Letter to the Editor

Pestalozzi – modern and up to date

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi dedicated his life to primary school education. He also wanted to help the poor and disadvantaged children to a better life by education. At that time this idea was new and revolutionary. Not everyone liked it. Many members of the upper classes wanted to leave the people in poverty and ignorance. However, Pestalozzi, was highly appreciated by progressive and democratic minds. He talked to many people and remained in close exchange, which contributed to his success and his international reputation. While Pestalozzi initially believed in Rousseau’s idea of “natural education”, he later recognised that children need systematic guidance with learning. Pestalozzi was convinced that the social bond within the classroom community and with the teacher was the most important prerequisite for learning. Furthermore, the visual and practical evidence of the teaching methods is decisive. Starting from “demonstration”, children should get a clear idea of the things, for every knowledge is rooted in the perceptible reality. Pestalozzi summarised this unity of social, cognitive and practical learning in the famous phrase “head, heart and hand”. Pestalozzi’s view of the child and learning is still up-to-date and modern. It is in contrast to the recently promoted “digitalised learning”, each child sitting in front of his or her own tablet computer, lonely and detached from real life. The global companies such as Apple, Google or Facebook are particularly the profiteers. Whereas the pupils and the whole society profit from an education in the sense of Pestalozzi. Obviously not everyone appreciates this idea, still today. Is this why Pestalozzi is made so bad by certain media?

Dr. phil. Judith Barben, Wil

(Translation Current Concerns)