Emile’s Turbine gets its name from two sources: Emile, by J.J. Rousseau and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. As constructivists, we find ourselves drawn to the philosophy of Rousseau in the way a teacher educates a pupil while also including Dewey’s insights on the purposes of education while leaning on the theories Piaget and Vygotsky to guide our instruction. Fundamentally, we believe that all children must construct their own knowledge in their own way. With 30 plus students per classroom, being a constructivist in the way Rousseau’s envisioned in Emile is, well, complicated to say the least. Nonetheless, coaching every student through the zone of proximal development in perhaps the way Rouseau imagined is a goal our work at Emile’s Turbime. As any good teacher can attest, our craft is always evolving so we expect our pedagogy to grow from our experiences in classrooms and from conducting research.
As for the student: human capital? Mini-adults? Spokes in the wheels of capitalism? Current citizen-leaders of the US? Future Global-leaders? If one were to just listen to politicians and administrators, we in the education industry are to create widgets called students capable of doing something on behalf of the nation. Thus, education can have a tendency to become a kind of factory that receives raw material and churns out carbon-based widgets, in much the same manner a turbine generates electricity. Every spin of the turbine, whether it be from a waterfall, wind, or steam, generates electricity and it does so every minute, everyday, and every year…like clockwork.
Yet, we educate people, not widgets.
Thus, our title and this small piece of virtual real estate where the machinery of big education intersects with the humanistic, artful side of teaching the world’s most important resource–its children.
Welcome to Emile’s Turbine.