Bronson Alcott: Why You Wouldn't Be Here if it Weren't for Him

Bronson Alcott had some pretty innovative ideas about education. His notion of having students work on their desks while lying on giant waterbeds never took off, but most of his other ideas were pretty good.

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Transcript

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students were forced to copy the works of great authors

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and thinkers in order to learn how people wrote about

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the weather in ancient greece Not very useful In these

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dark days many students went mad with boredom and many

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more expired of hand cramps I will But then on

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the horizon there appeared a hero a knight in shining

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armor Bronson alcott alcott was not an educator by training

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In fact he only became a teacher that get out

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of debt All of the irony your teacher would probably

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find that hysterically funny at any rate Once alcott was

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in the classroom he took steps Gone Was the whole

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copying other writers thing Instead i'll cut favored writing from

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personal experience He believed that students could tie the events

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in their lives like what they did on summer vacation

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to the subjects they learned in class Alcott also believed

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in self analysis and that students learned best when they

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were encouraged to talk among themselves debating difficult questions like

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what is the airspeed velocity of an unlabeled swallow Sadly

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for our hero his progressive methods and theological leanings got

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him booted out of boston where he was working as

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a teacher Alcott moved his family to concord massachusetts where

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he became acquainted with men like ralph waldo emerson and

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henry david thoreau Not that they didn't think alcott was

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crazy too But every small town needs a resident while

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all cuts ideas gain traction in later years If you

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know of him today it's likely because he had a

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famous daughter louisa mae louisa may alcott who authored several

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nineteenth century novels about little people While alcott may not

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have been able to make dramatic changes to the american

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education system while he was alive his ideas are widely

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used today Without all cut many of the innovative tools

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your teachers used today like shmoop huh wouldn't exist And 00:02:17.408 --> [endTime] school would still be a pit of despair