Anton Semenovich Makarenko

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Makarenko, Anton Semenovich


Born Mar. 1 (13), 1888, in Belopol’e, in present-day Sumy Oblast; died Apr. 1, 1939, in Moscow. Soviet educator and writer.

Makarenko graduated from Kremenchug Municipal School and completed a teaching program at the same institution (1905). After his studies he taught in the Ukraine. In 1917 he graduated from the Poltava Pedagogical Institute. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, Makarenko directed a labor colony for juvenile offenders near Poltava and the F. E. Dzerzhinskii Children’s Labor Commune in a suburb of Kharkov. He carried out an experiment, unparalleled in pedagogical practice, of mass rehabilitation of juvenile offenders.

In 1937, Makarenko moved to Moscow, devoting himself to writing, teaching, and social activities. He made a significant contribution to the theory and practice of communist upbringing, illustrating the enormous potentials for goal-directed teaching. According to Makarenko, the aim of pedagogical work is determined by the laws of social development, by the aim and purpose of the struggle of the Soviet people for communism, and by the policy of the Communist Party and the Soviet state in the sphere of communist upbringing. Pedagogy should provide the guidelines for the upbringing of the man of the new society. No teaching method is invariable, nor is it always useful and effective to the same degree. No system of upbringing can be created for all time.

Makarenko developed a theory of upbringing whose focal point was the group;he proposed methods of efficiently organizing groups of children, varying these methods to suit specific situations. He set standards for relationships between the individual and the group, and for self-direction and discipline; he advocated the formation of peer pressure as a regulator of group relations, the constant emphasis on the group’s prospects for the future, and the reinforcement and development of traditions. In his methodology, Makarenko clearly defined the decisive role of the director of the pedagogical institution and his responsibility for the uniformity of teaching methods in his institution. Makarenko urged teachers to concentrate their energies on the tasks of forming a “pedagogical collective”; at the same time, he emphasized the need for simultaneous attention to the formation of each personality and to the upbringing of the personality through the group (“parallel-action pedagogy”) and directly by the teacher. Makarenko defined the essence of his pedagogical methods as “the maximum possible demands with the maximum possible respect.”

Makarenko attempted to “project the best in man.” He strove to see primarily positive qualities, inclinations, and strengths in the personalities of his pupils. A true humanist, Makarenko called for teachers with high ideological, moral, and professional standards. He insisted on the systematic moral and political education of pupils. He called for the implementation of the Marxist-Leninist idea of combining education and upbringing with productive labor by students.

Makarenko did much to develop the Soviet theory of family child-rearing techniques and was the first to advocate the widespread dissemination of these techniques. He stated that it is much easier to raise a child properly and normally than to correct bad habits in a poorly reared child. That the parents should make high demands of themselves and assume responsibility for every course of action—this is the first and most important principle in the upbringing of a child. A serious, simple, and sincere tone is required in relations with children.

Makarenko set forth his pedagogical experience and ideas in his writings. In his works Pedagogical Poem, The March of 1930, and Flags on the Towers, in his theoretical work Book for Parents, and in his publicistic articles “Will, Courage, and Goal-directedness,” “On Communist Ethics,” and “Communist Upbringing and Behavior,” Makarenko, as an educator and innovator and as a creative writer, traced the process of the upbringing of the new man in the labor collective, the development of new norms of behavior in Soviet society, and the accumulation of new moral experience and habits. Makarenko’s literary work is a rare example of the merging of genuine artistic gifts with the talent of a pedagogue and scholar. As a writer and teacher, Makarenko was strongly influenced by M. Gorky’s work and personality. Makarenko’s system of pedagogical ideas contributed to the development of pedagogical thinking in the USSR and other socialist countries. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor. The Makarenko Medal was initiated in the Ukrainian SSR in 1958; it is awarded to outstanding teachers and other workers in education.


Sobr. soch., vols. 1-7, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1959-60.
Sobr. soch., vols. 1-5. Moscow, 1971.


Gorky, M. “Po soiuzu Sovetov.” Sobr. soch., vol. 17. Moscow, 1952.
Vospominaniia o Makarenko: Sb. materialov. Leningrad, 1960.
Balabanovich, E. N. A. S. Makarenko: Chelovek ipisatel’ Moscow, 1963.
A. S. Makarenko: Sbornik. Moscow, 1963.
Russkie sovetskie pisateli-prozaiki: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’.vol. 3. Leningrad, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.