Martin Mordechai Buber was born February 8, 1878 in Vienna. Sometime in late 1903, Martin Buber encountered the work of the Ba'al Shem Tov (1700-60), the founder of Hasidism. He began to engage with the religiousness of Judaism and the belief that man is made in the image of God (Vermes 1988: 8). There followed a period of intense study (five years). One result was a number of publications: The Tales of Rabbi Nachman (1906); The Legend of the Ba'al-Shem (1908); and Ecstatic Confessions (1909). In 1909-11 in Prague, Martin Buber delivered what were to become famous lectures on Judaism to the Jewish student organization Bar Kochba. These lectures (published in 1911 as Three Addresses on Judaism) stand in contrast to Orthodox Judaism with their emphasis on essence rather than observance. From 1916 to 1924 he edited Der Jude, an influential journal (and was working on his path breaking book I and Thou - published in 1923).
From 1924 to 1933, Martin Buber lectured in Jewish religion and philosophy at the University of Frankfurt. At this time he was also working with Franz Rosenzweig on a new German translation of the Hebrew Bible (Verdeutschung der Schrift). Under Hitler, he had to curtail his university teaching (he resigned his professorship immediately after Hitler's seizure of power) - but he continued to organize adult bible courses. In 1938 he finally left Germany to join the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
He died at home on June 13, 1965 - and was buried in the cemetery Har-Hamenuchot in Jerusalem.
The idea's of martin Buber's work
Silence, for Buber, plays a crucial part in dialogue. Indeed, it could be argued that 'attentive silence' is the basis of dialogue (Avnon 1998: 42-3). This is an idea that may seem strange at first sight, but is fundamental to the experience of groups such as the Quakers. But his method was not pedagogical in the narrow sense. He was little concerned with the how of teaching, with such matters as syllabuses, methods and examinations. What concerned him was the why; how to give the pupil a sense of his identity, of his organic unity, how to show him the way to responsibility and love. This is what Buber looked for when judging the success of a teacher. And it was this emphasis which led teachers to come to him, slowly and then sometimes in groups, not to consult him about technical problems but to ask him what they should teach, how they should reconcile conscience and faith.
The importance of Martin Buber's work
He was basically a teacher - for me, the greatest teacher of our generation. He was an educator in the true sense of the word and within the limits of his own definition of it. He did not try to impose a self-evident formula upon his pupils, but posed questions which forced them to find their own answers. He did not want his pupils to follow him docilely, but to take their own individual paths, even if this meant rebelling against him. Because for him education meant freedom, a liberation of personality. Perhaps, too, it is as a great teacher, embracing a consideration of the whole of human existence in his approach to his pupils that his influence on our time will be most enduring.
The right way to teach, he said, was 'the personal example springing spontaneously and naturally from the whole man'. This meant that the teacher should constantly examine his conscience. Indeed, every man should do this; but a teacher most of all, as he could not teach others if his own example was flawed.
The purpose of education was to develop the character of the pupil, to show him how to live humanly in society. One of his basic principles was that 'genuine education of character is genuine education for community'….'For educating characters you do not need a moral genius,' Buber declared, 'but you do need a man who is wholly alive and able to communicate himself directly to his fellow beings. His aliveness streams out to them and affects them most strongly and purely when he has no thought of affecting them.'
The real teacher, he believed, teaches most successfully when he is not consciously trying to teach at all, but when he acts spontaneously out of his own life. Then he can gain the pupil's confidence; he can convince the adolescent that there is human truth, that existence has a meaning. And when the pupil's confidence has been won, 'his resistance against being educated gives way to a singular happening: he accepts the educator as a person. He feels he may trust this man, that this man is taking part in his life, accepting him before desiring to influence him. And so he learns to ask….
But his method was not pedagogical in the narrow sense. He was little concerned with the how of teaching, with such matters as syllabuses, methods and examinations. What concerned him was the why; how to give the pupil a sense of his identity, of his organic unity, how to show him the way to responsibility and love. This is what Buber looked for when judging the success of a teacher. And it was this emphasis which led teachers to come to him, slowly and then sometimes in groups, not to consult him about technical problems but to ask him what they should teach, how they should reconcile conscience and faith.
Did Paulo Freire take Buber's methods and ideas eclectically?
Many people believe this to be the case - will continue at a later date. the findings of Paulo Freire is closely linked.
Donald Alan Schon (1930-1997) trained as a philosopher, but it was his concern with the development of reflective practice and learning systems within organizations and communities for which he is remembered. Significantly, he was also an accomplished pianist and clarinettist – playing in both jazz and chamber groups. This interest in improvisation and structure was mirrored in his academic writing, most notably in his exploration of professional’s ability to ‘think on their feet’. On this page we review his achievements and focus on three elements of his thinking: learning systems (and learning societies and institutions); double-loop and organizational learning (arising out of his collaboration with Chris Argyris); and the relationship of reflection-in-action to professional activity.
The ideas of Donald Schon
Donald Schon (1973, first published 1971) takes as his starting point the loss of the stable state. Belief in the stable state, he suggests, is belief in ‘the unchangeability, the constancy of central aspects of our lives, or belief that we can attain such a constancy’ (Schon 1973: 9). Such a belief is strong and deep, and provides a bulwark against uncertainty. Institutions are characterized by ‘dynamic conservatism’ – ‘a tendency to fight to remain the same’ (ibid.: 30). However, with technical change continuing exponentially its pervasiveness and frequency was ‘uniquely threatening to the stable state’ (ibid.: 26). He then proceeds to build the case for a concern with learning
The importance of Schon's work
Public and private learning, and the learning society
While it is Donald Schon’s work on organizational learning and reflective practice that tends to receive the most attention in the literature, his exploration of the nature of learning systems and the significance of learning in changing societies has helped to define debates around the so called ‘learning society’. Indeed, Stewart Ranson (1998: 2) describes Donald Schon as ‘the great theorist of the learning society’. He was part of the first wave of thinkers around the notion (other key contributors include Robert M. Hutchins 1970; Amitai Etzioni 1968; and Torsten Husen 1974). Hutchins, in a book first published in 1968, had argued that a ‘learning society’ had become necessary. ‘The two essential facts are… the increasing proportion of free time and the rapidity of change. The latter requires continuous education; the former makes it possible (1970: 130). He looked to ancient Athens for a model.
This information is situated on the website below.