The studies on educational ideas of Erasmus are mostly about the Reformation based on his theological background, Luther, and Christian education. Focusing on his representative and essential educational book, Education for Children, this researcher intended to examine his educational ideas. Erasmus regarded that only humans need education, which builds up their complete humanity. On the basis of such belief, the purpose of education, method and content, and roles of parents and teachers that Erasmus asserted were investigated.
First, Erasmus argued that the purpose of education should be that pursuing the wisdom and living an upright life are human nature and it is realized through rationality. That is, humans should live an intellectual, moral, and good life by developing their rationality through education.
Second, several kinds of methods and content are suggested according to this purpose of education. Since the earlier the time of education is, the more the effect is, education should start as soon as children are born. In addition, one of children’s characteristics, instinct of imitation, should be actively made use of to classical language and exact language education. He said that if fables would be told as the contents, both linguistic competence and ethical lessons could be acquired at the same time. Erasmus thought children should be given moral lessons through comedies and proverbs as well as fables. He asserted that children should acquire moral lessons naturally as comedies would deliver characters’ personalities and the lessons through humor.
Lastly, Erasmus discussed roles of parents and teachers. He commented a duty of parents would be to help their children fully realize their humanity and nature right after their births. He also said another duty of parents would be that unless parents could perform the role, they should find good teachers for children’s education.
Accordingly, teachers entrusted by parents should be excellent with their intellect and morality as well as respect of people. He asserted that teachers should treat children with carefulness and gentleness at class activities on those basis. He insisted that boring processes of classes should be performed like a play. In addition, Erasmus denied corporal punishment as a teaching method and emphasized on disciplining children with teachers’ love and affection, and praise and encouragement.