Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Emancipating children in research on history of education
Attila Nóbik

Última modificación: 2017-07-16


History of classroom is generally studied with a Foucauldian point of view. From this regard, the settings of classrooms serve the purpose of the continuous observation and discipline. Classrooms, these researches suggest, are designed to facilitate certain ways of teaching. Also, when it comes to history of schooling children are often seen as the subject of repressive control. Teaching students the 'normal', self-governing use of their bodies is a fundamental function of the school as Foucault (1995) notes.

Drawing on these researches, in my analysis I have studied the Hungarian elementary teachers’ discourses on classroom furniture and equipment in the early 20th century. One source of the research was an encyclopedia (Encyclopedia of Elementary Education) published in three volumes between 1911 and 1915. Also, I have analyzed Hungarian educational journals.

The reason behind the selection of the period and the sources was that the Hungarian researches conclude that early 20th century is an important turning point in the professionalization of elementary teaching in Hungary. By that time elementary teachers’ professional knowledge broke away from the romantic image of children and ceased to be a mere summary of practical experiences and guidance. The modernized professional knowledge of the early 20th century involved some elements of new education movements and a Darwinist, evolutionist and positivist world view.

The results of my research show that the topic was present constantly in the sources, mainly focusing on furniture and hygiene of the classroom. In my presentation, I’d like to offer an interpretation in which children are not subject of classroom oppression. Instead I suggest that they, by just their existence, are active constructors of their environment.