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Robert Owen was a multidimensional social and educational theorist (Gutek, 2011). He turned his utopian vision into reality by turning to education rather than revolution (Gutek, 2011). Owen designed early education programs in which children were to learn the attitudes and behaviors that make them into cooperative adults (Gutek, 2011). Both Rousseau and Owen were educational thinkers that developed early
EDUCATIONAL THINKERS 4education programs to help children learn during the Enlightenment and Modernity Eras in history. Enlightenment EraDuring the Enlightenment Era in history, scientists saw themselves as breaking new ground. They were able to retain a concept of an essentially stable universe, not one that was evolving, changing, and relativist (Gutek, 2011). However, they were able to break with traditional views that science and scientific education means accepting the views of the ancient Greeks and Roman philosophers (Gutek, 2011). According to the Enlightenment worldview, nature in the physical sense was all that was out there. During this era, Enlightenment theorists did believe in a supreme being, a divine creator, a God of sorts who intervened in world and human affairs (Gutek, 2011). However, they believed that this force was impersonal. Many enlightenment thinkers, also known as deists, believed that this force was no more than a point of origin that started the universe and then left it to function and develop on its own (Gutek, 2011). The Enlightenment strategy for making progress a reality was based on the philosophy’s concepts of nature and the scientific method (Gutek, 2011). They believed that the intellectual and cultural baggage inherited from the prescientific past created institutional and attitudinal obstacles to social reform (Gutek, 2011). Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a paradoxical figure (Gutek, 2011). Although at times,he stood with the Enlightenment philosophes and at other times against them. Most importantly, Rousseau and his Enlightenment colleagues believed that reform would
EDUCATIONAL THINKERS 5come when the obstacles to freedom had been replaced by other reasonable authorities (Gutek, 2011). According to Rousseau, we receive our education from three sources; from nature, from man, and from things (Mamun, 2012). However, this view states that natureand education are nothing more than habits. But a habit is used in two senses. Primarily, habit in this sense is to be followed; but habit in its usual significance indicates that which is acquired by direct imitation of other human beings, by suggestion, or by obedience to command (Mamun, 2012). Rousseau later states: “The only habit which thechild should be allowed to form is to contract no habit whatever” (Mamun, 2012). Rousseau told educators to base instruction on the stages of human growth and development (Gutek, 2011). He believed that by observing children, educators could identify the stages of growth and base instruction on what was naturally appropriate to children’s interests and needs at a particular stage (Gutek, 2011).