30 June 2015

Rousseau : Views On Education (PART 1)

Rousseau is one of the famous Western philosophers of the eighteenth century. During the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries reason ruled as a god , and people like Voltaire revolted against it. Rousseau also led the revolt against reason and he made nature the sole authority over human affairs.
Rousseau saw a great divide between the society and the nature and so led the second revolt which was called as the naturalistic movement. He had a great emotion and sympathy for the common man. (Khalid, 1998).

Jean- Jacques Rousseau was born on 28 June 1712 in the Geneva, Switzerland in the house of a poor watch maker. His father could not afford a proper education for him so he received informal education from his father. His mother died shortly after birth. From the age of twelve to twenty four he travelled to many places and developed sympathy for poor people. In 1735 he was given the job of tutoring the two sons of M. De Malby. From here his interest in education began and he prepared his first treatise “Project for the education of M. De Sainte- Maria”. 

Jean- Jacques Rousseau : Views On Education, B.ED, M.ED, NET Notes ( Study Material), CTET, TET PDF Notes Free Download.In 1756 he was provided a hermitage by a lady on her estate. Here he studied the letters she wrote to her nine year old son and he advised her about how it was not natural for a child of this age to be educated. He wrote “Emile” in 1762 in which he used an the imaginary description of the education of a boy named Emile and described how the education should be imparted starting from infancy up to manhood. He died on 17 July 1778.(Khalid, 1998).

Rousseau’s main subjects of interest were philosophy, music, education and literature. Some of the notable ideas given by him include: general will, amour- proper, natural goodness of humanity. Rousseau was influenced by Hobbes, Locke, Diderot, Montesquieu and Machiavelli. He in turn influenced the works of Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Goethe, Romanticism, Paine, Comte, Bolivar and Engels. (Wikipedia the free encyclopedia).

Aims of education

As mentioned earlier Rousseau was the leader of the naturalistic movement. According to him “man was born free and good and could remain that way in some ideal state of nature ”. (Noddings, 1995, p.15).His main idea was that human being is created good by God and must make all efforts to remain that way. Rousseau had an anti social attitude because he thought that society was responsible for corrupting the nature of man. According to Noddings (1995, p. 15): “having to live with other people and accommodate to their needs begins a process of corruption in man that reaches its peak in the society characteristic of Rousseau’s time.” Thus Rousseau wanted to work towards a society in which human being would remain in his/her natural state but still be able to mingle within the society without corrupting this natural state. As stated by Noddings (1995, p. 15): “his was an attempt to balance the needs of conjoint living with those of self actualization”

The theory of natural man given by him brought him towards making such a plan for education in which a person will be able to fulfil both the needs of living in a society and remain in a natural state. Rousseau believed that education was not merely imparting information upon the learner. Education also takes place from the environment around him/her. Khalid (1998, p.93) states: “Rousseau says that education comes to us from nature, from man and from things.

Here he is regarding nature as equivalent of endowment.” Rousseau believed the education from nature to be of the utmost importance followed by education from man and things. This is because he considers emotions to be more trustworthy then experiences. (Khalid, 1998).

So the aims of education given by Rousseau can be summarized as follows:

Development of the abilities of the learner : the abilities given to a child by God must be developed in a way so that they are not damaged in any way and the child remains natural.
Liberty and happiness of child: the child receiving the education must not feel over burdened by the knowledge imparted on him/her. The child must feel free and happy during the course of education.
Preparation for life and participation in it: during education a child must be prepared to face all the problems and difficulties that life challenge him with. He should be able to make his own decisions and not rely on others judgments. He must also contribute to life.
(Khalid, 1998).
Rousseau has provided very detailed information about his aims of education but it is notable that he does not have the same aims for females. For females the aims of education differ drastically. (Noddings, 1995).

In the words of Rousseau as cited in Noddings (1995, p.18): “The entire education of woman must be relative to men. To please them, to be useful to them, to be loved and honoured by them, to rear them when they are young, to care for them when they are grown up, to counsel and console, to make their lives pleasant and charming, these are the duties of women at all times, and they should be taught them in their child hood. To the extent that we refuse to go back to this principle, we will stray from our goal and all percepts women are given will not result in their happiness or our own.”
So according to Rousseau woman is only to please men and should be given an education
that takes them towards this goal.

Continue : Rousseau - Views on Education (PART 2)

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