic Method or John Locke ‘s “ clean slate ” attack to instruction, have been introduced through these minds and their prevalence in the schoolroom is still noteworthy. The displacements between centuries manifest themselves in the sense of “ higher ” believing achieved by the philosophers of the Enlightenment ; without Ancient Greek contemplations on character development through instruction, there could be no doctrine sing how best to use and maximise the potency of the head.

The Value of an Humanistic disciplines Education

In a duologue between Ancient Greek philosophers Socrates and Glaucon, in which the virtues and hurts of an humanistic disciplines instruction are debated, the value of groking poesy or engaging in art, Socrates argues, is good merely for personal growing – there can be small to no benefit for the province ( Of what value is humanistic disciplines instruction? , 2002 ) . Traditional instruction in Ancient Greece necessitated merely a basic comprehension of the humanistic disciplines for male pupils while females were taught chiefly through dance, vocal and poesy ( Murphy, 2006 ) . The end of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle was to accomplish a virtuous pupil through instruction ; merely Sappho aimed to accomplish this virtuousness entirely through demonstrating and learning the humanistic disciplines to her pupils – with the ultimate end of doing them nubile ( Murphy, 2006 ) . The position of the pupil as a animal necessitating to be tamed with cognition left no room for the docile chase of groking the humanistic disciplines. Ancient Greece, though the pinnacle of early progressive thought in the field of instruction, focused more entirely on the cultivation of people who could lend their able heads to society instead than lending their exactness for understanding the humanistic disciplines.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau contributed assorted positions on the deductions of learning pupils the humanistic disciplines. He argued that if his co-workers taught scientific disciplines and the humanistic disciplines as a exclusive course of study, “ they would be destroying the state ‘s kids by fixing them for leisure and enjoyment, alternatively of for labor, for luxury alternatively of asceticism, for refinement alternatively of simpleness ” ( Israel, 2012 ) . Sing the deficiency of humanistic disciplines in Sparta, Rousseau viewed the early metropolis as oppressive to poets, and its abilities to throw out from its walls artists a point of virtuousness ; an inflexible sense of moral virtuousness and instruction could non be intertwined with disingenuous chases if successful teaching method were to be achieved ( 2012 ) . While the Enlightenment was a clip of higher acquisition and diverse thought, the purposes of instruction were to cultivate reasonability in pupils and give them the tools to successfully oppugn their universe ( Murphy, 2006 ) . Friedrich Froebel advocated the usage of these tools in humanistic disciplines instruction, as he believed kids could heighten larning through hands-on comprehension and develop a autonomous sense of drama and creativeness ( Murphy, 2006 ) . Cultivating the “ whole kid, ” it could be argued, included guaranting all of their possible involvements were explored, irrespective of social benefits.

The ends of minds in the Enlightenment in mention to instruction frequently overlap ; their methodological analysis of accomplishment, nevertheless, shows obvious contempt or intent for cultivating the disingenuous gustatory sensations of the pupil. The benefits associated with teaching pupils about humanistic disciplines, as argued by Socrates, could be merely personal, or, as argued by Rousseau, largely useless in society. Basically, the deductions of learning pupils about the humanistic disciplines are still considered in modern instruction. Between Ancient Greece and the Enlightenment, positions became more polarizing sing the humanistic disciplines, and the development of course of study in both periods reflects these alterations.

The Education of Women

The end of educating adult females in Ancient Greece was chiefly to develop them for a life of matrimony and family responsibilities. Women ‘s schools, such as that of Sappho, existed merely to heighten pupils ‘ abilities to execute undertakings in the place sphere ( Murphy, 2006 ) . Even within Sappho ‘s school, non all adult females were equal in their lowered position ; Sappho taught adult females about appropriate behaviors and appropriate frock, but held obvious disdain for adult females who did non partake in properness. Ingalls ( 1999 ) found that Sappho viewed behavior as the extreme representation of accomplishment, saying that “ a adult female who has wealth without civilization will lend nil worthwhile, nil memorable to her community. ” The virtues of a school chiefly covering with the instruction of adult females become overshadowed by the fact that these adult females were viewed merely every bit objects to go mistily civilized and married off to work forces, at which point their lives would go around around maintaining a place and raising kids in order to be ideal representations of society ( Murphy, 2006 ) .

During the Enlightenment, the political orientations environing the deductions of gender became more outstanding ; instruction, it was argued, should be based on ability instead than gender ( Murphy, 2006 ) . Rousseau argued that boys entirely should larn practical, “ manfully ” accomplishments such as measuring and woodworking, while misss entirely would larn of spinning, run uping and cleaning. This segregation was in concurrency with Rousseau ‘s theory that instruction should fix kids for work ( Israel, 2012 ) . Differences in gender besides served to explicate sensed differences in head. Biology, it was argued, was the ground adult females had “ presence of head, trenchancy, and elusive observations, ” yet these accomplishments were non suited in practical facets of life, and should be utilized largely in developing feminine functions of female parents and married womans ( Sobe, 2012 ) . Mary Wollstonecraft, one of the first women’s rightist pedagogues, argued against the sensed restrictions of sex ; by actively disapproving of traditionally “ female ” chases such as usage of cosmetics and unreal idiosyncrasies, Wollstonecraft was able to run for the release of the female pupil in the schoolroom and in society ( Murphy, 2006 ) .

The deductions of gender in the schoolroom in both Ancient Greece and the Enlightenment played of import functions in the construct of instruction and equality. Womans in society – as pupils, kids, female parents or married womans – faced segregation based on their sex and their sensed inability to execute the same undertakings as their male opposite numbers. In Ancient Greece, the construct of feminist intercession was to farther segregate adult females pupils in order to learn them properness through stringency and the humanistic disciplines. The Enlightenment, though immensely improved in the rights of worlds, played host to revolutionary ideas sing the instruction and capablenesss of females, in so far as that their abilities may fit those of work forces. The growing in instruction systems following each period is representative of the changes in social focal point and an obvious illustration of the difference between Ancient Greece and the Enlightenment.


Though centuries apart, both Ancient Greece the Enlightenment are vastly brooding of non merely each other, but modern society. The foundations for instruction discovered and built upon in Ancient Greek society served as the basis for gestating and overhauling instruction during the Enlightenment. The differences and similarities of attitudes held by radical minds of each clip period, the virtues and hurts of an arts instruction and the deductions of adult females in instruction service as representatives of some of the greatest displacements between the periods. Contributions of these clip periods hold unreplaceable value and obvious deductions on the instruction systems of today ; groking the huge differences of these two radical clip periods gives a great trade of penetration sing perceived values of instruction and the patterned advance of cognition within society.