Page: 24-37 Author: Valenta, M. Key words: Bauhaus and reformpedagogy, Bauhaus, reformpedagogy, artpedagogy, Johannes Itten, LászlóMoholy-Nagy, Walter Gropius, German culture and society 1900-1933
The article is intended to answer two basic questions: „Can the German Bauhaus school of applied arts be considered a direct part of the educational reform movement of the beginning of the 20th century?“ and „If so, what was distinctive about Bauhausan educational theory in the framework of reformist educational thinking?“
The study has been made on the basis of the wider contexts of the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century in the field of educational theory and the social changes of the time. There are lengthy excursuses devoted to the description of the educational reform movement and to conditions in German arts academies, as well as to criticism of these from the Secession, fine arts and crafts schools and other associations and movements (Werkbund, Kunsterziehungbe-wegung).
A brief presentation of the Bauhaus, its founder Walter Gropius (1883-1969) and the five developmental phases of the Bauhaus (1919-1933), prefaces the core of the study: an analysis of the Bauhaus education theory the foundations of which were created by the leading Bauhausian educationalist Johannes Itten (1888-1967), who founded the „Vorkurs“ - a one-semester course for students prior to their possible admission to the school. The article offers a detailed account of the theoretical background of It-ter s educational theory including its spiritual principles, as well as the practical exercises and distinct teaching etudes concerned. This is followed by an analysis of Bauhausian educational theory after Men‘s departure from the Bauhaus (1923) and after the school‘s change of direction both artistically and in terms of world view from expressionism to
functionalism, associated at the educational level with Itten‘s successor Laszlo-Moholy Nagy (1895-1946).
The concluding analysis and answers to the questions posed at the beginning takes up roughly half the text. On the basis of a comparison between the generally applicable principles of the educational reform movement (critique of Herbartism, pedocentrism, holistic education, co-operation, self-government, and secondarily the social question and spiritual dimension of upbringing and education) and the Bauhausian pedagogic theory and practise, the Bauhaus is set in its proper context in the complex of the educational reform movement with which it shared all its basic principles and starting points. The Bauhaus deviated neither theoretically nor practically from the educational reform traditions, but was innovative in its attempt to apply educational reform techniques in the field of higher education. It was the culmination of educational reformism in the field of art teaching. Its innovative approach was to exercise a long-term influence on the form of art education and training in Europe, the USA and elsewhere.