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Differences In Educational Philosophy For Male And Female Children

1807 words - 8 pages

Differences in Educational Philosophy for Male and Female Children

Many individuals have believed that one’s internal processes have more of an affect upon humans and their development than do environmental, external processes. Conversely, many other individuals have believed that the influence of environmental, external processes have more of an affect upon humans and their development than do internal processes. A prominent pioneer in educational research and philosophy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that male and female children should be educated in differing manners, as well as toward differing ends. His belief set the groundwork for the “nature versus nurture” debate and the ...view middle of the document...

Rousseau’s thoughts for females was outlined in only one chapter; the final in Emile. Sophie, on the other hand, detailed a confined and restricted education for females (Noddings). Rousseau believed that female children needed to be taught to employ caution to protect themselves from societal views (Noddings). Rousseau also indicated that female education should encompass learning to please, serve, be useful to, and raise males (Noddings). Because he believed that docility and servitude was a female’s lot in life, Rousseau believed that girls should be taught these skills when young (Noddings). Rousseau believed that if women were not taught these skills, and if the women did not master them, they would not fulfill their destinies and would thereby cause themselves and their men unhappiness (Noddings).

Rousseau’s influence was prominent in A.S. Neill’s Summerhill, which detailed Neill’s ideas for the school that would be most appropriate for the education of children. Neill’s Summerhill did not exclude or restrict females, however, as Rousseau’s would have done. Neill, too, believed that children are born good, and believed that it was the pressure of advancing toward adulthood that corrupted and ruined their goodness (Neill). Summerhill avoided formal lessons, unless they were requested by the student(s), while simultaneously criticizing moral and religious education (Noddings). Summerhill also provided the children with one vote toward running the school, in all manners except safety, and the voted decisions were maintained, regardless of whether the decision was one that the adults and teachers at the school would have chosen or agreed with (Neill). On one occasion, Neill had gathered the students and teachers together because the children were playing football above his office and was disturbing him repeatedly. Although the students outvoted the teachers and the vote called for the continuation of playing football indoors, Neill and the teachers in the school followed through with the decision and continued to allow the children to play football indoors (Neill). Rousseau’s influence on Neill was illustrated in his theory that children are born good and therefore do not require moral education. His influence on Neill was also seen in Neill’s belief that the children should not be influenced by outside individuals, teachers included, to follow a specific path but rather should be able to follow as the will led them (Neill). Additionally, Neill believed that the teachers should always be supportive of the students and their achievements (Noddings).

Rousseau also believed that timing in education was one of the most important elements of learning (Noddings). Rousseau believed that if the child was ready to learn, regardless of the topic, then the educational information and assistance should be available to him (Noddings). Additionally, Rousseau’s theory with regard to the importance of timing in education has also been...

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