Lecture on Korczak as a patient and impatient educator
A selection of the messages on this website is published here in English.
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you like to read my presentation in Geneva, June 2, 2012 on Korczak?
Then follow this link!
Korczak in Leiden – Holland
Korczak in Geneva! For the 4th time!
* On June 1 and 2, 2012 for the fourth time the international seminar on children’s rights and the educational ideas of Janusz Korczak was held in Geneva. Present were this time not only members of the UN Committee on the rights of the child and Korczakians from different countries, but also twelve children and youngsters from a number of countries: Switzerland, Poland, Germany, and a number of African countries. This gave an enormous input to the seminar, a new kind of energy and synergy. On 31st of May there was already a pre-conference meeting of Korczakians in the crèche Le cerf-volant in Genève.
The topic this time was article 3: adults, institutions and states should always look at what is in the best interest of the child. This is a complicated but very important article, in fact one of the cornerstones or ‘pillars’ of the Convention.
One the first day we explored together with the children the meanings of this article through interactive work forms, such as discussion and the production of posters. It was great to see Young and old(er) working together like this! Also the play The ten matchboxes was performed by actor Amichai Pardo, and he brought children and adults into the scenes.
The second day was devoted to lectures and presentations. I did a lecture called “A pedagogical reflection on the Annual Report and the first Children’s Rights Monitoring Report in the Netherlands”. These Reports were published in May 2012 by the Dutch Children’s Ombudsman, and give much food for thought. In general Dutch children are the luckiest in the World, but if you closer and better, you see stunning figures about poverty and mistreatment. Above you can download my presentation text (.pdf).
An extensive Report will be published on my website and on www.korczak.nl (International page). Via this link you can see a picture-impression, of the evening of 31st of May and both seminar days, and as you can see it’s all about energy and working together!
Korczak in Warsaw, a study-trip
* From April 28 to May 1 2012 I participated in a study trip to Warsaw Poland, in commemoration of Janusz Korczak, who on August 5/6 1942 was transported to the extermination camp Treblinka with his co-workers and 200 orphanages. The group consisted of members of the Board of the Dutch Korczak Association, sponsors and leaders from our Nash Dom camps. Also five students from Flanders (Belgium) and a colleague participated. We visited Dom Sierot, the orphanage in the Jewish quarter of Warsaw of which Korczak became director in 1912. It was impressive to enter and sit in the Great hall where in the 20s and 30s more than 100 – 150 children ate their daily bread. It is almost unbelievable that this building was rescued. We also visited the monument in the center of the city and the one in the Jewish cemetry. You can look at some pictures on Picasa.
Korczak in Geneva! For the 3th time!
* It is becoming a tradition: for the third time now members of the UN Committee of the Rights of the Child and members from multiple Korczak Associations across Europe gathered together on a Saturday in June to share their views on the rights of the Child. This time article 12 of the Convention was the central topic. This article states that the child has the right to express his or her own views freely, and has the right to be heard. For the experts this article is the core of the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
Members of the Committee presented their views on this article and its implementation in their own countries: Tunisia, Uganda, Hungary and so on. After these presentations there was a performance of the play ‘The 10 matchboxes’ by Israeli actor Amichai Pardo. He transformed into the figure of Janusz Korczak and in a dialogical way with the public told the story of the 10 matchboxes: one is lost and found, another turns into a 'ship', children quarrel about it and so on. A very moving experience. After the performance Amichai told us that he performed this play over a 1000 times, in many countries and that is was always different.
The program of the afternoon consisted of talks by Korczakians on the topic. Jonathan Levy talked about global citizenship and a new initiative to develop a program on children as teachers on children's rights. Anna Bystrzycka told a moving story about Korczak's life in the orphanage. And Kelvin Ravenscroft from the UK philosophized in a very spiritual, yet also practical manner about the social construction of meaning. As chair of this panel I concluded that the concept of space, both in a physical and in psychological sense is prime when we want to uphold article 12 and have the child be able to express himself or herself and be heard.
The last panel was also about
practice. Nelianne de Boo, head of primary school Matthijsje in the
Netherlands, told us how she tries to form a community with parents and
children. She showed that bringing Korczak into practice that does not mean
that you can't work towards good results; even better, because of the positive
and co-operative spirit. Sven Hartman from Sweden told us about a new project
with Roma children. His approach signifies the humane
spirit which was so characteristic for Korczak's approach. The UN committee
member from Uganda, Awich Pollar,
told us about the tension between children 's rights and culture, as can be
seen in the case of genital mutilation. On the other hand, also in African countries,
the new social media give more and more opportunities for young people to
This seminar was once again hosted by the Polish mission to the UN.
John Dewey on ‘play’
* On January 18, 2011 a new book, in Dutch, on the subject of children’s play was presented (D. van der Aalsvoort, Ed.). I wrote a chapter in this book about John Dewey’s educational views on play. Since there was a guest professor from the USA, Roberta M. Golinkoff who attended this event, my Power-Point-presentation was in English and you can have a look at it here.
Korczak in Tokyo
* In the first week of August
2010 an international conference took place in Tokyo, Japan. The subject
was Janusz Korczak and children’s rights in the 21st century. It was organized
by the Japan Korczak Association (JKA) and the International Korczak Association
(IKA) and was hosted by the Meiji University. There were participants from
Israel, Russia, Germany, Switzerland and …. I had the honor
to represent The Netherlands there, and took part with a lecture on the
practical application of Korczak’s ideas in the field of early childhood
education. I presented a project I conducted in my country which aimed at
uplifting the pedagogical quality of the work in daycare
and after-school care. As already discussed below, this led to the production
of a successful brochure, the English version of which was now also presented
to a Japanese audience.
-You can download my power-point presentation, Key concepts of Janusz Korczak’s inspirational view and their application in practice, here.
-A more extensive report and photos will appear in this section of my website and also in the section ‘International’ of www.korczak.nl.
-If you are interested in the English brochure on childcare, please read this form, and mail the number of copies you want to: email@example.com
If you want to see some pictures from the conference: follow this link. You can see the presentation of the delegates from the different Korczak Associations in the main hall of Meiji University (myself 6th from the right). There is the official conference sign in the university’s building. Another one shows the group of ‘foreigners’ (and one of our student-guides), myself 2nd from the right, taken near the famous Asakusa Temple in Tokyo, in front of the statue of Uryu Iwako, who performed many social activities in the 2nd half of the 19th century, and who was so beloved that she was called ‘Iwako the Buddha’. Also there are pictures from Hiroshima and the children’s monument there.
Korczak in Geneva! For the 2nd time
* On June 5, 2010, the
conference on childrens’ rights and the education of
Janusz Korczak enjoyed a second edition! Again, in Geneva, Switzerland,
a theme of mutual interest to Korczak-ians and
members of the Council of Europe/UN Committee was discussed in a one-day
symposium: the education and training of professionals who work with children
and young people. I was honoured to be invited again as one of the lecturers.
In time, I will publish my presentation on this website.
The evening before the conference many Korczak-ians gathered for an informal meeting in the children’s centre Le Cerf-Volant, a centre inspired by the educational views of Françoise Dolto, and supported by the ‘Amis of Dr. J. Korczak en Suisse’. Follow this link for an impression of our gathering, and of the conference.
In Geneva I also presented a new publication in English: the 8-page full-colour brochure Janusz Korczak for workers in childcare and after-school care (Joop Berding, Inge Smit and Inge van Rijn, authors). This brochure was originally written in Dutch and published in the Netherlands in March 2010. The first edition, 750 copies, was sold out in 1,5 month! You can have a look at the brochure by clicking http://en.calameo.com/read/000261669230836b273c6
The English edition can be ordered from the Dutch Janusz Korczak Stichting, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Please read this form, and mail the number of copies you want to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Korczak in Geneva, a new international seminar
* On June 6, 2009 I participated in a conference in Geneva, Switzerland, hosted by the Polish Mission, where people from different Korczak Associations met with representatives of the Council of Europe, and of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Among the invited addresses was that of Mr Thomas Hammarberg, High Commissioner for Human Rights of the CoE. I myself took part in one of the panels, i.e. on children’s participation from Korczak’s perspective. I reworked my statement and you can read the full text here. It will also be published in the Proceedings.
(Part of) the conference group in Geneva
* In September 2008 my text on Korczak – An Introduction was republished in the Report on the Dutch Youth Conference that was held in September 2007 in Bergen aan Zee, Netherlands. Please check the Dutch Korczak website: www.korczak.nl.
* On November 27, 2005 a new
article on Janusz Korczak was published on the website of libertarian
education: Janusz Korczak - An Introduction
* The section Internationaal / News of the website of the Janusz Korczak Stichting devotes a discussion to the topic of the future of the international Korczak-'movement'. It was started by the Swiss pedagogue Gérard Kahn with his essay Does Korczak have a future? I responded to that under the title Korczak has a past, a present ànd a future.
A new book on Janusz Korczak
February 11, 2005 saw the publication of my new book on Janusz Korczak:
Obsessed by the child. Educational action in day care centers
I wrote a book in Dutch about Korczak's educational ideas, applied to day care and after school groups. It's about educational quality, and pedagogical practices inspired by Janusz Korczak. It tells how workers in day care centers and after school groups experiment with Korczak's ideas about justice, respect, participation and self-reflection. These stories are illustrated by some thirty photographs of children and workers in action. The book is especially written for students and professionals, and also interesting for educational councilors and the more general audience interested in democratic education. The book is published by publishing-house Van Gorcum, Assen, The Netherlands. ISBN 9023241118. Price: Euro 18.50. Those who do not master the Dutch language can contact me for further information through e-mail.
Recent publications in English (a choice)
Berding, J., I. Smit and I. van Rijn en (2010). Janusz Korczak for workers in childcare and after-school care. Amsterdam: Janusz Korczak Stichting. (booklet, 8 pp.)
Berding, J.W.A. (2010). Teaching Korczak. Lecture at the 2nd conference on the Rights of the Child and Korczak’s Pedagogy. Geneva. June 5. (powerpoint, hand-out, brochure)
Berding, J.W.A. (2009). Participation, citizenship, and community. Janusz Korczak’s Radical View. In O. Biernacka (Ed.). The Polish Jewish Pioneer on Children’s Rights Janusz Korczak (1978-1942) and the Today’s Convention of the Rights of the Child as International Law. International Seminar (pp. 35-39). Geneva.
Berding, J.W.A. (2008). Janusz Korczak - An Introduction. In Th. Cappon
& J. Tchikhatcheva (Ed.). Dutch International
Janusz Korczak Youth Conference. Report (pp. 80-88). Amsterdam: Janusz
Korczak Association in the Netherlands.
Berding, J. (2005). A man for our times. In Young Minds Magazine. An article on Janusz Korczak and pupil participation. You can read the article by clicking A man for our times. (pdf file)
Berding, J.W.A. (2004). Janusz Korczak: What it Means to be an Educator. Encounter. Education for Meaning and Social Justice, 17, 4, pp. 11-16.
Berding, J.W.A. (2004). Becoming a Citizen. The Inspiration of Janusz Korczak. Paper presented to the Regional Conference 'Exploring Citizenship Through Religious Studies'. Bradford Grammar School. Bradford, UK. November 14.
Berding, J.W.A. (1999). De participatiepedagogiek van John Dewey. Opvoeding, ervaring en curriculum. Ph.D. thesis Free University Amsterdam. Click here for a Summary