Coubertin Quote for May, 09
Education must be a preface to life. The man will be free; the child must also be free. The point is to teach the child to use his freedom and to understand its significance.Share
The depth of Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s appreciation for the English system of education in the 1880s can hardly be overstated. He lionized Thomas Arnold, the long-gone headmaster of Rugby, for creating a model of learning that used sport to teach students responsibility. Having been schooled in Paris by Jesuits with no gym class, no exercise, no sports, the Baron wanted the freedom the English children had—the freedom found on playing fields—for all French children. As he stated in the article, “English Education,” which appeared in La Réforme Sociale in 1887, he believed that the lessons of liberty learned by children in sports would yield more responsible citizens for the republic years later.
“Education must be a preface to life. The man will be free; the child must also be free. The point is to teach the child to use his freedom and to understand its significance ... A quick overview of the (English) school day will give a better idea of the freedom they are allowed, and how they make the best use of it ... This freedom has two essential corollaries: responsibility, and hierarchy, or the monitoring of students by the students themselves ... The child thus learns how to behave. He acts at his own risk, and must calculate the results of his actions ahead of time.”