The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau established anew theory of education. The concept of Rousseau’s theory was very modernespecially for the enlightenment era. It is also stated that Rousseau is thefounder of “modern education”. (Oelkers, 08)He wanted to change the society’s perspective and educate it. Firstly, Rousseau said that, when a child is beingeducated, the child is not expected to work. Rousseau expected his students tobe curious; ready to give their own opinions, capable to start experimentingwith new things; have a critical lie; and learn to be independent. Althoughnowadays these are taken for granted, unfortunately it was not always likethis. Before, only wealthy children were educated, while the poor had to workand earn a wage, even though a miserable one, to help their family survive.
Nowadays young children do not go to work and focusonly on basic education. Rousseau wanted to develop his new idea by educatingchildren and thus change society. His hope was that children would give newchoices, express curiosity, be individual, be independent, experiment with newobjects and have a critical eye.
Rousseau explained that a good teacher must observethe student. The teacher must observe the child’s development and his learningcurve. To be a good teacher, the educator must expose children to differentcircumstances and change their environment such as to expose them more tonature.
In the Maltese educational curriculum, some of Rousseau’s ideas areentrenched in it. Understandingchildren’s learning curve and how to fair better; sharing of information withothers; and to reflect on practice. (Employment, 2012)For Rousseau, the ideal school should not be in theCity centre but situated in a more rural environment. Big windowed classroomsshould be the norm so that the children could observe and enjoy the beauty ofthe surrounding nature.
He stated further that the school must not be in theheart of the city because society at large is not morally and ethically goodyet and it would influence negatively on the formation of the child. Unfortunately,in Malta, most of our schools were built in the heart of towns and villages.Therefore, this theory, in Malta, is not used everywhere. Children will benefiteven more and improve on their self-esteem, achieve confidence, and develop apositive self-identity, if the tutorial environment is free from negativeinfluences.
(Employment, 2012)Rousseau insists that schools should be well equippedand capable of offering journals for knowledge reading, kitchens, tool shop,wood works and chemicals He emphasises that children are to be exposed to thesetypes of classes to learn and gain experiences for life. In Malta, most modernschools have incorporated kitchens for children to be exposed to. Rousseauemphasises that to have a good education the child must be in “Child-centred”education. Hence, Rousseau concludes that children must be givenindependence and lead to learn different concepts and ideologies.