He proposed a four fold system /stage of education.
Infanthood stage One(0-2 years)
It begins from birth to the age of two.Characterised by hardening the child's body through introduced to walk with no shoes,fetching water or taking salt ,moving around naked or semi-naked.He was strongly against the idea of bookish knowledge ,no reading or writing at this stage.No to artificial rules to this identity stage.
Childhood Stage Two (2-5 years)
The child is not expected to get knowledge from books again ,although elementary reading and writing could be introduced.Child learn best from experience.
The boyhood or Rational Stage Three(5-12 years)
It suit the boyhood of primary school children.The children are not supposed to rely on books .They were only supposed to read only one novel called Robinson Croucae written by John Doe.
The teachers are not supposed to impose their ideas on the children.Children learn best from the natural environment .Environment is the best source of knowledge.No religion or morals to be preached to children,other than morals provetuls ,the child is able to pick by himself.
The adolescent /social stage four.
The child is able to analyse ,criticise ,evaluate and critique issues.The child is now able to solve problems.Here again the child is not supposed to learn from books .The teacher needs not to improve his ideas on the learner.The teacher needs not to impose his religious beliefs and perceptions on the learner .The children should be left to their own decisions as far as religious affilliations is concerned.The main emphasis is on religion and morality ,that's natural religion rather than theology and religious denominations is encouraged.
Many modern education implementers take into considerations Rousseau's educational ideas.
The government of Zimbabwe through the ministry of Education Sports ,Arts and Culture on circular P35 abolished any form of corporal punishment in which beating of school children prohibited.
Teachers worldover subscribed to the idea of learner's interests in the learning situation.Pupils are now introduced to the new content when they are ready.
Children learn better by doing through involved in methods and activities like ,discovery learning,projects,field trips ,project work ,experimentation etc.
Selection of content to be linked to real life experiences (experiential learning) where taught from known to unknown or simple to complex.Teachers a now revert to education is life by making learners aware of their immediate environment and sort out strategies to keep it clean ,preserve threatened plant or animals species nearing extnction and learn how others elsewhere doing to their environments.Teaching of social sciences where children learn about human behaviours,living together ,moral values ,multi-faith approaches and so on.
Through playing activities where playing is now involved in learning through free play role plays,dramas,simulations ,immitations and demostrations.
Education system now caters for individual differences because Rousseau says every individual is unique hence the need to use individualised instruction or use of graded work or child centred education system.
Child centred learning ,make children responsible for their learning this motivates them to investigate or explore with undisturbed interests through the use of appropriate teaching /learning media.Rousseau in Gordone and Brown (1988)says using concrete rather than abstract materials for young children is still one of the corner stones of developmental appropriate curriculum in the early age.
A critic of Rousseau's Theory of Education
The strengths associated with Rousseau's naturalism:
The well laid down foundation of children psychological stages of development.
A new curriculum based on the needs of the learner at each progressive stage was presented.
Rousseau emphasised the internal growth of the child not growth through punishment.
He was the father of child centred education which calls for the need for teachers to be sensitive to the needs of their learners.Malownsky (1968)says to every child I give my heart.
The weaknesses/limitations of Rosseau's theory of education:
The role of the teachers to facilitate major parts in education system is discouraged.
Firm guidance of the primary task of education and if not exercised by teachers it would lead to mediocre standards for the individual and the society.
He discouraged the use of corporal punishment to correct behaviour whilst nature's punishment may may come too late or not at all.
The reasoning capacity of children comes rather too late.Children generally start to reason after their rapid changes to adulthood at 15 years and above.
A complete return to nature is not a viable solution to both problems in the society and to education.
He thought that men and women were not equal and therefore need for different curriculum.
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