Anton Makarenko

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For the Ukrainian football player, see Anton Makarenko (footballer).
Anton Semenovych Makarenko
Born Антон Семенович Макаренко
(1888-01-13)13 January 1888
Bilopillia, Russian Empire
Died 1 April 1939(1939-04-01) (aged 51)
Golitsyno, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Occupation Educator
Language Russian
Ethnicity Ukrainian
Citizenship Russian Empire, Soviet
Subject Educational theory, Pedagogy, Correctional education

Anton Semenovych Makarenko (Russian: Анто́н Семёнович Мака́ренко, Ukrainian: Анто́н Семе́нович Макаре́нко, 13 January 1888 – 1 April 1939) was a Russian and Soviet educator and writer, who promoted democratic ideas and principles in educational theory and practice. As one of the founders of Soviet pedagogy, he elaborated the theory and methodology of upbringing in self-governing child collectives and introduced the concept of productive labor into the educational system. Makarenko is often reckoned among the world’s great educators, and his books have been published in many countries.[1]

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution he established self-supporting orphanages for street children — including juvenile delinquents — left orphaned by the Russian Civil War. Among these establishments were the Gorky colony and later the Dzerzhinsky labor commune in Kharkiv, where the FED camera was produced.

Although there was some opposition by the authorities at the early stages of Makarenko's "experiments",[2] the Soviet establishment eventually came to hail his colonies as a grand success in communist education and rehabilitation. Among his key ideas were "as much exigence towards the person as possible and as much respect for him as possible", the use of positive peer pressure on the individual by the collective, and institutionalized self-government and self-management of that collective. He also rejected physical punishment.[2]

Makarenko was one of the first Soviet educators to urge that the activities of various educational institutions — i.e., the school, the family, clubs, public organizations, production collectives and the community existing at the place of residence — should be integrated.[1]

Makarenko wrote several books, of which The Pedagogical Poem (Педагогическая поэма), a fictionalized story of the Gorky Colony, was especially popular in the USSR. In 1955 a movie with English title Road to Life was produced.

Like most things Soviet, Makarenko's ideas came under heavy criticism after the fall of communism. His system has been accused of many of the same supposed faults as Soviet Communism in general, such as giving the child collective too much power over the individual child.[3]

Makarenko's origin[edit]

The brother A.S. Makarenko — Vitaly Semyonovich in the book "My Brother Anton Semyonovich" writes: "… despite the Ukrainian origin Anton was 100% for Russians" [3].

One of leaders foreign Makarenko researchers prof. Gyotts Hillig devoted to a question of a national origin and A.S. Makarenko's national consciousness the separate research which results are presented in the report "To a question of national consciousness of A.S. Makarenko". [4] where as a whole are confirmed both the statement of the brother, and Anton Semyonovich's Russian consciousness.

Hillig notes that all works and A.S. Makarenko's personal correspondence I conducted in Russian. At the same time he excellently knew and loved Ukrainian, often and pertinently included quotes of juicy Ukrainian speech in dialogues of characters of the works. A.S. Makarenko also understood and could speak in Polish what L.V. Konisevich in the book "We Were Brought Up by Makarenko" (chapter about arrival of the Polish delegation) [5] mentions also.

At the same time it is specified that for tactical reasons (for to reduce for some officials number of occasions for colony dispersal of M of Gorky) he since a certain year ceases to specify in the column a nationality the word "Russian" (as it still was in Kryukov), and "Ukrainian" [4] starts writing. Makarenko's nationality wasn't secret and for his contemporaries. So, in a valedictory from the Union of the Soviet writers of BSSR it is directly told:

The Union of the Soviet writers of BSSR expresses the deep condolences on an occasion of untimely death of the talented Russian writer, order bearer Anton Semyonovich Makarenko, the author of the outstanding works, widely known to the Belarusian reader.

—Board of the Union of the Soviet writers of BSSR, [4]

Makarenko's Sources

In the beginning of his book "Road to Life" Makarenko mentions literature about reform schools in the USA. He refers to the book "Fifty Years of Prison Service" by Zebulon Reed Brockway which was published around that time. Brockway was the governing superintendent of the first American reformatory during the years of 1876–1900 in Elmira, NY. The inmates were supposed to become citizens with the virtues of obedience, sincerity, correctness, reliability, honor, loyalty, and composure. To this end, a library, a school, various workshops, a farm, and a military unit were established. The young men were classified by wearing colors according to their merits: blue color for lowest level, red for highest. After they had received the highest honors, they were given leadership positions in laborer and military detachments. A court was established to adjudicate aberrant behavior. Its members were citizens of Elmira, employees of the reformatory. and inmates. Makarenko followed Brockway's methods precisely since their basic educational ideals were identical. He established a school, various workshops, and a farm. The military detachments were called collectives where military signs like chevrons showed the ranks of achievement. The Commander's Council was the governing body which made all rules and regulations for the reform school. Its members consisted of Makarenko himself, inmates and employees.


Makarenko chess, a chess variant developed by him during the 1920s.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Filonov, G. N. (1994) 'Anton Makarenko (1888–1939)', in Prospects: the quarterly review of comparative education UNESCO: International Bureau of Education, Paris. vol. XXIV, no. 1/2, 1994, p. 77-91.
  2. ^ a b Горкин А. П. (гл. ред.). Российская педагогическая энциклопедия. – М.: Научное издательство "Большая Российская энциклопедия", 1993. Макаренко (Russian)
  3. ^ Vavokhine, Youri. 2004. The (post)-soviet prison subculture faced with the use of self-management doctrines by the corrections administration. Penal field: new French journal of criminology
  4. ^ B final journey (farewell to A.S.Makarenko, April, 1939)

External links[edit]