Essay on John Stuart Mill’s Education

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John Stuart Mill’s Education

John Stuart Mill’s education was intense at all times, but at different stages in his life he learned different things and in different ways. Though his education was unique by all accounts, it embodied many virtues that modern educational systems strive to include. These include: close parent involvement and one-on-one work between students and teachers; exposure to intellectual role models; emphasis on independent thought, logic, and pursuing curiosities; being held to high standards for achievement; being free from invidious comparisons to peers; and learning the value of seeking out peers for intellectual support and stimulation. He also learned, during personal struggles to understand his
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From the start his energies were funneled into academic learning, and since he associated studies with his attention from his father, and since he had no other frame of reference to which to compare his childhood as he lived it, he reports being reasonably happy and engaged in his early educational training.

As he got a bit older, Mill’s father extended his studies to include political and economic theory and logic and pushed Mill to think critically, make analytical arguments, and pursue his curiosities and write on his own. Mill’s daily walks with his father, during which he recounted everything he learned the previous day, reinforced the association between familial relationships and academic achievement. Though he thought of himself as much his father’s subordinate, he was taught the analytical tools that allowed him to evaluate the things his father taught him as well as the opinions he himself formed and had to substantiate. Inspired by his love of reading histories, he wrote several of his own, which practice his father approved of but did not interfere in by asking or insisting on reading his son’s histories. The creation of a private sphere within his education separate from the part of it that he shared with his father allowed Mill to appropriate learning as his own. By applying the tools and resources of his training under his father to enjoyable hobbies of his own, he reinforced his skills
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