Within the many educational models that exist, the romantic raises a series of innovative premises compared to the traditional ones.
In order to know exactly what this system is and what are the keys that it raises compared to other models, we will describe it in depth throughout this article. this way we will know what are the characteristics of the romantic educational model, Its strengths and also its weaknesses.
What is the romantic educational model?
The romantic pedagogical model is a pedagogical approach centered on the child above the proposed contents. For that, proposes to give the child complete freedom in the classroom so that his potential is not in any way limited, So that you can develop whatever is inside. Therefore, the first fundamental question of this methodology is to ensure absolute flexibility.
The romantic pedagogical model aims to ensure that there is no interference in the environment which may in some way limit the child’s behavior and his spontaneous learning process. What is sought is that a completely natural development is guaranteed. For this reason, moreover, it is necessary that the teacher abandons his traditional role and becomes only an assistant in a process in which the child is the protagonist.
So it will be very important, that the teacher renounces the classic guidelines based on rules and discipline and instead encourages the child to give free rein to his expression. All content is relegated, like the teacher, to the background. It may sound like an overly idealized setting, but for some reason it’s called a romantic educational model.
So it seems that what the proponents of this methodology claim is that the most important thing in the educational process is not what we are trying to instill in children, but what they already carry within them. ‘in a way, a potential that it is unique. to each of them. for that the teacher must be a neutral figure who accompanies them simply to bring out this creativity and these skills which are innate to them, To bring them to their maximum exponent.
The precursor of the romantic educational model is Alexander Sutherland Neill, a Scottish educator famous for establishing the Summerhill School, The high level of free education. The key to this proposition, according to Neill, was the belief that every human being is naturally good. It is therefore not necessary to devote the years of schooling to making children into model adults, but it is preferable to make them discover for themselves.
Therefore, what it offers is to provide students with an environment of absolute freedom and security, where they can explore and develop their skills without a marked course. Because? Because for AS Neill, emotional education is much more important than intellectual concepts. For this reason, he did not want to suppress him, preventing him from expressing his impulses. It also did not rely on traditional methods of competition.
For Neill, emotional education was such an important part because it represented the path to the development of happiness in every child and there could be nothing more. Therefore, according to this principle, if the traditional education system based on regulated education was maintained, even if the style of the teacher was closer to the student, it would still be an oppression towards children to restrict their freedom.
However, Alexander Neill considered certain limits to this freedom. For example, when faced with any situation that could cause harm to students. In this case, teachers should keep children safe until they can ensure their own protection from harm. Likewise, freedom does not mean debauchery. Neill asserted that with enough autonomy, children would self-regulate.
Benefits of the romantic educational model
After a general visit to the pillars on which the Romantic pedagogical model is based and on the vision of one of the pioneers in the use of this system, we are able to review the most important advantages that this methodology brings in relation to to those of more classic cut. Let’s look at some of them.
1. Absolute freedom
Freedom is the basis of the romantic educational model. This principle is irreplaceable. Therefore, the first benefit of this method will be a free action scenario for children that has never been provided to them before and that offers a whole new set of possibilities that were previously somehow blocked by rules and regulated content. by classical methodologies.
This freedom has a very important effect and it is that allows children to have a better reception of concepts, because they themselves choose those that interest them the most and they approach them entirely of their own accord. Thanks to this process, their retention will be more satisfactory than compared to the models which try to impose them in one way or another, without giving this capacity of choice and autonomous approach.
2. Promotes self-regulation
We had already underlined that what Neill advocated with the romantic pedagogical model was not libertinism among his students, but a freedom so pure that they themselves, by experiencing it, could discern what was good and what was. badly, thus achieving self-regulation, they must know how to behave in society when faced with any type of situation.
The goal is for them to acquire this capacity for self-regulation without having to give up being who they are in the process.. And the maxim of this model is to give all the facilities to the children to externalize the potential which they have inside. In this process, they will also learn to self-regulate.
3. Preparation for adult life
Likewise, AS Neill claims that this work of encouraging the emotional upbringing of children makes them capable of dealing with all kinds of situations because they have acquired the ability to explore the environment without any hindrance. Therefore, when they are adults, they will be ready to face any challenges, as they did during their childhood in a free environment.
Disadvantages of this way of educating
Supporters of the Romantic pedagogical model defend this optimistic view that we have seen, of course. But it is true that not all educators agree with the proposal and say that the advantages are not entirely clear and also have disadvantages that we cannot underestimate. These are some of the most important.
1. A controversial model
The excess of freedom posed by the romantic pedagogical model has been the subject of controversy. In fact, in the Summerhill School itself, founded by AS Neill, there was freedom and naturalness for all action and that included the sexual field, which in a society as puritanical as the English in the early twentieth century was a full – blown provocation.
However, Neill has always defended the concept of freedom as the absence of oppression, from adults to children but also from children to adults, or between adults or between children. So, the liberal environment did not imply that any individual could always do whatever he wantedIt was therefore essential that their actions did not involve an infringement of the rights or freedoms of others. This was the key to achieving the self-regulation advocated by Neill.
2. Lack of content
Although the romantic educational model aims to reach fully autonomous and free adults with their inner potential developed, there is a very important problem which is one of the main drawbacks of this model. It refers to the absence of fixed content. Remember that the school contents were not imposed, but that the children themselves chose according to their interests.
The logical consequence of this freedom of choice is a lack of concrete content that each child was going to have in subjects which did not interest him and which in the future would pose difficulties to him to be able to continue his studies or even facing the workplace with a sufficient base to be able to exercise certain trades.
3. Shortage of teachers
The third major drawback of the Romantic pedagogy model is a great lack of suitable teachers to be able to carry out their work within the premises of this methodology. Very few have the right training, which makes it difficult to set up schools based on this system.
4. Regulated education
Today, in countries like Spain, education is so regulated and the content is so concrete that it is very difficultNot to say impossible, to implement a methodology such as that proposed by the romantic educational model, at least in its purest version.
- Neill, AS, Torner, MF (1963). Summerhill: A Radical Vision of Child Raising. Library of psychology and psychoanalysis.
- Neill, AS, Laguilhomie, M., Mannoni, M. (1970). Summerhill free for children. Folio essays.
- Zubiría, J. de (2006). Educational models: towards a dialogical pedagogy. Open class. Magisteri.