He is known as a revolutionary philosopher, who wrote against the contemporary social and political set up, hypocrisy, artificiality, cruelty, correlation, despotism prevalent at that time. The key notes of his philosophy is termed Naturalism, It contains his concepts 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. About natural man he says,” Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains” In the words of Rousseau, “Civilized man borns, lives and dies in a state of slavery”
Natural man according to Rousseau is governed and directed by the laws of his own nature rather than those of social institutions. He believed the man would have been happier if he had been allowed to remain in his natural stage. He was against so called Civilization.
By natural civilizations he meant the simple farming life. Rousseau “God makes all the things good; man meddles with them and they become evil” HE declared” Everything is good as it comes from the hands of the Author of nature, but everything degenerates in the hands of man”.
Rousseau remarked,” Leave the child alone. Let him be a natural man rather than a civilized man. Let him have a state of nature rather than artificial surroundings that stunt the proper growth and arrest his natural development”. Natural civilization id free from artificial surroundings and rigid barriers that pollute the goodness of our nature.’Return to nature ‘was his method to cure all troubles human nature his natural heritage is essentially good and must be given the full opportunities for fee development. He advocated the concept of liberty, equality and fraternity.
1. Isolation from society should be isolated from society and brought up by laws of nature. He should not be allowed to acquire the evils of the society.
2. 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 .
3. Contact with natural environment is tot make contact with the natural environment i.e hills, trees, plans birds, animals, woods, stones and physical forces. Thus the child should be brought up in natural environment. As a result of it he will automatically become a rational being and act according to the voice of his conscience.
Educational philosophy of Rousseau/ Concept of education
His educational philosophy is born out of his philosophy i. e Naturalism there are some characteristics which are as under.
1. Concept of education: For Rousseau education does not mean merely imparting information or storing knowledge. It is not accretion from without. It is the development of the child’s natural powers and abilities from within. According to nature, Men, Things.
A] Education from nature: It consists in the spontaneous development of our endowment and faculties. i. e of child’s natural tendencies and interests. He gave it the top priority.
B] Education from Man: It consists in influencing our social contacts and various groups. He did not favor it at least in initial stages.
C] Education from things: It consists in the acquisition of knowledge and information through contact with physical surroundings and our experience of dealings with the things.
Rousseau conviction was that education should be considered as “the process of development into an enjoyable, rational harmoniously balanced useful and hence natural life”.
Types of education he advocated two types of education.
A} Negative type of education: he wanted that the first education to the child should be given ion negative. During the age of 5 to 12, the child should be given negative education. Rousseau held the opinion, “I call negative education that which tends to perfect the organs that are the instruments of the knowledge, and before giving this knowledge directly and that endeavours to prepare the way for reason by proper exercise of the sense. A negative education does the time of idleness, far from it. It does not give virtues, it projects from vice. It does not inculcate truth. It projects from errors. Following are the characteristics of negative education.
1. Time saving not favored: Rousseau said” Do not save the time but lose it” By running, dancing, playing the child will have continuous reconstruction of experiences, which is nothing but education.
2. Book learning not favored: Rousseau said “Reading is the curse of childhood.” He hates books, as they are of no value. He considers them to be the cause of child’s misery and suggest a remedy fro its removal by saying,”By relieving school children of their courses and books, we can take away the cause of their misery.
3. Formal Lessons Not Favored: Rousseau did not believe in the efficacy of verbal lessons. He stated,” Get rid of the lesson and we get rid of the chief cause of their sorrow”. Rousseau remarked” give me a child of five who know nothing and at the fifteen I shall return him to you knowing as much as those who have been under instruction since infancy with difference that your pupil only knows things by heart while mine know how to use his knowledge.”
4. Habit Formation Not Favored: Rousseau holds the views”The only habit which the child should be allowed to form is to contract no habit at all.” He did not want the children to be slaves of their habits. He wished them to be free in their unrestricted activities. If any habits are to be formed let the children for natural habits.
5. Direct Moral Education Favored: Rousseau believed that no moral training should be imparted to the child. Let him get moral training through natural consequences.
6. Social Education Not Favored: He held the view that the society is corrupt and it degenerates him. So he should be protected from its evil influences.
7. Formal Discipline Not Favored: Rousseau believed in discipline according to natural consequences. If the child climbs a tree, let him fall and learn not to attempt it again.
8. Old Customary Procedure Favored: Rousseau was dissatisfied with the prevailing conditions of the country and that is why he remarked.” Man was once happy, now he is miserable. Undo what has been done and he will be happy again.”
B] Positive Education: Rousseau “ I call positive education one that tends to form the mind prematurely and to instruct the child in the duties that belongs to man.” The characteristics of positive education are
1. Stress on verbalism
2. Stress on duty, morality and religion
3. Stress on strict discipline
4. Stress on Social education
5. Emphasis on formation of habits.
Rousseau revolted against the positive education and also these characteristics. He termed it as unnatural and inhuman and opposed it fully. It was in revolt this that he introduced negative education.
Educational philosophy of James Jacques Rousseau
Aims of education
1] Development of child’s inner facilities
Rousseau says that the most important aim of education is the natural development of the child’s inner faculties and powers. To live is to work, to develop and to properly utilize the various part of the body. In his book, Emile’, Rousseau seeks to train Emile in the profession of living so that he may become a human being before becoming a soldier, a magistrate, or a priest education aim at making the child a real human being.
2] Different aim at different stages:
In addition to the above mentioned aim, education should be different at each stage in the life of the individual.
A] Development of well regulated freedom
During the period of infancy i.e. .up to 5 years the aim of education is top develop in Emile a well regulated freedom according to his capacities.
B] Develop sufficient strength at childhood stage
At the childhood stage ie. from 5 to 12 years , the aim of education is to develop in the child sufficient in order to have well regulated freedom. Rousseau’s advice for this period is, ”Exercise the body, the organs, the senses and powers and keep the soul lying fellow, as long as you can.
C] Intellectual development in Pre- adolescent Period:
At the boyhood stage ie., from 12 to 15 years, the aim of education is to develop the intellect of the Emile. Education should help in the acquisition of knowledge which may enable him to the practical needs of life.
D] Emotional, Moral and religious development during Adolescence:
During the fourth stage i.e., from 15 to 24 years Emile, should learn to live for others and to live together in social relationships. His emotions should be sublimated. Moral and religious bias should be given to education. In short, during this stage, education should aim at emotional, moral and religious development of the Emile.
Rousseau’s Curriculum For Emile
Even in framing the curriculum, Rousseau paid attention to these four stages in development, which have discussed under aims above infancy, childhood, boyhood and adolescence.
A] Infancy state [up to 5 years]
“A feeble body makes a feeble mind. All wickedness comes from weakness. Give his body constant exercise, make it strong and healthy.” During this stage of infancy the child should be properly protected.
B] For childhood stage [from 5 to 12 years]
Rousseau says,”childhood is the sleep of reason and the educator is not to disturb hi9m in this sleep”
So at this stage, neither intellect nor moral or social education is to be imparted to the child. Negative education will consists of the free development of his physical organs and the exercises of his senses. The child should be given maximum freedom. There should be no verbal lessons, in language, History and geography. Physical exercises constitute the core of the curriculum at his stage.
C] For Boyhood Stage [from 12 to 15 years]
Physical sciences, languages, mathematics, manual work, a trade, social relations, music and drawing will constitute the curriculum at this stage. Sciences will develop heuristic attitude, mathematics will develop precise thinking, manual craft will develop qualities of character of drawing will train eyes and muscles. However the knowledge of social relations will impress upon the boy the need of co operation an economic inter dependence of man upon man.
D] For Adolescence Stage
Rousseau laid special stress on moral and religious education at this stage. Moral education is to be given through activities and occupations and not through lectures on ethics Besides moral and religious education, history Geography sex education, physical culture and aesthetics are to constitute the curriculum. For all these subjects he has specific aims i.e History is to be taught for the service of moral instructions. Religious education for realizing the existence of god and sex education about sex affairs. Aesthetics is to be taught for the cultivation and improvement of tastes.
Rousseau’s Methods of teaching
A] Learning by doing
Rousseau says,” Teach by doing whenever you can, and only for fall back upon words when doing is out of question. The child should take part in various activities and learn in natural way. It will help him in satisfaction of creative activity.
B] Direct experience
Knowledge acquired through books in second hand and easily forgotten. On the other hand knowledge directly acquired from various learning situations is permanent. He also urged experience before expression and object before words.
C] Method of Individual instruction
Rousseau asserted that the teacher should properly recognize in the individually of the child and place emphasized individual instructions.
D] Heuristic Method
In this method the child is placed in the position of a discoverer. He is to be given an opportunity to make experiment with the apparatus that he made himself or invented. Rousseau also advocates the heuristic method of teaching.
E] Example is better than precept
For imparting moral education Rousseau stated.” Example is better than precept. Teacher should practice morality. He should provide opportunities to practice virtue. Lectures on morality will not prove useful.
I] Social Participation
During the period of adolescence will get knowledge about social relations by actually visiting places and establishing contact with the members of the community practically.
Rousseau’s concept of discipline
Rousseau opposed imposed discipline ‘leave the child free’. It is only in free atmosphere that the child can develop his innate powers. No punishment should be given to the child for improving his behavior. He advocated discipline by natural consequence. He remarked,” Allow the child to suffer the natural results of his acts.” For example of the child puts his hand into fire, let him burn his hand and learn by consequence”.
Role of the teacher
Rousseau did not assign high place to the teacher. The teacher should see that the education of the pupils is the free development of their interest and motives. He should provide suitable opportunities. He should protect the child from repression mental conflicts and mental; disorders for all kinds.
Limitations of the educational philosophy of Rousseau
1] Anti social Attitude: 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 he activity involved is the development of the child. All is not bad with the social set-up.
2] Women Education: Rousseau’s views, that literary education of women of culture is the plague to all, do not such to he modern concept equality of the sexes is all aspects of life enshrined in democratic way of life.
3] Little important to positive virtue: Rousseau laid stress on negative education and hence he left little scope for the inculcation of the positive virtues.
4] No higher ideals:
There is no place foe higher morality and ideals in Rousseau’s educational theory, while these are a must for a dignified society.
5] Faulty Theory of Discipline
Rousseau’s theory of discipline through natural consequences is very dangerous and not suitable to the modern way of life where as modern gugets can prove to be fatal if proper human care of the teacher is not there.
Rousseau’s impact on education:
In gist 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 restrain , utilizing the senses , interests and activities of the child have influenced the moderns education in many other ways. The rights of childhood, the human welfare are the natural rights of every man can be realized through proper type of education. Munro rightly said” Out of Rousseau’s teachings came ‘new education’ of nineteenth century based on interest. It gave clear formulations of direct impetus to psychological, sociological and scientific conception of education” He was in facts the founder of the grand idea of liberty, equality and fraternity.