Have you ever bothered to read the Essais de Montaigne? At the very least, those on education through pedantry (chapter 24) and the institution of children (chapter 25)? Do you find this gentleman too… old school ? Possibly, since his essays were published at the end of the 16th century. But think again. Michel de Montaigne is probably the father of modern education and even, in a certain sense, of the educational renewal!
Essays, book 1, chapter 24: On pedantry
Pedantry is peculiar to the being who displays his book knowledge in a vain, arrogant and complacent way. In this regard, Montaigne clearly displays his colors by promoting knowledge that is useful rather than bookish. He hates above all pedantic knowledge (p. 204), denouncing that we only work to fill memory and leave understanding and consciousness empty (p. 208). We learn, not for life, but for school (p. 215). In other words, Montaigne claims that school knowledge is often meaningless for young people and that they are out of step with a practical application in everyday life: we must not only acquire wisdom, but also benefit from it. (p. 212).
Would knowledge-based education stifle the mind? Paradoxically, would it harm the training of students? We have to believe that the MELS skills-based approach is appropriate and that it is not such a bad idea to spell the end of the knowledge-based approach! Learning is not an end in itself, except to apply this learning in an empirical context! Nevertheless, the last years in the Quebec education world have enabled us to understand that in fact, a competency-based approach does not necessarily remove knowledge from school curricula. Quite the contrary. They must be integrated in order to serve the development of skills.To instruct not by hearsay, but by the test of action, by shaping and molding them vividly, not only of precepts and words, but Read the rest