Johann Friedrich Herbart: biography of this psychologist and educator

Little is known about the life of Johann Friedrich Herbart, although it should be noted that his way of educating and seeing how to adapt future adults to the society in which they lived was something advanced in his time.

Let’s look at the story of this psychologist and philosopher of a biography of Johann Friedrich Herbart, With the key elements of his career.

    Brief biography of Johann Friedrich Herbart

    Johann Friedrich Herbart was born on May 4, 1776 in Oldenburg, Germany. Due to a childhood accident, he was a child of pharyngeal health, which required him to be educated by his mother at home up to 12 years.

    After that he entered his city’s “Gymnasium” (German high school) for six years, in which he showed a great interest in Kant’s philosophy. He will later continue his studies in the city of Jena, where he will study philosophy under the hands of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, with whom he would have many opposing views.

    After living in Jena for three years, he began teaching the children of Herr von Steiger, who was the governor of Interlaken, Switzerland. It is from this experience that Herbart he was motivated to think about how the way of teaching should be reformed.

    While still on Swiss soil, Herbart had the opportunity to meet Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, a Swiss educator who was involved in educational reform in schools.

    Herbart will begin studying Greek and mathematics upon his return to Germany, particularly in the city of Bremen, for three years and will later go to Göttingen, where he will remain from 1801 to 1809. It was at this time that he gave his first lectures on philosophy, in 1805.

    After living in Göttingen, he moved to Königsberg, where he led an educational seminar until 1833, when he decided to return to the previous town, where he remained until the date of his death, as a professor of philosophy.

    An anecdote about his death is that Johann Friedrich Herbart was in fairly good health even at the end of his days. In fact, just two days before he died suddenly from a stroke, he had given a talk, his last, and, according to the attendees, he looked very healthy.

    His death occurred on August 14, 1841 in the city of Göttingen. He was buried in the Albanifriedhof cemetery in the same town.

    Thought and theoretical legacy of this researcher

    Below we will see some aspects of Johann Friedrich Herbart’s thought, all closely related to his way of seeing and applying pedagogy.

    Principles in education

    According to Herbart, the pedagogy emphasized the child’s bond with society, Promote their development for a useful purpose towards other human beings. That is, the intellectual and moral development of the child should be done in such a way as to transform him, over time, into an adult who feels full and useful, a productive citizen for the whole community. society.

    According to Johann Friedrich Herbart, every child is born with a unique potential. However, this potential would not be properly exploited if the child did not have the opportunity to receive a formal education and regulated, that is, the school, and that it was well organized. While the family and the church can impart knowledge and values ​​useful for everyday life, only the school can ensure adequate intellectual and moral development.

    teaching method

    In his teaching method, Herbart he considers moral and intellectual education to go hand in hand. They couldn’t go their separate ways and claim to teach them properly without one depending on the other or making connections between the two conceptions.

    According to him, if the nature of the human mind was a unitary thing, how could intelligence and morality be divided? In order to be able to instruct the mind, that is to say morality, it is necessary to constrain it by learning and promoting intelligence.

    However, the only way to ensure that the educational process was productive was to make lessons interesting for students. Johann Friedrich Herbart considered it a cardinal sin that the teacher should be bored and not bother to attract the attention of his apprentices. Curiosity, liveliness in the way the lessons are given, motivation and the desire to teach were something extremely necessary in any lesson.

    Herbart has just spoken of the different types of interest that a person may have in an object of study.

    1. Speculative

    It is the interest that it derives from meditation on objects that have been experienced (Seen, heard, tasted …). It’s reflective.

    2. Aesthetics

    It is what is given in front of the observation of something beautiful, natural or elaborated by the human being. It is moving.

    3. Empirical

    It arises from the immediate perception of things, without attributing any emotion or reflection to them.. It’s neutral.

    Then come three other types of interests more related to the type of human interaction that occurs between the individual and others.

    4. Friendly

    This is the type of interest that the child shows when participating in activities with people around him. You can feel joy or pain, and this is what is given in the family and school setting.

    5. Social

    This is what happens when faced with an event in which several people are involved and in which cooperation is necessary.

    6. Religious

    According to Herbart, and we have a very theological view, it would be interest in the human spirit and the divinity, which would serve to obtain a complete life.

    The education he advocated

    Herbart recommends arousing the interest and spirit of the students and preparing them for the new lesson. The method to be followed begins with the teacher preparing the subject in depth and see how it can relate to the above treaty.

    Then the teacher will cautiously remember the ideas presented in the previous lessons, to get the pupils to establish a relationship on their own, not without first summarizing very briefly the theme of the new lesson.

      Philosophical concept of reality

      Herbart was one of the first thinkers to recognize the importance of psychology in education, seeing it as a fundamental science for children’s learning and character development.

      this researcher he disagreed with how knowledge was acquired from Kant’s point of view. Kant believed that knowledge is given by studying the innate categories of thought, while Herbart believed that one learns only by studying outer things and real bodies. It’s not that they’re from before, or in a world of ideas or whatever. Herbart went so far as to say: the world is a world of things in itself ismas, and things in themselves are perceptible.

      Herbart, like Locke with his own table, he considered that the soul did not have innate ideas or pre-established categories of thoughtAs is Kant’s opinion. The soul, considered as a real thing, was a passive thing at the beginning of its existence, modified by means of external stimuli.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Avorrit, EG (1950). “German psychology before 1850: Kant, Herbart and Lotze.” In RM Elliott (Ed.), A History of Experimental Psychology (2nd ed.). New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
      • De Garmo, C. (1895). Herbart and the herbarts. New York: children of C. Scribner.
      • Kenklies, K. (2012). “Educational theory as topological rhetoric. The concepts of pedagogy by Johann Friedrich Herbart and Friedrich Schleiermacher.” Studies in philosophy and education. 31: 265-273. doi: 10.1007 / s11217-012-9287-6

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