Johann Friedrich Herbart
Occupation: Educators, Philosophers, Psychologists
Unique distinction: Founder of empirical psychology, follower of Associative psychology, founder of pedagogy as an academic discipline.
Achievements and contributions:
The main contribution to (what is known): Herbart was the founders of modern scientific pedagogy, founder of educational therapy and a precursor of child psychiatry. He is also considered a founder of empirical psychology.
Contributions: Herbart – German philosopher, psychologist, and educator. He is considered as one of the outstanding philosophers, the pioneer of empirical psychology and founder of pedagogy as an academic discipline
He maintained that true being consists of a plurality of simple «reals», entities which were modeled after the Leibnizian monads.
He held that change was nothing but changing relationships between independent real simple elements. Herbart replaces the term “sensation” to the term “presentation”, thus emphasizing the internal world relatively isolated from the outside world. Presentations are not passive elements in the human soul, but have their own charge and activity.
He regarded mental life as the manifestation of elementary sensory units, idea or “presentations” (Vorstellungen). These he conceived as mental forces rather than as mere “ideas” in Locke’s sense. The study of their interactions gave rise to a statics and dynamics of the mind, to be expressed in mathematical formulas.
Herbart sought to develop the mathematical and empirical, as well as the metaphysical, aspects of psychology. However he denied the possibility of psychological experiment.
His philosophy of mind generated a kind of associationist psychology.
Associationism. Herbart believed that the mind was the sum total of all ideas -“presentations”, which entered into one’s conscious life.
By assimilation (or apperception) new ideas could enter the mind through association with similar ideas already present.
He felt they grouped themselves into what he called “apperceptive masses”, which content is the individual human experience.
He emphasized the importance of both the physical and the human environment in the development of the mind. On this basis Herbart developed a theory of education as a branch of applied psychology.
Unconscious. Herbart long before Freud introduced the concept of “unconscious”. He believed ideas crossed a limen of consciousness, or a boundary between the conscious and the unconscious.
Сonsciousness consists of three areas: clarity of mind, consciousness and unconsciousness. Moreover the terms transition ideas from the unconscious into consciousness are the power of the presentation and the number of links this view with the past experience (apperception).
Theory of inhibition. Herbart gave psychology the beginning of a theory of inhibition, or interference in learning, which was to reappear in many guises and in theories in times to come extending from Pavlov’s “conditioned reflex” to Freud’s “repression.”
Herbart maintained that a science of education was possible, and he furthered the idea that education should be a subject for university study.
He stressed the need for moral education through experience and brought the work of teaching into the area of conscious method.
According to his theory of apperception, new ideas, when properly presented to the student, become linked to existing ideas and form a system of associated ideas called the apperceptive mass.
He developed theory of education—known as Herbartianism. It had a profound influence on late 19th-century teaching practices, especially in the United States, where educators established the National Herbart Society in 1895.
In Germany, Leipzig and Jena became centers for Herbartianism.
Herbart’s method of instruction has been identified by his students as involving the “Five Formal Steps of the Recitation”, which includes preparation, presentation, association, generalization, and application.
According to Herbart the soul has no innate natural talents or inborn powers. He said that the individuality of the youth reveals itself more and more under the teacher’s efforts. He called to make teaching a more interesting and attractive field said that the teacher must represent the future man in the boy.
Herbart stated that the beautiful is be carefully distinguished from the allied conceptions of the useful or the pleasant, which vary with time, place and person; whereas beauty is predicated absolutely and involuntarily by all who have attained the right standpoint.
Major works: Pestalozzis Idee eines A B C der Anschauung (1802), ABC’s of Observation (1804), The Moral or Ethical Revelation of the World: The Chief Aim of Education (1804), General Pedagogics 1806), Chief Points of Logic (1806), Chief Points of Metaphysics (1806), General Practical Philosophy (1808), System of Psychology (1814), Text-book of Psychology (1816), Psychology as a Science, (1824-5), Allgemeine Metaphysik (General Metaphysics, two-volume work ) (1828-29), Outline of Pedagogical Lectures (1835).
Career and Personal life:
Education: Herbart was taught by his mother at home until the age of 12. Herbart was a pupil in the Gymnasium at Oldenburg (1788 – 1794) and attended the University of Jena (1794-1799).
Career highlights: Becoming a licentiate of the University of Göttingen in 1802, he was appointed extraordinary professor there in 1805. In the same year he gave his first philosophical lectures. Herbart taught philosophy and pedagogy at Göttingen (1805-1809). There he began to seek a sound philosophical base upon which to rest his educational theories.
At the close of 1808 he became Kant’s successor as professor at Königsberg and from 1809 to 1833 held the chair of pedagogy and philosophy at Königsberg.
Later dissatisfied with the way things were progressing in Prussia, Herbart returned to Göttingen in 1833.
Не remained there as professor of philosophy till his death.
Personal life: From 1788 to 1794 Herbart was a pupil in the Gymnasium at Oldenburg.
Then he attended the University of Jena (1794-1799), where studying under Fichte and met Friedrich von Schiller. During his studying he was influenced by Leibniz, Kant, and Fichte.
Herbart worked as a tutor to the governor’s three sons at Interlaken in Switzerland, from 1797 to 1800, during which period he made the acquaintance of Pestalozzi.
In 1811 he married an eighteen year old Mary Jane Drake, daughter of an English merchant. They lived a happy life with Mary supporting all of her husband’s pursuits and contributions to the fields of pedagogy and psychology.
He died on Aug. 11, 1841 and was buried in Albanifriedhof Cemetery in Göttingen.
Zest: Herbart was a close friend of Pestalozzi.