QUESTION3: Explain and critically assess the main principles which Locke believes should guide the education of the child. John Locke’s Beliefs on the Education of the Child Introduction “Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to but himself” (John Locke, MMVII)…
There he studied medicine which became one of the most important roles in his life. As a highly influential philosopher, Locke wrote on topics that were revolutionary for the time – political philosophy, epistemology and education. John Locke’s writings became a foundation for modern Western philosophy. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) and Letters Concerning Toleration are examples of Locke’s writings that illustrate his belief in natural law and the fulfillment of the divine purpose for humanity. In John Locke’s writings, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding the philosopher and physician implemented a theoretical and philosophical perspective with enquiries on two questions of thought or critical reasoning, “What is the origin of our ideas?” and “What is the basis of our knowledge?” Locke’s main work on education – Some Thoughts Concerning Education – originated from letters to a friend. Although the writings are reflections and critical thoughts on the education of a specific child (his friend’s child) in a specific social situation, Locke’s writings are also concerned with education in general. On the Education of the Child According to the philosophical writings entitled, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, critical thoughts on the education of the child include: (1) The act of learning is just a part of education. The act of learning is the result of experiences of the child (experiential learning as it is known in our modern and postmodern ethos). Locke’s educational theory often denounced scholasticism and advocated the experimental methods adopted during observations of a friend’s child “the individual education of a gentleman’s son, not the formation of a school system…No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience… Learning is not innate. It is often based on the formulation and analysis of ideas and knowledge” (Locke, 1909-1914, § Introductory Note). (2) Vital to education and learning is the development of character. This includes of wisdom, virtue and ‘good breeding’. Locke held that man’s manners and abilities are an outcome of thinking and education of the child’s mind. “If I have said in the beginning of this discourse… that the difference to be found in the manners and abilities of men is owing to their education than to anything else, we have reason to conclude that great care is to be had of the forming of children’s minds, and giving then that seasoning early, which shall influence their lives always after… that it’s suitable to their breeding” (Locke, 1909-1914, § 32). (3) The development of character – wisdom and virtues – is not taught academically or by the use of force or corporal punishment. Character is developed by the acts of suggestion and example to create or suggest positive behaviour instead of unstructured or chaotic behaviour. This is what is meant to be positively proactive and socially responsible. It is also a good example of what is meant by the development of the 'productive citizen' or socially responsible participant within a community or society. The philosophical and critical thinking of the John Locke essays on Some Thoughts Concerning Education further writes his thoughts on the purpose of education theory, curriculum (knowledge building) and processes – to child development. Locke, the points out that one purpose or aim of education in child development is the ‘ ...
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