Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Democracy and Participation in 19th century debate about the Volksschule (primary school) in Germany – Insights to the work of Friedrich W. Dörpfeld
Sebastien Engelmann, Daniel Lars Löffelmann

Última modificación: 2017-07-15


Friedrich W. Dörpfeld (1842–1893), teacher and scientifically ambitious pedagogue, is one of the lesser known protagonists in the discussion about an emancipatory democratization of schools and school system in the long 19th century in Germany. Even though his considerable collected works were made available shortly after his death, he soon got marginalized by the German (and not even noticed by the international) discussion in educational sciences.

On this account Dörpfeld’s practical and theoretical work is – unjustly! – almost forgotten nowadays. Besides the editions by Alfred Reble of Dörpfeld’s writings on curriculum theory, the problems of the primary school and didactics (Dörpfeld 1961; Dörpfeld 1962; Dörpfeld 1963), contemporary history of education marks Dörpfeld as one of the lesser known practical teachers (Tenorth 2001) or reproduces ideas that are not consistent over his extensive work. A short debate about his ideas took off in the 80s, but was not continued (Goebel 1975).

The aim of our talk is to (re-)introduce Dörpfeld’s ideas about the democratic governance of schooling: We are going to show that Dörpfeld develops the concept of integrating different actors into the organization processes in schools, which helps to mediate different interests (such as the interests of the community, the church, the civil society etc). Additionally, Dörpfeld offers a way to secure the independence of schools from e.g. political usurpation or economic annexation of educational institutions. Therefore, we are going to offer a concise summary of Dörpfeld’s most relevant texts and help, to introduce his ideas to an international audience.

For this purpose, we are going to give a short overview of the biographical and historical contexts of Dörpfeld’s work in a first step. In a second step, we discuss central passages from his main work Die drei Grundgebrechen der der hergebrachten Schulverfassungen nebst bestimmten Vorschlägen zu ihrer Reform and Dörpfeld‘s work on general education in schools such as Didaktischer Materialismus. All the texts are not available in English up until now. In a third step, we are going to combine Dörpfeld’sstructural approach (reform of the structure of schooling) with the individual approach (reform of the individual instruction) to show that Dörpfeld creates a milieu for schooling that emancipates both the school and the individual from destructive societal influences.

Following this sketched out line of argumentation, it should become clear, that Dörpfeld’s work might be still useful for today’s discussion about the interconnection of schooling and society. Dörpfeld is a forgotten key figure in the history of education whose innovative concepts may help to revitalize the discussion about schooling for democracy and emancipation.