Aufgrund seiner Beobachtungen, auch als Hauslehrer und Arzt, formulierte John Locke (1632-1702) in seinem Essay „Some Thoughts Concerning Education“ (1693) fünf Maxime des Lernens, die verkürzt lauten:

  1. ohne körperliche Bestrafung
  2. Lust
  3. erfahrungsorientiert
  4. gesunde Ernährung
  5. viel Bewegung

Sein Essay, der 217 Paragraphen umfasste, wurde im 18. Jahrhundert in viele Sprachen übersetzt. Es gab alleine drei deutsche Ausgaben. Sein pädagogisches Konzept beeinflusste die Pädagogik in seiner Zeit, die pädagogische Diskussion in Europa und auch in Nordamerika (Overhoff 2009).

Was er schrieb war historisch neu und gegen eine jahrtausendealte herrschende Ideologie gerichtet, die Auswendiglernen, Wiederholen und Bestrafen als zentralen Bestandteil des natur- und gottgegebenen Herrschaftssystems ansah. Äußere Kontrolle, Missachtung und Unterdrückung waren seiner Auffassung nach keine Optionen, um das Lernen erfolgreich einzuüben und lebenslang fortzusetzen. Er führte zum ersten Mal die Lust am Lernen, Neugierde, positive Bestätigungen, dem Alter und dem einzelnen Lernenden angepasste Lerneinheiten und Erholungsphasen in die pädagogische Literatur ein.

Seine Schrift, die sich an den englischen Adel richtet und sich ausschließlich auf die Erziehung der männlichen Kinder bezieht, ist auch als Konzession und Kompromiss anzusehen, um den Widerspruch der Aufrechterhaltung vorgegebener Autoritäten, im Privaten und aber auch in der Gesellschaft, mit dem auf Freude basierenden Lernen zu verbinden.

„Er rät den Eltern und Erziehern, das Lernen zu einem Spiel zu machen, weil auf solche Weise das Kind mehr Interesse am Lernen gewinnt und bessere Fortschritte macht.“ (Deermann 1967, 220)

Lockes Konzept der Erziehung basierte nicht auf romantischen Vorstellungen über den Menschen, sondern auf der Beobachtung der Deformationen, die körperliche Bestrafung im Erwachsenen auslösten, insbesondere fehlendes Selbstbewusstsein und mangelndes Zielbewusstsein im Handeln. Locke deutete die Lernwiderstände, die er bei vielen Erwachsenen beobachtete, als Folge der Unterdrückung und Züchtigung, die sie erfahren hatten.

J. Locke begreift Lernen als einen psychischen Mechanismus der nachhaltigen frühen Formung. Lernen heißt vor allem Gewöhnung. Entsprechend hat Erziehung dafür zu sorgen, dass die gewünschten Gewohnheiten erworben und die unerwünschten vermieden werden. Locke setzt auf Lust und inneren natürlichen Antrieb zu Lernen. Und wo das Lernen des äußeren Anstoßes bedarf, ist die List der Erziehung gefragt.

J. Locke´s Erziehungsperspektive war dabei nicht das Glück des Menschen als Selbstzweck, sondern die Fähigkeit des, psychoanalytisch gesprochen, Triebverzichts und der Sublimation, um höherrangige kulturelle, politische und ökonomische Ziele zu erreichen und den Erhalt des Gemeinwesens zu sichern.

Mit den nachfolgenden Zitaten sollen zentrale Beobachtungen und Einsichten vorgestellt werden:

„§ 38. It seems plain to me, that the principle of all virtue and excellency lies in a power of denying ourselves the satisfaction of our own desires, where reason does not authorize them. This power is to be got and improv’d by custom, made easy and familiar by an early practice. …

§ 39. I say not this, as if children were not to be indulg’d in anything, or that I expected they should in hanging-sleeves have the reason and conduct of counsellors. I consider them as children, who must be tenderly us’d, who must play, and have play-things. That which I mean, is, that whenever they crav’d what was not fit for them to have or do, they should not be permitted it because they were little, and desir’d it: nay, whatever they were importunate for, they should be sure, for that very reason, to be deny’d….

§ 49. 2. This sort of correction naturally breeds an aversion to that which ’tis the tutor’s business to create a liking to. How obvious is it to observe, that children come to hate things which were at first acceptable to them, when they find themselves whipp’d, and chid, and teas’d about them? And it is not to be wonder’d at in them, when grown men would not be able to be reconcil’d to any thing by such ways. Who is there that would not be disgusted with any innocent recreation, in itself indifferent to him, if he should with blows or ill language be haled to it, when he had no mind? Or be constantly so treated, for some circumstances in his application to it? This is natural to be so. Offensive circumstances ordinarily infect innocent things which they are join’d with; and the very sight of a cup wherein any one uses to take nauseous physick, turns his stomach, so that nothing will relish well out of it, tho’ the cup be never so clean and well-shap’d, and of the richest materials.

§ 73. 1. None of the things they are to learn, should ever be made a burthen to them, or impos’d on them as a task. Whatever is so propos’d, presently becomes irksome; the mind takes an aversion to it, though before it were a thing of delight or indifferency. Let a child but be order’d to whip his top at a certain time every day, whether he has or has not a mind to it; let this be but requir’d of him as a duty, wherein he must spend so many hours morning and afternoon, and see whether he will not soon be weary of any play at this rate. Is it not so with grown men? What they do chearfully of themselves, do they not presently grow sick of, and can no more endure, as soon as they find it is expected of them as a duty? Children have as much a mind to shew that they are free, that their own good actions come from themselves, that they are absolute and independent, as any of the proudest of you grown men, think of them as you please.

§ 87. Beating, when you can expect no good from it, will look more like the fury of an enrag’d enemy, than the good-will of a compassionate friend; and such chastisement carries with it only provocation, without any prospect of amendment. If it be any father’s misfortune to have a son thus perverse and untractable, I know not what more he can do but pray for him. But, I imagine, if a right course be taken with children from the beginning, very few will be found to be such; and when there are any such instances, they are not to be the rule for the education of those who are better natur’d, and may be manag’d with better usage.

§ 108. But because there can be no recreation without delight, which depends not always on reason, but oftner fancy, it must be permitted children not only to divert themselves, but to do it after their own fashion, provided it be innocently, and without prejudice to their health; and therefore in this case they should not be deny’d, if they proposed any particular kind of recreation. Tho’ I think in a well-order’d education, they will seldom be brought to the necessity of asking any such liberty. Care should be taken, that what is of advantage to them, they should always do with delight; and before they are weary’d with one, they should be timely diverted to some other useful employment. But if they are not yet brought to that degree of perfection, that one way of improvement can be made a recreation to them, they must be let loose to the childish play they fancy; which they should be wean’d from by being made to surfeit of it: But from things of use, that they are employ’d in, they should always be sent away with an appetite; at least be dismiss’d before they are tir’d, and grow quite sick of it, that so they may return to it again, as to a pleasure that diverts them. For you must never think them set right, till they can find delight in the practice of laudable things; and the useful exercises of the body and mind, taking their turns, make their lives and improvement pleasant in a continu’d train of recreations, wherein the weary’d part is constantly reliev’d and refresh’d.

§ 118. Curiosity in children (…) is but an appetite after knowledge; and therefore ought to be encouraged in them, not only as a good sign, but as the great instrument nature has provided to remove that ignorance they were born with…

§ 180. Give them first one simple idea, and see that they take it right, and perfectly comprehend it before you go any farther, and then add some other simple idea which lies next in your way to what you aim at; and so proceeding by gentle and insensible steps, children without confusion and amazement will have their understandings opened and their thoughts extended farther than could have been expected. And when any one has learn’d any thing himself, there is no such way to fix it in his memory, and to encourage him to go on, as to set him to teach it others.

§ 195. To conclude this part, which concerns a young gentleman’s studies, his tutor should remember, that his business is not so much to teach him all that is knowable, as to raise in him a love and esteem of knowledge; and to put him in the right way of knowing and improving himself when he has a mind to it.” (Locke 1683)

Literatur:

Locke, John (1967): Einige Gedanken über die Erziehung. Übersetzt von Johann Bernhard Deermann. Paderborn

Locke, John (1693): Some Thoughts Concerning Education. Vol. XXXVII, Part 1. The Harvard Classics. New York, 2001, Online unter: www.bartleby.com/37/1/

Locke, John (1690): Essay Concerning Human Understanding. London

Overhoff, Jürgen (2009): Vom Glück lernen zu dürfen. Für eine zweckfreie Bildung. Stuttgart

Illustrationsmaterial:

John Locke, Porträt von Godfrey Kneller, Zugriff am 27.04.2017. Verfügbar unter: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/John_Locke.jpg

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Letzte Änderung: 01.06.2017

Klaus Heuer