Educational Theory 62 (3):249-265 (2012)

One of the mantras of progressive education is that genuine learning ought to be exciting and pleasurable, rather than joyless and painful. To a significant extent, Jean-Jacques Rousseau is associated with this mantra. In a theme of Emile that is often neglected in the educational literature, however, Rousseau stated that “to suffer is the first thing [Emile] ought to learn and the thing he will most need to know.” Through a discussion of Rousseau's argument for the importance of an education in suffering, Avi Mintz contends that the reception of Rousseau by progressives suggests a detrimental misstep in the history of educational thought, a misstep that we should recognize and correct today. We ought to revive the progressive tradition of distinguishing the valuable educational pains from the harmful ones, even if we disagree with the particular types of pain that Rousseau identified as educationally valuable
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DOI 10.1111/j.1741-5446.2012.00445.x
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