Physics in Croatian Elementary Schools in the Mid-19th Century

Vukelja, Tihomir (2011) Physics in Croatian Elementary Schools in the Mid-19th Century. Zbornik Odsjeka za povijesne znanosti Zavoda za povijesne i društvene znanosti Hrvatske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti, 29. pp. 273-310. ISSN 1330-7134

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This article is conceived as a contribution to the understanding of the development of physics as an element of the common culture of Croatian society, and is spurred by the view that contemporary society cannot be properly understood without paying attention to physics as an element of material and spiritual culture, and that the present-day position and role of physics in society cannot be properly understood without historical analysis. In the article, an attempt has been made at the evaluation of the position of physics as a component of education in the public Catholic elementary schools of the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia at the end of the period of absolutism, when the Croatian school system was governed by the Viennese Ministry of Religion and Education. At that time, the status of physics was considered to be “inchoative,” since with the end of absolutism the care over organising the Croatian school system and the management of it was taken over by the Croatian legislative and executive authorities. Because of that, the position of physics at that time may be used as the initial point of discussion and evaluation of those changes that followed and finally led to the present-day situation. The estimation of the position of physics is made based on the analysis of essential components of the system of elementary schooling, in which the status of each element of education may be mirrored: a) the structure and goals of elementary school education (defined by the decree Systema scholarum elementarium of 1845 and by the regulations from the period of absolutism); b) the curriculum and programme (for “main” elementary schools with a four-year-long programme decreed in 1855, and for “trivial” or lower elementary schools in 1858); c) prescribed textbooks (three “grammatical lectionaries” prepared and introduced in Croatian schools within the period from 1851 to 1862); d) education of teachers (defined by regulations on the organisation of “preparatory” or teachers’ colleges from 1853 to 1857 and by the curriculum and programme from 1860). The influence of the characteristics of each of these components on the position of physics in elementary school has been discussed in detail. From the discussion, it follows that the favourable influence that the curriculum of “main” elementary schools had on the position of physics, and by means of which school material, rather comprehensive but also appropriate for the age of pupils, was designed, was to a great extent muted by the insufficient education of teachers and the structure of schools, particularly because of the aforementioned division of elementary schools into “main” and “trivial” and by the attitude that “real teaching” (initial introduction to selected themes from history and natural history) would not be treated as a particular teaching subject, but should be included in “language teaching.”

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Civil Croatia, 19th century, elementary school, physics
Date: 2011
Subjects: HUMANISTIC SCIENCES > History > History of Science
Divisions: Faculty of Science > Department of Physics
Project code: 119-2032635-1000
Publisher: Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti
Depositing User: Gordana Stubičan Ladešić
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2014 14:45
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2016 15:49

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