“Education, when rightly understood, will be found to lie in the art of asking apt and fit questions…”

Bronson Alcott continues, “…and in thus leading the mind by its own light to the perception of truth.”  Using discussion questions to develop ideas instead of using the rote learning method to reinforce “the” right ideas was considered outrageous in the 1820s. In fact, Alcott (father of Louisa May Alcott) was nearly 200 years ahead of his time.  When parents discovered that he believed in “treating pupils with uniform familiarity, and patience, and with the greatest kindness, tenderness and respect” instead of using corporal punishment, they would fire him. Frequently broke, he moved frequently, until Emerson began to provide financial support.

James, Laurie. Outrageous Questions: Legacy of Bronson Alcott and America’s One-Room Schools. Golden Heritage Press, 1994. p. 41.

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