Against the Tide. On the Pedagogy of Freedom in Polish Pedagogical Thought


  • Slawomir Sztobryn University of Bielsko-Biale, Poland (Polish Akademia Techniczno-Humanistyczna w Bielsku-Białej



pedagogy, historical and philosophical pedagogy, pedagogy of freedom


Among the Eastern European countries in the USSR's sphere of influence, Poland enjoyed the greatest freedom, which puts into question the hasty and evaluative assessments of the then educators, describing some of them as being homo sovietus or homo sovietus-like. The situation was very complex and it is in this perspective where one should undertake research on the past, 20th century pedagogical thought. Regardless of how ideologized Polish education was, it should be noted that many scholars who shaped their theoretical concepts in free, pre-war Poland opposed the promotion of Stalinism in science and education. At the time, the church played a certain positive role in this struggle, which also has to be recognized as a sham of opportunism. The pre-war philosophy of upbringing, particularly deviating from the doctrinal assumptions of Marxism-Leninism, became the main target of the attack, and such outstanding scholars as S. Hessen, B. Nawroczyński, L. Chmaj or K. Sośnicki were subject to harassment on the part of the authorities. The remnant of those times, which still lasts in the present day, is a belief in special value, and sometimes even in the foreground of empirical pedagogy with simultaneous negation of philosophical pedagogy. Meanwhile, it was Hessen who proved that empirical pedagogy - valuable in itself - is a great tool to learn how it is, but silent about how it should be. All teleology, which before the war grew out of philosophical currents (Hessen's neo-Kantism, Lviv-Warsaw school of Nawroczyński and Sośnicki) in the era of primacy of one party was a derivative of its ideology depriving pedagogy of its subjectivity and scientific autonomy. What makes Polish pedagogy of freedom different is the fact of practicing it in historical and philosophical orbit, when we look at it from the substantive side and positive disintegration, when we want to understand it from the personality of its creators.

Author Biography

Slawomir Sztobryn, University of Bielsko-Biale, Poland (Polish Akademia Techniczno-Humanistyczna w Bielsku-Białej

Dr.dr hab., Professor of pedagogy department


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How to Cite

Sztobryn, S. (2020). Against the Tide. On the Pedagogy of Freedom in Polish Pedagogical Thought. Filosofiya Osvity. Philosophy of Education, 26(1), 131–141.






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