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Transcendentalist Education Lecture

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  • 1. T ran s cend e nta l ist E du c atio n P r e sented b y: B rent A. S im o nea u x
  • 2. Movement (noun): “ A series of organized activities working toward an objective; also : an organized effort to promote or attain an end (the civil rights movement ).” Movements Lecture Series
  • 3. Movements are often sparked by a shift in philosophical thought. Opening Thoughts
  • 4. 1830 - 1850 The Context
  • 5. New England Massachusetts The Context
  • 6. The literature of Transcendentalism was mostly non-fiction prose and poetry. The Context
  • 7. The Context
  • 8. The Context 1810 – 1850 Conversations with Women (1840) The Wrongs of American Women (1845) Margaret Fuller
  • 9. The Context Amos Bronson Alcott 1799 – 1888 Orphic Sayings (1840) Conversations with Children (1836)
  • 10. Elizabeth Peabody 1804 – 1894 Record of a School (1836) Woman (1840) The Context
  • 11. The Philosophy Philosophy is an articulation of an understanding of who we are, the way we view the world and ourselves.
  • 12. The Philosophy
    • What was the dominant philosophy before Transcendentalism?
    • What shift in philosophical thought took place?
  • 13. John Locke Knowledge is created through experience. Think: Tabula Rasa The Philosophy
  • 14. The Philosophy Immanuel Kant knowledge is created through intuition. Think: Universal Truths
  • 15. The Philosophy Intuition “The power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference.”
  • 16. The Philosophy So, if Lockean philosophy and the philosophy before Transcendentalism was empirical , known through the senses, then Kantian philosophy is intuitive .
  • 17. The Philosophy These two philosophies ask and attempt to answer questions about how we know things, how we learn things .
  • 18. The Philosophy What are the implication on education if we shift from a Lockean ( empirical ) to a Kantian ( intuitive ) understanding of how we learn?
  • 19. Education
      • Teaching methodology
      • Learning environment
  • 20. Teaching Methodology
      • Before Transcendentalist educational reforms, we could say that the teaching method was very much teacher-centered , where the teacher was in the active role and the students were in the passive role.
  • 21. Teaching Methodology
      • The students have no pre-existing knowledge, the knowledge exists outside of them , is set forth by the teacher, the students perceive this knowledge, and then it gets written on their minds.
  • 22. Teaching Methodology
      • Instead of rote memorization and imitation, the Transcendentalists were very fond of a teacher method that they called conversation .
  • 23. Teaching Methodology
      • Ralph Waldo Emerson:
      • “ And so in groups where debate is earnest, and especially on high Questions, the company become aware that the thought rises to an equal level in all bosoms, that all have a spiritual property in what was said, as well as the sayer…”
  • 24. Teaching Methodology
      • Ralph Waldo Emerson:
      • “… They all become wiser than they were. It arches over them like a temple, this unity of thought, in which every heart beats with a nobler sense of power and duty, and thinks and acts with unusual solemnity. All are conscious of attaining to a higher self-possession. It shines for all.”
  • 25. Teaching Methodology
      • Each student is able to use their own intuition to contribute to the conversation.
  • 26. Teaching Methodology
      • Bronson Alcott and Elizabeth Peabody opened the Temple School on September 22, 1834 with eighteen students.
  • 27. Teaching Methodology
      • Both of them founded the school on the belief that “truth came not only from intellectual learning, but also from nurturing the nonrational , intuitive powers as well…”
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  • 35.
      • “ Words are signs of thoughts, he taught, not simply markers for external objects and events. Language is imagery and images awaken our sense of the congruence between inner thought and outer thing….”
    Teaching Methodology
  • 36.
      • “… The real work of the school lay in the children's' self-exploration, the study and expansion of their own native powers of imagination…The children were required to think about ideas, to articulate their views, to write their thoughts in journals.”
    Teaching Methodology
  • 37.
      • So it was that Margaret Fuller, in the fall of 1839, began what she simply called Conversations.
    Teaching Methodology
  • 38.
      • The physical place of meeting would be Elizabeth Palmer Peabody's parlor, and 25 women appeared for the first meeting at eleven on a Wednesday morning.
    Teaching Methodology
  • 39.
      • She announced a series of public Conversations “designed to encourage women in self-expression and independent thinking.”
    Teaching Methodology
  • 40.
      • The women conversed about issues to satisfy their “wish for some such means of stimulus and cheer, and . . . for a place where they could state their doubts and difficulties with hope of gaining aid from the experience or aspirations of others.”
    Teaching Methodology
  • 41.
      • Before the educational reforms of the Transcendentalists, the classrooms themselves were rather colorless, poorly lit, a bit dark, and unhealthy because of poor ventilation.
      • There were no decorations or anything else on the walls and the chairs and desks were hard and uncomfortable.
    Learning Environment
  • 42.
      • The first thing they did to transform the classroom was to replace the poorly lit and colorless classrooms with bright and colorful rooms. They made sure that there were large windows in the classrooms that allowed for natural light to come into the classroom.
    Learning Environment
  • 43.
      • They also surrounded the students with books and works of art. They had many bookshelves filled with books and they hung paintings, beautiful works of art, on the walls.
      • Their hope was that this would inspire the students to be more creative and to learn more knowledge.
    Learning Environment
  • 44.
      • This same attention to students’ learning environment can still be found in America today.
    Learning Environment
  • 45. T ran s cend e nta l ist E du c atio n Q ues t ion s