Pedagogical Societies

Pedagogical Societies


voluntary associations of pedagogues—teachers, educators, and other persons employed in public education—whose goal is to help solve theoretical and practical problems of instruction and upbringing.

Prerevolutionary Russia. The first pedagogical societies appeared in Russia in the second half of the 19th century during the rise of the social and pedagogical movements. The St. Petersburg Pedagogical Society (founded 1860) brought together outstanding pedagogues in order to reform public education, particularly the content, methods, and organization of school education. The society’s founders and active members included P. G. Redkin, K. D. Ushinskii, A. A. Chumikov, N. Kh. Vessel’, V. I. Vodovozov, A. S. Voronov, I. I. Paul’son, D. D. Semenov, V. Ia. Stoiunin, and F. G. Toll’. The St. Petersburg Pedagogical Society was officially recognized by the Ministry of Public Education in 1869. In 1876 and 1877, the society published the monthly journal Pedagogicheskaia letopis’ (Pedagogical Chronicle). It organized pedagogical courses, held pedagogical congresses, and established a library and savings-and-loan office for teachers. In 1879 the society was closed down by the government on the grounds that it was a “dangerous organization.”

In 1898 a group of progressive scholars founded a pedagogical society at Moscow University. The society, which was liberal and bourgeois in character, included among its members P. G. Vinogradov, N. A. Umov, D. N. Anuchin, N. D. Zelinskii, A. P. Sabaneev, and V. I. Ger’e. The rise of the social movement on the eve of the Revolution of 1905–07 led to a split among the society’s members, and a group of Bolsheviks—I. I. Skvortsov-Stepanov, M. N. Pokrovskii, and S. I. Mitskevich—took over its management. The administrative board strove for a teachers’ trade union and made use of the society to disseminate legal revolutionary propaganda. The society- helped solve urgent social and pedagogical problems, including coeducation, teacher training, and the restructuring of the content and methods of schoolwork and instruction. It organized several congresses on public education and maintained a museum, a library, and a lecture bureau. The government closed down the Moscow pedagogical society in 1907.

In the early 20th century, pedagogical societies were founded in Kazan (1900, at the university), Iur’ev (now Tartu, 1909), and Tomsk (1910). The Froebel Societies, whose prototype was founded in St. Petersburg in 1871, investigated problems of preschool pedagogy and aided preschool institutions.

USSR. The history of pedagogical societies in the USSR began in 1929, when a society of Marxist pedagogues was organized at the Communist Academy. Among its founders were N. K. Krupskaia, A. V. Lunacharskii, A. S. Bubnov, Ia. B. Gamarnik, M. N. Pokrovskii, N. A. Semashko, S. T. Shatskii, M. M. Pis-trak, M. S. Epshtein, and L. R. Menzhinskaia. The society developed Marxist pedagogy, critically studied foreign pedagogical methods, combated reactionary bourgeois pedagogical theories, and propagated Marxist-Leninist ideas in the fields of culture and public education.

The society of Marxist pedagogues had branches in oblast administrative centers, at higher and secondary specialized educational institutions, and at large schools. In accordance with the decree of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) On Primary and Secondary Schools of Sept. 5, 1931, the society gave methodological aid to teachers and improved the curricula.

The society of Marxist pedagogues existed until 1935.

In 1960 a decree of the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR established the Pedagogical Society of the RSFSR, a scholarly pedagogical public organization. The society’s function is to help implement measures of the CPSU and the Soviet government relating to educational theory and practice and to communist upbringing of children and young people. It has district (city), oblast, krai, and republic (autonomous) branches, with a network of primary organizations in educational institutions, research and methodological centers, and public education associations. As of Jan. 1, 1973, the 72 oblast, krai, and republic branches of the Pedagogical Society had a combined membership of more than 800,000.

Among the group members of the Pedagogical Society are general-education schools; preschool and extracurricular institutions; vocational, secondary specialized, and higher educational institutions; scientific research institutes; factories; and kolkhozes. The highest body of the Pedagogical Society is the congress, which convenes at least once every four years. It elects the Central Council, which directs the society’s activities. The Central Council and the local branches have volunteer sections, laboratories, institutes, and other associations that organize and implement conferences, symposia, and pedagogical lectures. The results of these scholarly and practical activities are published as books and pamphlets. In the 1960’s pedagogical societies were established in the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

Pedagogical societies also exist in a number of other socialist countries, including Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia.