Re: buber's pedagogy

[ Martin Buber - Discussions ]

Written by cheryl at 18 Oct 2000 19:47:14:

As an answer to: buber's pedagogy written by alvise at 24 Jul 2000 09:32:35:

>Does someone can give me any informations and bibliography about Martin Buber's theroies on Pedagogy?
>Thanks a lot

Dear Alvise, It's been awhile since you asked, but I just found this on this site... Here it is if your still wondering...


Buber as a teacher

He was basically a teacher - for me, the greatest teacher of our generation. He was an educator in the true sense of the word and within the limits of his own definition of it. He did not try to impose a self-evident formula upon his pupils, but posed questions which forced them to find their own answers. He did not want his pupils to follow him dociley, but to take their own individual paths, even if this meant rebelling against him. Because for him education meant freedom, a liberation of personality. Perhaps, too, it is as a great teacher, embracing a consideration of the whole of human existence in his approach to his pupils that his influence on our time will be most enduring.

The right way to teach, he said, was 'the personal example springing spontaneously and naturally from the whole man'. This meant that the teacher should constantly examine his conscience. Indeed, every man should do this; but a teacher most of all, as he could not teach others if his own example was flawed.

The purpose of education was to develop the character of the pupil, to show him how to live humanly in society. One of his basic principles was that 'genuine education of character is genuine education for community'….'For educating characters you do not need a moral genius,' Buber declared,

but you do need a man who is wholly alive and able to communicate himself directly to his fellow beings. His aliveness streams out to them and affects them most strongly and purely when he has no thought of affecting them.'

The real teacher, he believed, teaches most successfully when he is not consciously trying to teach at all, but when he acts spontaneously out of his own life. Then he can gain the pupil's confidence; he can convince the adolescent that there is human truth, that existence has a meaning. And when the pupil's confidence has been won, 'his resistance against being educated gives way to a singular happening: he accepts the educator as a person. He feels he may trust this man, that this man is taking part in his life, accepting him before desiring to influence him. And so he learns to ask….

But his method was not pedagogical in the narrow sense. He was little concerned with the how of teaching, with sich matters as syllabuses, methods and examinations. What concerned him was the why; how how to give the pupil a sense of his identity, of his organic unity, how to show him the way to responsibility and love. This is what Buber looked for when judging the success of a teacher. And it was this emphasis which led teachers to come to him, slowly and then sometimes in groups, not to consult him about technical problems but to ask him what they should teach, how they should reconcile conscience and faith.

Aubrey Hodes (1972) Encounter with Martin Buber, pages 136 - 7, 140.


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