Johann Friedrich Herbart

Johann Friedrich Herbart ( born May 4, 1776 in Oldenburg ( Oldenburg); † August 14, 1841 in Göttingen ) was a German philosopher, psychologist and educator, who is about the German language area out as classics of pedagogy. He founded the Herbartianism.


The son of a Judicial Council began after visiting the Oldenburg Latin school to study law at the University of Jena. Under the influence of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, he moved to philosophy and literature. According to the philosophy of Fichte and Schelling distancing, the study of the Greek classics and Membership in the student "covenant of free men " broke Herbart 1797 not finish his studies and went as tutor to the family of Altvogts Steiger to Interlaken at Bern. Here began his interest in educational work in the context of his teaching with his three sons, which he sailed from company reports. In 1798 he became acquainted with Pestalozzi, whose concepts led him to a critical rethinking of his own educational ideas.

In 1800 Herbart gave up his position as a private tutor and returned to the mother's request because of breakdown of the marriage of his parents to Oldenburg back to soon follow an invitation of his friend Johann Smidt to Bremen. In 1802 he began his academic career at the University of Göttingen, where he received his doctorate and his habilitation in philosophy. In Göttingen he taught first as a lecturer and in 1805, after the rejection of a call to Heidelberg, appointed associate professor. In the years 1806-1808 made ​​significant publications such as the General Education derived from the purpose of education, the main points of metaphysics, the main points of logic, general practical philosophy.

1809 Herbart was appointed to the University of Königsberg as a professor of philosophy and education at the former Chair of Immanuel Kant, where he participated also in the reform of the school system in Prussia. He also set up a Pädagogium, where he lived along with about ten children, some students and his wife.

In Konigsberg, he met his about the same time arrived in Königsberg with him, " supervisor ", the new chief of the Section of worship and teaching, Wilhelm von Humboldt, who wrote his teacher the philologist Friedrich to Berlin, at the University of Königsberg was probably just Herbart " single out " and know even a Goethe was that the" recently appointed from Göttingen Herbart " him much better liked in the vicinity as " by far the reviews of his books. " Herbart was a member and director of the " Scientific Deputation ", an advisory body to the school reform, which among other things new curricula designed. He also became a school board in 1829 and examined the potential teachers.

1811 married Herbart originating Mary Jane Drake, an English merchant family. The marriage remained childless. 1813, the first edition of the textbook for Introduction to Philosophy, 1816, the first edition of the textbook for psychology, 1824/25 psychology as a science newly founded on experience, metaphysics and mathematics in two parts, 1828/29, the two-piece General metaphysics, together with the beginnings of the philosophical theory of nature.

In 1833 he followed a call back to his old stamping ground of the University of Göttingen after the successor Hegel had not been entrusted to him in Berlin. There he published his late work outline educational lectures, published in 1841 newly added in the 2nd edition. 1837 Herbart distanced as Dean of the Faculty of Arts of the protests of the " Göttingen Seven". The Hanoverian constitutional conflict and the consequences of dismissal and expulsion from the country for the colleagues he described a year later as " Göttingische disaster." On August 14th 1841 Herbart died of a stroke. His final resting place he found on the Albani Cemetery in Göttingen.


Outline educational lectures (1841 ):

Herbart is considered one of the founders of modern pedagogy as a science. Based on the concept of plasticity of the people he tried to underpin education and teaching theory. Herbart is considered a pioneer in the development of a systematic theory of psychology based on learning and teaching; he developed a complex methodology, the so-called formal theory of stages. In its most widely used form of this system included four first formal teaching levels: clarity, association, system and method. Tuiskon Ziller (1817-1882), an eminent Herbartians, put another above these levels, the analysis. Wilhelm Rein (1847-1929) was the formal steps then German, more meaningful names: preparation, presentation, handling, generalization and application. They were integrated into a theoretical concept of an educational curriculum, which should be designed so that children and young people in their individual learning process, the essential stages of the learning process " ascend ", which has so far climbed the humanity as a species. Herbart saw the essential task of the teacher to find out the existing interests of the student and put them with the knowledge and the culture of humanity in relation to help the student to become part of civilized life. His philosophy founded an unconverted by his students in a strict regulatory framework guidance for teaching the Herbartianism which dominated the scientific pedagogy in the 19th century.

But here must emerge ( as a strict set of rules, which the pupil little free space in the self-development of leaves ) on the other hand, clearly the difference between Herbart systematic education (as a pedagogy of self-development of the pupil ) on the one hand and the Herbartianism. Especially in the recent reception is reinforced, including by Dietrich Benner, has been foreshadowed that the strict rules of the Herbartianism not followed the original intentions of Herbart. It even was in many ways a contradictory relationship with Herbart's system. Because the original intention of Herbart was the student by impulse (support ) for self-education to help and not more precisely to "pull" him through a set of rules in one of the teacher / educator predetermined (as Regelvorgeber ) direction. Thus Herbart mentioned in his treatise The aesthetic representation of the world as the main business of education (1804 ):

Thus Herbart states explicitly against an authoritarian parenting style and also an affirmative pedagogy, from today's perspective and encourages teaching to a place in which students are encouraged by " invitation to self-activity " ( Dietrich Benner ) and can trace their character development. The teacher appears here in a ratio of supporters. He is to give the students an impetus / food for thought. However, the actual learning process can be accomplished only by Edukanden ( students) themselves.

So is further clear that Herbartianism and the subsequent criticism in many places based on incorrect facts. Herbart's original theory in terms of education had only a lasting impact in the second half of the 20th century. The reason for the late and was in this sense critical ( under assessment ) Reception of Herbart's original system had been caused by the generalization of Herbart and the Herbartianism.

Herbartianism influenced previously aspects of education in Europe and the United States. In terms of psychology and philosophy of Herbart original teaching was recognized previously and his findings, if not, integrated into the relevant sciences as dominant own flow.


According to Herbart Herbartstraße and the location of their Herbartgymnasium are named in Oldenburg. Several Herbartstraßen as in Aschhausen, Berlin- Charlottenburg, Bremen - Beautiful Beck, Frankfurt am Main, Gütersloh, Hannover, Nuremberg, Wilhelmshaven and Zwickau bear his name.

International Herbart Society

The International Herbart Society promotes scientific discussion Herbart's philosophy and education, mainly through conferences that take place every second year. The conference papers will be published.