Herbartian ideas in educational theory and practice

The problem of the theory and practice of Herbartinian pedagogy in the German-speaking countries of the second half of the XIX and XX cen. Prerequisites for reforming the education system and assessing the Herbartian activities in the history of pedagogy.

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Herbartian ideas in educational theory and practice


education pedagogy herbartinian

The development and popularization of a number of pedagogical problems whose solution has gained European importance had a great value in educational movement in Germany. In this respect the period when pedagogical ideas of J. F. Herbart and his followers gained publicity and were introduced in school practice is interesting for us.

In Ukrainian science of the Soviet period the study of pedagogical heritage, its scientific achievements were traditionally under the ideological influence. So in such a line it was respectively perceived and interpreted one-sidedly and only from the standpoint of education at various stages and of the importance of discipline. Mainly scholars of this period emphasized defects in the educational system of J. F. Herbart criticizing its pedagogical principles. Situation changed only in the late 20th century. Analyzing the pedagogical concept of J. F. Herbart in the history of modern Ukrainian and foreign pedagogy we can see much less critical notes about his views and statements that we need to go back to study his works in the original but not in the presentation and consideration of local researchers.

It is natural that such famous German scientists as O. Bayer, A. Bliedner, M. Winkler, P. Zedler, E. Muller, J. Olkers, A. Reble, T. Rutt referred to the N. O. Fedchyshyn, H. I. Klishch, N. I. Yelahinastudy of J. F. Herbart and his followers. From the beginning of the 21st century we can see the growth of the global scientific researchers around Herbart and his followers-herbatians: E. Adam, R. Henkel, B. Ebert, C. Heinze, J. Hopfner, Y. Kiuchi, R. Coriand, R. Koschnitzke, K. Cruikshank, R. Korrenz, K. Martens, A. Prondczynsky, E. Protner, A. Tschavdarova. In the analysis of herbatians' paradigm foreign and native scientists-pedagogs stress their extreme interpretations of Herbart's ideas: pedagogical restriction and onesided intellectualism and individualism which has led to criticism of the pedagogical concept of German teacher and prohibition to use his doctrine on the whole [3].

The aim of the study. To evaluate the influence of Herbartian ideas on the educational theory and practice.

The main body. In the second half of the18th-first half of the 19th centuries there were great changes not only in political and social life in Germany but in the pedagogical education. Herbart's views became popular in France, Switzerland, Italy, England and America. Right in Germany his ideas were accepted mostly and had a broad implementation in seminaries for teachers, schools of Konigsberg, Jena, Weimar, Leipzig, Eisenach.

In the XVIIIth - XIXth centuries the pedagogical conception and teaching practice in Germany were intensified under the influence of pedagogical ideas of John Locke, J. J. Rousseau and J. H. Pestalotzzi. In Germany school education was based on teaching children to read, write and understand the Bible, that had an elementary nature. In the early XIXth century the secondary schools used an comprehensive school plan, there was implemented daily training for children from 5 to 13-14 years, where religion, reading, writing and mathematics were required.

A renowned scholar of history of pedagogy E. Hayslyer determined the attitude towards the assessment of classic's views stressing that those pedagogues who were working to systematize the study of education and teaching might not omit in their studies the J. F. Herbart's concepts. What could J. F. Herbart, no one can either repeat or be equal in completeness and fullness of his theory of teaching and education [9]. However, the views of the German pedagogue were unilaterally interpreted for a long time and constantly criticized. Scientists, pedagogues say that J. F. Herbart has coined a teaching school, and we owe to him the use of four formal stages of education. This school, being known by the stages of teaching, could not offer and combine the versatility of interest and discipline with the strength of moral character [5].

According to E. Konig, the overall scientific and theoretical reflection gave start to a discussion about the justification of J. F. Herbart's scientific and educational ideas. He defended the thought that any position is valid unless given its sufficient reason. Justification may insist on other positions, returning to the previous level, so that pedagogy or philosophy, regarded in unity must be guaranteed available methodic beginning, the principles and method (theory rules), and on the principles further ideas are based [10].

E. Konig argued that those ideas or combination of ideas that lead to reflection by J. F. Herbart are called principles. Accordingly, the principle should be of two properties: at first, it has to be installed or previously valid and, secondly, to be able to develop itself something else ... The general objective of this mode is to withdraw something of the principle, that is called a method. Principles and methods are related to each other (refer to each other) and the better you know one thing, having read the others. Both are indispensable prerequisites for philosophical knowledge [10].

H.-M. Elzer joined the opinions of his predecessors, stressing that J. F. Herbart is the founder of pedagogy as an independent and professional science for a teacher [8]. His pedagogy dominated in the German universities, seminaries for teachers, high schools and, especially, public schools before the educational reform.

According to the philosophers and teachers of the time, who were led by G. Kershenshtainer and G. Haudih all misfortunes of intellectual school and authoritarian school for teachers began from J. F. Herbart's ideas, as J. F. Herbart's pedagogy was exalted to educational dogma. Just as today controversial concept of courage to education as well as scientifically oriented education enemy formed, so then the reformers of different directions were joined against the resistance to knowledge (Kershenshtayner) [11].

The Herbartian movement was characterized by generated term system, proximity to a pupil and a teacher, immersion in the problems of didactics, which was the impetus for the popularity and succession in civilized European countries at that period. Scientists focus on educational journals and associations, which theoretically worked out J. F. Herbart's pedagogy. So, the pedagogues of university departments of Jena, Meiningen, Temari, Weimar, Eisenach were interested in J. F. Herbart's ideas.

Herbartianism appeared in pedagogy owing to Herbart and his school, because he (Herbart) launched a new scientific theory of philosophy not only as a science but as a core discipline of all sciences. So, in 1868 J. F. Herbart's (1776-1841) disciples founded Union for Scientific Pedagogy, which successfully functioned till 1927. Herbartianism as a movement originates from the German educator's ideas and gained considerable publicity in the second half of the XIXth century in Germany and has been spread in many countries. It is represented by many J. F. Herbart's disciples and followers O. Willmann (1839-1920), G. Gartenshtain (1808-1890), M. V. Drobish (1802-1896), F. W. Dorpfeld (1824-1893), K. Kirby (1846-1905), K. V. Mager (1810-1858), W. Rein (1847-1929), K.V. Stoy (1815-1885), O. Frikk (18321892), T. Vogt (1835-1906), T. Ziller (1817-1882), L. von Shtrumpell (1812-1899) and others.

The disciples and followers of the German pedagogue's doctrine successfully implemented their ideas concerning the curriculum, concentration in learning, new material processing methods, etc. These and other ideas were interpreted by the Herbartians and found particular support in official documents of school authority and pupils in schools in Thuringia. A herbartianism bulwark was the educational workshop and Education Department in University of Jena headed by Professor W. Rein. In a work Pedagogy in the Presentation System (Padagogik in systematischer Darstellung) he thoroughly worked out and clearly explained his own view of his teacher's pedagogy. He believes that it should be based on broad philosophical views, and not on general practical techniques and uncertain formulas [16].

Russian scientist P. Kapterev paid attention to the Herbartians' attempts to review the issues of pedagogy in terms of aesthetics and the efforts to make aesthetics as a basis of pedagogy.

Of particular interest among scientists, pedagogues had the work Current Educational Trends in Western Europe and America. Modern Herbartianism (1913, 1919) by O. Muzychenko. The pedagogue explained the reasons for spreading of the Herbartians' teaching ideas as that which goes to meet the needs of dogmatic teacher [2]. O. Muzychenko advised to recognize the positive aspects of herbartian pedagogy and paid attention to the practical school of the University of Jena, and other practicing urban schools of Jena, where there was free, modernized understanding of the great pedagogue. This form of teaching known as stimulating teaching Entwickelnder Unterricht (a term which didn't exist in J. F. Herbart's pedagogy),

i. e. a method of educational material processing. The basis of this teaching is not just a visual representation and experience, but also an inspiration of pupil's independent thinking, when he sees and feels inside and logical connections between facts. Thus,

O.Muzychenko concluded that the teacher's task was to teach a pupil to observe, study, analyze, understand the world and environment, be able to evaluate and summarize.

O. Muzychenko in his publications analyzed less the theoretical J. F. Herbart's heritage, and mainly focused on how his followers embody those ideas in education system and school practice, considered the relationship between his original views and interpretations in the early XXth century. This is explained that O. Muzychenko was at the Pedagogical University and was able to observe the training and educational process of teaching staff of those days in the school, founded by the disciples and followers of the J. F. Herbart's doctrine in Jena. In particular, he noted that the J. F. Herbart's ideas, some aspects of his pedagogical concept that have found a positive development in the work of his followers were later distorted: individualism in the unwillingness to pay attention to the problems of public schools life, public education; an attempt of leaving aside education of will [2]. The results of O. Muzychenko's research confirmed that in XIXth-XXth centuries the paradigm of herbartianism influenced not only European schools, but also the development of educational ideas in Russia owing to Pirogov and Ushynskyy.

Attending a seminar at the University of Jena (Dept. of W. Rein), watching the educational process there, O. Muzychenko was impressed by lack of questions from a teacher in the classroom where the pupil acted as a researcher. He called such lesson the laboratory of human thought [2]. Children themselves express their views on the task, indicating the facts, adjust and supplement answers, ask questions, critically reject incorrect views of their friends, make a generalization. At first sight, the teacher's influence on the class is minimum (the purpose of the lesson and a silent observation of the class), but this time he has to follow the thought development (to know the class, the range of its ideas, to have extensive knowledge in his field, to monitor pupils' answers, to estimate quickly).

O. Muzychenko emphasized the value of W. Rein considerations, ie the core of the national treasure is not material wealth, industry, technology and trade success, but an inexhaustible creative strength of the people, which grows from generation to generation. The source of strength he saw in deep and inaccessible places of folk soul, which there has been taught by the history of the German people [2]. Therefore, the main task of the teacher is to direct this strength in the right way. Herbartianism, represented by T. Ziller, W. Rein etc., considered the study of the Bible as a successful process of teaching and education of pupils. W. Rein was the most passionate and determined advocate of religious education, which was advised to start with 10-years.

According to the above, O. Muzychenko emphasized W. Rein's plan as for a unified national school available for children with different inclinations and talents. W. Rein meant not only to reform secondary school, but also to start out of it.

In the The History of German Education there is found only short briefing that with the advent of official compulsory school, pedagogical tact, pure management by J. F. Herbart were not more decisive and the Herbartians took into account only partially accurate concept of German pedagogue and his training set, which build up thinking; they distorted thus J. F. Herbart's pedagogy. That is what led to the negative criticism towards the Herbartians in the second half of the XXth century as their doctrine was characterized as a scientific paradigm. The Herbartians were accepted as a powerful scientific society which protects its own vision of specific educational problems. They developed specific research techniques and forms of organization, paid attention to scientific growth and possible further spread of their ideas. However, the Herbartians tried to discuss some questions on an open debate. Their views were a success, because have been newly interpreted and have been involved in solving of pedagogical issues.

What is the value of herbartianism in terms of pedagogical theories. Herbartianism, its pedagogical theory was taken into account neither in the introduction to the pedagogy, nor in comparison of existing theories of teaching and education. The Herbartians have developed numerous training and educational concepts that were not taken into account in research and theoretical spheres. So, B. Chamlier, without mentioning herbartianism, refers to the already known scientific theory of the Herbartians. According to R. Koriand and M. Winkler the interest towards herbartianism was very small in the early XXth century [14]. Another researcher of this movement P. Zedler argued that in the widespread works on the history of pedagogy there is mentioned that herbartianism is regarded as a part of pedagogical theory development, and there is no a detailed analysis and recognition of Ziller T. and W. Rein's ideas as the most brilliant herbartian representatives [14]. However, owing to J. Olkers' study of the same stage in the history of pedagogy, there was found that herbartianism, which became a reforming pedagogy, was the forgotten part of the history of scientific pedagogy [14]. In particular, G. Bucc emphasized that a so- called herbartianism belongs to the darkest pages and today can rightly be said, the most forgotten one in the history of philosophy and pedagogy of the XIXth century [3]. G. Bucc as well as B. Shwenk stated that the Herbartians and herbartianism should be distinguished as a falsifier of Herbart's pedagogy from Y.-F. Herbart. In his research work The problems of Herbart's heritage he singled out the T. Ziller's ideas about reproductive education as ossified conservative pedagogy, demanding nothing of society, but was subjected to circumstances and unilaterally opposed the core theory of J. F. Herbart [17]. He questioned that T. Ziller directly in practice applied psychological theory [17]. This criticism was based on published work by B. Schwenk Herbart's Understanding by the Herbartians (Das Herbartverstandnis der Herbartianer) (1963). Professor. E. Weniger called unscientific Herbart's system as anarchism, but also gave another idea considering herbartianism as an absolute school example of the history of pedagogy, a set of scientific school and an ideal project as a teaching tool that combines pedagogy [14].

Klinhberg identified school transformation of Herbart's pedagogy as independent success of herbartianism and declared that this movement led to significant reductions in the Herbart's concept. In symposia devoted to Herbart in Oldenburg (1991, 1994, 1996 yrs.) Klinhberg as well as B. Shwenk in his report Herbart and the Herbartians - Herbartiansism as a Paradigm (Herbart und die Herbartianer - Herbartianismus als Paradigma) declared that the Herbartians didn't use the big theoretical achievements of his pedagogical education and many of them degenerated it as a part of teaching [17]. However, along with a criticism the Herbartians offered pragmatically focused, valuable explanations, the facts proved in Germany and abroad, as for example in Switzerland P. Metz manifested a theory herbartiansm as a paradigm for vocational education and school reform (Herbartianismus als Paradigma fhr Professionalisierung und Schulreform) offered by J. Olkers (1992). In this work the author tried to show the importance of herbartianism in determining it as educational theory in the sense of a type, model for the vocational education and school reform [14]. J. Olkers proceeded from the assumption that a model could not be moved without amendment from research practice to the practice of activity and the scientist realized that the paradigm's features would be available in the Ziller - Rein School.

In the second half of the XIXth century the herbartians showed the advantages of this paradigm: 1. In philosophical Herbart's concept, pedagogy takes a prime, convincing, formative, reasonable place.

2. J. F. Herbart's realistic thinking was characteristic of pedagogues of the XIXth century, who tried to link ideology and empirism, as one should have combined the idealist philosophy with empirical science that couldn't lead either to unrealistic idealism or ideological empiricism. 3. Individually directed J. F. Herbart's pedagogy was easier in use as, for example Schleiermacher or Fichte's pedagogy. 4. J. F. Herbart's school took into account the scientific and sociological features of the paradigm. 5. The scientific character of Ziller was closer to educational and political understanding of post-revolutionary era as an anticlerical, natural study conception of Disterveg's education and school. The authors emphasized that herbartianism was perceived via the liberal and conservative thinking of Rein. 6. Ziller and Rein's school as the first correspondence of ideals in science of that time, tried to establish a link between theory and practice.

The authors gave the following reasons and issues about the connection between theory and practice owing to herbartianism:

Herbart philosophically accented the relationship between ethics and psychology what can be found today in the science of education;

an imagination about pedagogical tact and the thought of school science are used to solve the problem of knowledge transfer between theory and practice;

the doctrine of formal stages, the idea of concentration on learning, teaching process planning are good examples for the rational systematization and organization of integrated schooling [14, 17].

Herbartianism paradigm introduced many educational theories and practical guidance and in the history of pedagogy development contributed to solving the following problems:

The Herbartians saved a religious component because of the requirements of self-determination and religion freedom. This component could be mentioned neither in the naive child's belief, nor dogmatic religious rules, but in general religious and philosophical principles. Such laws provide some certain boundaries of pure intelligence and promote self-responsibility. In this regard, herbartian pedagogy directed against the dogmatic practice, has emancipative, religious and critical features that permeated the German philosophy of the Enlightenment, dating back to Kant's work Religion within pure reason (Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der reinen Vernunft) (1793).

The Herbartians explained many philosophically justified pedagogical purposes concerning the question What is a human being? Having answered the given issue, the Herbartians considered it in such way: the internal processes of changes according to the laws of reason occur in the human soul with the appearance of new experiences. They focused on J. F. Herbart's metaphysics, i.e. a complete positive-simple impression - a quality indicator. The quintessence of both J. F. Herbart and the Herbartians was the soul, which extended as a non-material essence of the general physical human body and thus filled the content by the inherency of substance I.

In the research of the genesis and impact of the human mind the Herbartians presented their position according to J. F. Herbart that all processes of consciousness are not returned in the opposite direction, but are mixed with different ideas and form a coherent whole. The Herbartians saw in the feelings neither desire nor reluctance of something original, but a formation of representations in the mind and thus they provided their approach by clearly expressed orientation.

J. F. Herbart and his disciples were convinced that the child's abilities depend on its nature, and their realization depends on external influences. Herbartian pedagogy was individually oriented education, aimed at pupil's personality, and a pedagogical connection teacher - pupil was revealed respectively. The Herbartians saw the ideal of versatile interests, which can reveal a full mental and spiritual life from an individual.

The Herbartians defined educational aims, based on J. F. Herbart's practical philosophy that doesn't examine the real as a theoretical philosophy, but what the ideal is. It sets out principles and rules that are completely correlated and should not be appointed to the considered views and statements. Therefore, so far herbartianism is a restricted science about education.

The formation of moral character, which was raised as the main purpose of education by the Herbartians is based not only on J. F. Herbart's practical philosophy, but also on the humanistic ideal development owing to Christian theory and religious perception of the world.The Herbartians as well as J. F. Herbart understood by versatile interests motivation which leads to mental and spiritual life. J. F. Herbart had singled out four phases of training (clear recess - the gradual penetration - clear mastery - the gradual mastery) that corresponded to the formal stages (analysis - synthesis - association - the method - function) proposed by T. Ziller's pedagogical school.

The Herbartians not only took but also newly processed and upgraded the concept of teaching management developed by J. F. Herbart. Management, discipline and education have their own purpose, and therefore, according to the Herbartians, management style in no way should be authoritarian, and pedagogical in the classical sense.

Tact is supposed a classical or inherently pedagogical concept which combines theory and practice. It was improved by Ziller T., Friedrich Stoy and W. Rein at university seminaries.

Herbartian pedagogy has created the prerequisites for school education, practice where creative training, proper rest, religious understanding will dominate [13].


In pedagogy, the assessment of herbartianism was quite controversial. The value of J. F. Herbart's views and his school was understood by pedagogy researchers of the XIXth century. But in the early XXth century the first attempts to criticize them sharply, appeared. Before the 30-th of the XXth century national science completely rejected the pedagogical heritage of the past, withheld and distorted the contents of the new ideas and approaches to education that have been elaborated in Western Europe as well as in Germany in the late XIXth - early XXth centuries. The Herbartian's paradigm was a rich reservoir of pedagogical theories and practical instructions. The Herbartians saved religious component which resulted, first, from the requirements for self-determination, and, secondly, from free choice of religion. They attempted to answer the questions in terms of philosophy and rationale pedagogical purposes - what is a human being?, what is the process of transfiguration of new experiences in a man's soul?; they recognized definite formation of visualization in consciousness in the feelings of joy or sadness; they distinguished an ideal in versatile range of interests, which combined mental and spiritual life. Zillyer's pedagogical school offered the following formal stages of teaching: analysis, synthesis, association, system, method, function and the instruction phases: clear recess, the gradual penetration, clear mastery, the gradual mastery; they developed the preconditions for school education and education in general.

List of literature

1. . . / . . - . - . : , 1915. - 423 .

2. . . / . . // . - . : , 1911. - . 46-169.

3. . : : / ; . . . - : ϳ , 2015. - . 1. - 625 .

4. Blass J.-L. Herbarts padagogische Denkform oder allgemeine Padagogik und Topik / J.-L. Blass. - Wuppertal : A. Henn-Verlag, 1969. - 197 p.

5. Blass J.-L. Herbart - Zur Typologie seines padagogi- schen Denkens / J.-L. Blass // Padagogische Rundschau: erziehungswissenschaftliche Monatsschrift fur Schule und Hochschule. - Ratingen-Kastellaun : A. Henn Verlag, 1974. - 28. - P. 509-531.

6. Bliedner A. K.V. Stoy und das padagogische Universi- tatsseminar / Arno Bliedner. - Leipzig, 1886. - 167 p.

7. Buck G. Herbarts Grundlegung der Padagogik/ G. Buck. - Heidelberg, 1985. - 169 p.

8. Elzer H.-M. Begriffe und Personen aus der Geschich- te der Padagogik / Hans-Michael Elzer. - Peterlang Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1985. - 469 p.

9. GeiEler E.-E. Herbart und die Reformpadagogik / E.-E. GeiEler // Padagogische Rundschau: erziehungswissenschaftliche Monatsschrift fur Schule und Hochschule. - Wuppertal-Ratingen-Dusseldorf : A. Henn Verlag, 1983. - 37 (2). - P. 171-185.

10. Klattenhoff K. Beitrage zu Schulpadagogischen Grundsatzen Johann Friedrich Herbarts / Klaus Klattenhoff. - Oldenburg : BIS Verl., Bd 13., 2007. - 216 p.

11. Knoop K. Einfuhrung in die Geschichte der Padagogik / Karl Knoop, Martin Schwab. - Wiebelsheim : Quelle&Meyer, 1994. - 318 p.

12. Maier Dr. H. Die Geschichte des Vereins fur wis- senschaftliche Padagogik. Leipzig: Felix Meiner Verlag. - 1940. - 231 p.

13. Muller E. Das Paradigma des Herbartmismus unter problemgeschichtlichem Aspekt. Padagogische Hochschule / Emil Muller. - Erfurt, 2000. - 216 p.

14. Oelkers J. Reformpadagogik - Epochenbehauptungen, Modernisierungen, Dauerprobleme / J. Oelkers // Jahrbuch fur Historische Bildungsforschung. - Weinheim und Mun- chen : Juventa Verlag, 1993, Band I. - P. 91-108.

15. Reble A. Geschichte der Padagogik / A. Reble. - Stuttgart : Klett-Cotta, 2002. - 417 p.

16. Rein W. Padagogik in systematischer Darstellung/ Wilhelm Rein. - 3. Bd. C.: Methodologie. Die Lehre von den Mitteln der Erziehung.2. Aufl. - Beyer & Sohne, Lan- gensalza, 1906. - 361 p.

17. Schwenk B. Das Herbartverstandnis der Herbartianer. Gottinger Studien zur Padagogik. - Weinheim, 1963. - 176 p.



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