The students loved him and there were Flemish students who wanted him to teach them, but he knew no Flemish and they spoke no French. So Jacotot decided to give it a try, a bilingual edition of the French classic, Fénelon's Télémaque, being published at the time.
The students were given a book and asked to learn the French text using the translation. Jacotot entered the experiment with low hopes but having the bilingual edition (what Jacques Rancière in his work The Ignorant Schoolmaster refers to as the minimal link of a thing in common), he thought it worth a try.
that allows the master to transmit his knowledge by adapting it to the intellectual capacities of the student and allows him to verify that the student has satisfactorily understood what he learned. Such is the principle of explication. From this point on, for Jacotot, such will be the principle of enforced stultification."
things again. And thus the child acquires a new intelligence, that of the master’s explications. Later he can be an explicator in turn. He possesses the equipment. But he will perfect it: he will be a man of progress."
moral severe. In it one learns mythology and geography. And behind the French “ translation,” one can hear the echo of Vergil’s Latin and Homer’s Greek. In short, it’s a classic, one of those books in which a language presents the essential of its forms and its powers. A book that is a totality: a center to which one can attach everything new one learns; a circle in which one can understand each of these new things, find the ways to say what one sees in it, what one thinks about it, what one makes of it." (The Ignorant Schoolmaster, pg. 21)
To learn something and relate to it all the rest.
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee. - John Donne