It is not enough to impart knowledge, you must teach how to acquire it; it is not enough to teach constructed knowledge, you have to teach how to construct it; it is not enough to submit yourself and to submit your teaching to a method, you have to teach how to use it. In a word, it is not enough to teach to know; you have to teach how to reason.
—Eugenio María de Hostos
Forjando el porvenir americano-II, O.C. (1939), 52
Born in Puerto Rico, Eugenio María de Hostos (1839-1903) was a 19th-century humanist, revolutionary, and author who traveled extensively and spent most of his life in exile. He made major contributions to education in the Dominican Republic and Chile. He was also an exemplary figure for the New World societies: an activist who fought for human and national rights at a time when these were hardly acknowledged as fundamental values; a committed abolitionist; and a staunch advocate for the recognition and enfranchisement of marginalized groups: women, Chinese, Native Americans, mestizos, and peoples of African ancestry. All of this made him a champion for inclusiveness and one of the most powerful voices for diversity in the Hispanic world.
Hostos’ views on education are worthy of note for their visionary character. His pedagogy was student-centered and based on scientific and rational methods of teaching that included observation, experiential learning, reasoning, and critical thinking. It brought to teaching the motivational theory of learning as well as an awareness of the relevance of context.
Hostos was an early promoter of offering scientific education to women, while in Chile in 1873.
In the Dominican Republic, in the 1880s, he founded teacher schools for men, and with Dominican poet Salomé Ureña, he opened a normal school for women. He also supported the establishment of kindergartens and created evening schools for workers in that country. As Dr. Félix Matos Rodríguez, president of the Hostos Community College, points out, “His educational legacy in the Dominican Republic earned him the affection and respect of generations of Dominicans that has endured to this day.”
Hostos also worked tirelessly for the independence of Cuba and his native Puerto Rico. He was in favor of Latin American unity and supported the creation of an Antillean confederation of independent states. For his important contributions to Latin America and Caribbean countries Hostos was conferred the title “eminent Citizen of America” at the 8th Pan American Conference in Lima, Perú, in 1938.
About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "Student Success Coaching Unit" provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.
Hostos offers 29 associate degree programs and five certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of The City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 480,000 students at 24 colleges.