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Encyclopedia > Autodidacticism

Autodidacticism (also autodidactism) is self-education or self-directed learning. An autodidact, also known as an automath, is a mostly self-taught person — typically someone who has an enthusiasm for self-education and a high degree of self-motivation. Such an ability has led to the success of many famous and successful individuals.

A person may become an autodidact at nearly any point in his or her life. While some may have been educated in a conventional manner in a particular field, they may choose to educate themselves in other, often unrelated areas. It should be noted that self-teaching and self-directed learning are not necessarily lonely processes. Some autodidacts spend a great deal of time in libraries or on educative websites. Many, according to their plan for learning, avail themselves of instruction from family members, friends, or other associates (although strictly speaking this might not be considered autodidactic). Indeed, the term 'self-taught' is something of a journalistic trope these days, and is all too often used to signify 'non-traditionally educated', which is entirely different. Journalism is a discipline of writing. ... In literature, a trope is a familiar and repeated symbol, meme, theme, motif, style, character or thing that permeates a particular type of literature. ...

Inquiry into autodidacticism has implications for learning theory, educational research, educational philosophy, and educational psychology. In education and psychology, learning theories help us understand the process of learning. ... Educational research is research which investigates the behaviour of pupils, students, teachers, and other participants in schools and other educational institutions. ... Philosophy of education is the study of such questions as what education is and what its purpose is, the nature of the knowing mind and the human subject, problems of authority, the relationship between education and society, etc. ... Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. ...


Famous autodidacts

Mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan and Newton's contemporary Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz were largely self-taught in mathematics, as was Oliver Heaviside. Occasionally, individuals have sought to excel in subjects outside the mainstream of conventional education. Jean Paul Sartre's Nausea depicts an autodidact who is a self-deluding dilettante. Other autodidacts have excelled within, and brought innovative perspectives to, their more mainstream disciplines. For example, physicist and Judo expert Moshe Feldenkrais developed an autodidactic method of self-improvement based on his own experience with self-directed learning in physiology and neurology. He was motivated by his own crippling knee injury. In addition to Feldenkrais, Gerda Alexander, William Bates, Heinrich Jacoby and a number of other 20th-century European innovators worked out methods of self-development which stressed intelligent sensitivity and awareness. John Boyd, fighter pilot and military strategist, was an accomplished autodidact who not only revolutionized fighter aircraft design, but also developed new theories on learning and creativity. Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar (Srinivāsa Rāmānujan Iyengār)(Tamil: ஸ்ரீனிவாஸ ராமானுஜன் ஐயங்கார்) (December 22, 1887 – April 26, 1920) was an Indian mathematician widely regarded as one of the greatest mathematical minds in recent history1. ... Sir Isaac Newton, (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727) [ OS: 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727][1] was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist, regarded by many as the greatest figure in the history of science. ... Gottfried Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (July 1, 1646 in Leipzig - November 14, 1716 in Hannover) was a German philosopher, scientist, mathematician, diplomat, librarian, and lawyer of Sorb descent. ... Oliver Heaviside (May 18, 1850 – February 3, 1925) was a self-taught English electrical engineer, mathematician, and physicist who adapted complex numbers to the study of electrical circuits, developed techniques for applying Laplace transforms to the solution of differential equations, reformulated Maxwells field equations in terms of electric and... Jean Paul Sartre Jean-Paul Sartre (June 21, 1905–April 15, 1980) was a French existentialist philosopher, dramatist, novelist and critic. ... La Nausée is a novel by Existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, written in 1938 while he was a college professor. ... (ital. ... Judo ), meaning gentle way, is a modern Japanese martial art (gendai budō) and combat sport, that originated in Japan in the late nineteenth century. ... Dr. Moshé Pinhas Feldenkrais (May 6, 1904 - July 1, 1984) was the founder of the Feldenkrais Method® of movement education designed to improve human functioning by increasing self-awareness in movement. ... Leonardo da Vincis Vitruvian Man, an important early achievement in the study of physiology. ... Neurology is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the nervous system. ... Gerda Alexander, a Danish teacher who devised a method of self- development called Eutonie. ... William Horatio Bates (December 23, 1860 - July 10, 1931) was an American physician who developed what is now known as the Bates Method of eye exercises. ... Heinrich Jacoby (1889–1964), originally a musician, was a German educator whose teaching was based on developing sensitivity and awareness. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with The 20th century in review. ... This article is about the continent. ... Col. ...

After his initial education, mythologist Joseph Campbell exemplified the autodidactic method. Following completion of his masters degree, Campbell decided not to go forward with his plans to earn a doctorate, and he went into the woods in upstate New York, reading deeply for five years. According to Campbell, this is, in a sense, where his real education took place, and the time when he began to develop his unique view on the nature of life. Folkloristics is the formal academic study of folklore and mythology. ... Joseph John Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 31, 1987) was an American professor, writer, and orator best known for his work in the fields of comparative mythology and comparative religion. ... A masters degree is an academic degree usually awarded for completion of a postgraduate course of one or two years in duration. ... NY redirects here. ...

According to poet and author Robert Bly, a friend of Campbell's, Campbell developed a systematic program of reading nine hours a day. It is speculated by some that Campbell felt the work he did during this time was far more rigorous than any doctoral program could have been, and more fruitful in developing his unique perspectives. Robert Bly (born December 23, 1926 in Madison, Minnesota) is a poet, author, and leader of the Mythopoetic Mens Movement in the United States. ...

The Ignorant Schoolmaster

In The Ignorant Schoolmaster, Jacques Rancière describes the emancipatory education of Joseph Jacotot, a post-Revolutionary philosopher of education who discovered that he could teach things he did not know (for instance, Jacotot taught Flemish students to speak French without speaking any Flemish himself). The book is both a history and a contemporary intervention in the philosophy and politics of education, through the concept of autodidactism; Rancière chronicles Jacotot's "adventures," but he articulates Jacotot's theory of "emancipation" and "stultification" in the present tense. Jacques Rancière (born 1940) is a French philosopher. ... Joseph Jacotot (1770-1840) was a French teacher and educational philosopher, creator of the method of intellectual emancipation. ... A philosopher is a person who thinks deeply regarding people, society, the world, and/or the universe. ... The term Flemings (Dutch: ) is currently mostly used to refer to the ethnic group native to Flanders (the northern half of Belgium, historically part of the Southern Netherlands), which in total numbers about 6 million people in Belgium (the majority of all Belgians) . The term also designates, not only the...

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  • The Passion To Learn: An Inquiry into Autodidactism by Joan Solomon ISBN 0-415-30418-0
  • SELF-UNIVERSITY: The Price of Tuition is the Desire to Learn. Your Degree is a Better life. by Charles D. Hayes ISBN 0-9621979-0-4
  • The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education by Grace Llewellyn ISBN 0-9629591-7-0
  • The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation (Stanford Univ. Press, 1991) by Jacques Rancière ISBN 0-8047-1969-1
  • The Day I Became an Autodidact by Kendall Hailey ISBN 0-385-29636-3
  • The Rapture of Maturity: A Legacy of Lifelong Learning by Charles D. Hayes ISBN 09621979-4-7
  • SelfDesign: Nurturing Genius Through Natural Learning" by Brent Cameron and Barbara Meyer ISBN 1-59181-044-2

Grace Llewellyn is the author of several books on homeschooling and unschooling. ... Jacques Rancière (born 1940) is a French philosopher. ...

See also

Unschooling is a form of education in which learning is based on the students interests, needs, and goals. ... John Taylor Gatto (born John Gatto) is an American retired school teacher of 30 years and author of several books on education. ... Jacques Rancière (born 1940) is a French philosopher. ... Critical pedagogy is a teaching approach which attempts to help students question and challenge domination, and the beliefs and practices that dominate. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Ralph Dumain: "The Autodidact Project": Rosemary Chapman: "Autodidacticism & the Desire for Culture" (8889 words)
The phenomenon of autodidacticism in 1930s texts cannot be seen independently of the class basis both of the provision of education and of subsequent access to culture.
Autodidacticism is in itself neither a reaffirmation of that cultural dominance, nor a challenge to it, but it can become either.
Autodidacticism is a positive cultural strategy as it can take place out of the cultural mainstream.
Autodidacticism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (967 words)
Indeed, the term 'self-taught' is something of a journalistic trope these days, and is all too often used to signify 'non-traditionally educated', which is not the same thing at all.
Inquiry into autodidacticism has implications in learning theory and educational theory, educational research, educational philosophy and educational psychology.
Mythologist Joseph Campbell is one of the most famous autodidacts, and is seen by some as a poster-boy for autodidacticism.
  More results at FactBites »



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