• Karsten Kenklies University of Strathclyde



Despite the continuously insinuated chasm between educational theory and educational practice, there remains an unbreakable bond between both: Not only does every pedagogical act rest on a conceptual frame that precedes it, but also with every pedagogical act, a specific conceptual stance towards the world is consciously or unconsciously being affirmed. The traditional answer to the question for the relation of both has been the introduction of the concept of Pedagogical Tact by J.F. Herbart who formed the concept along the lines of Kant’s theory of judgement. Pedagogical Tact, so Herbart, functions as mediator between what we might call pedagogical theory and pedagogical practice, and becoming a successful educator then means to develop a heightened capacity to employ such tact in pedagogical practice – a capacity which, according to Herbart, needs the studying of theory before the educator’s encounter with educational practice.

What already in Herbart’s version seems to be a rather complex and maybe even somewhat miraculous notion, becomes even more complex with the realization that the encounter of human and world in general, and of pedagogical theory and practice in particular, nowadays seems to rest much more on mediating devices than it used to: the act of interpreting the world, and with it the pedagogical situation, seems to be guided much more by the fabricated interpretation offers made by the media that surround us. However, realizing the increased complexity does not yet mean to truly understand the way in which the capacity of Pedagogical Tact will be influenced by this changed ways of making sense of the world. The contribution here attempts to open a horizon for discussing those matters. To achieve this goal, firstly, the concept of Pedagogical Tact in Herbart’s sense will be presented, while leaving it to a second step to closer investigate what the all-encompassing technologization of human life might mean for this pedagogical fundament.


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