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Reading Hayy Ibn-Yaqzan: A Cross-Cultural History of Autodidacticism (Johns Hopkins University Press, ). Avner Ben-Zaken. Loading Preview. Sorry.
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Top 10 Autodidacts Throughout History

Reading Hayy Ibn-Yaqzan. One such is heutagogy , coined in by Stewart Hase and Chris Kenyon of Southern Cross University in Australia; others are self-directed learning and self-determined learning. In the heutagogy paradigm, a learner should be at the centre of their own learning. Autodidacticism is sometimes a complement of modern education. Before the twentieth century, only a small minority of people received an advanced academic education. As stated by Joseph Whitworth in his influential report on industry dated from , literacy rates were higher in the United States.

However, even in the U. High school education was necessary to become a teacher. In modern times, a larger percentage of those completing high school also attended college, usually to pursue a professional degree, such as law or medicine, or a divinity degree.

Collegiate teaching was based on the classics Latin, philosophy, ancient history, theology until the early nineteenth century. There were few if any institutions of higher learning offering studies in engineering or science before Institutions such as the Royal Society did much to promote scientific learning, including public lectures. In England, there were also itinerant lecturers offering their service, typically for a fee. Prior to the nineteenth century, there were many important inventors working as millwrights or mechanics who had typically received an elementary education and served an apprenticeship.

James Watt was a surveyor and instrument maker and is described as being "largely self-educated". In the eighteenth century these societies often gave public lectures and were instrumental in teaching chemistry and other sciences with industrial applications which were neglected by traditional universities. Academies also arose to provide scientific and technical training. Years of schooling in the United States began to increase sharply in the early twentieth century. This phenomenon was seemingly related to increasing mechanization displacing child labor.

The automated glass bottle-making machine is said to have done more for education than child labor laws because boys were no longer needed to assist. For males in the U. One of the most recent trends in education is that the classroom environment should cater towards students' individual needs, goals, and interests. This model adopts the idea of inquiry-based learning where students are presented with scenarios to identify their own research, questions and knowledge regarding the area. As a form of discovery learning , students in today's classrooms are being provided with more opportunity to "experience and interact" with knowledge, which has its roots in autodidacticism.

Successful self-teaching requires self-discipline and reflective capability. Some research suggests that being able to regulate one's own learning is something that must be modeled to students, for it is not a natural human tendency in the population at large. New knowledge must be incorporated into previously existing information as its value is to be assessed.

Ibn Tufail

Ultimately, these scaffolding techniques, as described by Vygotsky and problem solving methods are a result of dynamic decision making. The secular and modern societies gave foundations for a new system of education and a new kind of autodidacts. While the number of schools and students rose from one century to the other, so did the number of autodidacts. The industrial revolution produced new educational tools used in schools, universities and outside academic circles to create a post-modern era that gave birth to the World Wide Web and encyclopaedic data banks such as Wikipedia.

As this concept becomes more widespread and popular, web locations like Udacity and Khan Academy are developed as learning centers for many people to actively and freely learn together. The first philosophical claim supporting an autodidactic program to the study of nature and God was in the philosophical novel Hayy ibn Yaqdhan Alive Son of the Vigilant , whose titular hero is considered the archetypal autodidact.

It is a story about a feral boy, an autodidact prodigy who masters nature through instruments and reason, discovers laws of nature by practical exploration and experiments, and gains summum bonum through a mystical mediation and communion with God. The hero rises from his initial state of tabula rasa to a mystical or direct experience of God after passing through the necessary natural experiences.

Reading Ḥ ayy Ibn-Yaq ẓ ān – HFS Books

The focal point of the story is that human reason, unaided by society and its conventions or by religion, can achieve scientific knowledge, preparing the way to the mystical or highest form of human knowledge. In his book Reading Hayy Ibn-Yaqzan: a Cross-Cultural History of Autodidacticism, Avner Ben-Zaken showed how the text traveled from late medieval Andalusia to early modern Europe and demonstrated the intricate ways in which autodidacticism was contested in and adapted to diverse cultural settings.

Pleas for autodidacticism echoed not only within close philosophical discussions; they surfaced in struggles for control between individuals and establishments. In the story of African American self-education, Heather Andrea Williams presents a historical account to examine African American's relationship to literacy during slavery , the Civil War and the first decades of freedom.

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