Jean-Jacques Rousseau on Student and Teacher Relationship

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was supporter of providing complete freedom to the child. The child should stay away from the social system and should acquire education near nature. Social evils and the conservative rules and laws of society can be a hindrance in the overall development of human beings. The child should have the freedom to decide and act according to his interests. Rousseau believes that the child must follow rules of nature. Rousseau also feels the need for the child to inculcate a sense of patriotism towards his nation in his work ‘Consideration on the Government of Poland’. In the various stages (from infancy to old age), Rousseau has motivated to develop his interests, work for the development of mind and body, participate in activities and actions, enhance moral and personality development as well as character formation, development of religious and social qualities within himself/herself. He has also encouraged the child to develop nation friendly and patriotic feeling. These develop due to adjustment between nature of the child and his surroundings.

In Rousseau’s educational philosophy, the child’s position is above the teacher and all attention is focused on the child. Where the place of a child is in the centre, the place and importance of the teacher is secondary. The teacher can observe the child from a distance, he can tell the child the proper path but walking on it is only the task of the child. Rousseau considers nature as the most qualified teacher. The conservative and traditional education system of the society impairs the development of the child. Teacher is also a part of the society; therefore, the teacher becomes a hindrance in the development of the child. The teacher can only provide education to the child on social values whereas natural education is more important for the child. For this reason, the teacher’s position in the philosophy of Rousseau is minimal.

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