BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes
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Philosophical Thought of Froebel
Froebel was born on 21 April 1782 at an overseas village in Thuringian Forest, Germany. His complete name was Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel. His father was a padre in the same village and his mother was a housewife. His mother died when he was only 9 months old. His father remarried. His father remained busy with his work while his second mother did not look after him. He wandered here and there like a neglected child. However, the environment at home was religious, so he had a strong foundation of religious attributes. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
Froebel believed in the existence of God from the very beginning. At that time, the philosophies of Kant Fichte, Hegel, Spinoza, and Descartes were popular, and on the other hand, the results of scientific discoveries were coming to the fore. It was natural for Froebel to be influenced by them. But whatever he thought in this field and drew conclusions are perfectly original, it is his own philosophical thought. We shall try to discuss the metaphysics, epistemology, logic, axiology, and ethics of his philosophical thought.
Metaphysics of Froebel’s Philosophical Thought
Froebel observed that all beings and trees and plants have the capability to develop as their specific species. Thinking about the cause of this development, he found the cause of self-element. In his view, God is the creator of this universe and is complete in himself and pervaded each place of the universe in equal measure. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
Froebel has termed it as pervading unity in diversity. He considered man the best creature of the universe because he can experience this unity through his superior mental faculties. He considered human life purposeful, in his view the supreme aim of man is self-realization. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
Epistemology and Logic of Froebel’s Philosophical Thought
Each object, in Froebel’s view, is progressive and the basic power of this progress of development is inherent within it which grows on the basis of certain fundamental principles. According to Froebel, to acquaint oneself with the progressive development of matter and beings is knowledge and to know God as the basic cause of their development is true knowledge. According to Froebel, man can gain any type of knowledge by his own innate powers. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
Axiology and Ethics of Froebel’s Philosophical Thought
Froebel believed in eternal moral rules and values. In his view, morality is not relative to the individual, society, or country, it is not relative to time and place, it is determined by God, it is eternal, universal, and perennial. In his view, truth, beauty, and goodness are eternal values, and man’s conduct should be guided by them.
Educational Thought of Froebel
Froebel was much influenced by Comenius, Rousseau, and Pestalozzi, and mostly by Pestalozzi’s thoughts. He had received his training in teaching methods from Pestalozzi, and in this sense, he was the pupil of Pestalozzi. But he has not blindly followed any previous thinker. He contemplated himself, experimented with himself and drew conclusions, used these conclusions in his life, and published them in the form of books. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
We shall present his educational thought and practice in brief.
Concept of Education
Froebel saw that the whole tree is inherent in the seed, and it has the capability to grow into a complete tree; only it has to be made available the necessary soil, air, water, and sunlight. He saw that the same principle applies to all beings of the world. In his view, a manifestation of these innate faculties of man and their development is education.
In his own words, “Education is a process by which a child makes it’s internal external.”
Aims of Education
Froebel was a pantheist. In his view, God pervades everywhere. So the purpose, aim, and ideal of man is to know the unity in diversity. Now the question arises, how this knowledge can be realized? He replies that it can be got by the abidance of moral rules. He considered truth, beauty, and goodness as moral rules and laid emphasis on the development of these rules from the very childhood.
He considered social life as necessary for their development, so he laid stress on making man skilled in living a social life. He considered physical and intellectual development necessary for the distinction between truth and untruth. In his view, the aims of education should be just these. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
We can express these aims in modern terminology as follows:
- To make a man understand his divine form (soul) and divine unity of the world.
- To affect the physical and intellectual development of the children.
- To bring about the social development of the children to train them in socially useful moral behavior.
- To incline the children towards abidance of the moral rules and to affect their character development.
- To develop divine elements in the children and to incline them towards living a pure life.
Curriculum of Education
Pestalozzi was the first man in the educational world of Europe who based education on psychology. Froebel took forward this view of his teacher. He understood the developmental process of man and thought that this development takes place in different forms in children of different age groups. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
He developed the following principles regarding curriculum construction:
- The subjects and activities of the curriculum should be determined according to the physical and mental capability of the children. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
- All subjects and activities of the curriculum should be interrelated, they should have unity.
- The curriculum should be such that it can be completed by activities.
- The curriculum should be based on the principle of human development.
According to Froebel, the initial period of man’s life is childhood, it is the stage of playings, so the children of this age should be given the opportunity to develop independently. The second stage is boyhood, at this stage, the children should be given opportunities to learn different vocations. And the third stage is that of youth, at this stage they should be trained in social life.
He has specifically expressed his opinion regarding the children from 4 years to 8 years, and has presented the curriculum for them:
- Games and exercise.
- Language knowledge.
- Art and music.
- Nature observation.
- History and geography.
- Science and mathematics.
- Religious education (Christianity).
Methods of Teaching
Froebel has chiefly expressed his thought about the education of children from 4 years to 8 years and has developed the kindergarten method for their education. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
We shall discuss here the principles and methodology of the kindergarten method.
Fundamental Principles of Kindergarten Method
Froebel’s educational principles are based on idealistic philosophy and psychology. His kindergarten method is based on the following principles:
1. Principle of Unity: Froebel was an idealistic philosopher. He observed unity in the diversity of the world. Froebel wanted his pupils to experience this unity. He constructed several techniques for making them experience this unity. The ultimate aim of all these was to make them experience the unity underlying diversity, that is God.
2. Principle of Making Internal External: Froebel considered man as born with the faculties to gain knowledge. According to him obtaining knowledge is his natural feature, only he should be given such an external environment that his knowledge develops in the right direction. Knowledge of activities should not be imposed upon him from outside, rather he should be given such an environment that he becomes curious to receive them. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
3. Principle of Freedom: Froebel considered freedom as essential for the natural development of children. He clarified that interference in their natural development in any way hinders their development. But he opposed freedom as advocated by Rousseau. He did not give the children the freedom to become frolicsome.
In his view, there should be a limit to freedom and this limit should be to the extent as their thoughts and activities do not cause any harm to others. Even in the situation of complete freedom, we should take care of the convenience of other members of society. Froebel has not experienced love and sympathy in his childhood, so he knew the significance of love and sympathy. He has laid foremost emphasis on affectionate and sympathetic behavior in his teaching system.
4. Principle of Self-Activity: Froebel considered development as an internal activity, so he laid emphasis on providing maximum opportunities to the children for self-activity. According to Froebel, the chief characteristic of children is self-activity. By self-activity, Froebel meant that activity that the child desires to do himself and does with interest. The real development of a child’s personality depends on his self-activity. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
In the viewpoint of Froebel, the significance of seif-activity is not limited to only physical development, rather it brings about the spiritual development of the child too. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
According to him, infinite divine principle demands of man free self-activity.
5. Principle of Learning by Play-way Method: Froebel studied the nature of the children and reached the conclusion that they have a natural interest in games, so he accepted the significance of the play-way method for the education of children. He clarified that the children have complete freedom in the play-way method to express themselves, so they take interest in it and become active. Thus, the play-way method abides by the above two principles.
6. Principle of Social Participation: Froebel knew the fact that man has the instinct of gregariousness that makes him a social being. He also accepted the fact that any type of development of man is possible only in the social environment. Home, school, and society provide him with opportunities to do self-activity, so the children should necessarily take part in social activities. This is the reason that Froebel has provided free opportunities to the children for collective games, dialogue, and other activities in his method.
Froebel was aware of the divine form of the children, he respected the children, and therefore, attached significance to internal discipline in place of repressive discipline. He clarified that if the child develops the feeling of self-discipline, he would behave in society in a disciplined way. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
In his view, wisdom is necessary for self-discipline. Imprudent activities take the form of purposeless games. So the child should be given limited freedom according to rules. But it does not imply that the child should not be given any freedom; he should be given freedom but it should be self-controlled. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
The child is the focal point of education in Froebel’s teaching system, but the teacher is no less responsible. According to Froebel, in a school garden, the teacher like a gardener is responsible for the proper development of the students like plants. He should give a suitable environment to the children for their natural development and should be helpful in this process.
In the viewpoint of Froebel, the teacher should behave with the children like a mother in a sensitive and motherly way. Therefore, he was in the favour of appointing only women as teachers at this level. He reasoned that women are more sensitive as compared to men and they understand the problems of infants more clearly.
Froebel was also aware of the fact that a being develops according to his inherent capability. So he considered the student as the center of the educational process. He declared that the infants should be given free opportunities for their development and the whole planning of education for the infants should be based on the natural abilities, interests, and needs of the infants.
Froebel has only expressed his thought about infant schools. He has termed the infant as gardens. The garden is just like an environment where the gardener looks after the trees and plants.
It has pure and cool sir, pleasant and peaceful environment. In the viewpoint of Froebel, the school environment too should be just like this. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
Pure air and light should be available there, its environment should be beautiful and attractive just like that of a garden; the teacher should be just like the gardener who should look after the development of the plants and trees in the form of children.
Kindergarten has its own form. Its building, furniture, sports grounds sports goods and gifts, etc. are made and selected keeping in view the interests of the children. Only women teachers are appointed to them because they can identify the needs of children easily and can behave with them in a motherly way. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)
In brief, the kindergarten system is according to the nature of the children, it is the center of their attraction, the children go there of their own free accord, and if it is not so, then take it that you have failed to give the form of a kindergarten to your a school. The time of kindergarten school is specified. The time of school is determined according to the season and each period comprises of 20-25 minutes. (BEd 2nd Year Philosophical and Educational Thoughts of Froebel Study Notes)