Martin Wagenschein

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Martin Wagenschein (born December 3, 1896 in Gießen , † April 3, 1988 in Trautheim zu Mühltal ) was a German physicist and educator . He was particularly involved in the field of subject didactics of mathematics and natural sciences .

Vehicle license at a legendary demonstration of his teaching skills - Pascal's barometer ; Darmstadt 1983


From 1914 to 1920 Martin Wagenschein studied mathematics, physics and geography in his hometown of Gießen and in Freiburg im Breisgau and graduated with the 1st state examination. He received his doctorate in experimental physics under Walter König in 1921 . The dissertation at the University of Giessen was entitled Experimental Investigation of the Oscillation of a Ball in an Oscillating Liquid or Gas Mass . From 1920 to 1921 Martin Wagenschein was a university assistant to his doctoral supervisor and helped him to set up his experimental physics lecture. In the following two years he was a trainee teacher and probationary year, which he finished in 1923 with the second state examination.

From 1923 to 1957 Martin Wagenschein worked in the state school service. From 1924 to 1930 and from 1930 to 1933 he was on leave, however, with a half-year break from government service to at the Odenwald School of Paul Geheeb in Ober-Hambach to teach what inspired him for life. In 1933 Wagenschein joined the NS-Volkswohlfahrt and the NS-Lehrerbund . In 1938 he became a member of the NSDAP . During the denazification process in 1947, he was exonerated, saying that he had “encouraged independent thinking in every respect” and “thus offered strong active resistance”.

Wagenschein taught since 1945 at a junior high school with boarding school in his hometown Traisa and in 1947 -conductor of physics at the study seminar for high schools Darmstadt until 1952. One of the trainees of the seminar included Walter Jung and Horst Rumpf . In 1949, Martin Wagenschein was given a teaching position for "Scientific Knowledge Psychology" at the Pedagogical Institute in Jugenheim / Bergstrasse, which was located in Heiligenberg Castle . After the institute was relocated to the University of Education in Frankfurt in 1963, to his displeasure , he was a lecturer there until 1972 for "Didactics of the exact natural sciences". At the same time he had a teaching position at the Technical University of Darmstadt for “practical pedagogy” from 1952 to 1987 and was an honorary professor in Tübingen from 1956 to 1978 .

Wagenschein developed the principle of representative or exemplary learning , which he later subsumed under the genetic principle , and in this context coined the phrase “courage to gap”. He characterized his approach as Socratic , genetic and exemplary .

The editor of Wagenschein's late work Seeing and Understanding Natural Phenomena , Hans Christoph Berg , developed, based on Wagenschein's concepts, the didactics of teaching art , in the development of which Wolfgang Klafki also contributed from 1997 .

Prizes and awards


  • Experimental investigation of the oscillation of a sphere in an oscillating mass of liquid or gas. In: Annals of Physics . Volume 370, H. 13, 1921, pp. 461-480, doi: 10.1002 / andp.19213701305 (dissertation).
  • Education through science. 1930.
  • Science and education. 1932/33.
  • For the educational task of mathematics and science lessons. 1933/34.
  • Physical education and intellectualism. In: Journal for mathematical and scientific teaching of all school types. 1, 1935, pp. 15-27; Online reprint (PDF; 270 kB)
  • Relationships between the forces of nature. The structure of the physical image of nature. Vieweg, Braunschweig 1937, DNB 576844551 .
  • A class discussion on Euclid's theorem about not breaking off the series of prime numbers. Paul Geheeb dedicated. Teaching report from the Ecole d'Humanité 1949; in Wagenschein (1980), pp. 77-83; Online reprint (PDF; 100 kB)
  • The Tübingen conversation . In: The Pedagogical Province. 5, 12, 1951, pp. 623-628. Online reprint (PDF; 90 kB)
  • "Exemplary teaching" as a way to renew the higher school (with special attention to physics). Lecture at the Institute for Teacher Training in Hamburg on Nov. 26, 1952; extended version Hamburg 1954, DNB 455336245 ; in Wagenschein (1980), pp. 170-194.
  • Seen physically. A handout on physical science for teachers of all types of schools. Diesterweg, Frankfurt / Berlin / Bonn 1953; DNB 455336288 , therein
  • The earth under the stars. A path to the stars for each of us. Oldenbourg, Munich 1955, DNB 455336210 . Online reprint ; (PDF; 530 kB)
  • On the concept of exemplary teaching. Lecture at the conference of the University for International Pedagogical Research in Frankfurt am Main on “The significance and benefits of experimental school work for the German school”, March 15, 1956. In: Zeitschrift für Pädagogik. 1956; exp. Beltz, Weinheim / Berlin 1959, DNB 455336156 ; Online reprint (PDF; 300 kB)
  • The “exemplary teaching” as a principle that connects subjects: The Pythagorean theorem. Lecture at the conference on "Scientific and Humanities Cooperation" at the Coburg Academy, March 24, 1960; in Wagenschein (1980), pp. 251-267.
  • Mathematics from the earth (geometry). German Sch., 53 (1961) 1, pp. 5-8.
  • The educational dimension of physics. Westermann, Braunschweig 1962; DNB 455336199 ; individual sections also in Wagenschein (1980)
  • Darkening Knowledge? Science and general education today. Lecture at the Hessischer Rundfunk, July 9, 1965; Online reprint (PDF; 180 kB)
  • On the problem of genetic teaching. Lecture in the seminar for didactics of mathematics at the University of Münster, December 7, 1965; Online reprint (PDF; 330 kB)
  • Original understanding and exact thinking. 2 volumes; Klett, Stuttgart 1965/70, DNB 458561509 / DNB 458561517
  • The experience of the globe. Klett, Stuttgart 1967, DNB 740557777 . Online reprint (PDF; 400 kB)
  • Martin Wagenschein: Teaching people to understand. Genetic - Socratic - Exemplary. Beltz, Weinheim / Berlin 1968; DNB 458561525 , therein
    • Editions from the 4th (1973) contain Wagenschein (1956) and Wagenschein (1965a / b)
    • Editions from the 5th (1975) contain Wagenschein (1974)
  • with Agnes Banholzer and Siegfried Thiel: Children on the way to physics, Klett, Stuttgart 1973, ISBN 3-12-928490-7 .
  • Discovery of the axiomatics. In: Mathematics Lessons. 20, 1, 1974, pp. 52-70. Online reprint (PDF; 480 kB)
  • Save the phenomena! Extended version of a lecture at the "Exempla 75", Congress; “Organism and Technology”, Munich, Easter 1975; Online reprint (PDF; 140 kB)
  • Johannes Flügge (Ed.) With Hugo Kükelhaus : Save the phenomena. Four lectures, held on the occasion of a pedagogical conference on 1st / 2nd November 1975 at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Rüschlikon-Zurich. Basel 1975, DNB 943768241 .
  • See and understand natural phenomena. Genetic courses. Published by Hans Christoph Berg . Klett, Stuttgart 1980, ISBN 3-12-928421-4 / hep (Volume 4), Bern 2009, ISBN 978-3-03905-511-1 .
  • Memories for tomorrow. An educational autobiography. Beltz, Weinheim / Basel 1983, ISBN 3-407-83075-0 .


  • Susanne Brülls: Lesson preparation according to vehicle license. In: Astrid Kaiser , Detlef Pech (ed.): Lesson planning and methods. Schneider, Baltmannsweiler 2004, pp. 62-69.
  • Ilse Bürmann: Overcoming the person and the thing: Approaching educational teaching and learning. Julius Klinkhardt Publishing House, Bad Heilbrunn 1997.
  • Hartmut von Hentig : Laudation to the recipient of the Henning Kaufmann Foundation Prize 1985 - Martin Wagenschein. In: New Collection . Volume 26, 1986, H. 4, pp. 447-464.
  • Michael Soostmeyer: Teaching exemplarily, Socratically and genetically! To the death of Wagenschein. In: Pedagogical Review. Volume 42, 1988, H. 6, pp. 723-730.

Individual evidence

  1. Martin Wagenschein: Memories for Tomorrow. An educational autobiography. Beltz Taschenbuch, Weinheim and Basel 2002, ISBN 3-407-22752-3 , p. 22.

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