Born In SomerseL, EngIund, JoIn ¡ocke wus u noLed pIIIosopIer-LIe IIrsL oI LIe

BrILIsI empIrIcIsLs- poIILIcuI udvIser, und pIysIcIun. As u sLudenL uL LIe WesLmInsLer
ScIooI, ¡ocke endured LIe LypIcuI mId-sevenLeenLI-cenLury educuLIonuI regImen
reserved Ior udoIescenL boys: sLrIcL udIerence Lo ruIes, severe punIsImenLs, und roLe
memorIzuLIon oI boLI LIe prIncIpIes oI grummur und Iurge seIecLIons oI ¡uLIn und
Greek verse. UndoubLedIy, ¡ocke's dIssuLIsIucLIon wILI IIs educuLIon uL WesLmInsLer
wus responsIbIe, Lo u sIgnIIIcunL exLenL, Ior boLI IIs sLuIwurL supporL oI Iome
scIooIIng-LIe preIerred meLIod uL LIe LIme Ior educuLIng gIrIs-und prIvuLe LuLors,
us weII us IIs IorceIuI crILIcIsm oI InsLILuLIonuI educuLIon.
BuL mucI oI ¡ocke's vIew on educuLIon und LIe proper deveIopmenL oI cIIIdren-seL
IorLI In u serIes oI IeLLers Lo u cousIn und IuLer pubIIsIed us Some Thouçhts on
Educction-uIso reIIecLed IIs pIIIosopIIcuI wrILIngs on LIe nuLure oI knowIedge und
Iumun undersLundIng (LIougI scIoIurs dIIIer on LIe precIse reIuLIonsIIp beLween
LIese Lwo bodIes oI work). ¡n An Esscç Concerninç Humcn Understcndinç, ¡ocke
urgued LIuL LIe Iumun mInd uL bIrLI Is u LubuIu rusu (bIunk sIuLe), enLIreIy devoId oI
uny Ideus or oLIer menLuI conLenL. AII LIe conLenL oI LIe ucLIve Iumun mInd Is
derIved Irom LIe duLu oI sense experIence, wIIcI Is LIen LrunsIormed InLo
IncreusIngIy compIex Ideus LIrougI reIIecLIon und reuson. CrucIuI Lo ¡ocke's
pIIIosopIIcuI vIew, und oI greuL sIgnIIIcunce Ior IIs LIougILs on educuLIon, wus IIs
empIusIs on LIe roIe oI experIence In LIe ucquIsILIon oI knowIedge. ¡ndeed, In LIe
IIrsL purugrupIs oI Some Thouçhts on Educction, ¡ocke conLended LIuL LIe depLI
und breudLI oI one's knowIedge, boLI moruI und prucLIcuI, Is overwIeImIngIy u
producL oI educuLIon und experIence, us opposed Lo nuLuruI InLeIIecL. ¡ocke dId
recognIze LIuL cIIIdren ure born wILI dIIIerIng upLILudes und IncIInuLIons, und Ie
beIIeved LIuL, Ior LIe mosL purL, LIese nuLuruI eIemenLs couId noL be sIgnIIIcunLIy
uILered. ¡L Is Ior LIIs reuson, ¡ocke urgued, LIuL currIcuIu musL be desIgned LIuL IIL LIe
purumeLers oI u cIIId's nuLuruI genIus. BuL wILIouL experIence LIese upLILudes cunnoL
be deLecLed nor, oI course, deveIoped. And cIIIdren ure besL ubIe Lo deveIop LIeIr John
Locke (1632-1704) was a proponent of home schooling and private tutoring rather than the strict regimen
that most adolescent boys were required to follow. (Bettmann/Corbis) InLeIIecLuuI und socIuI skIIIs,
uccordIng Lo ¡ocke, LIrougI vurIous kInds oI pIuy und LIe prucLIcIng oI cerLuIn skIIIs,
ruLIer LIun LIrougI roLe memorIzuLIon oI ussorLed ruIes.
TIe InLeresL In ¡ocke's wrILIngs on educuLIon Ior IIs successors Is cIeur: By LIe end oI
LIe nIneLeenLI cenLury Some Thouçhts on Educction Iud been LIrougI IILeruIIy
dozens oI EngIIsI edILIons, us weII us severuI edILIons In ¡rencI, Germun, und ¡LuIIun.

I. THEORY OF VALUE: What knowledge and skills are worthwhile learning? What are the
goals oI Education?
The skill and knowledge needed to order our actions in accordance with the laws oI nature; to
treat our possessions and persons responsibly, and to avoid coming under the absolute control
oI others (Yolton, p. 16)
Acquiring knowledge Irequently establishes a habit oI doing so -satisIying natural curiosity
Irequently establishes the habit oI loving and esteeming all learning (Deighton, p. 23)
Pursuit oI truth is a duty we owe to God and ourselves (Cranston, p. 23)
The goal oI education is the welIare and prosperity oI the nation -Locke conceived the
nations's welIare and prosperity in terms oI the personal happiness and social useIulness oI its
citizens (Deighton, p. 20)
Education Ior Locke provides the character Iormation necessary Ior becoming a person and
Ior being a responsible citizen (Yolton, p. 3)
His education philosophy is an eIIort to show how democratic constitutional monarchy might
be preserved and improved (Deighton, p. 20)
II. THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE What is knowledge? How is it diIIerent Irom belieI?
What is a mistake? A lie?
Knowledge is publicly veriIiable, measurable, plain, demonstrable Iacts - not imagination
(Cranston, p. 17) the best instance oI knowing is intuiting - by intuiting is meant a power
which the mind possesses oI apprehending truth (Aaron, p. 221)
Knowledge, like good character, is a set oI mental habits rather than a body oI belieI
(Deighton, p. 21)
Knowledge is limited to imperIections oI ideas we have; we can have probable knowledge
even when we can't have certain knowledge (Cranston, p.22)
Knowledge is the perception oI the agreement or disagreement oI two ideas (Hutchins, p. 347)
- may be Iour sorts: identity or diversity, relation, co-existence and real existence
Knowing is an inIallible intuition; opening is coming to a conclusion aIter weighing the
evidence, but without certainty (Aaron, p 248). Mistakes and lies would be a lack oI evidence
and deIiance oI evidence.
III. THEORY OF HUMAN NATURE What is a human being? How does it diIIer Irom
other species? What are the limits oI human potential?
Man becomes moral through education - humans have no innate ideas oI God, no innate
moral truths, no natural inclination of virtue - Locke deIined man as both rational and moral
(Yolton, p. 26, 27)
Man is subject to the rule oI natural law which was ultimately God's law made known to man
through the voice oI reason (Cranston, p. 11)
Locke's denial oI innate ideas put a premium on individual eIIort, on the labor necessary to
gain knowledge Irom experience (Tarcov, P. 83). Man could be ruled and be Iree - man is
endowed with natural rights such as liIe, liberty and property (Cranston,, p. 12)
IV. THEORY OF LEARNING What is learning? How are skills and knowledge acquired?
The learning that gentlemen should possess is general, according to Locke (Deighton, p 21).
Learning is the last and least part oI education. Learning is a great help to virtue and wisdom,
but without them it produces only the more Ioolish or worse men (Tarcov, p. 198)
rom infancy onwards, the child's eIIorts toward bodily pleasure and toward power in
possessions and over others should be thoroughly Irustrated. The result will be that habits oI
selI-centered, aggressive behavior and oI preIerring ignorance to learning will not become
established (Deighton, p. 22)
Skills and knowledge are acquired by example and practice instead oI charging oI children's
memories with rules and principals (Cranston, p. 16)
Unconscious habits are bred by practice and manners learned by example (Cranston, p. 16)
V. THEORY OF TRANSMISSION
Who is to teach? By what methods? What will the curriculum be?
The goal oI the gentlemen's education cannot be achieved by sending him to a school.
Learning should be superintended by a tutor assisted by genuinely interested parents
(Deighton, p. 22
or working classes, poor children oI both sexes between the ages oI 3-14 should be
compelled to attend school with "teachers" (Deighton p. 20)
Locke attacked ordinary method oI teaching - manners learned by example, latin learned by
speaking (cranston p. 16)
The best way to get men to do what is wanted is not t terriIy or Iorce them but to motivate
them, to arouse and then rely on desires, while letting them think, not without justice, that
they are acting Ior their own sakes and oI their own Iree will (Tarcov, p. 98)
Methods Ior poor - learn by practice; Ior gentlemen - bring pupil to practice the activities oI
the gentlemanly ideal until they become habitual (Deighton, p., 22)
Curriculum Ior the poor: Iocus on regular worship Ior sake oI religion and moral
improvement, handicraIts and agricultural skills, vocational arts - may have intended that
young should learn to read, write and do math but made no statements to that eIIect
(Deighton, p. 20)
Curriculum Ior gentlemen: health - the Iirst ingredient oI personal happiness; development oI
good character - consisting oI three groups oI habits - virtue, wisdom and breeding; to include
reading, writing and arithmetic, Latin, language and literature (Greek Ior scholars only) ;
literature oI rance and England, the natural and social sciences; the arts should occupy a
minor place -which Locke considered a useless or dangerous thing (Deighton, p. 21-22)
Learning -that gentlemen should possess is general; detailed learning is only Ior those who
would become scholars; one should know in detail what is directly useIul in managing
personal aIIairs. (deighton, p. 21)
VI. THEORY OF SOCIETY What is society? What institutions are involved in the
educational process?
Men once lived in a state oI natural anarchy but had banded together to Iorm political society
(Cranston, p. 11) Men entrusted power to rulers on the condition that natural rights were
respected by rulers. Natural rights and natural law are rooted in edicts oI God which were
inalienable (Cranston, p. 12, 13)
Men possess these traits: 1) natural Ireedom - right to liIe and liberty; 2) necessity Ior labor;
and 3) capacity oI reason - Irom # 1 & 2 - I lows right oI property in things which is chieI
Iactor in Ioundation oI society (Cranston, p. 24-25)
The child enters both a Iamily and a nation. The Iamily's duty being slowly to awaken the
child to virtue. The government must perIorm its part in the social contract - to preserve the
rights to liIe and liberty oI all the citizens (Deighton, p. 23) Each oI these communities should
be guided by moral laws, laws devised Irom the laws oI nature which are God's laws (Yolton,
p. 20)
VII. THEORY OF OPPORTUNITY Who is to be educated? Who is to be schooled?
The citizens oI the nation fall into two kinds: those who posses property to some signiIicant
degree and those who do not. The I Iirst group is made up oI gentlemen, the second oI
workingmen. Both gentlemen and workingmen ought to be personally happy and socially
useIul, but since they occupy diIIerent stations in society, their happiness and useIulness must
diIIer. The welIare and prosperity oI the nation demand that children oI the propertied class
be educated in a way quite diIIerent Irom children oI the poor (Deighton, p. 21). Locke
believed that the daughters oI gentlemen should be education in much the same way as their
sons (Deighton, p. 24)
Children oI the poor class should be kept away Irom schools - even the best - because they
would Iall into the company oI undesirables (Cranston, p. 17)
7)
VIII. THEORY OF CONSENSUS Why do people disagree? How is the consensus
achieved? Whose opinion takes precedence?
Wrong doing is a sign oI ignorance; people should be enlightened, use own power oI reason,
be prudent, reIlective and calculatory instead oI being moved by impulse (Cranston, p. 24).
The mind perceives the agreement between our idea and itselI, and a disagreement in this
respect between it and all others (Ior example, white is white and not black). The mind also
perceives a violation between its ideas. In one sense all the agreements are violations, Ior an
agreement is a violation. (Aaron, p. 225)


REFERENCES
Aaron, R. (1971). John Locke. OxIord: The OxIord University Press
Cranston, M. (1969). John Locke (rev. ed. Green and Co., Ltd. London: Longmans,
Deighton, L.C. (Ed.) (1971). The encyclopedia oI education, volume 6. New York: The
Macmillan Company and the ree Press.
Hutchins, R.M. (Ed.) (1971). Great books oI the western world: Volume 35 - Locke, Berkeley
and Hume (rev. ed). Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
Tarcov, N. (1984). Locke's education Ior liberty. Chicago: The University oI Chicago Press.
Yolton, J. W. (1968) John Locke and the way oI ideas. OxIord: The OxIord University Press
GO TO TOP



BibIiography
CIeverIy, JoIn, und D. C. PIIIIIps. 'isions oj Childhood: Injluenticl
Models jrom Locle to Spocl. New York: TeucIers CoIIege Press, 1q86.
SImons, M. "WIy Cun'L u Mun Be More ¡Ike u Womun? (A NoLe on JoIn ¡ocke's
EducuLIonuI TIougIL)." Educctioncl Theorç qo (1qqo):1¸¸-1q¸.
!:bIications by Locke
The Worls oj 1ohn Locle: Some Thouçhts on Educction. ¡ondon: PrInLed Ior
TIomus Tegg, 18z¸.
¡ocke, JoIn. An Esscç Concerninç Humcn Understcndinç, edILed byPeLer H.
NIddILcI. OxIord: OxIord UnIversILy Press, 1q;¸.
Richcrd M. ßucl
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Reud more: JoIn ¡ocke (16¸z-1;oq) - EducuLIon, Humun, ExperIence,
UndersLundIng, KnowIedge, und EducuLIonuI
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