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About conference

In the contemporary pedagogical debate often the aspects of teaching career professionalization are included. In this connection debate is lead both about national schemes which have been influencing the topic and also about ways in which key teaching competencies which should be the same throughout the whole European education space are delimited. When the standards of teaching profession and professional specific pillars of teacher education are delimited, the main topics include – along with anthropological prerequisites of bringing up and education – also social and cultural preconditions which co-determine the debate about upbringing and education. In this connection it is obvious that historical aspects of teacher education cannot be left aside or unnoticed in common European debate. It is their consideration in the context of reforms which often creates a precondition which co-determines whether certain reforms are successful.

The conference aimed to provide a vivid picture of the conditions and facts of the development of teacher education in the countries of Central and Southeastern Europe from the beginning of modern teacher education, which was distinguished by its randomness or the absence of a system, to gradual introduction and implementation of a systematic reform of teacher education. Attention was paid to the period of the last third of the 18th century (mainly the period after 1774) till the end of the 19th century (mainly to the period up to the milestone of Austrian school system: the year 1869). Attention was devoted to reforms of teacher education of so called general or national schools. The conference attempted to answer questions whether the given reforms were introduced by the state in all areas and by its administration powers also implemented and checked, or what processes can be noticed in the given topic. It is obvious that within such a vast, politically and culturally diverse geographical area, we are confronted with very different schemes of teacher education implementation. In certain regions reforms are systematic and checked by the state (in the Habsburg Monarchy), in other regions we witness processes and activities the importance of which depends on enthusiasm and knowledge of individual leading personalities and reform organizers. This personal enthusiasm determined reform steps in the area of teacher education and the weakening of their position also weakened the strength and importance of their reform suggestions.

The set conference topic is rather wide and it can be approached and processed thanks to the rich selection of texts and other primary materials. In the given period in the Habsburg Monarchy teacher education was under a strong influence of the so called Felbiger’s method book. It is, however, a question whether in the areas given reforms ran according to another pedagogical norm than by Felbiger’s method book, and if so by what norm? It is probable that areas outside the influence of Habsburg Monarchy were under the influence of alternative pedagogical norms important for the formation of teacher education. There arises a question then what the canons and major pedagogical works related to reforms of teacher education in the given regions were.

The aim was to introduce and analyze concepts of teacher education in individual European regions in the given period, to compare these approaches and to place them into a wider discourse-analytical framework. We looked for the answers to questions who the main organizer of the reforms was and what concepts the reforms were based on. What educational aims the reform concepts of teacher education assumed „in advance“, what picture of education of a person and a society was „unconsciously“ behind the given reform concepts of teacher education and what was the operation power of the concepts? We ask where the organizers of reforms studied, whether the reforms reflect the importance of German pedagogical philanthropy or whether we can see the influence of other centers and concepts, and if so what they are.

We tried to find out whether competing concepts had to compete over the picture of teacher education in individual regions. It was rivalry and competition between dominant and local discourses that brought dynamics into the overall debate in the individual countries.

The conference searched for the answers mainly to the following questions:

  • What patterns, rules can be analyzed in individual national or local debates regarding teacher education which were so strong that they managed to drive out competing discourse frameworks?
  • Is it possible to determine, in individual debate environments, relevant, dominant and fundamental discourse practices in the area of teacher education, regularities according to which fundamental discourse practices were constructed?
  • What discourse practices of teacher education gained in importance and in competition with others won?

With regards to the questions asked, the great width of the assumed discussion can be seen. For this reason attention was directed at the following areas:

  • Can we speak of the development of teachers as professionals who in the framework of their activities regarding teacher education have common aims – professional, social and political which they try to implement and popularize?
  • What form individual norms regarding the question of teacher education which were implemented had in individual regions?
  • How were the given norms implemented? How were they structured in terms of their content and form? How was the implementation of the given norms performed? How were they structured in terms of content and form? How did they enforce their strength and power?
  • Can we see establishment of generally beneficial societies run in an enlightened manner at that time? If so, where were they established and according to what program did they run?
  • Can we see establishment of teacher associations, groups and corporations in individual countries in the Middle European region (types and forms of unification of teachers or national patterns of teacher co-operation).
  • In the studied period, can we already speak about a starting phase of professionalization of teaching profession with regard to the role and position of teachers (mainly at general and national schools). If so, did these processes run according to the same patterns or not?
  • Was professional and methodology literature periodically published which would be devoted to teacher education? If so, what journals were they, what was their focus and what discourses did prevail?