ERIC Number: ED293803
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988-Apr
Did the American Herbartians Have a Research Base?
Westfall, Barry H.
The origins of the Herbartian Movement began with the writings of Johan Friedrich Herbart (1776-1841), a German philosopher and educator. He believed that, through instruction, the mind and morals of the child could be molded. For this purpose, ideas are available from two sources: experience, which furnishes knowledge of nature, and social contact, which provides an awareness of one's fellow man. These two sources of ideas from the two major branches of the curriculum: the scientific and historical. Ultimately for Herbart, education should have two bases: ethics and psychology. The first determines the ends of education--that being a morally upright individual, while the second determines the means or methods of instruction. This paper examines the theories of Herbart, and traces the history of Herbartianism from its impact on German thought through its translation to America and the influence it had with the thought and practices of early American educators. This was the most comprehensive theory of education available to American educators up to the advent of John Dewey's pragmatism. It is concluded that while Herbartian theory is really just a series of deductions derived from a few ethically motivated central ideas, it provided one of the original foundations for whatever bond exists between scientific theory and educational practices today. (JD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A