Die ‚Entdeckung‘ der Jugend durch die Pädagogik Friedrich Wilhelm Foersters im Spannungsfeld von natürlicher Kraft und christlicher Idealität

Title Alternative:The Discovery of Youth by the Pedagogy of Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster in the Stress Field of Natural Force and Christian Ideality
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Národní pedagogické muzeum a knihovna J. A. Komenského
Technická univerzita v Liberci, Fakulta přírodovědně-humanitní a pedagogická
This paper is picking up the assumption, that youth was ‘discovered’ at the beginning of the 20th century as an own life stage as well as a kind of aesthetic energy that inspired people of every age and class to cultivate an idealistic sentiment and attitude. In this context, the essay is posing the question in which way Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster (1869–1966) and his pedagogical thinking have contributed to this discovery. Thereby, the paper can also be understood as an input – among others – to close the research gap on Foersters educational theory. There are two main focuses: The first one lies on his comprehension on education as ‘self-education’ of the youth, which is allowed by their natural force. Because nature is disordered, ‘self-education’ needs – this is the second aspect – an idealistic orientation: the Christian faith. On the way to clarify his concept of ‘self-education’, that was inspired by the United States ‘progressive education’, and to curve out the role of the Christian tradition, the essay compares Foerster with John Dewey (1859–1952). At last, this exploration leads not only to the result, that the heritage of Christianity was meaningful for both but also, that this Christian influence gave their concepts of ‘new education’ – in contrast to others – some precise criteria, so that they were able to deal with ‘normal’ young people (instead of the ‘holy child’) and to resist fascism or socialism. But this doesn’t mean, that Foersters educational concept was exempt of ambivalence in a pedagogical perspective.
Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster, John Dewey, self-education, new education, youth, will-forming-process, community versus single person, nature, christianity