A Brief Introduction to this Site

My purpose in establishing this site of translations is to celebrate, preserve and make accessible in English some of the outstanding achievements of the Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria from approximately 1960 to 1990. I believe their achievements have much to offer our own (U.S.A.) “foundational” studies of education in that they provide penetrating analyses of the essential structures of the activities of educating a child to adulthood. It is only in light of an understanding of the fundamental structures, forms or categories of educating, as such, that one can evaluate systematically and accountably its concrete practice and strive to improve it, where necessary.

At the outset, it is necessary to indicate that in this site, “pedagogic” usually refers to the activity of educating and “pedagogical” to the theoretical (phenomenological) study of that activity. “Didactic” and “didactical” generally refer to the activity of and to the study of teaching, respectively. Since educating always involves teaching something, it might seem that the phrase “educative teaching” or “didactic pedagogic” is a tautology. The reason it is not is because teaching or didactics is broader than educating, as guiding a child—adults too need guidance; of course, it also is the case that educating is broader than teaching because it involves more than teaching. Be that as it may. If “pedagogic” and all of its grammatical variations are conflated with “didactic” and its variations, many essential distinctions between educating and teaching will be blurred and so will their complementary nature. (See Van der Stoep)

The history of the development of pedagogical thinking in the Faculty of Education at Pretoria from its Anglo-American beginnings to its eventual Continental (mostly Dutch, German and French) existential phenomenological approach is contained in these translations (see Mentz, Roos and Sonnekus, to mention the part-disciplines of Didactic Pedagogics, Fundamental Pedagogics and Psychopedagogics, respectively). This development was guided by Fundamental Pedagogical thinking and primarily under the leadership of W. A. Landman.

Pedagogics, the phenomenological study of educating a child, consists of various part-disciplines or perspectives. Fundamental Pedagogics is the core perspective or the “center of gravity” of pedagogical thinking. Landman’s (fundamental pedagogical) thinking rests on three cornerstones: ontology is only possible as phenomenology; phenomenology is only meaningful as ontology; and phenomenology can be implemented only as categorical thinking (See, for example, Oberholzer’s article on Landman as well as Landman’s “Functions of fundamental pedagogics”and his Dialectic Method Landman). Grounding the phenomenon of educating on these three cornerstones amounts to studying it as a regional ontology. Such a study discloses the ontological, anthropological and pedagogical categories or essences of guiding/accompanying a child to adulthood. The various other part-perspectives* arise from the nature of educating itself and their point of departure is the reality of educating. In light of the categories disclosed by fundamental pedagogics they ask their own questions about educating and disclose their own categories that remain ontologically, anthropologically and pedagogically grounded by fundamental pedagogic insights. It is in this sense that Landman says “The pedagogical part-disciplines give rise to the formulation of further pedagogical categories. This formulation takes place within the framework of Fundamental Pedagogy… .” Thus, Psychopedagogics studies the actualization of the psychic life of a child-in-education via his/her becoming and learning (See Crous). Didactic Pedagogics is concerned with everything regarding the facilitation of informal and formal teaching and learning in the service of a child becoming an adult (See Van der Stoep and Louw). Subject Didactic Pedagogics particularizes didactic pedagogic findings for specific teaching subjects and situations (See Van Dyk). Sociopedagogics studies the phenomenon of educating as a social situation occurring within a social/societal context (See Pretorius). Vocational Orientation Pedagogics is a phenomenological description and explication of the pedagogic activity of orienting a child vocationally (See Joubert). Orthopedagogics describes possible ways of correcting inadequate educative actions that lead to pedagogic neglect; it also is concerned with providing special educative assistance to handicapped children (See Van Niekerk). It is important to understand that the part-perspectives are not applications of fundamental pedagogic categories and they also are not philosophy, psychology, sociology etc. applied to education—they are pedagogical perspectives that are rooted in and emerge from the phenomenon of guiding a child to adulthood.

Finally, this collection of translations is not a representative sampling of all pedagogical writings of the “Pretoria School of Educational Thought”. They simply are items I have had access to and have had the time to translate to date.

George D. Yonge
Davis, California
Home page established: November 12, 2007
Latest translation/edit update: April 7, 2016 * Historical and Comparative Pedagogics is not included in this site.