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TET Notes - Educational Thoughts of Martin Buber


Educational Thoughts of Martin Buber

Brief History of Martin Buber:

u    He was born in Vienna in Feb 8, 1878.

u  He was raised by his grandparents.

u  He was educated in multilingual setting and spoke, German, Hebrew, English, Yiddish, Polish, French and Italian.

u  At the age of fourteen he was contemplating on the idea of ‘dialogue’.

u  He studied philosophy history and participated in psychological tests.

u His work on ‘I and You’ was written by him in English.

u He wrote many essays on philosophy of education.


Educational Thoughts of Martin Buber


Ø Martin Buber   recognised the importance of dialogue for all human beings.

Ø He is best known as the philosopher of dialogue.

Ø Buber’s theory can be split into two stages.

·        The first one is dialogue between community.

·        The second is   buber’s   educational theory.


1)   Buber and Dialogue


  According to bubber   ‘‘all living is meeting’’ and looked to how in relation we can fully open ourselves to the world to others and to God.


a)   I-you, I – it


u In this work   ‘I and You’ he presents us with two fundamental orientations that is the relation and irrelation. 

u  We can either take our place alongside whatever confronts us and address it as ‘you’ as relation or we can hold ourselves apart from it and view it as an object an ‘‘ it ’’ irrelation.

u The ‘I – You’ relation ‘flows and ebbs and flows back again.

u  Nothing exists that cannot become a you for me but inevitably it will withdraw sooner or later to the separation of an ‘‘it’’.

u The ‘I – it’ involves distancing and differences are stressed the uniqueness of   ‘‘I’’ emphasizes. This is irrelation.


b) Dialogue:


u Relationship exists in the form of dialogue. Self-knowledge is possible only if the relation between man and creation is understood to be a dialogue relationship.

u There are three kinds of dialogue

·        Genuine Dialogue

·         Technical Dialogue

·         Monologue disguised as dialogue.


2)   Buber and Education:      


                 Buber was   a great teacher, and a significant thinker about   education.


a)   Buber as a Teacher:


u   He was   basically a teacher.

u     He did not try to impose a self-evident formula upon his pupils, but asked questions which forced them to find their own answers.

u He wanted his pupils to take their own individual Paths, even if it meant rebelling against him.


b)   Buber on Education:


u  According to Buber, the purpose of education was to develop the character of the pupil, to show him how to live humanly in society.

u  One of his basic principles of education was that ‘genuine education for community.’

u  Buber declared, that education needs a man who is wholly alive and be able to communicate himself directly to his fellow begins.

u  His aliveness streams out to them and affects them most strongly and purely when he has no thought of affecting them.

u The real teacher teaches most successfully when he is not consciously trying to teach at all, but when he acts spontaneously out of his own life.

u  Then, he can again the pupils confidence, he can convince the adolescent that there is human truth, that existence has a meaning.

u  When the teacher wins the confidence of his pupils, they accept the educator as a person.

u  They feel they can trust the teacher and they also feels that man is taking part in his life.


Dialogue and Education:


u  Buber beloved that the relation   in education is based on genuine dialogue.

u  In order to help the realization of the best potentialities in the student’s life, the teacher must really mean his student as the   definite person, he is in his potentiality and actuality.  

u  More precisely he must not know him as a mere sum of qualities,   he   must be aware of him as a whole being and affirm him in his wholeness.

u  But he can only do this if he meets him often, and includes him in his dialogue.


Ethical Education:


u     Buber considers education worthy of the name is essentially the education of character.

u  He says that genuine education of   character is genuine education for community.

u  Such an education is not achieved through  the  direct   teaching   of ethics nor through educator acting upon other.

u  According to Buber all children have two instincts.


·        The originator instinct

·         The instinct for communion.

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