Philosophical and Psychological
Foundations of Education
QUOTATIONS BY PHILOSOPHER
 

JOHN LOCKE

 

My Educational Philosophy
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Men's happiness or misery is [for the] most part of their own making. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


As the strength of the body lies chiefly in being able to endure hardship, so also does that of the mind. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


Those children who have been the most chastised seldom make the best men. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


And this habit, as the true foundation of future ability and happiness, is to be wrought into the mind, as early as may be, even from the first dawnings of any knowledge or apprehension in children. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


For extravagant young fellows, that have liveliness and spirit, come sometimes to be set right, and so make able and great men: but dejected minds, timorous and tame, and low spirits, are hardly ever to be raised, and very seldom attain to anything. To avoid the danger that is on either hand is the great art: and he that has found a way how to keep up a child's spirit, easy, active, and free; and yet, at the same time, to restrain him from many things he has a mind to, and to draw him to things that are uneasy to him; he, I say, that knows how to reconcile these seeming contradictions, has, in my opinion, got the true secret of education. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


Thus, people, to prevail with children to be industrious about their grammar, dancing, or some other such matter, of no great moment to the happiness or usefulness of their lives, by misapplied rewards and punishments, sacrifice their virtue, invert the order of their education, and teach them luxury, pride, or covetousness. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


If these faults of their age, rather than of the children themselves, were, as they should be, left only to time, and imitation, and riper years to cure, children would escape a great deal of misapplied and useless correction; which either fails to overpower the natural disposition of their childhood, and so, by an ineffectual familiarity, makes correction in other necessary cases of less use; or else if it be of force to restrain the natural gaiety of that age, it serves only to spoil the temper of both body and mind. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


It is much easier for a tutor to command than to teach. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


Let therefore your rules to your so be as few as is possible, and rather fewer than more than seem absolutely necessary. For is you burden him with many rules, one of these two things must necessarily follow, that either he must be very often punished, which will be of ill consequence, by making punishment too frequent and familiar; or else you must let the transgressions of some of your rules go unpunished, whereby they will of course grow contemptible, and your authority become cheap to him. Make but few laws but see they be well observed, when once made. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


What you think necessary for them to do, settle in them by an indispensable practice, as often as the occasion returns; and, if it be possible, make occasions. This will beget habits in them, which, being once established, operate of themselves easily and naturally, without the assistance of the memory. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


Another thing you are to take care of, is, not to endeavour to settle too many habits at once, lest by a variety you confound them, and so perfect none. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


You must do nothing before him, which you would not have him imitate. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


None of the things they are to learn should ever be made a burden, or imposed on them as a task. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


He that loves reading, writing, music, etc. finds yet in himself certain seasons wherein those things have no relish to him: and, if at that time he forces himself to do it, he only pothers and wearies himself to no purpose. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


The reasons that move [children] must be obvious, and level to their thoughts, and such as many (if I may so say) be felt and touched. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


For knowledge is grateful to the understanding, as light to the eyes: children are pleased and delighted with it exceedingly, especially if they see that their inquiries are regarded, and that their desire of knowing is encouraged and commended. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


As children's inquiries are not to be slighted, so also great care is to be taken, that they never receive deceitful and illuding answers. They easily perceive when they are slighted or deceived, and quickly learn the trick of neglect, dissimulation, and falsehood, which they observe others to make use of. We are not to intrench upon truth in any conversation, but least of all with children; since, if we play false with them, we not only deceive their expectation, and hinder their knowledge, but corrupt their innocence, and teach them the worst of vices. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


I have always had a fancy, that learning might be made a play and recreation to children; and that they might be brought to desire to be taught, if it were proposed to them as a thing of honour, credit, and delight, and recreation, or as reward for doing something else, and if they were never chided or corrected for the neglect of it. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


The natural temper of children disposes their minds to wander. Novelty alone takes them; whatever that presents, they are presently eager to have a taste of, and are as soon satisfied with it. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


If [children] come not to their books with some kind of liking and relish, it is no wonder their thoughts should be perpetually shifting from what disgusts them, and seek better entertainment in more pleasing objects, after which they will unavoidably be gadding. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


The great skill of a teacher is to get and keep the attention of his scholar. . . . To attain this, he should make the child comprehend (as much as may be) the usefulness of what he teaches him; and let him see, by what he has learned, that he can do something which he could not do before; something which gives him some power and real advantage above others, who are ignorant of it. To this he should add sweetness in all his instructions; and by a certain tenderness in his whole carriage, make the child sensible that he loves him, and designs nothing but his good; the only way to beget love in the child, which will make him hearken to his lessons, and relish what he teaches him. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


Let the awe [the teacher] has upon [children's] minds be so tempered with the constant marks of tenderness and good will, that affection may spur them to their duty, and make them find a pleasure in complying with his dictates. This will bring them with satisfaction to their tutor; make them hearken to him, as to one who is their friend, that cherishes them, and takes pains for their good; this will keep their thoughts easy and free, whilst they are with him, the only temper wherein the mind is capable of receiving new information, and of admitting into itself those impressions. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


There are a thousand other things that may need consideration; especially if one should take in the various tempers, different inclinations, and particular defaults, that are to be found in children; and prescribe proper remedies. The variety is so great, that it would require a volume; nor would that reach it. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education


There are possible scarce two children, who can be conducted by exactly the same method. ~ John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education

Excerpts from Some Thoughts Concerning Education

 

 
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