• Robert R. Rusk


Among the great educators Pestalozzi cuts a sorry figure; he appears a man afflicted with new ideas which he found himself unable to formulate or to put effectively into practice. This he was himself the first to confess. In his Swansong (1826) he admits:2 ‘My lofty ideals were preeminently the product of a kind, well-meaning soul, inadequately endowed with the intellectual and practical capacity which might have helped considerably to further my heartfelt desire. It was the product of an extremely vivid imagination which in the stress of my daily life proved unable to produce any important results.’ Pestalozzi was a simple and sensitive soul who arrived at his principles mostly by intuition; a worse expounder of his own doctrines could hardly be imagined. In one work he describes his educational ideal in the form of a romance; in another, he is, as Herbart says,3 metamorphosed into a pedantic drillmaster in arithmetic pleased with himself for having filled a thick book with the multiplication table. It was nevertheless fortunate that his reputation attracted philosophers like Fichte and Herbart, who not only critically examined his system but also published their versions of it.


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  1. 4.
    Letters on Early Education. Addressed to J. P. Greaves, Esq., by Pestalozzi. Translated from the German manuscript (London: Sherwood, Gilbert & Piper, 1827), p. 88. Cf. Evening Hours of a Hermit: ‘All mankind are fundamentally alike, and for the satisfaction of their needs there is one and the same way.’Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    How Gertrude Teaches Her Children, by J. H. Pestalozzi. Translated by Lucy E. Holland and Francis C. Turner (London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1907), p. 178. Also J. A. Green, Pestalozzi’s Educational Writings (London: Edward Arnold, 1912), pp. 85–153.Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    Translated by his son Hermann Krüsi in Studies in Education, edited by Earl Barnes (Philadelphia, 1903), vol. i, second edition, p. 273. Cf. How Gertrude Teaches Her Children, Second Letter. J. A. Green, Pestalozzi’s Educational Writings, p. 94.Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    Dealing with Locke’s conception of’ substance’, D. J. O’Connor (John Locke, Penguin Books, 1952, pp. 84–85) enumerates as follows the conditions which determine the application of the term: ‘Qualities should be (i) manifested in the same spatio-temporal neighbourhood, (ii) associated in this way during a certain minimum of time, (iii) should change when they do so, jointly and in coordination, (iv) physical objects must be public and neutral, (v) should contain both visual and tactual components.Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    J. G. Fichte, Reden an die deutsche Nation. A translation by R. F. Jones and G. H. Turnbull was published by The Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago and London, 1922.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    Catherine Stern, Children Discover Arithmetic (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1949), p. 19.Google Scholar
  7. 3.
    Theodor Wiget, Grundlinien der Erziehungslehre Pestalozzis (Leipzig: K. F. Koehler, 1914), pp. 94–95.Google Scholar

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© R. R. Rusk 1969

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