Physics in Croatian Elementary Schools at the End of the Nineteenth Century

Odak, Ana and Vukelja, Tihomir (2013) Physics in Croatian Elementary Schools at the End of the Nineteenth Century. Zbornik Odsjeka za povijesne znanosti Zavoda za povijesne i društvene znanosti Hrvatske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti, 31. pp. 273-310. ISSN 1330-7134

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Contemporary society cannot be really understood without paying attention to physics as an element of material and spiritual culture, and conversely the social role and position of physics cannot be properly understood without historical analysis. In that spirit, this article tries to contribute to an understanding of physics as an element of the general culture of Croatian society. The article discusses changes in the status of physics in the public elementary schools of the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia from the end of the period of absolutism, when care over organising the Croatian school system and the administration of it was taken over by Croatian legislative and executive authorities, to the end of the nineteenth century, wherein the position of physics at the end of absolutism is considered as an “initial state” relative to which the changes that followed are measured. The assessment of changes in the position of physics is derived on the basis of analysis of essential elements of the elementary school system, which mirrored the status of every element of education included in it: a) the system and aims of elementary schools (defined by the decree Systema scholarum elementarium of 1845 and regulations from the period of absolutism and school laws of 1874 and 1888); b) curricula (prescribed by orders of 1855, 1858, 1866, 1875, 1890 and 1895); c) prescribed textbooks (the “slovničke čitanke” [Grammatical textbook] used from 1861 to 1879, the “zagrebačke čitanke” [Zagreb textbook] used from 1880 to 1894, and the textbook compiled on the basis of the minimal curriculum from 1895 to 1905). Although the education of male and female teachers certainly essentially influenced the position of physics in elementary schools, discussion of that aspect of the status of physics had to be left out of discussion because of the extent of materials; however, in spite of that, even such an incomplete picture shows that teachers during the whole period advocated the inclusion of extensive materials from physics in teaching in elementary schools. The influence of the characteristics of each of the elements mentioned above on the position of physics in elementary school is discussed in detail, and analysis shows that the position of physics was essentially improved in relation to the position that was defined during the period of absolutism, particularly in the time of rule of Ban Mažuranić, to start to gradually decline after 1890, in the time of Ban Khuen, which had the result that physics at the end of the century, in spite of all the changes within policy, the economy and science, again held the place that it had held at the end of the period of absolutism.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Ban's Croatia, 19th century, elementary education, physics
Date: 2013
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 15:42
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2016 15:48

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