Wednesday, 25 March 2015

M.Ed. Notes-Educational Philosophy of Frobel

Educational Philosophy of Friedrich Wilhelm August Frobel 

(This notes are for M.Ed. students. B.Ed. students don't need this topic in the depth covered as in this. 
However B.Ed. students can go through it and understand!!)

Prepared by
M.Sc., M.Ed., JRF & NET
Assistant Professor in Physical Science, Arafa Institute for Teacher Education
Attur, Thrissur.

           A German philosopher –educator and founder of the kindergarten, championed the cause of infant education in response to the inspiration that he derived from the great educationist Pestalozzi. He ushered in a new era in child education. Today, his kindergarten system is highly acclaimed all over the world by both educators and parents alike. It is recognised as an effective way to deal with a highly “teachable moment “in the life of the young child.

                                Life profile of Frobel

                  Frobel was born on April 21st, 1782in the village of Oberweisback in the south Germany. He lost his mother when he was only of nine months. His father got remarried. His father was not very affectionate to him. The unfair treatment of his stepmother made his childhood all the more miserable. His life presents one of history’s strange paradoxes that the man whose own childhood was full of tears should bring smiles for the children of the world. Since Frobel’s own child hood was neglected he developed an intensive sympathy for children and spent his life promoting their life. In fact, Frobel had to go through a long and tough struggle before he could make his mark and garner life’s richest harvest. Being unable to do well at a village school, he started doing odd jobs when he was only 14 years of age.

                      His wandering spirit was set at peace when he went to Frankfurt where he came in contact with the director of a model school. He discovered the real genius of his young man and persuaded him to join his school as a teacher. Frobel gladly accepted the offer .But he felt the need of some professional training and he was attracted to Pestalozzi’s school at “yverdum”. There he stayed for 4 years and later on studied natural science at Gottingen and Berlin universities.
                   In 1816 he founded a small school which became a successful institution after 10 years. Now the road to success stretched before him. He achieved world wide fame when in 1817in 1817 he founded his first kindergarten, an institution for the children of age 4 to 6 at Blackenburg. Frobel served the cause of education for the remaining period of his life. He died on 21st June 1852, yet he lives for the children and as it were , continues to pour a silent whisper in the ears of education ,”come let us live for our children”. Frobel died in 1852, in poverty, misery and agony. His grave is marked by a slab, with a cube and sphere on it.

                                       Published works
1.    The education of man
2.    Pedagogues of kindergarten
3.    Mother play and nursery songs
4.    Education and development

                                           Aims and targets of education

·         Give children enjoyment in agreement with their nature.
·         Strengthen the bodies of children .a healthy mind in healthy body. A child must grow to his maximum physical potential.
·          Exercises their senses for their optimal sensitivity and perceptions.
·         Awaken their minds.
·         Acquaint them with nature and their fellows..
·         Lead them to unity.

                            Educational principles of Frobel

§  The law of unity:
                         According to Frobel there is one eternal law – law of unity – that governs all things, men and nature. All things, an animate or inanimate, originate from god. Man and nature are one. There is unity in diversity and diversity in unity. Each of these has individuality and also a unity. Frobel considers that the aim of education is that man only may well understand the idea of unity in diversity. He said that the essential business of school is not so much to communicate a variety and multiplicity of facts as to give prominence to the ever living unity that is in all things.

§  The principle of development :
                                      By development, he meant an increase in bulk or quantity,                 increase in complexity or structure, an improvement in power, skill and variety in the performance of natural functions. Educations unfold the innate powers of the child in order to enable him to have a spiritual union with god. Education should lead to moral, religious and spiritual development.
§  The principle of self activity:
                                  It is only through self activity that real growth and development is possible. Forced activity is artificial and unnatural. Education should develop the innate qualities of the child .child’s own activities are the best medium of education. Play reflected in the mind of the child and it is considered the free and unfettered natural source of development.

§  Developments through social institutions
                                 According to Frobel school is a miniature society. He remarked, “No community can progress while the individual remains behind”. He believed that the individual is not apart from the life of the society. The child should develop his individuality through social atmosphere. All the social institutions like home, school, church are the agencies of education.


                            In the form of kindergarten, Frobel has made an important contribution to the theory and practice of education. He realized the paramount importance of childhood and opened the first kindergarten, an institution of children of age 4 to 6, at Blackenburg in 1837. Kindergarten or KG is a German word meaning, “garden of children”. Frobel had a special love and concern for the children and wanted to introduce system which could benefit the small children in learning .he was the first to give the call, “come, let us live for our children”.
                           To Frobel school is like a garden, where children play and dance like flowers and teacher protects them like a gardener. Child like a little tender plant grows and teacher makes his efforts to beautify the garden with the proper growth, care and looking after the plants.

                             Practice of kindergarten

                    Frobel’s is a miniature state for children where the watch words are freedom, play, and joyful living. Here no books are prescribed. The learning is activity oriented. Education is imparted through songs, movements and construction. Whatever is narrated in a song is followed by its dramatization in movements and construction.  Whatever is narrated in a song is followed by its dramatization in movements and gestures. The same is afterwards represented with the help of construction work in blocks, paper clay, drawing or other materials. This three fold procedures stimulates thought, vivifies imagination, trains and coordinates physical muscle of hands, eyes etc.  And ultimately strengthens the moral nature of child. For convenience sake, we may divide the teaching procedure in two parts, i.e. teaching through songs, teaching through gifts and occupations.

                                          Teaching through songs
             The various songs which Froebel employed for the purpose of teaching are               included in Mother Play and Nursery songs [1843]. Froebel regarded these songs as the best means to familiarise the child with surroundings and to exercise his senses, limbs and muscles.

                                       Froebel gifts and occupations
 These gifts are in the form of educational toys. Those gifts are carefully graded and are to be presented to the child in the definite order. Spenser comes first, followed by crystal, cube, cylinder etc. The activities connected with these gifts are called occupations. The purpose of these gifts is to train child’s senses of touch and sight and to give him an idea of sizes surface and number. Froebel designed about 20 such gifts but only seven are now usually called by this name.
                                            Seven known Gifts 
First gift: - It consists of six balls of difference colours, contained in a box. Three balls are of primary colours –red, blue and green and three are secondary colour-orange, green and purple. The occupation consists in rolling them about in play accompanied by little rhymes.    
Second gift:-it consists of three objects a sphere, a cube, and a cylinder made of hardwood. While playing with them child notices the difference between their stability and mobility
Third gift:-it is a big wooden cube, subdivided into eight wooden cubes. The children have an elementary idea of addition and subtraction through these.  
                                           Essentials of kindergarten
v  Self activity: - Self activity or self expression is imparted in three ways –through songs, through movements and through construction.
v  Creativeness: - When the child is given certain material, he tried to create always new things and satisfies his urge for construction.
v  Social participation: - School is a miniature society. What we learn in school influences our behaviour in our later life. The best education of child is possible in the school where he participates in the maximum number of social activities.
v  Discipline: - Children are always free to work, play, sing, or dance in a kindergarten school. A teacher has important responsibilities to perform. He has to inculcate sympathetically values like love, sympathy, humility cooperation and obedience to elders. He has to avoid external restraint and bodily punishment .the child should be made to realize that discipline depends upon his love for order, goodwill and mutual understanding.
v  Curriculum:- The divisions of the curriculum are :
Ø  Manual work
Ø  Religion and religious instruction
Ø  Natural science and mathematics
Ø  Language
Ø  Arts and objects of arts

v  The place of teacher: - The teacher is not remaining passive. The teacher has to suggest the idea of occupation when the gifts are offered to children. He is also required to demonstrate certain activities to them. He also sings a song with a view to help the child to form appropriate ideas.

                              Frobel’s philosophy of education

1.    Creativeness of childhood: - Frobel derives a new conception of childhood. Childhood is not merely preparation for adulthood; it has a value in itself and possesses its own creativeness.
2.    Inner relatedness of all education: - this means that the educator ought to lead the child through such situations as will help him to relate his experiences originally one with another. Only thus can the child realize his own personal unity inherent in the diversity of life.
3.    Totality of educational endeavour: - In order to realize the divine character of the universe and his part in it, man needs senses and emotions as well as reasons. They are all windows of the soul.
4.    Concept of play: - It is the most important phase in the spontaneous development of the child, because it allows him to exercise harmoniously all his physical, emotional and intellectual qualities. Play combines attention with relaxation, purpose with independence and rule with freedom.
5.    Education of the preschool child: - Frobel reveals an astounding insight into the importance of the early experiences of childhood for the future development of the personality. This anticipation of modern analytical psychology, which he shares with Pestalozzi and Herbert, led him naturally to emphasize the importance of preschool education.

                                    Frobel’s influence on modern education
                           Frobel invited us to live for our children and to love them. The     schools for young children are no more jails and the children are no more passive learners. He helped him to make the society conscious of education for very young children. The chief field in which he influenced the modern education are as under:
·         Emphasis on pre basic or pre primary education:-
                       The present educator fully recognizes the importance of the education in the early ears. Today we find a large number of schools catering to the needs of such children. Frobel had also realised that until the education was reformed nothing solid and worthy could be achieved.
·         New conception of school:-
                              His school was a society in miniature. The present tendency in education is to regard school as a society in miniature. Dewey also regarded school as social institution. The present school is being regarded as a cooperative institution.
·         Respect for the child’s individuality:-
                           Frobel lived for children, worked for children and died for children. He had profound love and sympathy for children.
·         Stress on the study of the child:-
                             Frobel stressed the need for the study of the nature of the child, his instincts and impulses. Modern education is very careful to see that adequate scope is provided for the free play of the impulses and instincts of children.
·         Education through play:-
                           Froebel believed that play is the highest phase of self development. He introduced play way in the activities of the school. Today we find that the principle of play way has been accepted by every educator. We teach children through songs, movements, gestures, dramatization, handwork etc.
·         Sense training:-
                       Frobel introduced gifts for the training of the senses of th children, with the help of these gifts he wanted to give the idea of shape, form, colour, size, and number. Audio-visual aids form and integral part of the present system of education.
·         Activity in education:-
                       Frobel was the first educator to make self activity as the basis of education. “Learning by doing “is the slogan of today. We provide activities to students so that they may satisfy their instincts of construction, manipulation, curiosity and acquisition.
·         Nature study in education:-
                        For Frobel nature study was a means of bringing the child nearer god. He advocated a syllabus of nature study to enable the child to understand the world in which he lived   and to develop habits of careful observation.
·         Women teachers at the nursery stage:-
                    It will not be wrong to say that it is due to the influence of Frobel that we find a trend to entrust the education at the pre primary or pre basic stage to women teachers who are considered to be more suited for this task of instruction at this stage.

                           Limitations of Frobel’s philosophy
§  Frobel’s philosophy was a complicated philosophy .because Frobel expects too much of the child. it is not possible for the child to understand abstract ideas of organic unity while playing with gifts.
§  In kindergarten, too much stress has been laid on the development from within. The importance of environment has not been fully recognised.
§  Songs as given by him are out of date.
§  The gifts of Frobel formal in nature. The order of presentation of gifts is arbitrary. They do not serve much purpose of sense training.
§  The kindergarten of Frobel does not provide for the study of individual child.
§  There is little of correlation in the teaching of various subjects.
§  The scheme is not applicable to grown up children.
§  Too much emphasis on social aspect.

 In the words of Frobel the objectives of kindergarten is to give the children enjoyment in agreement with their whole nature, to strengthen their bodies, to exercise their senses, to engage their awakening mind and through their senses to make them acquainted with nature and their fellow creatures . Frobel is no doubt one of the greatest exponents of child education. He regarded education more as a process working from within. The 19th century came to be known as the century of the child, only because of Frobel.


v Theory and principles of education –J C Agarval