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Krisztina Kovács: Image of Educators in two Pedagogical Books of the Age of Dualism Felméri and Baló

Long ago, most education handbooks written for and used by primary school teachers and teacher training schools in Hungary devoted space to the properties expected of teachers. These properties were either treated in parts of chapters or described in separate chapters. Based on an analysis of the relevant sections and chapters of such books, conclusions can be drawn on the image held of teachers in a particular period of time both in the real world and ‘on an abstract theoretical plane’. The study aims to reconstruct this image of teacher in one education handbook by Lajos Felméri (1840–1894), professor of education at the Hungarian University of Kolozsvár, and in another by József Baló (1860–1916), principal of the State Teacher Training Institute in Budapest. The element of professional life shared by the two authors is that both of them had taken part in study tours in Switzerland, England and Germany several times during their university training, which facilitated their studies of the different educational trends of the day. Both authors were highly influenced by the current scholarship in education and psychology, and the strong effect of the children’s instructional movement can be detected in their writing. Based on the studies, these handbooks by Felméri and Baló clearly show the image of ‘expert teacher and child psychologist’. The expression ‘expert teacher’ did not mean that teachers functioned as theoretical experts, but that they possessed the scholarly knowledge required for their every-day work. The authors’ standpoint was that a significant proportion of teachers neglected the scholarly character of education and that their understanding was mainly based on experience. The authors’ image of a teacher was that of the child psychologist who possessed the necessary theoretical scholarly knowledge and was able to apply methods based on her knowledge of psychology. As ‘experts’, according to this image, teachers not only had to deliver knowledge as their educational aim, but were also to focus on learners’ intelligence, i.e. the development of the mind. In order to develop well-educated individuals, these teachers were expected to be highly educated and ethical people who set a good example for society in general and children in particular.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 111. Number 4. 289-311. (2011)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Kovács Krisztina, Szent István Egyetem Alkalmazott Bölcsészeti és Pedagógiai Kar, Gyermeknevelési és Módszertani Tanszék, H–5540 Szarvas, Kossuth L. u. 2.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia