Georg Kerschensteiner

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Georg Kerschensteiner. Bust of Rudolf Belling from 1932
WP Georg Kerschensteiner.jpg

Georg Kerschensteiner ( Georg Michael Anton Kerschensteiner ; born July 29, 1854 in Munich ; † January 15, 1932 ibid) was a German pedagogue , high school teacher for mathematics and physics and founder of the industrial school . Above all , he contributed essential ideas to the development of the German elementary school and vocational school .


Kerschensteiner's parents were the impoverished merchant couple Anton and Katharina Kerschensteiner. From the age of six he attended the Heiliggeist parish school in Munich. He was arrested for gang theft when he was eight. In 1866, at the age of twelve, the preparatory school and royal training seminar followed , and from 1871 to 1873 he worked as a village school assistant in Forstinning and Lechhausen . In 1874 Kerschensteiner left school at his own request and took private lessons, attended the last two classes of a grammar school and earned his living by taking music lessons. From 1877 to 1880 he studied mathematics and physics at the Technical University of Munich , from 1880 to 1883 at the Ludwig Maximilians University with a final doctorate under Philipp Ludwig von Seidel . The topic of his dissertation was: On the criteria for the singularities of rational curves of the fourth order .

From 1883 Kerschensteiner was a grammar school assistant for mathematics and physics at the Melanchthon grammar school in Nuremberg, from 1885 mathematics teacher at the municipal commercial school, from 1890 grammar school teacher for mathematics and physics at the Gustav Adolf grammar school in Schweinfurt, and from 1893 at the Ludwig grammar school in Munich. In 1895 he was elected to the school council of Munich. In this function, he headed the board of trustees for the establishment of the Munich Commercial College as chairman in 1910 . In 1918 he resigned as a school councilor and became an honorary professor in Munich.

Reform pedagogue

The election to the city school board in Munich in 1895 directed him to the reform of the elementary school curriculum , z. B. with the establishment of an eighth year of compulsory schooling. Work classes and work schools were set up in 1900 , forerunners of today's vocational schools. Shortly afterwards, the labor schools were equipped with workshops and a school garden . The occupational education established himself as a term for today as action orientation again taken up a teaching principle .

He laid out his basic ideas in 1901 in The Citizenship Education of German Youth , with which he won the 1st prize in a competition at the Erfurt Academy: “What makes our male youth most suitable for the bourgeoisie from discharge from elementary school to entry into military service To educate society? ”A new vocational school should protect the youth from moral neglect on the street and help ennoble the entire state by teaching vocational training and“ civic education ”with political civic education and health studies as well as gymnastics and hiking. The demand for political education for everyone was new. The more conservative educational goals were hardworking and unconditional obedience. For Kerschensteiner, this "founding document" of the advanced training school (or later vocational school) meant a contribution to solving the social question . In Munich he redesigned the school system and found many imitators at home and abroad.

Since 1918 he has taught as an honorary professor of education at the University of Munich and has received numerous honors and appointments from home and abroad in old age. In 1920 he took part in the Reichsschulkonferenz , where he was an opponent of Hugo Gaudig , especially in the dispute over the correct orientation of work education. In the same year he became a full professor in Munich and in 1921 published a work on teacher training, Die Seele des Erziehers . The theory of education (1926) and the theory of classroom organization (posthumously 1933) followed.

Kerschensteiner also excelled as a didactician of art classes and in 1905 published The Development of Drawing Skills after analyzing around three hundred thousand children's drawings.

Kerschensteiner was one of the first recognized educators to relativize the importance of religiosity. One has "to consider them more as a means of education than as an educational goal". He kept his distance from the church.


From 1912 to 1919 Kerschensteiner was a member of the Reichstag for the Progressive People's Party (later the German Democratic Party ). During the First World War he took a strongly nationalist position. He was acutely threatened in the Munich November Revolution of 1918.



For Kerschensteiner - as for Pestalozzi and John Dewey - it was essentially a matter of teaching children more willingness and ability instead of abundance of knowledge, as well as promoting their intuition and independence in childhood and puberty, instead of merely subjecting them to passive instruction. “The essence of human beings at this time is working, creating, working, trying, experiencing, experiencing in order to learn without ceasing in the medium of reality.” (In: The school of the future, a work school. P. 27 f.) Spontaneity and manual work is part of the educational work. In addition to introducing physics and chemistry lessons suitable for children, Kerschensteiner also set up wood and metal workshops, school kitchens and school gardens. According to him, educational work must be manual, practical and mental at the same time.

As a proponent of self-assessment of school performance, he suggests that every student should come to an opinion for himself. His goal was education, which he understood at the same time as the development of character and education to become a citizen; In his opinion, this can also be achieved through professional education.


  • The civic education of German youth . 1901 (10th and multiple changed editions until 1931)
  • Basic questions of school organization. 1907
  • Concept of labor school. 1912; Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2002, ISBN 3-534-15195-X
  • Concept of character and character education . 1912
  • Nature and value of science teaching. 1914
  • The basic axiom of the educational process and its consequences for school organization. 1917; Dieck, Heinsberg 1999, ISBN 3-88852-406-7
  • Germany's law. Carl Gerber publishing house, Munich 1919
  • The soul of the educator and the problem of teacher training. 1921
  • Authority and Freedom as Principles of Education. (= Decided school reform issue 28), Ernst Oldenburg Verlag, Leipzig 1924
  • Theory of Education. 1926
  • Contemporary Pedagogy in Self-Presentation, 1. 1926
  • Texts on the educational concept of work and on the work school. Schöningh, Paderborn 1982, ISBN 3-506-78327-0


  • Gabriele Fernau-Kerschensteiner: Georg Kerschensteiner or The Revolution of Education. Steinebach, Munich and Düsseldorf 1954
  • Philipp Gonon: Kerschensteiner and Education. In: T. Husen and TN Postlethwaite (Eds.): The international Encyclopedia of Education. 2nd edition, Pergamon, Oxford 1994, Volume 6, pp. 3133-3138
  • Johannes Jung: Georg Kerschensteiner (1854–1932) and the labor school movement. In: Astrid Kaiser and Detlef Pech (Hrsg.): History and historical conceptions of general teaching. Schneider-Verlag Hohengehren, Baltmannsweiler 2004, ISBN 3-89676-860-3 , pp. 102-105
  • Marie Kerschensteiner: Georg Kerschensteiner. The life path of a school reformer. Oldenbourg, Munich and Berlin 1939; 3rd expanded edition, ibid. 1954
  • Michael Knoll: Dewey versus Kerschensteiner. The US Continuing Education Controversy, 1910-1917 . In: Pedagogical Review. Volume 47, 1993, pp. 131-145.
  • Michael Knoll: "Two Roads to Culture". John Dewey and Georg Kerschensteiner in the dispute over vocational and general education. In: Franz-Michael Konrad / Michael Knoll (Ed.): John Dewey as a pedagogue. Education - school - teaching . Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt 2018. pp. 271–291.
  • Susanne May, Elisabeth Tworek and Willibald Karl (eds.): Munich made school. Georg Kerschensteiner. Symposium on the 150th birthday of the Munich reform pedagogue. Documentation from the Munich Adult Education Center . Allitera-Verlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-86520-097-4 (reading sample as PDF )
  • Christine Mayer: "... and that the civil upbringing of girls coincides with the upbringing of women" - Kerschensteiner's concept of upbringing girls. In: Journal for Pedagogy. Volume 38, 1992, No. 5, pp. 771-791
  • Ingo Nickel: From Kerschensteiner to the learning workshop. Theory and practice of a holistic professional orientation. With model examples. Schneider-Verlag Hohengehren, Baltmannsweiler 2005, ISBN 3-89676-981-2
  • Gerhard Wehle : Practice and theory in Georg Kerschensteiner's life's work . Weinheim: Beltz 1956, 2/1964.
  • Gerhard Wehle: Bibliography Georg Kerschensteiner. Writings, speeches and abandoned manuscripts published in print. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1987, ISBN 3-531-03213-5
  • Theodor Wilhelm: The pedagogy of Kerschensteiner. Legacy and Doom . Stuttgart: Metzler 1957.
  • Jörg Willer : Georg Kerschensteiner and the current learning target discussion. In: Reinhard Dithmar, Jörg Willer (Hrsg.): School between Empire and Fascism. Darmstadt 1981, p. 197 ff.
  • Ludwig Englert:  Kerschensteiner, Georg. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 11, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1977, ISBN 3-428-00192-3 , pp. 534-536 ( digitized version ).
  • Ulrich HemelKerschensteiner, Georg. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 3, Bautz, Herzberg 1992, ISBN 3-88309-035-2 , Sp. 1407-1412.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Georg Kerschensteiner in the Mathematics Genealogy Project (English)
  2. a b Theodor Wilhelm: Georg Kerschensteiner . In: Hans Scheuerl (Hrsg.): Classics of Pedagogy - From Karl Marx to Jean Piaget . 2., revised. and a follow-up supplementary edition volume 2 . Beck, Munich 1991, p. 103-126 .
  3. Handelshochschule München , report on the academic year 1910/1911 - October 1910 to October 1911, Munich 1911.
  4. The development of the drawing. Talent, foreword S. X
  5. ^ A royal school commissioner founds schools . Humanistic press service
  6. Honorary doctoral students of the TH / TU Dresden. Technical University of Dresden, accessed on February 6, 2015 .