Summary of "From Plato to Piaget"

by Toby Welch

"From Plato to Piaget: The Greatest Educational Theorists From Across the Centuries and Around the World" was written by William Cooney, Charles Cross and Barry Trunk. It hit bookshelves on Nov. 2, 1993, and was published by the University Press of America. It comes in at a tidy and concise 294 pages.


"From Plato to Piaget" details the lives and thinking behind some of the greatest educational theorists. The book proposes that education is the ideal topic for such thinkers to contemplate. After all, as some people feel, education lies at the cornerstone to a productive society. Educating the youth is a necessary societal skill. The book asks many questions, including whether education is a necessary thing to have for the survival of the human species. When you turn the last page of this book, you will be contemplating the importance of education in the world.

Fifteen Educational Theorists

"From Plato to Piaget" covers the thoughts of 15 educational thinkers who have wide-ranging theories on the role that education plays in our society and in the world. Psychologists, educators and philosophers, the theorists span history: Plato, Confucius, John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Johann Frederich Herbart, Horace Mann, William James, Booker T. Washington, Herb Art, John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Carl Rogers, B.F. Skinner, Shinichi Suzuki and Jean Piaget.

Topics Covered in "From Plato to Piaget"

The book focuses primarily on education, but it touches many sub-categories. Plato discusses the importance of breaking the chain of ignorance. Locke touches on developing good habits. Art discusses the education of moral character and Mann discusses the purposes of education. James refers to the laws of habits. Other educational subjects include the master teacher, keeping education natural, achieving social equality, the system of education, becoming a person, contingency management in the classroom, where talent comes from and the intellectual development of children.

Worldwide Education

While many books cover the educational issues of the United States, this book makes a point of making education a worldwide issue. Six of the theorists are American but the rest are from across the globe. Piaget was based in Switzerland, Rousseau is from France and Locke is from England. Japan's representative is Suzuki. Herbart is from Germany and Montessori is Italian. The plurality of background, places and beliefs make for a well-rounded book.


  • "From Plato to Piaget"; William Cooney, Charles Cross and Barry Trunk: 1993

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