ERIC Number: EJ945225
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 15
An Easy and Well-Ordered Way to Learn: Schooling at Home in Louisa May Alcott's "Eight Cousins" and "Jack and Jill"
Davis, Cathlin M.
Children's Literature in Education, v42 n4 p340-353 Dec 2011
Louisa May Alcott's juvenile fiction is often focused on aspects of children's lives that were also topics of reform in nineteenth century America. In "Jack and Jill" and "Eight Cousins," Alcott presents an idealized picture of child-centered learning, building on three central principals: (1) Good teachers are sympathetic and understanding of children; (2) Every child needs to be healthy in order to learn; and (3) Children should be allowed to explore their world through self-directed, active learning. The ideal educational environment that she describes has much in common with the theories of John Dewey that would emerge some years later; using Dewey's writings can give further insight into Alcott's fiction. In this article, I argue that Alcott sees the world from the perspective of her young characters, and describes it in a way that simultaneously connects to her young readers and gives adults insight into the child's world.
Descriptors: Childrens Literature, Fiction, Home Schooling, Teacher Characteristics, Child Health, Active Learning, Educational Environment, Authors
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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