European Education (03:00)
Before and during World War I, students were taught to be good citizens and brave soldiers. After the war, educators realized a new system of education was necessary.
Experimental Education (07:08)
Educators throughout European began trying new methods of teaching, some using no punishments or examinations. Maria Montessori revolutionized teaching materials in Italy. In the aftermath of World War I, education was a way to change society for the better.
Childhood Development (05:51)
Montessori and Ovide Decroly focused their work on early childhood development. Decroly developed a new method of reading—associating words with pictures. Educational reformers gathered as part of the League of Nations to promote peaceful collaboration.
Fellowship of Educators (05:54)
Through the League of Nations, Elisabeth Rotten, Beatrice Ensor, and Adolphe Ferriere founded the New Education Fellowship, outlining a new method for education and student treatment. They established a newsletter to keep educators throughout the world connected. In 1922, Benito Mussolini came to power in Italy and helped Montessori establish schools throughout the country.
Teaching Student Creativity (05:25)
The New Education Fellowship met in 1923, with numerous psychoanalysts in attendance. They determined the best way to help a student’s creative energy was to let it freely develop. Celestin Freinet advocated for students creating something about what they learned.
Education in the Soviet Union (04:50)
The Soviet Union was the only country to implement new education nationwide. Nadezhda Krupskaya was the education minister and took pieces from numerous western education methods. The fellowship questioned whether it should be for elite students.
Social Movements in Education (07:45)
As Germany faced economic hardships, new educational and social methods were tested. Paul Geheeb co-educated girls and boys using principles of naturism to overcome society’s strict sexual morals and masculine dominance. Doctor Janusz Korczak ran two orphanages in Warsaw that used self-governance.
Growing Educational Movement (05:58)
Montessori addressed the League of Nations in 1926. More than 1,200 educators from 42 countries attended the fellowship’s fourth congress. Political ideologies hindered discussions about freedom and discipline for students.
Politics and New Education (06:06)
Geheeb’s school was under threat when Adolf Hitler began his rise to power in Germany. In 1933, Decroly died, causing the group to split ideologically and elect new leadership.
New Education Failures (06:12)
Freinet became a member of the Communist party and viewed the Soviet educational system as a new education utopia. The system became overwhelmed by orphaned and homeless children and moved away from new education ideas and toward authoritarianism. Freinet was accused of being a Communist spy and his school in France was closed.
Education Under Hitler (04:01)
The Nazi party established experimental boarding schools aimed at producing pure Aryan children. The schools followed Nazi ideas of strength and dominance. Nazis took over most of the operations of Geheeb’s school.
Education Under Fascist Leaders (07:00)
In 1934, Montessori struggled to defend her methods and was forced to flee the country. The Nazis took full control of Geheeb’s school and he fled to Switzerland. Freinet left the fellowship and built his own school.
Changing Priorities in Europe (05:40)
In 1936, the French education minister worked to implement new education ideas throughout the nation. Freinet’s school took in refugees and published their stories. The fellowship held its final meeting, with many members feeling their work was pointless amid political tensions.
Fight for Education (08:48)
World War II began in September 1939 when Hitler invaded Poland. Though it was threatened by Nationalism, new education still continued in Western Europe. The Nazis killed or interned multiple new education advocates and their students.
Credits: School Revolution 1918-1939 (01:51)
Credits: School Revolution 1918-1939
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