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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a progressive bourgeois educational trend in Germany that developed at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries.

Philanthropinism, which was much influenced by J.-J. Rousseau’s ideas on natural education, was founded by J. B. Basedow, who established the first philanthropinum—a private educational institution similar to a boarding school. Basedow’s followers, including B. H. Blasche, J. C. F. Guts Muths, C. G. Salzmann, and J. H. Campe, all of whom opened philanthropi-nums, developed their educational ideas in accordance with the social and economic development of contemporary Germany and the needs of the nascent German bourgeoisie. The philanthropin-ists disapproved of both the atmosphere and the methods of the schools of their time. They criticized the use of rote memorization and oral instruction, as well as the prevalence of religious intolerance and cruelty toward children; they deplored the stress placed on classical languages and the formalism which guided educational practice.

The philanthropinums required tuition and were intended mainly for the children of the prosperous. Unlike most schools of the time, they accorded as much importance to the modern languages, especially French, English and Italian, as they did to the ancient languages. Much attention was devoted to the natural sciences, art, gymnastics, swimming, games, horseback riding, and practical work in agriculture and trade. Various types of visual methods were used in teaching. A number of philanthropinums introduced such subjects as accounting and technology as optional courses, which pupils could select in order to prepare not only for the university but also for practical work in commerce and industry.

In the field of pedagogy, philanthropinists helped perfect teaching methods that took into account the age and personalities of the children and helped develop the concepts of physical and vocational education. Philanthropinism influenced the new upbringing of which Ferrière was a leading exponent.


Krupskaia, N. K. Ped. soch., vol. 1. Moscow, 1957. Pages 258–60.
Piskunov, A. I. Ocherkipo istorii progressivnoi nemetskoi pedagogiki kon. XVlll-nach. XIX vv. Moscow, 1960.
Allgemeine Revision des gesammten Schul-und Erziehungswesens von einer Gesellschaft praktischer Erzieher, books 1–16. Edited by J. H. Campe. Hamburg, 1785–92.
Salzmann, Ch. Ausgewählte Schriften, vols. 1–2. Langensalza, 1897–1901.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.