History of Pedagogy

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The history of education is a historical consideration of different educational concepts that have to be presented in the respective social and cultural context.

Research approaches

There are different approaches to carrying out this story:

  • Universalistic approach : This tries to trace the different currents of education worldwide in an intercultural way. (This is an enormous undertaking, however.)
  • Particularist approach : This attempts to portray developments in a limited region or a sub-discipline (e.g. intercultural education in Germany or reform pedagogy in France).
  • Critical approach : This examines in particular the socio-economic conditions of upbringing and its social reproductive character from a historical reflective point of view.
  • History of ideas approach : This tries to recount the development of the idea or the basic idea of ​​upbringing and education in the history of human thought. W. Böhm pursues this approach in his history of pedagogy . It ties in with the work of u. a. Arthur O. Lovejoy .


Traditionally, upbringing had the task of passing on certain social attitudes to future generations. The main aim was to convey religion and traditions as well as the skills that someone needed for a particular position in society. Since not all persons in a society were given access to all knowledge, but rather certain information (reading, writing, rhetoric ...) was restricted to the leadership elite (kings, priests, etc.), one can speak of "knowledge of authority " here . Upbringing took place largely in the families or neighborhood communities. In ancient times the Greek philosophers demanded a comprehensive education for the "free citizens" and laid a basis for public education. Greek teachers also had a major influence on pedagogy in ancient Rome . The decisive factor for success was not childhood, but adolescence.

As pedagogues (= child leaders) worked in the wealthy classes of ancient Greece originally educated slaves, who were entrusted with the task of accompanying and educating. The Macedonian king Philip II appointed the most famous educator of Greece at the time, the philosopher and school founder Aristotle , to educate his son Alexander at the court in Pella , in order to make him an educated person.

With the spread of Christianity , public education was tied primarily to the church. In the cathedral and monastery schools, in addition to the ancient canon of subjects of the “ seven liberal arts ”, above all the Christian faith was conveyed to the members of the clergy . Christ himself was a teacher, and recalling Matthew 18.17 Christian have confessions to the 20th century represented entitled to a universal teaching authority, where the highest ideal of Christian education of the faith was.

At the same time, with the advance of Islam, more universal educational ideals arose , which also included language and natural sciences and whose center in Europe was the University of Cordoba .

Middle Ages and Renaissance

The schoolmaster of Eßlingen ( Codex Manesse , 14th century)

In the Middle Ages, people paid little attention to childhood. The value of a child is defined by its benefits for the parents. In scholasticism , an attempt was made to link the pedagogy of Aristotle and Christianity. In the 12th century there was a flourishing of education in Europe, the center of which was often the monasteries; but universities that are known to this day (in Paris, Oxford and Bologna ) were also founded. This education, however, was reserved for the nobility and clergy - vocational training for the rest of the non-peasant population was meanwhile the task of the guilds .

This attitude changed in the Renaissance . Adolescents were now seen as being in need of strict upbringing. Above all, higher strata strived for a more comprehensive study of antiquity. It was the beginning of the humanistic educational ideals, which aimed at a new, inquiring learning through the mediation of Christian humility. This was particularly promoted by the exploration and submission of ever larger parts of the globe . In addition to the church schools, "citizen schools" were created, in which the students from the bourgeoisie could acquire the knowledge of reading, writing and arithmetic necessary for trading. For the broad strata of the people, however, only so-called “ clip ” or “corner schools” remained, which were persecuted by the authorities.

Modern times

With the Reformation there was a decline in the Catholic education system in the 1520s. Thereafter, both the Catholic and the Protestant churches increased their educational efforts; From 1540 the Jesuit order founded schools all over Europe. The Protestant schools also served above all to spread the associated ideology, which later became known as the Protestant work ethic : asceticism and work appear as the right to exist and the prerequisite for entering the kingdom of heaven; Intoxication and pleasure, on the other hand, are rejected. This approach has also been used in social welfare. While alms were previously a part of Christian charity, a contribution was now required from the poor themselves. Workhouses and other compulsory facilities were increasingly being set up to combat them.

During the Thirty Years War , large parts of Central Europe were depopulated and the education system largely came to a standstill. Marked by the carnage, the first major educational treatise was written around 1632: Jan Amos Komenský (Johannes Comenius) ': Didactica Magna , in which he called for general education for all people. In addition to promoting the mother tongue , pedagogy should work towards a just society in which people regardless of gender or origin have the same rights. His goal was to "teach everyone everything". Compulsory schooling derived from this ideal was introduced in most of the German states over the next hundred years, but by no means in the sense of Comenius: Above all, it served to indoctrinate the population in the sense of the absolutist rulers . In the 18th century the states switched from physical and life sentences to economically and educationally justified labor sentences. Now more work, breeding, orphanage and spinning houses were built . Its inmates mainly belonged to the marginalized sub-class and non-class population groups, migrating and permanent poverty. The manufacturing work to be done there, for which hardly anyone could be won voluntarily, was connected with religious instruction. The living and working conditions there were a mockery of the moral as well as the educational claim. Many of the internees did not survive.

the Age of Enlightenment

The Hülsenbeckschen children ( Philipp Otto Runge , 1805–1810) A plea for the free natural development of the child

With the Enlightenment, attitudes towards childhood and adolescence changed again. Parents were now more trusting in their treatment of children, but they should be shaped and turned into useful citizens of society. John Locke formulated the idea of ​​the tabula rasa , according to which people are like a blank sheet at birth, which is only written on through education. With this he formulated a basic idea of ​​bourgeois pedagogy, in which anything seems possible for education - at the same time those who are affected by education are nothing. This ideology can also be found in the educational novel Émile or on the education of Jean-Jacques Rousseau ; in Germany she was represented by philanthropist Christian Gotthilf Salzmann and in Switzerland by Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi . For the first time in Europe, childhood was perceived as an independent phase of life; previously, children were seen here as “little adults”.

In 1779, the first German chair for pedagogy was established and taken on by Ernst Christian Trapp at the University of Halle . Before that, pedagogy was a branch of theology and from then on was considered an independent university subject. Other Christian educators, e.g. B. August Hermann Francke , have made important contributions to the replacement of the Christian by the bourgeois educational philosophy.

With the Enlightenment, thoughts of tolerance and equal rights for minorities also came up. Especially the Jewish approaches of the Haskala prepared the emancipation from 1760 , in some "free schools" a joint schooling of Jewish and Christian pupils was practiced - the "Jewish free school" was founded in 1778 in Berlin by David Friedländer . The brief equality of Jews in Germany as a result of the French occupation was reversed with the Congress of Vienna in 1815.

German-speaking area since the 19th century

Education systems of civil society in Germany

Wilhelm von Humboldt planned the reorganization of the German education system around 1810 with humanistic ideals . He was able to prevail with the reform of the universities and the creation of humanistic grammar schools . However, he was disappointed with the implementation of the tripartite school system, as it contradicted his ideals of an enlightened upbringing and primarily served the reproduction of social conditions but also the social-military indoctrination by the German princes: the high schools remained almost exclusively for the children of the ruling class Class (the nobility and the upper middle class ) reserved, the Realschulen especially those of the middle class ( lower civil servants , merchants and some of the self-employed craftsmen ), the elementary school for journeyman craftsmen , workers , farmers and the poor.

With colonization , European states transferred their educational systems to other parts of the world, with schools also serving to maintain the prevailing conditions. The German mission and colonial schools primarily served the Christianization and the training of loyal subjects. In addition to religious topics, the educational content was usually limited to the knowledge necessary for the work. The German administration pursued a similar educational policy in the occupied Polish territories until 1918. There was sometimes fierce resistance to attempts to “ Germanize ” these areas through language policy .

Youth Movement and Reform Education

At the end of the 19th century, reform pedagogy called for an “upbringing of the child” against alienation in the educational system . To do this, she resorted to the educational ideals of the Enlightenment, which she combined with a romantic ideology of life reform. At the same time the youth movement arose : for the first time youth appeared as an independent phase of life; In contrast to the increasingly extensive industrialization , young people tried to realize their longing for freedom and nature on trips. In addition to approaches to a democratic education , ethnic and anti-Semitic currents also emerged.

In the Weimar Republic, reform pedagogues such as Heinrich Schulz , Max Greil and Gustav Wyneken were given the opportunity to shape educational policy for the first time. According to the constitution, “disposition and inclination” and not social origin should determine education. At the same time, far-reaching steps towards a democratic education were called for. The student self-administration was z. B. at the Hamburg experimental school in Telemannstrasse the primary goal of the college. The separation of the students according to their class was lifted for the time of the common primary school in order to improve the chances of social advancement. In the Weimar School Compromise , however, as early as 1920, further reform pedagogical demands for a secular, humanistic, democratic, coeducational education system, which, in addition to the elastic unified school, should also include pre-school education in kindergartens and the establishment of pedagogically oriented courses at colleges and universities, were pushed to the sidelines . In the 1920s, universal children's rights were discussed for the first time in the League of Nations .

National Socialism

All attempts at democratization were thwarted in National Socialist Germany. The upbringing under National Socialism was characterized by the leadership's claim to totality towards all people. The National Socialists tried to spread their nationalist-racist propaganda as efficiently as possible by excluding oppositional teachers, specifying lesson content, creating new school types and including the youth in the Hitler Youth and the Association of German Girls . At the same time, the discrimination and persecution of Jews and the Sinti and Roma in schools was particularly clear.


With the liberation of Europe from fascism , the question arose for the Allies of how to deal with the indoctrinated German population. In addition to the repeal of the Nazi educational approaches and an explanation of the crimes of the Holocaust , they tried to initiate a democratization primarily through the redesign of the teaching. While in the western zones the abolition of the tripartite school system, to which the Allies attributed complicity, failed and the school system of the Weimar Republic was largely restored - albeit without building on the traditions of reform pedagogy - the restructuring in the Soviet sector was more fundamental: in the GDR a model of Marxist-Leninist education should overcome the previous injustices.

Federal Republic of Germany

The restoration of the school was followed in the FRG by a gradual rapprochement with the western states. Among other things, the Sputnik shock in 1957 brought the need to reform the educational systems on the agenda. In the Federal Republic of Germany this was again made clear by Georg Picht's series of articles "The German Educational Catastrophe" in the February 1964 magazine Christ and Welt .

Reaction to the fascist experience and reorientation of reform pedagogy

This and the disappointment of the 1968 generation about insufficient opportunities to bring about social change within the parliamentary system led to a strong revival of pedagogical discourse in the late 1960s and 1970s. In the student milieu - stimulated by ideas from the Frankfurt School and the psychoanalysis of Wilhelm Reich - there was again a critical examination of the educational philosophy of the Enlightenment, which was now called " black pedagogy ". Although reform pedagogy, which sought to curb the excesses of Enlightenment pedagogy, had been gaining ground since the late 19th century and had gained a firm place in the pedagogical mainstream, the obedience that the popular masses had practiced largely without contradiction under National Socialism was now interpreted psychologically, namely as conformism and authoritarianism , which could only have grown out of the "black pedagogy", which was characterized by cruel educational methods, a contempt for child nature and an exaggeration of the educator.

In direct response to the presumed continued existence of “black pedagogy”, the concept of an anti-authoritarian upbringing was born , which would make the utopia of a future generation come true, which would no longer be susceptible to the spirit of submission and fascism . While in anti-authoritarian upbringing a regulation of action by the educator was still planned, at the same time an anti-pedagogy arose - under the impression of antipsychiatry and the American child rights movement and as a radical reinterpretation of Rousseau's negative upbringing - which fundamentally rejected upbringing as inadmissible manipulation . The concept of a democratic upbringing, also developed in the 1970s, was less radical .

At the universities, the humanities pedagogy , which had been the leading theoretical orientation here since the end of the First World War , was completely replaced in the 1960s by critical educational science, which, like anti-authoritarian education, was influenced by the Frankfurt School and similar to it strived for a dismissal and emancipation of the child, but beyond that pursued completely different discourses. With the “empirical turn” in education, however, critical educational science lost its importance again in the 1980s.

Further developments

In education policy the interest was u. a. the creation of greater equal opportunities for children from previously disadvantaged sections of the population. Great hopes were placed in the comprehensive schools established from 1967 , which, however, could not prevail against the old tripartite school system.

The increased promotion of children from previously disadvantaged sections of the population led to the educational paradox , because the “inflation of educational qualifications” and rising unemployment meant that the inequalities that had existed up to now remained. This was also the verdict of the PISA study from 2000, which again called for reforms of the education system.

A growing attention to pre-school education and increasing pressure on the legislature to support parents in the reconciliation of family and work led to the fact that since August 2013 all children from the age of one to school entry have been legally entitled to child day care ( eighth Book of the Social Code , §24).

German Democratic Republic

Education outside of the German-speaking area

United States

The educational discourse in the United States in the first half of the 20th century was shaped by behaviorist positions . Authors such as L. Emmet Holt and John B. Watson had popularized the idea among the middle class that infants should be fed at stubborn 4-hour intervals and that they should be trained to be clean at an early stage according to an equally strict schedule; also, in order to develop a good character, children should be caressed as little as possible. Based on Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis , Benjamin Spock propagated a decidedly authoritative style of upbringing with a strong moment of spontaneity, empathy and love in his bestseller infant and child care from 1946 onwards , which has since been practiced by large parts of the middle class. Only towards the end of the 20th century - inspired by authors such as Albert Bandura , Martin Seligman , Howard Gardner , John D. Mayer , Wendy Mogel and Thomas Lickona - did educational concepts gain importance again that were less liberal, with the current state of discussion of philosophy and the But sciences are easier to combine.


The family system and upbringing in China have traditionally been shaped by Confucian philosophy . Parents had great authority over their children, and obedience was expected from them. The western reading public has become familiar with the upbringing style of the Chinese imperial era . a. through novels like The Secret Fan by Lisa See to familiarize.

The policy of the People's Republic of China, founded in 1949, aimed at profound changes in the old family order, in particular the replacement of patriarchal structures with egalitarian relationships. As the American sociologist William J. Goode has shown, this change was in part already on the way before 1949. The one-child policy introduced in 1979 resulted in further changes in the family structure and upbringing style. Since then, the number of parent education programs has also increased dramatically; In 2001 there were about 240,000 parent schools in the People's Republic of China. However, many recent developments in the relationship between Chinese parents and children have hardly been documented. The educational guide Good Mom, Good Teacher (好 妈妈 好 老师, hǎo māmā hǎo lǎoshī), whose author Yin Jianli promotes raising children to self-confidence, independence and creativity, instead of just worrying about their schooling , has achieved record editions since 2011 .

Pedagogy pioneers

See also


Introductions and manuals

  • Historical dictionary of pedagogy , ed. by Dietrich Benner and Jürgen Oelkers, Darmstadt: Wiss. Buchges., 2004
  • Herwig Blankertz : The History of Education. From the Enlightenment to the Present , Wetzlar: Pandora's Box 1982 ISBN 3-88178-055-6
  • Winfried Böhm : History of Pedagogy . Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-50853-7 .
  • Johannes Christes , Richard Klein, Christoph Lüth, Handbook of Education and Upbringing in Antiquity , Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2006
  • Ludwig von Friedeburg , educational reform in Germany. History and social contradiction , Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp 1989, paperback edition 2002, ISBN 3-518-28615-3
  • K. Harney, HH Krüger (ed.): Introduction to the history of educational science and educational reality , 2nd edition. Leske + Budrich, Opladen 1997, ISBN 3-8252-8109-4 .
  • HJ Heydorn, G. Koneffke: Studies on the social history and philosophy of education, Volume I, on the education of the Enlightenment . Paul List, Munich 1973, ISBN 3-471-61666-7 .
  • A. Reble: History of Pedagogy . 17th edition. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-608-93011-6 .
  • R. Koerrenz / K. Kenklies / H. Kauhaus / M. Schwarzkopf: History of pedagogy . Paderborn: Schöningh, 2017. 322 p.

History of education

Regional investigations

In Germany:

  • Helene Eggert: pioneers of reform pedagogy. The Bender educational institution for boys in Weinheim an der Bergstrasse (1829–1918) . VAS Verlag f. Academ. Schr. 2006. ISBN 3-88864-417-8 .
  • Herbert Egglmaier: The department "History of Pedagogy" and its representation at the Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz , 2 parts ( retrospectives in matters of education , R. 2, No. 47 and 48), Klagenfurt 2004.
  • Peter Gbiorczyk, The development of rural schools in the County of Hanau from the Reformation to 1736. the offices of Büchertal and Windecken, part 1: text volume, part 2: source volume on CD-Rom, Shaker-Verlag Aachen 2011, ISBN 978-3-8440- 0331-4 .
  • Gottfried Uhlig : History of the Saxon School System until 1600 . Hellerau-Verlag, Dresden 1999, ISBN 3-910184-65-0 .


  • Ann Hulbert: Raising America . Experts, Parents, and a Century of Advice About Children. 1st edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2004, ISBN 0-375-70122-2 .


Wikisource: Journals (pedagogy)  - sources and full texts
  • Annali di storia dell'educazione e delle istituzioni scolastiche
  • Histoire de l'education
  • History of Education: the journal of the History of Education Society
  • Historical educational research yearbook
  • Paedagogica Historica
  • Journal of Educational Historiography

Web links

Wikisource: Category: Education, Pedagogy  - Sources and Full Texts

Individual evidence

  1. Luke 10:38-42; John 3.2
  2. Wingolf Lehnemann: churches, schools, state. Religious instruction in the 19th century , p. 132f, in: Ruth-E. Mohrmann (Ed.): Individual and Piety: Folklore Studies on the 19th and 20th Centuries , Münster: Waxmann, 1997, ISBN 3-89325-558-3 , pp. 131-144
  3. Juliane Dittrich-Jacobi: Pietism and pedagogy in the constitutional process of bourgeois society: historical-systematic investigation of August Hermann Francke's pedagogy (1663–1727) ( Memento of the original from November 10, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Diss. Bielefeld, 1976 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / pub.uni-bielefeld.de
  4. Legal entitlement to day care. Retrieved November 22, 2018 .
  5. See the article on character education .
  6. WS Tseng, DYH Wu (ed.): Chinese culture and mental health , Orlando, Florida: Academic Press, 1985; S. Lau, PC Cheung: Relations between Chinese adolescents' perception of parental control and organization and their perception of parental warmth , in: Developmental Psychology, Volume 18, 1987, pp. 215-221
  7. ^ William J. Goode: World Revolution and Family Patterns , Free Press of Glencoe, 1963
  8. DA Abbott, ZF Ming, WH Meredith: An evolving redefinition of the fatherhood role in the People's Republic of China , in: International Journal of Sociology of the Family, Volume 22, 1992, pp. 45-54
  9. Diane M. Hoffman, Guiping Zhao: Global Convergence and Divergence in Childhood Ideologies and the Marginalization of Children , p. 5, in: Joseph I. Zajda, Karen Biraimah, William Gaudelli (eds.): Education and social inequality in the global culture , Springer, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4020-6926-0 , pp. 1–16 ( limited online version in Google Book Search - USA )
  10. Bernita Quoss, Wen Zhao: Parenting Styles and Children's Satisfaction with Parenting in China and the United States , in: Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Volume 26, 1995 ( excerpt ); Hong Xiao: Childrearing values ​​in the United States and China: A Comparison of Belief Systems and Social Structure , Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2001, ISBN 0-275-97313-1 , p. 4 ( restricted online version in the Google Book Search - USA )