Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
“The teacher must be an observer and a guide, nothing more: it is the condition even of the conquest of personal freedom”:
Pedagogy and education
One confuses sometimes pedagogy and education: the pedagog, it is initially the teaching one, the professional. The specialists however distinguish the education, which is side of the action, pedagogy, reflection of a philosophical nature as well as technical, intended to direct the intervention of the teacher.
The teaching models are built at the same time starting from a systematization of the know-how tested on the ground and a theory of education. The latter can be elaborate by the experts themselves, but also by philosophers (Plato, Rousseau, etc) even of the politicians. Insofar as she seeks to transmit values, pedagogy has also a political office: all the periods of social transformation (the Carolingian time, the French revolution, the advent of the III E Republic) gave place to the production of new teaching doctrines. Lastly, pedagogy uses to differing degree the contributions of the social sciences: it was influenced by work of Jean Piaget and H. Wallon, the discoveries of the psychoanalysis, social psychology.
The philosophy of the Lights
Such as it develops in England then in France the philosophy of the Lights before gaining the whole of Europe, a turning marks. It imposes on the XVIII E century principles of rationality, inspired by the development of sciences, at the same time as it starts a criticism of the existing company, in the name of the human being “such as it had to leave with the hands of nature”. The pedagogy, conceived like means of giving to the individuals the possibility of an autonomous development, becomes an essential object of research.
In the Emile or education, appeared in 1762, Jean-Jacques Rousseau defines the ways of such a formation: it is necessary to leave to the child the possibility of discovering by itself, in contact with nature, the ways which lead to the reason and, consequently, with the moral conscience. The teacher must be an observer and a guide, nothing more: it is the condition even of the conquest of personal freedom.
Although its approach is different, Emmanuel Kant goes in the same direction and calls into question the role of the traditional teacher, who imposes knowledge and codes of conduct. To stress the individual can result in more or less neglecting the social function which education fills, i.e. the integration of the individuals to the community. Other representatives and disciples of the philosophy of the Lights will insist more on this aspect of education.
Founder of positivism, Auguste Count, whose influence will be considerable, believes in the need for a “higher popular teaching” which would diffuse philosophical and scientific knowledge and would contribute “to constitute an active universal morals firmly, prescribing with each agent, individual or collective, the codes of conduct in conformity with the fundamental harmony”.
Heir to positivism, Emile Durkheim - who sees in the social fact an existing object apart from the conscience of the individual, which interiorizes in the form of morals the constraints imposed by the company - considers that the man exists above all by his integration with the social group. And harmonizes it social group depends mainly on the political institutions.
Large contemporary teaching currents
During the first two thirds of the XXe century, one attends a true boiling of ideas and innovative initiatives as regards pedagogy. Most between them fall under the movement of new education, represented in particular by J. Dewey, E. Claparède, A. Ferrière, O. Decroly, Mr. Montessori, C. Freinet. According to these pedagogs, education is not a preparation with the life, it belongs to the life. It must adapt to the specific needs of the child and its centers of interest. The pioneers of new Education practice active methods, open the school with its social environment, support the training of the democracy through the life of group.
Apart from the school field, A.S. Neill, A. Aichorn, A. Makarenko, J. Korczak, F. Deligny work in the same spirit, accommodating disturbed children. From the years 1950, the psychosociological current, influenced by the thought of C. Rogers and research on the dynamics of the groups, gives the priority to the problems of communication. The various tendencies of institutional pedagogy stress the institutionalization of the medium of life: council of co-operative, distribution of the responsibilities.
While continuing to feed simultaneously with the sources from biology, sociology and psychology, pedagogy uses new means suggested by cybernetics. This one brings an instrument of more precise analysis, making it possible to highlight the various educational elements and their many interactions.
It gathers the whole of educational measurements which try to correct the difficulties of school adaptation of certain children. It facilitates the reequilibration and the blooming of their average intellectuals. Occupational pedagogy, it seeks also the causes (social, family, psychological) of these difficulties for better fighting them.
Field of the scientific research having for object the facts of education, it seeks to act on certain factors of school reality and to study the effects of them. It aims thus to the description, the knowledge and the explanation of the educational processes.
This teaching movement takes by priority in consideration institutional dimension like element inherent in any situation teaching and likely to limit the range of a system of formation. Born in 1960, it is distinguished, by the analysis and the criticism of the institutions, of the various preliminary teaching formulas, such as the new pedagogy of Tool bag and Claparède or the modern school of Freinet, which had been opposed to the traditional lecturing by active methods, but without calling into question the institutional framework in an explicit way.
Pedagogy in lose speed
In spite of the richness of these experiments, pedagogy currently seems in lose speed. She saw her own field being restricted with the profit of the sciences of education, taught at the University since 1967. Since the beginning of the years 1980, the teaching reflection seems largely supplanted by the didactic ones of the various disciplines. This research, of orientation cognitivist for the majority, gives much more importance to the effectiveness of the trainings than to the emotional life of the child. The ideas of new Education did not succeed in being concretized with large scales in educational establishment. Teaching movements (Centers of training to the methods of active education, French Group of new education, Freinet teams) however continue to diffuse them.