Jose Rizal on Education

Jose Rizal, Father of the Filipino people, in his Noli Me Tangere (1887) in chapter 19, “Adventures of a Schoolmaster,” described the Spanish days of education as “working to turn my boys into parrots so that they will know by rote so many things about which they do not understand a single word: (p.103). From time immemorial the rod had been the characteristic of the school… I had been made to believe that it was the only efficient way of compelling study.”

Jose Rizal wanted a changed philosophy when he states, “Now I cam to think that, far from helping the child to progress, [the rod] held him back considerably. I was convinced that it was impossible to think in the face of rod and whip; apprehension, fear, upset even the most self-possessed; a child’s imagination is all the more impressionable because it is more lively. And since it is necessary to have an outward calm, a serenity in the spirit, a material and mortal tranquility and receptivity for the brain to receive ideas, I believed that I should inspire in the children confidence, a sense of security, and self-respect. Also I realized that the sight of daily floggings killed the sense of pity, and stifled that of personal dignity…” (p.99)

“So I tried to make study pleasant and good-humored; I wanted to make the primer not a black book bathed in the tears of childhood, but a friendly guide to the marvelous; I wanted to make the school not a torture-chamber but a playground of the mind. I replaced the [rod and whip] with the spurs of competition and self-esteem. If a child did not learn his lesson, I blamed it on his lack of self-effort, never on his lack of brains. I made the children believe that they had more talent than they really had, and trying to live up to it they were compelled to study, just as self-confidence leads to heroism… Little by little spirits were rising; and any child who was praised before the whole class studied twice as much as the next day.” (p.100)”

[Quote by Jose Rizal] Source: Elaine Kennedy

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