Jean-Jacques Rousseau on Naturalistic and Negative Education

In the context of natural education, Rousseau believes that the child should be taught in the nature, in the natural environment, in a neat and clean environment away from the city’s pollution and social influences. According to him nature, object and man are the three main teachers in the life of a child. The child can succeed in achieving his full development by coming in contact with these three in his life. Man cannot control nature. Nature helps man in his complete development. Only nature is unlimited and complete, therefore nature is most important for child and human being. It is in this context that, Rousseau asks the child to acquire education in a natural environment.

According to Rousseau ‘Negative education’ means using books, being inside closed rooms and staying within the predefined limits. He opposes getting education from books. The child and adult should acquire knowledge through direct interaction with objects and nature instead of bookish knowledge (or studying in closed boundaries and rooms). Rousseau’s negative education is completely opposite to formal and traditional education. Rousseau’s Negative education, states to provide freedom to child to perform activities and tasks on his own. He talks about embracing nature, not books, and expects from the child to increase his interest for doing all the tasks on his own.

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