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Durham e-Theses
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The influence of Pestalozzi on Prussian elementary education in the early 19th century.

Thiem, Erwin (1969) The influence of Pestalozzi on Prussian elementary education in the early 19th century. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Pestalozzi developed the idea of a common elementary education which would elevate the impoverished mass of the people and equip them with the means of establishing a decent livlihood. Convinced of the validity of Rousseau's theories that nature begins the educative process by quickening the senses, he put his idea of education through observation into practice in his schools in Switzerland. By the impact and popularity of his work "Leonard and Gertrude", he achieved recognition in Prussia, where the ground was prepared for the almost universal acceptance of his theories through the dissemination of the educational doctrines of Basedow, Salzmann and von Rochow and the support of Herbart and Froebel. The interest created in Pestalozzi's effective methods of teaching large numbers of children to read, add and write was given further stimulus by "How Gertude teaches her children".
After her defeat by Napoleon, Prussia turned with renewed vigour to Pestalozzi's system of popular enlightenment as the one means left to regain her glory. Since his system depended for success on the regular supply of trained teachers, Prussia sent students to be trained by him and established teacher training institutes to provide a professionally trained corps of teachers imbued with the Pestalozzi spirit to work in the new state elementary schools. Here the curriculum was expanded and the courses of instruction based on Pestalozzi's teachings.
Once Prussia had regained her lost powers, the success of the new education was retarded by the opposition of the ruling classes, who feared its liberalising influence. Teacher training was restricted and teaching became a rigid discipline. Efficiency was regarded as the only measure of success, education was to serve the state, not the individual. Pestalozzi's ideas could not be eradicated, but they were largely suppressed. His direct influence on Prussian education was at an end.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Education
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:1969
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:12 Apr 2013 14:51

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