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Independent activity as a pedagogical term is an activity of one's own accord and with one's own goal. It can either start spontaneously in the student ( intrinsic motivation ) or it can be provoked by the teacher (extrinsic motivation). In the case of the onset of self-activity, this forces the pupil to think about things of his own, which then lead to different attempts at solutions. This fact promotes awareness of the problem and thus achieves independence in thinking, acting and judging.

The most important prerequisites for achieving self-employment are inner sympathy for the problems to be solved and the provision of work equipment. The teacher can encourage independence when working with the student by teaching him certain working methods. In an education for the person , the self-activity of the student should be considered in all cases where the teaching and the development stage of the student permits, but no Überakzentuierung should fall on the self-activity, so that they finally into an empty activismends and there is no sufficient intellectual preoccupation with the actual subject matter. The independent activity of the pupil plays an important role especially in reform pedagogy . Before that, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi and Adolph Diesterweg as well as Jean-Jacques Rousseau were mentioned in the context of visual pedagogy , in which the self-activity of the "pupil" played an important role.

In his book “Person und Tat”, John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) emphasizes the special meaning of “self-activity”, ie an act that can only come from a specific person. In this context he explains

“That the accomplishment of the deed by the person himself is a fundamental value. It could be called the personalistic or personal value of the act. This value differs from all moral values, which are always values ​​of the deed and result from the relationship to norms. The personalistic value lies in the accomplishment of the deed by the person himself, in the mere fact that “the person” “acts” in his peculiar way. So in the fact that this action has the character of an authentic self-determination, that the transcendence of the person is realized in it, which (...) entails integration both in the field of human somatics and the psyche . ” (Person and deed , 305)


  • Winfried Böhm , Waltraud Harth-Peter, Karel Rýdl, Gabriele Weigand, Michael Winkler (eds.): Snow from the past century. New Aspects of Reform Education. Ergon Publishing House. Würzburg 1994, ISBN 3-928034-46-4
  • Winfried Böhm, Wilhelm Hehlmann : Dictionary of Pedagogy , Kröner Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-520-09415-0
  • Karol Wojtyla: person and deed. Herder publishing house. Freiburg-Basel-Vienna 1981, ISBN 3-451-18709-4