ES (H) 608: Educational Thought and Practices

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ES (H) 608: Educational Thought and Practices

Unit – 1



Rousseau’s Life:-

Jean Jacques Rousseau was a great philosopher of the eighteenth century. He was born in the year 1712 in Geneva to a poor watchmaker. He lost his mother at an early age and was brought up by his father who did not evince much interest in his education. Rousseau became careless and indiscipline. For a long time he remained a vagabond. This, of course, created in him love for, and knowledge of Nature. After attempting many occupations like private tutor, music teacher, composer, secretary and dramatist, it was at the age of 38 that he became a successful writer. In 1778 he died in Ermenonville, France. In spite of his many faults and his being the innocent victim of great misfortunes he propounded a theory of education which is now termed as Naturalism.


His Writings:-

Rousseau’s main publications were “The Social Contract” and “Emile” among the many others. These two are of more interest for the students of education.

In “Emile”, Rousseau attempts to outline a ‘national’ education from birth to manhood. The first book take ‘Emile’ from birth to five years of age and deals with the training of physical activities; the second from five to twelve, treats of body and sense training; the third from twelve to fifteen is concerned with intellectual education through the natural sciences; the fourth from fifteen to twenty four outlines his social and moral development; and fifth describes the parasitic training of the girl he is to marry.

The ‘Emile’ is often inconsistent, but brilliant and aggressive; and while antisocial the times demanded such a radical presentation. Through it, Rousseau became the progenitor of the social scientific and psychological movements in education.


Rousseau’s Philosophy:-

Rousseau was greatly influenced by three factors, viz., the state of time, extremely varied experience of his life and his impulsive and emotional nature. His philosophy is usually designated by the term ‘Naturalism’. The keynote of his philosophy was to have a ‘State of Nature’, ‘Natural Man’ and ‘Natural Civilization’. He contends that all the ills and miseries of civilization are due to a departure from a ‘State of Nature’. Everything is good as it comes from the hands of the Author of Nature; but everything degenerates in the hands of man. ‘Return to Nature’ was his method to cure the world of ills and miseries. Life according to Nature was genuine. By Natural State and Natural Man he did not want the primitive social order and the savage man. He wanted Natural Civilization and a fully developed man living in the whirl of social life without being carried away by the passion and prejudices of society. Reason, he said, should be the guiding principle in producing both the Natural Civilization and Natural Man. His ideal of the State of ‘Nature’ was, “a simple farming community or state without evils”. Rousseau said that human Nature is good and should be allowed a free development. Education, therefore, must be in harmony with original and un-spoiled human nature. By nature here Rousseau meant native instincts, tendencies and capacities. He held that learning takes place best when child is free to develop and grow according to his natural impulses. The function of education is to preserve the child’s goodness and purity without stain from the world. Human restraints and discipline should be discarded. Rousseau was a hater of imposed authority. His naturalism holds that the best learning comes from dealing with natural objects with manual arts and with persons in a natural way. Rousseau glorified the wholesome development of all the natural powers of the individual. If the individual is nurtured properly so that his physical, emotional, moral and mental capacities are allowed to develop naturally and at the proper time, the cause of education and the society will be best served. He looked to the individual rather than to the society to find the ultimate aims of education.


Idolizes Nature:

The first meaning that Rousseau gave to the term ‘nature’ was the true nature of man. Every man has laws of his own nature. Education must be guided by those laws. A natural or negative education must be given to man. It signifies simply a non-social education. In the opinion of Rousseau this was preventive education. Such education does not prepare for life, but it prepares against the social conditions which man has to confront in later life. Rousseau wanted to create unsocial creatures. His objective was to save the man from the evil influences of society.

The second meaning given to ‘nature’ is the instinctive judgement, primitive emotions, natural instincts or innate tendencies. These, according to Rousseau, are more reliable bases for action than the experience gained from the society.

The third meaning given to ‘nature’ is positive. One who is brought up in the natural environments automatically becomes a rational being. He acts according to the voice of his conscience and “one who obeys his conscience is following nature”.

Rousseau said that man is educated by three things – Nature, Men and Things.

  1. Education of Nature: ‘The internal development of our organs and faculties is the education of nature.’
  2. Education given by Men: ‘The use we are taught to make of that development, constitute the education given us by men’.
  3. Education from Things: ‘The acquisition made by our experience on the objects that surround us is our education from things’.

Education by Nature will restore unsophisticated man, whose sole function is to be a man. In the natural order of things, all men being equal, their common vocation is manhood; and whoever is well-trained for that, cannot fail to perform any vocation connected with it.


Rousseau’s Types of Education:-

There are two types of education according to Rousseau. They are:

  1. Positive Education; and 2. Negative Education.


  1. Positive Education:-

Rousseau states, “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.
  • Stress on strict discipline.
  1. Stress on Social education.
  2. Emphasis on formation of habits.

Rousseau revolted against the positive education and also against these characteristics. He termed it as unnatural and inhuman and opposed it fully. It was in revolt to this that he introduced negative education.


  1. Negative Education:-

According to Rousseau, Negative education means to allow the child to move freely in nature, so that he is able to perfect the organs of his body, which are the instruments of acquiring knowledge. This free movement will not mean teaching virtue or truth, but protecting the heart of the child from the evil ways of the society.

The negative education of Rousseau has the following characteristics:

  1. To lose time wisely. Rousseau considered that childhood is a period when the child should know to lose his time wisely. It is not a period when time is to be saved for an intensive study of books. The child should run, jump, play all day long, thereby developing his organs which will enable him to acquire knowledge when the right occasion comes for it.
  2. No place for book learning. Rousseau does not believe in imparting education with the help of books. He holds that reading is a curse and books have no place in the education of the child. He advocates that the child should think for himself and learn with his own efforts.
  • No formal lessons. Rousseau is also against any formal teaching in the class. He believes that verbal lessons are useless burden on the memory of the child and a sheer waste from the educational stand-point. The child is not able to interpret and assimilate on the basis of cause and effect theory, hence it is easily forgotten.
  1. No habit formation. Rousseau also does not believe in any habit formation at this stage. “The only habit a child is to form is not to form any habit at all.” He believes that everybody is a slave to his habits and the same may be true about the child. He was against all social habits. However, he favours natural habits and holds that the child should be left to have natural habits.
  2. Non-moral education. The child is the purest thing in nature and therefore, there is no place for any moral teaching. Morality is something which is beyond the understanding power of children. The child, therefore, should be left to learn from the lessons of nature. If he commits a mistake he will suffer and learn in a natural way.
  3. Back to nature. The state of nature which man lived long ago was a blissful state. Modern civilization is the main cause of the misery of mankind. The alternative before mankind is back to nature. The customary procedures of the civilised society should be done away with and the natural state may be accepted again.





Rousseau’s Aims of Education:-

  1. Development of child’s inner faculties: According to Rousseau 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 parts 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 aims at making the child a real human being.


2.    Different aim at different stages of individual’s life: According to Rousseau, education should be different at each stage in the life of the individual.

  • Development of well-regulated freedom: During the period of infancy, up to 5 years, the aim of education is to develop in Emile, a well-regulated freedom, according to his capacities.
  • Develop sufficient strength at childhood stage: At the childhood stage, from 5 to 12 years, the aim of education is to help the child to observe and experience various things in nature and develop his sense organs.
  • Intellectual development in pre-adolescent Period: At the boyhood stage, 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.
  • Emotional, moral and religious development during Adolescence: During the fourth stage 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. Education, during this stage, should aim at emotional, moral and religious development of the Emile.




Rousseau’s Curriculum:-

In framing the curriculum, Rousseau paid attention to four stages of development – infancy, childhood, boyhood and adolescence.


  1. Infancy stage (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.”

The following subjects were proposed in the design of curriculum during this stage:

  1. Physical Education
  2. Health Education


  1. Childhood stage (from 5 to 12 years):


According to Rousseau, “Childhood is the sleep of reason and the educator is not to disturb him in this sleep.” During this stage, the child should be given maximum freedom. At this stage neither intellect nor moral or social education is to be imparted to the child. Negative education will consist of the free development of his physical organs and the exercises of his senses. Physical exercises constitute the core of the curriculum at this stage.


  1. Boyhood stage (from 12 to 15 years):


The following subjects were introduced in the design of curriculum prescribed for this stage:

  1. Physical Sciences
  2. Languages
  • Mathematics
  1. Manual Work
  2. Trade
  3. Drawing
  • Music
  • Subject pertaining to social relationship.


All these subjects highlight their significance. Sciences will develop heuristic attitude and potentialities of the students. Mathematics will develop precise thinking, reasoning and judgement. Manual craft will develop qualities of character and will train eyes and muscles. Different occupations, vocations and skills provide the source of earning to the learners. Teaching of drawing and fine arts gives practical shape to our imagination, training of the eyes and mind.

The knowledge of social relations will impress upon the boy, the need of co-operation and economic interdependence of man upon man.


  1. Adolescence stage (from 15 to 24 years):


Following subjects are suggested at this stage:

  1. Subjects pertaining to moral and religious education.
  2. History
  3. Geography
  4. Sex education
  5. Subjects pertaining to physical culture and aesthetics.


The subjects like moral and religious education and ethics purifies our thinking and enable us to produce and to distribute good. History as a subject narrates the past events of life, cultural changes, rules and their administration. Geography as a subject enables us to study the geographical conditions of the regions, atmosphere and the natural territory of the countries and the world as a whole. At this stage the youth undergoes a new birth on account of the appearance of sex impulse. Sex instruction is to consist of direct moral exhortation on chastity and an explanation of the mysteries of creation in the world of plants, animals and men in a dispassionate manner.


Rousseau’s Method of Teaching:-

  1. Individual Instruction:

Rousseau emphasized the due importance of individual instruction. He believed that the individuality of the child should be recognized by the educator and duly respected by him. He was right when he said that children are children before they become men.


  1. The principle of learning by doing:

He lays stress on the principle of learning by doing. He says, teach by doing whenever you can and only fall back on words when doing is out of question. He believes that the child should take part in various activities and learn in a natural way. When the child wants to do something with his own hands his urge to creative activity must be satisfied.


  1. Direct experiences of the child:

Rousseau would like Emile to learn from his own experiences and not from books. Knowledge acquired from books is second-hand and easily forgotten. Personal knowledge directly acquired from various learning situations is something permanent which the child will not forget. This will constitute the permanent nature of his character.


  1. The heuristic method:

Rousseau also advocates the heuristic method of teaching. He would like to place the child in the position of an original discoverer. The child will learn science with self-made and self-invented apparatus. The same method is to be applied to other subjects of the curriculum.


  1. Example is better than precept:

For imparting moral education, Rousseau believes in the principle that example is better than precept. There is no use lecturing on morality to him, he should have an example of moral behaviour and opportunities may be provided to him to practice virtue.


  1. Social knowledge by social participation:

The child in his period of adolescence will get knowledge about social relations by actually visiting places and coming in contact with the members of the community.



Rousseau’s Concept of Discipline:

Rousseau believes in freedom of the child. He opposed imposed discipline. It is only in a free atmosphere that the child will be able to develop his inborn and innate capacities. He does not believe in punishing the child so as to correct his future behaviour. The reason behind this assumption according to Rousseau is very simple that the child is not able to link up the punishment administered and the mischief done by him. Children, therefore, should be left alone to experience the consequences of the mischief done by them. Nature, according to Rousseau, is a great teacher. If children commit mistakes and violate the principles of nature, they naturally invite the retribution of nature. This conception in the field of education is known as ‘Discipline by natural consequences’.

Secondly, in the field of normal education, Rousseau starts with the assumption that the nature of child is essentially good hence he should have freedom in his actions. Firstly, he believes that the child will not commit any immoral act, and secondly even if he commits any, he will learn morality by the natural consequences of the action done.



Rousseau’s view on the Role of Teacher:-

According to Rousseau, the teacher is to see that the education of the pupils is the free development of their interests and motives. He should provide suitable opportunities to the pupils. Rousseau’s teacher involves the following facts:-

  1. To provide full freedom to the children: Rousseau advocated the principle of freedom because freedom of thinking, freedom of speech and freedom of actively involved in all the activities and freedom of criticism is very essential for the natural development of the personality of the children. The teacher should provide all sorts of freedom to the students so that they may exhibit the natural talent in the atmosphere of freedom.
  2. To provide natural facilities and opportunities of development to the pupils: The teacher should provide all sorts of facilities and opportunities to the pupils to come in close contact with nature, so that they may display their natural talent and all the innate gifts which the nature has bestowed to its beings.
  3. To develop love for nature: Teacher should develop love for nature so that the children may make their association with nature. Nature is free from all sorts of evils. It has its own flexible constitution which has been appealing impressing and influencing all the people, belonging to all the ages, stages and phases. It is itself pure, so it purifies our thinking, ideas, ideology and personality.
  4. To develop love for humanity: Rousseau laid stress in developing the individuality and personality of the individuals so that they may contribute for the welfare, betterment, progress and development of the human beings and the humanity as a whole. The teacher should develop the spirit of love among the students through coming in contact with nature so that they may love humanity.
  5. To encourage and appreciate children efforts to recognise their personality: The teacher should never rebuke and insult the students. They should be encouraged to display their talents, activities and skills. The teacher should always appreciate their efforts so that they may be inspired by the attachment and affectionate attitude of the teachers.


Hence, in Rousseau’s philosophy, the teacher has to play constructive and natural role in studying, understanding and developing the growing personality of the students. He has to act as observer and psychologist.


Rousseau and Women Education:-

Rousseau has divided his book ‘Emile’ into five parts. The fifth part has been written on Sophy, the future wife of Emile. Its aim is to explain women education. According to Rousseau, man and woman have different aims. He has given every freedom to the boys but kept the girls under strict control.

To Rousseau, education should make woman worthy of man. He says, “The woman should be such as to give happiness, love and respect to man. She should be able to educate the child when he is young, serve, advise and sympathies with man during youth. All the time the woman has to serve man and it is towards the fulfilment of this objective that her education should be planned.”

The ideal woman according to Rousseau is modest, gentle, tolerant, submissive, sensitive to rebuke, amiable, chaste and charitable in her thoughts and words. He wants that education should be made woman worthy of man. So he desires to form the habit of all such activities in women.

Women should be taught sewing, embroidery, lace-work and designing. She should be given physical education, education of the domestic work, morality and religion.

Rousseau does not believe in giving freedom to women. The real womanhood lies in self-sacrifice. A woman who tries to go beyond the limits of domestic life not only makes herself unhappy but her husband too.

He condemned the move for higher education to women.





The Emile or Concerning Education, written by Rousseau in 1762, is an educational treatise on the place of the individual in society. The book is divided into five parts, four of which deal with Emile’s education in the stages of infancy, childhood, boyhood and youth respectively. The fifth part deals with the training of the girl who is to become his wife. Thus, through an imaginary student, Emile, Rousseau projects how a child should be educated and trained. The main purpose of writing this book was to show that education, if given in the right manner, could minimize the drawbacks of the then prevalent education and civilization and bring man nearer to nature.

‘Emile’ is a book of great richness, power and wisdom. It is a protest against traditional education which was unsound, unreal and unprogressive. It is in this book that Rousseau advocated freedom for the child, respect for his individuality, faith in his goodness, proper regard for his natural inclinations and interests, motivation, play-way and recreational activities. It is through this book that Rousseau tried to re-orientate the then prevalent system of education and give it a socialized bias.

‘Emile’ is divided into five parts, each corresponding to the five stages of human development and dealing with the education of that particular stage. The first four parts deal with Emile’s education at infancy (1 to 5 years); childhood (5 to 12 years); boyhood (12 to 15 years); and adolescence (15 to 24 years). The fifth part deals with the education and training of an imaginary girl, Sophy, who is to become the life companion of Emile.

In Emile, there are four factors which must be taken into account while studying the child. They are as under:

  1. The generic character of mankind i.e. those characters which are variously manifested in the dispositions or inclinations.
  2. Different characteristics of sexes. It is his first principle of natural education as Rousseau understands it that sex should be taken into account in the up-bringing of boys and girls. According to him the nature of the two sexes is fundamentally different from the very beginning. That makes necessary the corresponding difference in their education. For this reason boy should be given education in order to be a complete human being with world-wide interest, and the girl to be trained exclusively in order to become a good wife and a good mother.
  3. Difference in individuality. Each mind has a form of its own. It must, therefore, be directed accordingly.
  4. Differences of age. Each age and condition of life has perfection and maturity of its own.


In ‘Emile’, Rousseau divided the educational scheme based upon the principles of age grouping as follows:


Period of infancy: It is a period from birth to the age of five. The child during these years is in a state of undifferentiated feeling. The main rule for the educator, at this stage, is not to spoil the lessons of experience by too much neglect or too much indulgence. Let him not be subdued. Let him not be pampered. In order to acquire the elementary arts of eating, speaking and walking in these years the child requires unconscious imitation and personal effort.

Rousseau did not want any restrictions on the child and wanted him to follow his natural inclination and desires. ‘Emile’ must live an active, vigorous, out-door life both to develop his body and to train his senses while he acquires a knowledge of natural objects and forces. The young child should be gradually accustomed to strange sights and noises so that he may not be frightened by masks, firearms and ugly animals.

Since the child cannot have the conception of right and wrong, punishment for any of his acts should be avoided. He should be allowed to wander freely on the countryside and take part in sports and games.

To him, not much attention is to be paid regarding his intellectual and moral development. His vocabulary should be limited. Only those ideas should be given to him about which he can think and understand. He should hear only simple, well-articulated words and cheerful songs. This is a period of physical education, freedom and activity.


Childhood: This period is from 5 to 12 years of age. It is the most critical period of human life. The child’s mind is dominated by the senses. The period may aptly be called the period of sense education. The child lacks any proper power of reasoning. He cannot understand right and wrong. No commands, therefore, should be given to him. Necessity must be his teacher. Let him learn by experience and the results of his own conduct. If he falls he will be hurt and in future he will be more careful. Punishment must never be inflicted on him, but should always come to him as the natural consequence of his own imprudence. If ‘Emile’ breaks a window pane, let him suffer the resulting inconvenience.

Early education should chiefly be negative. The boy at this stage is as yet too immature to understand moral facts. The child learns the moral by example rather than by precept. Acts of charity and goodness performed in his presence will make him charitable and kind. Childhood is for its own sake. “Nature desires that children should be children before they are men.” That’s why Rousseau wants Emile, to be brought up in the country, away from the evils and vices of the city.


Rousseau recommends different methods of teaching them. He says that it is vain to teach them ordinary school subjects. Language, geography, history, etc., all imply an understanding of the facts of life beyond the comprehension of the boy. The only direct education appropriate at this stage is the training of mind through physical activities. “Exercise the body, the organs, the senses and powers, but keep the soul lying fallow as long as you can.” To him this is the stage for sense training. Senses are the instruments of intellect. These can be trained by intimate contact with the forces and phenomena of nature. The senses are the first faculty to take form and attain perfection, and consequently should be the first to be cultivated. These are the basis of thought and reason. Feet, hands and eyes are our first teachers. They must not be substituted by books. On the other hand they must be developed by appropriate exercises. Training of senses calls for more than the mere use of them, it means learning to judge, foresee and reason through them. All the learning must come by play-way. There should be no compulsion except that of personal desire.

Geometry can be taught not by demonstration but by drawing figures and by comparing and measuring them. He should learn drawing by drawing natural objects. Music may be learnt by hearing and by rote-singing.

At the end of this period his senses will be fully developed and he would be ready for reasoning. “He pursues no formula, is influenced by no authority but acts and speaks from his own judgement.”


The Age of Pre-Adolescence: This period is covered from the age of 12 to the age of 15. It is a period of intellectual education. The boy is on the verge of adult life. He gains in physical strength and with it intellect also makes its appearance. Reason and self-consciousness have also appeared. It is, therefore, the time for work, instruction and enquiry. It is the time for developing intellect. According to Rousseau, the curriculum should be built around curiosity and useful activities which are the only real motives of learning. ‘Emile’ is introduced to study that reveal nature, astronomy, science and the arts and crafts. According to Rousseau, “The child is not to learn science; he is to find it out for himself.” He should learn by his own efforts through the observation of nature. This is his theory of learning by doing. While teaching him geography, Rousseau does not want the child to be shown the globe and maps, but the earth, the sky, the sun – rising and setting. Rousseau thinks that the study of books and language is harmful to the child’s nature. He substitutes play, sports, games and the manual arts and the arts of developing sense experience. Rousseau said that the boy must be taken from one workshop to another and he must try his hand at every trade. In this way, Rousseau wanted to teach the child industrial exchange, banking and transportation. Learning of trade, according to him, would also teach the boy mental discipline. At the conclusion of this period, Emile is industrious, patient, firm and full of courage. He has little knowledge but what he has is really his own; he knows “nothing by halves”.

This period prepare the way for the next period which would be concerned with moral and social conduct and religion.


Adolescence: This period extends from the age of 15 to 24. Until 15 Emile’s body, senses and brain were formed. In this period, the training of heart should receive attention because body, senses, mind and heart compose the whole man. He has to be social and adapt himself to the conduct and interests of others. He must be loving and compassionate. He should love all mankind.

At this stage the youth undergoes a new birth on account of the appearance of sex impulse. Beauty, goodness and truth acquire a personal value. Rousseau wants the real education to begin.

The first lesson that the youth has to learn at this stage is the control of the passions. For this he should have moral and religious education. He must follow natural religion which teaches him the existence of God, soul, rewards and punishments. Feeling and conscience tells him right and wrong and they never deceive him. It is only through nature that one can know God and love him.

The study of society, politics, economics, history and religion are the appropriate studies for the youth to understand complex social relationships. He should study men as individuals and their institutional relationships. History would help him to judge character. If he wants to be a man he must know the world. To know the world he must travel through neighbouring countries and study their languages, institutions and their governments. The youth can very well understand the development of a moral view, spiritual aspirations and aesthetic tastes through the study of language, philosophy, religion and other arts.

Unlike his childhood the education of ‘Emile’ has to be positive and not negative. It is after this stage that he meets an ideal woman and marries her.





In the fifth part of ‘Emile’, Rousseau has talked about the education of an imaginary girl named ‘Sophy’. This is the education of women. Rousseau maintained that women were the makers of men. Their education is to be different from men. Rousseau believed that “Woman is made specially to please man.” She has, therefore, to be taught to be soft and sweet and learn to suffer and bear the wrongs of her husband without complaint.” Towards man the duty of woman is ‘to train him in childhood, to tend him in manhood and to counsel him throughout his life’.

While for a boy he laid down naturalistic individual education, for a girl he prescribed passive and repressive training. In his opinion, women should be given physical training to develop her physical charms to produce healthy children. In order to satisfy their instinct of pleasing others through dress, women should be taught sewing, embroidery and lace work. They should also be taught singing, dancing and other accomplishments. Ethics and religion must be taught but no philosophy, science or art. Rousseau wanted the girl to be taught religion, which should be very simple. She should not be asked to learn anything by heart not even her prayers.

Compared with the boy the girl has to be kept under more restraints and should be taught to be obedient and industrious. Although Rousseau considered women mentally inferior to men and incapable of abstract reasoning, yet he would have Sophy taught reading and writing and ciphering when she felt a need for them. All her studies, he wanted, should be practical. Intellectual interests, he believed, destroy her nature.

The ideal natural woman is modest, gentle, patient, submissive, sensitive to rebukes, amiable, chaste and charitable in her thoughts and words. In expressing the views on women and their education, Rousseau does not show a progressive outlook. Judged from the standard of ‘equality of opportunity, irrespective of sex’ the view is one-sided and narrow.





Rousseau’s chief contributions in the field of education are:

  1. His emphasis on the ‘discovery’ and ‘recognition’ of childhood traits has brought about revolutionary change in the thinking of educators.
  2. His stress on the ‘concrete’ led to ‘Learning by Doing’.
  3. Rousseau anticipated modern Heuristic Method when he declared child as a ‘discoverer’.
  4. He showed the way to the teacher that he must study the child thoroughly.
  5. He propounded that the new gospel of faith in nature in place of the old laws.
  6. He showed the value of motivation of creating problems and of utilizing the senses and activities of the child.
  7. Present day emphasis on vocational education finds its root in Rousseau.
  8. His conceptions of freedom, growth, interest and activity are noteworthy in educational theory and practice.
  9. It is due to Rousseau that the need of sense training and physical activities in the earlier development of the child has been recognized in the modern system of education.
  10. Rousseau has shown to the world the value of craft.
  11. With his stress on the facts and enquiry into nature’s laws, he has given us the basis for scientific tendency in modern education.




  1. Rousseau does not believe in the formation of habits of any kind by the child. Habits have been called as second nature and a set of good habits is also essential for good character.
  2. Rousseau was against any learning from books and totally condemned them. He rejected the use of books in the educational process because they were not written keeping in view the nature of the child.
  3. His doctrine of discipline by natural consequences is also doubtful. The child at his tender age without foresight, without reason and without developing his correct understanding cannot correct his behaviour. He requires mature and wise guidance of the parents and the teacher. If the child is left to his own judgement and wisdom, he might receive a blow, which may blow his entire personality.





Rousseau’s contribution to education has been profound. He influenced education in its organisation, 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 man, which can be realized through proper type of education. Rousseau was, in fact, the founder of the grand idea of liberty, equality and fraternity.






Reference Books:-

  1. Aggarwal, J.C.: Theory and Principles of Education Philosophical and Sociological Bases of Education, Vikas Publishing House Pvt Ltd, Delhi, 1993.
  2. Taneja, V.R.: Educational Thought and Practice, Sterling Publishers Private Limited, New Delhi, 1993.
  3. Shukla, Bhavna: A Framework for Understanding Contemporary Education in India, Agrawal Publications, Agra, 2016.
  4. Inderdev S.N. & Kaur Parmjit: Foundations of Education, Twentyfirst Century Publications, Patiala, 2014.




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Ngangbam Rupa Devi

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