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Summary: Emilio or education, Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Written and published in 1762, Emilio or education is perhaps the most famous work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. True to its principle that man is born good and their vices are only attributable to a poorly organized social State and a fundamentally false education, Rousseau wanted to establish in this book a natural education principles; and, following the fashion of his time, he did so to be of his treatise with forms of a kind of novel"pedagogical".
Orphan and wealthy family, Emilio grows away from the urban conventions, without more guidance to his will and the laws of nature; more in touch with things that with books, is apart from the bondage of tradition, and, taking example in the story of Robinson Crusoe, learn a trade, until he warns that spontaneously arise in the moral, social and religious sentiments. Having known, thanks to a trick of his teacher, to Sophie, the girl who has been educated in the field with the sole purpose to make happy a man and engage in the intimate pleasures of the family, Emilio falls for her.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Compelled by his master to quell for some time his feelings two years Emilio known, through several trips to different men, peoples and countries. Only then, after having gained that experience, it can form a family with the partner who has been predestined him. Emilio has, in the intention of the author, a personality and a national character; but in reality, except in a few pages, it is nothing more than an abstract figure, subordinate to the principle that it should embody. So the story of Emilio can easily remove the few fantasy elements and be reduced to a proper education system.
According to Rousseau, "Natural education" is not based on the forms of society or about the traditions of the school, but on the knowledge of the true nature of man, and therefore, upon a rigorous research about the nature of the child. This last point of view pedagogical, of great importance, was also proclaimed modernly by Locke, in which Rousseau acknowledges, can tell, its only predecessor.
According to Rousseau, natural instincts, first impressions and feelings and spontaneous and simple trials that are born in the man in contact with nature are the best guide how should behave, and most precious teaching. It follows that it is necessary to respect and promote the development of such instinctive phenomena in the child, instead of suppressing them with an education that is poorly understood.
Thus arises the concept of "negative education", and the polemic against the 'positive education' of its time, which, according to the author, "tends to form prematurely intelligence and instruct the child in the duties of the mature man". Rousseau, on the other hand, wants to "improve the organs of knowledge before supplying it directly, prepare the way of the reason with a proper exercise of the senses... Negative education does not virtue, but protects the Vice; not instilling the truth, but it preserves the error. It has the child to take the road that will take you to the truth, when you are in a position to understand it, and the good, when you have purchased the right to know him and love him".

First edition of Emilio or education (1762)
These statements of principle follows the description of a complete education cycle, which is divided into four periods. Such stages correspond to the development of the body, senses, brain and heart. The first period of one to five years, from pure physical life, tends to fortify the body without less constriction, avoiding force, on the other hand, the intellectual and moral development of the child ("is a great disadvantage for him possess more words that ideas and knowing more things that you can think to say").
The second period, from five to ten years, is one in which the child acquires the experience of the external world. Always living in the field, in direct contact with nature, is accustomed itself only to educate your senses and bodies, to make use of them to satisfy their desires; It is customary to draw fair conclusions from own experiences and thus exercise with greater righteousness own reason, discovering for themselves only the principles of all knowledge. Learning to read is secondary compared to all this: a child used to be interested in everything will arrive at it by itself. The educator is only a guide. Punishments for mistakes, and therefore the concept of what it should be, they must be born of the direct experience.
Thus, arriving in the third period, intellectual education, the child has become a shrewd observer, in a full of life being able to draw their own conclusions and learn on its own; It may seem ignorant, but its natural resiliency, favoured and guided, will allow you to learn quickly. Also then need few books (highly recommended is the Robinson Crusoe) and lots of practice. Knowing heartburn is natural in it and has to try to satisfy it, do not do a good job with a cluster of mechanically acquired notions. The study of the natural sciences, including geography and mathematics, must accompany the teaching of a manual trade (Rousseau suggests the cabinetmaker art).
You then reach the fourth period of fifteen to twenty years: "at this point (at the age of fifteen) just the ordinary course of education: but in a strict sense is where you should start..." While the man only knows his physical existence, should only study own relations with things. "When he begins to realize his own moral existence, should then investigate its relations with humanity: this is, in fact, the real occupation of his life, from the period that we just got back".
Such education will be, maybe, preferably moral and religious. The religious meaning of life takes place naturally in the youngster with the observation of the nature: the episode in which Emilio kneels before the Sun, feeling arise inside a spontaneous attitude of adoration of the creator is famous. Meanwhile, sound knowledge of itself has arranged it to meet peers, and love towards you has become love of neighbor.
At this point is not always possible nor advisable to learn to avoid sickness directly experiencing its consequences; then, "when the experience is dangerous, rather than spend it, can draw the lesson of history" (i.e., from the foreign experience). According to the original and heterodoxa theory of Rousseau, religious ideas (few, simple and based on sentiment) should be given to educating not before the age of eighteen: "If you have news of them too soon, is in danger of not knowing them never", i.e., that are for him as pure abstractions.
The audacity of the Rousseau book cannot be measured fully today, when several of their ideas have already entered the same practice of education and its principles are frequently followed. Rousseau acquires importance the systematic study of the soul of the child and the introduction in the education of the principles of the experimental method. Many subsequent educators (including Pestalozzi and Herbart and Froebel) were inspired by Rousseau, sometimes argue against it. His passionate, eloquent and personal way is a demonstration of the vitality of the work.
Extracted from the website: Biografías y Vidas
Biographies of historical figures and personalities

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