Ranciere is a French thinker and philosopher who emerged on the scene about the same time as Foucault and Derrida. His works have become widely influential in the past few decades and have influenced multiple fields from political philosophy, literary and film theory, architecture, aesthetics, history to sociology. He was a student of Louis Althusser before breaking off with him and is currently a professor of philosophy at European Graduate School. Despite the fact that he is one of the few contemporary philosophers and thinkers from the French intellectual tradition who is still arguing for democracy and equality which are central to the discourse on education even in the contemporary age. To do this he tells the story of Joseph Jactot, a teacher who was given the job of teaching Flemish students, the trouble was that he himself did not know any Flemish and the Flemish students did not know French.
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This extraordinary book can be read on several levels. Primarily, it is the story of Joseph Jacotot, an exiles French schoolteacher who discovered in an unconventional teaching method that spread panic throughout the learned community of Europe. Knowing no Flemish, Jacotot found himself able to teach in French to Flemish students who knew no French; knowledge, Jacotot concluded, was not necessary to teach, nor explication necessary to learn.
The results of this unusual experiment in pedagogy led him to announce that all people were equally intelligent. From this postulate, Jacotot devised a philosophy and a method for what he called "intellectual emancipation"—a method that would allow, for instance, illiterate parents to themselves teach their children how to read. The greater part of the book is devoted to a description and analysis of Jacotot's method, its premises, and perhaps most important its implications for understanding both the learning process and the emancipation that results when that most subtle of hierarchies, intelligence, is overturned.
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The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation
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The Ignorant School Master: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation by Jaques Ranciere
The work expresses Rousseauist ideas, e. Its arguments draw heavily from the French socialist party's debates on education during the s. It was translated to English in by Kristin Ross. Translator Kristen Ross writes: "The very act of storytelling, an act that presumes in its interlocutor an equality of intelligence rather than an inequality of knowledge, posits equality, just as the act of explication posits inequality" xxii.