Educational Philosophy of Rousseau
Rousseau was born in the independent Calvinist city state of Geneva in 1712. Rousseau is known as a revolutionary philosopher, who wrote against the contemporary social and political set up. Hypocrisy, artificiality, cruelty, correlation, despotism were prevalent at that time. His conviction was that education should be considered as “the process of development into an enjoyable, rational harmoniously balanced useful and hence natural life”. Rousseau also made important contributions to music as a theorist. Rousseau was infact, the founder of the grand idea of liberty, equality and fraternity in education.
The famous writings of Rousseau are: The progress of art and science (1750), The origin of inequality among men (1753), The new Heloise- a romance (1759), Social contract (1762), Emile or Concerning education (1762), etc.
Philosophy or Planning of Rousseau’s Education
The key concept of Rousseau’s philosophy is termed as Naturalism. It contains his concept of “Natural State”, “Natural man” and “Natural civilization”. Natural state is a simple farming community or state without the evils of large cities corrupt rulers, social classes and luxury. He believed that goodness was innate and evils as acquired. He believed the man would have been happier if he had been allowed to remain in his natural stage. He was against the so called Civilization. He has given three fundamentals of the nature considering them the best sources of education:
Isolation from society-
Man should be isolated from society and brought up by laws of nature. He should not be allowed to acquire the evils of the society.
Innate tendencies of the child-
In the words of Rousseau, the innate tendencies to primitive emotions, instinctive judgment and natural instinct are more reliable bases for action than the experience gained from the society. In this sense, education means the spontaneous development of these innate tendencies of the child.
Contact with Natural Environment-
It is to make contact with the natural environment, i.e. hills, trees, plains, birds, animals, woods, stones and physical forces of nature. Thus, the child should be brought up in natural environment. As a result, he will automatically become a rational being and act according to the voice of his conscience.
Impact of Rousseau’s Philosophy of Education
In essence, Rousseau’s contribution to education has been profound. He influenced education in its organization, aims, methods, curriculum and discipline. The auto development of personality, free discipline, lack of any restraint, utilizing the senses, interests and activities of the child have influenced the modern education in many other ways. The rights of childhood, the human welfare are the natural rights of every mass which can be realized through proper type of education. Munro rightly said, “Out of Rousseau’s teachings derive ‘new education’ of the nineteenth century based on interest. It gave clean formulations of direct impacts to Psychological, sociological and scientific conception of education. He was infact the founder of the ground idea of liberty, equality and fraternity.
Limitations of the Educational Philosophy of Rousseau
Rousseau had no faith in the influence and goodness of the society. One of the fundamental aims of education in democratic way of life is socialization. Community is to be activity involved in the development of the child. All is not bad with the social set-up.
Rousseau’s views, that literary education of culture-to women; is the plague to all. This is not acceptable in modern education in a democratic system.
Little importance to positive virtues-
Rousseau laid stress in negative education and hence, left little scope for the inculcation of the positive virtues.
No higher ideals-
There is no room for higher morality and ideals in Rousseau’s educational theory, while these are a must for a dignified society.
Faulty Theory of Discipline-
Rousseau’s theory of discipline through natural consequences is very dangerous and not suitable to the modern way of life, whereas modern gadgets can prove to be fatal if proper guidance of the teacher is not there.
- Naturalism: Meaning | Aims of Education | Methods of Teaching
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- Philosophical ideas of Naturalism in Modern Educational Theory
- John Dewey’s Instrumentalism & Experimentalism Thought of Education
- John Dewey: Aims of Education | Curriculum | Methods of Teaching
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