MP logo MP title

József Nagy: Helping and Education: An Attempt to Re-Interpret the Nature of Nurture

The practice of education is characterised by a growing number of problems all over the world. Similarly, the appearance of anti-pedagogies signals the crisis of pedagogy at the theoretical level. The author starts from the assumption that the ultimate causes of problems can be traced back to the processes of economic, social and cultural integration and globalization. The mutual penetration of economies and cultures into each other results in more and more specific value-systems living side by side even in individual countries. Amidst this diversity an increasing proportion of the maturing generations fails to form a stable personality, and the people who are socialised on the base of a specific value-system find it increasingly difficult to adapt themselves to diversity and to rapid changes. At the same time, we witness how the processes of globalization give birth to a global value system, which starts to become a common ground for the many diverse value-systems (we should only recall the global value-system of the international institutions' functioning or the Human Rights and Children's Rights, which are ratified by an increasing number of countries). Pedagogy as theory, and educational practice have not faced the problems and possibilities of the presumably most important transformational process of human society, that is, of globalization. The author first examines the problems and possibilities of pedagogy as a science. He describes three paradigm changes: the birth of metaphoric pedagogy in the second half of our millennium, its disintegration in our century resulting from the formation of the dozens of interdisciplinies pursued by the partner sciences and the possibilities of integration. On the basis of Vilmos Csányi's conclusions concerning the theory of science and György Kampis's component-system theory he describes pedagogy as an integrated multidiscipline, whose aim is to discover education as an hierarchical component-system, and to prepare its models by continuously integrating the results of the disciplines investigating the individual levels of the hierarchy (human ethology, psychology, experimental/applied psychology, anthropology, social psychology, sociology). The author tries to apply the explored possibilities in the analysis of new challenges and in the re-interpretation of the nature of nurture. From the seventies on there have been essential developments in the human sciences. The review of these developments and the attempt to integrate them offers the possibility of modelling personality as a hierarchical component-system. The approach is significant insofar as the empirical personality growing out of the inherited component-system can develop into an interpreting and self-interpreting personality. In our globalized world empirical personalities are strangers, and we can observe a growth in personalities who are able to understand the world and themselves. Helping this, however, without globalizing prosocial behaviour, and without forming, learning and accepting a global value-system can only result in the growth of the creativity of personality. By means of analysing the significant outcomes and the results of research into altruism and prosocial behaviour that equal a paradigm change, the author arrives at an interpretation of education's tasks and methods that fits the problems, challenges and possibilities of globalization.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 95. Number 3-4. 157-200. (1995)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: József Nagy, Department of Education Atti¬la József University, H – 6722 Szeged, Petőfi S. sgt. 30–34. E-mail:


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia