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About conference

The conference focused on little explored areas of pedagogical research – both in terms of time and content delimitation. Intended area of interest were characterized by a considerable thematic range that was faced and processed thanks to an extensive number of texts and other primary materials. The time frame of the research questions was delimited by the introduction of modern laws providing the form of the school system in Austria-Hungary in the last third of the 19th century until the beginning of World War II in 1939. Aim was to present and analyze educational concepts of the period to compare these approaches and put them in a broader discourse-analytic framework.

It is clear that in the analyzed discourses of Central European pedagogical territory, Austrian and German teaching models are of significant importance. On the other hand both the monarchy and the successor states constructed their own pedagogical concepts and discourses. It was the rivalry, competition and mutual struggle between dominant and local discourses that brought each country's own dynamics into the overall discussion. National emancipation efforts of the individual nations of Central Europe in that period were very strong and the area of education was seen as being the most important means to achieve success in the national self-awareness and national formation.

The conference soke to answer the following questions in particular:

  • What teaching concepts and constructs played a relevant role in the various discourse frames?
  • What patterns and rules can be analyzed in individual national or local educational discussions which were so strong that it drove out or suppressed competing discourse frameworks?
  • Is it possible to determine in the individual discussing environments relevant, dominant, critical discourse practices, regularities by which the different discourses were constructed?
  • Which discourse practices gained importance and in the competition with others proved successful?

With regard to questions asked, the considerable thematic breadth of the anticipated discussion is evident. For this reason it was possible to focus attention on the following areas although it was not completely essential:

  • Reactions of teachers to individual legal norms in particular countries or regions of Central Europe and their analysis.
  • Reconstruction of the processes leading to teaching becoming a real profession with regard to the role and status of teachers (especially of national schools).
  • Analysis of the formation and functioning of associations and corporations of teachers in various countries of the Central European region (types and forms of teacher associations, international and national patterns of teacher cooperation).
  • Analysis of teacher associations' discussion over their program, specific examples of teachers' efforts and proposals within the relevant discussions (analysis of teacher journals, analysis of educational press – how and from what positions various legal norms of teaching were read and interpreted by teachers).

Based on the previous outline it seems essential during analysis to focus attention on the multivalent role of teachers in the processes of the formation of modern nations in the multi-ethnic regions and countries of Central Europe.

At the conference answers to these questions were based on the study and analysis of already known but newly interpreted and reconstructed texts or on the basis of completely new and previously unknown examples of significant educational concepts and teaching regardless of whether they played dominant role or represented experimental attempts.