Influences

Timothy Dwight IV

Born: May 14, 1752, in Massachusetts
Died: January 11, 1817, in Pennsylvania

An American academic, educator, and author. Dwight graduated from Yale in 1769, at the age of 17 years old. He was the eighth president of Yale College (1795–1817). As president of Yale, Timothy Dwight IV was not only that college’s most influential leader, but also one of the young nation’s most important educators. During Dwight’s twenty-one years at Yale, he found able and inspiring teachers, launched the teaching of science and medicine, planned the creation of schools of law and theology, and gave the faculty and president a central role in running the school.

In verse he wrote an ambitious epic in 11 books, The Conquest of Canaan, finished in 1774, but not published until 1785; a somewhat ponderous and solemn satire, The Triumph of Infidelity (1788), directed against Hume, Voltaire and others; Greenfield Hill (1794), the suggestion for which seems to have been derived from John Denham's Cooper’s Hill; and a number of minor poems and hymns, the best known of which is that beginning “I love thy kingdom, Lord.”

Many of his sermons were published posthumously under the titles Theology Explained and Defended (5 volumes, 1818-1819), to which a memoir of the author by his sons, W.T. and Sereno E. Dwight, is prefixed, and Sermons by Timothy Dwight (2 volumes, 1828), which had a large circulation in both the United States and England. Probably his most important work, however, is his Travels in New England and New York (4 volumes, 1821-1822), which contains much material of value concerning social and economic New England and New York during the period 1796-1817.

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi

Born: January 12, 1746, in Zürich
Died: February 17, 1827, in Brugg

A Swiss social reformer and educator, known as the Father of Modern Education. The modern era of education started with him and his spirit and ideas led to the great educational reforms in Europe in the nineteenth century.

Pestalozzi saw teaching as a subject worth studying in its own right and he is therefore known as the father of pedagogy (the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept). He caused education to become a separate branch of knowledge, alongside politics and other recognised areas of knowledge.

Pestalozzi’s approach has had massive influence on education, for example, his influence, as well as his relevance to education today, is clear in the importance now put on: 

 

  • The interests and needs of the child

  • A child-centred rather than teacher-centred approach to teaching

  • Active rather than passive participation in the learning experience

  • The freedom of the child based on his or her natural development balanced with the self-discipline to function well as an individual and in society

  • The child having direct experience of the world and the use of natural objects in teaching

  • The use of the senses in training pupils in observation and judgement

  • Cooperation between the school and the home and between parents and teachers

  • The importance of an all-round education – an education of the head, the heart and the hands, but which is led by the heart

  • The use of systemised subjects of instruction, which are also carefully graduated and illustrated

  • Learning which is cross-curricular and includes a varied school life

  • Education which puts emphasis on how things are taught as well as what is taught

  • Authority based on love, not fear

  • Teacher training

Pestalozzi’s influence over the spirit, the methods and the theory of education has continued into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and most of his principles have been assimilated into the modern system of education.