Famous Educators In History

Have you ever wondered what famous educators of the past have thought about the subject of education? Or have you wondered where your favorite high school teacher got his best ideas? It may interest you to learn that not all teachers were fond of rote memorization and regurgitation of facts. Many famous educators went down in history for challenging the status quo and introducing new education standards.

Even back in 500 BC educators were debating over the importance of education and how people should be taught. Confucius believed education should lead to self-improvement above all.

Aristotle was the first famous educator to stress a well-rounded education. He believed in balance, including knowledge of the arts, sciences, mathematics, physical education and philosophy.

Johann Amos Coménius
This educator challenged the traditional schools of the 1600s, saying they crushed a person's innate desire to learn. He was an advocate of natural learning and an opponent of education limited to books and classrooms. He felt that all children deserved an education and also believed a person is a student for the entirety of his life, not just during the traditional years of school.

John Locke
John Locke was an empiricist who believed that all knowledge had to be taught. Following that logic, at birth, people's minds were a "tabula rasa." Since people were not born with a distinct character, Locke insisted upon teaching character first and academics second, saying the value of good character far exceeded the value of learning to read, write, complete calculations and memorize facts.

Friedrich Froebel
Friedrich Froebel established the first kindergarten, in which the young children were taught using sensory-rich and creative activities.

Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau may be best known for his writings, but he was a teacher first. He developed his own curriculum in which he refused to emphasize ordinary memorization and instead promoted the development of critical thinking skills through writing and natural study opportunities facilitated through field trips.

Whenever your own instructors introduce a new method of study or suggest a new approach to learning, keep an open mind. You never know who might get noticed in the history books for shaping the education system in the 21st century! 

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