23 July 2013
Can you learn without schoolmasters? School is the place to achieve the highest learning, and they have been found more than one thousand years ago. Schoolmasters always have been there to teach, help, and direct students. Mr. Rancciere, in his book “The Ignorant Schoolmaster” argues that schoolmasters are not important because he thinks that every human being is capable of learning, they just have to have a will to do so. He also says that “everything is in everything” (Ranciere 41) which means from one book, you can learn the whole language if you study very carefully. Ranciere’s book “The Ignorant Schoolmaster” is based on the story of Joseph Jacotor who is a teacher in French literature. Joseph obtained a job teaching French to Flemish students while he did not speak Flemish. He found a dual language edition of a French classic, and using an interpreter asked his students to learn the French part by heart with the help of the translation. Students had to memorize the long classic humanist method text in French. The result surprised him because students understanding of the text was amazing, without the benefit of his teaching, commentaries, and explanations. His students had also learned to write in good French without any instructions in grammar. *However, I disagree with Mr. Ranciere because his concept is a fallacy, and everyone’s capability of learning is different.
First, Mr. Ranciere’s concept is a fallacy. Mr. Rancrere used in his book one example which is Mr. Joseph’s Flemish students who learned reading, writing, and good grammar in French without any help from their teacher. What Ranciere reports in his book is a generalization because he picked one class, and one teacher in French literature, and then used it in his whole book and generalized it. If some students were able to study without a schoolmaster, it doesn’t necessarily mean all students around the world are able to do the same thing. For example, if students in an English 141 class in Glendale Community College studied by themselves because the instructor was unable to continue teaching the class for some reason, and students passed the class with an “A, that it does not mean all the other students in 141 classes in GCC can do the same thing. Also, in some cases, when students take online classes, they must have instructions sent by email in order to succeed. Otherwise, they will not be able to know what they have to do. In addition, big numbers of students do not know how to learn without schoolmasters although they have the will. Most of the students need an instructor to teach, direct, help, and explain the material for them. According to Ranciere, “A person - and child in particular - may need a master when his own will is not strong enough to set him on track and keep him there” (Ranciere 13). Indeed, not everyone has a strong will; some people need an instructor to push them, and to direct them. For example, many students will not study if their instructor does not test or quiz them. If we consider the work situation, for instance, most of employees need a manager in order to do their job. The students and the workers in previous examples have the will to learn or work because they are already in schools, or work places, but some of them need to someone to push, direct, and watch them doing their job. Therefore, schoolmasters are very important.
Besides Mr. Ranciere’s concept is a fallacy, everyone’s capability of learning is different. According to Ranciere, “All men have equal intelligence” (Ranciere 18). In fact, every human being is not born with potential and ability of learning. There are people who are born with brilliant minds and there are those who have mental handicaps and they process slower than the rest.