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András Németh and Béla Pukánszky: Hungarian reform pedagogical trends in the first half of the 20th century

In the last third of the 19th century an uniform school system, regulated by the law, was in action in Hungary. It was possible for the various bodies maintaining schools (such as the churches, private persons, communities, and funds) to try various pedagogic innovations in practice. Therefore reform pedagogy in this period played an important role in Hungarian schools. After the turn of the century, private schools were established where the teachers instructed the pupils in the spirit of, e. g. Maria Montessori or Ovide Decroly. In the so called "Family School" (Családi Iskola) Müller Márta taught the subject-matter in complex units according to Decroly´s methods. An original Hungarian reform pedagogy was born, for example, in the school of Löllbach Emma ("New School" - Új Iskola) were Nagy László´s modern pedagogic concepts realized. It centred upon the students' interest. In addition to the reform schools devoted to upper class pupils, attempts were made to instruct the labouring strata through recent methods: such a school was run by Vajkay Júlia. In the period between the two World Wars, the garden school represented a special patch of colour. The Újszeged Garden School, whose pedagogic programme was worked out by the psychologist Várkonyi Dezsõ, functioned as a practice school of the Szeged University. The institution was run by his immediate colleague, Dolch Erzsébet. Among the schools being operated in the spirit of the reform pedagogy, a special role was played by the practice school of the college, which trained teachers for the higher elementary schools. Since the students of the college were recruited from the whole country, these young people, with their degrees in their hands, were able to disseminate those reform methods which they were familiarized with through visiting classes in the practice higher elementary school. After 1945 a forced interval took place in the history of the traditional Hungarian reform pedagogy, and only at the end of the 80s did the movement revive. The first comer of his revival was the Waldorf Kindergarten at Solymár, founded by parents and teachers in 1989.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 99. Number 3. 245-262. (1999)

Address for correspondence: Németh András Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem Tanárképző Főiskolai Kar, H-1075 Budapest, Kazinczy u. 23-27.
Pukánszky Béla, József Attila Tudományegyetem Pedagógiai Tanszék, H-6722 Szeged, Petőfi S. sgt. 30-34.

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Magyar Tudományos Akadémia