Ushinsky, Konstantin

Ushinsky, Konstantin [Ушинский, Константин; Ušinskij], b 2 March 1824 in Tula, Russia, d 3 January 1871 in Odesa. Educator and pedagogue; one of the founders of pedagogy as an independent discipline in the Russian Empire. Ushinsky regarded upbringing as a social phenomenon determined by history, and undertook a broad examination of humanity in light of the information provided by all human sciences, thereby laying the foundations of pedagogical anthropology. He developed an integrated system of didactics that presented principles for selecting the content of education and adapting it to the needs of children to help organize their cognitive activity. He emphasized the importance of knowledge of the natural sciences and opposed focusing on the classics in the teaching of the humanities. He was an ardent advocate of the use of the native language in schools and opposed tsarist prohibitions on the use of the Ukrainian language in the education system. He argued for the integration of national traditions into the school system and demanded compulsory universal education for children of both sexes. Ushinsky wrote the primer Rodnoe slovo ([Our] Native Language, 1864), which was used in schools in Russian-ruled Ukraine.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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