john locke theory on education
25 Friday Oct 2013
John Locke was an English philosopher and physician in the 17 th century who is known as the “Father of Classical Liberalism.” He was also one of the most influential Enlightenment thinkers. Locke is well-known for his tabula rasa view of the human mind, his social contract theory, and his belief that knowledge is derived through experience of the senses. His political theories influenced the writings of other philosophers and the key ideas behind the United States’ Declaration of Independence. Locke is famous for three works: A Letter Concerning Toleration, The Second Treatise on Civil Government, and Some Thoughts Concerning Education. Locke has also been labeled “the father of modern education in England” (Locke, 205).
  Bird T. Baldwin, “John Locke’s Contribution to Education”, 1913
Introduction to the Understanding Why Schools Are the Way They Are Series
Of course, fancy must be tempered by reality. The book simultaneously calls for encouraging self-control, implementing a love of reason, instilling virtue, and utilizing disgrace, as well as praise, as a motivator. A friend to traditionalists as well as to progressives, Locke extols the importance of example and the power of habit. Some Thoughts Concerning Education appealed to parents and teachers because Locke was concrete, practical, moderate, and balanced.
In his book, Locke acknowledges that he does not have all the answers, such as how to motivate the listless student or how to extirpate “sauntering” (17th-century parlance for “hanging out”). There is little mention of art and music. Living in a patriarchal, aristocratic society, he has little advice for women and poor people. He could not envision the importance of a public school in a democracy.
Locke attacked ordinary method of teaching – manners learned by example, latin learned by speaking (cranston p. 16)
VIII. THEORY OF CONSENSUS Why do people disagree? How is the consensus achieved? Whose opinion takes precedence?
17In eastern Europe, or the western parts of Asia, the barbarian proves that Greek is not a necessary possession, because his achievement has nothing to do, apparently, with his knowledge of the language and culture. And yet this reference to the Scythian as “Philosopher” is arguably the only positive mention of philosophy in the Thoughts. Most of the word’s other occurrences have to do with movements Locke denigrates: scholasticism, metaphysics or the speculative but impracticable science of “Natural Philosophy” (§190). Yet the reader can only feel that Locke’s thoughts are philosophical, rather than medical, pedagogical in the strict sense or political.
29Education is impossible in this standard view, without social qualification: “Leisure, Books, and Languages” especially. Men are otherwise like animals, and far from representing a new opportunity for the family or the mind, their children are just a further hindrance to their own intellectual development. But beginning with the body, Some Thoughts opens channels of connection between higher and lower classes, so long as the latter are capable of a certain degree of honesty and substance, or “Breeding.” The clearest symptom of the change underway is the long discussion of the tutor (§92-94). Before Locke cuts the discussion short, one may begin to suspect that he has changed subjects, concerning himself not with the creation of a young gentleman’s character but with the tutor’s.