Sukhomlinsky And His Children

The famous Ukrainian educator, Vasilii Sukhomlinsky, had a special relationship with the children with whom he worked.  He had the ability to immerse himself into the child’s awe-struck world of wonder and discovery.  Sukhomlinsky knew how to instruct without being didactic.  He was ever sensitive to a child’s desire to learn and ask questions.

In China, virtually all of his works have been translated and he is considered one of the greatest of the world’s educators.  In the West, alas, such is not the case.  However, through the efforts of Australian Sukhomlinsky scholar, Alan Cockerill, Sukhomlinsky’s name is gaining prominence.  Alan has established a site and a newsletter to promote Sukhomlinsky’s multi-faceted pedagogy.  He has translated several of Sukhomlinsky’s works and has been a tireless supporter of the Ukrainian educator’s work.  Most importantly, he has put together a video showing Sukomlinsky interacting with his children.  The video is in Russian with English subtitles.  To watch this brief video, please go to my facebook page at:

But What Do Australians Look Like?: An Excerpt From Janusz Korczak’s How To Love A Child, Part 1.

,In the Children’s Home, students who caused trouble were often assigned guardians to watch over the students progress.  Writing letters was encouraged, and Korczak himself sometimes read such correspondence.  Indeed, he made it clear that he didn’t want children to interrupt his work, and he had a short temper, which he always regretted.  What follows below is an abridged version of an exchange between a girl-guardian and her assigned boy student.

S:  “I love Hela a lot, but I’m not going to marry a girl from the Children’s Home.”

G:  “Hela also likes you, but not a lot, because you’re a trouble maker.  Why don’t you want to marry a girl from our Home?”

S:  “I don’t want want one from here, because I’d be ashamed.  Tell me, please.  Should I get married to Dora, Hela, or Mania?

G:  “Dora thinks you’re a twit.  Mania doesn’t want you, and Hela burst out laughing.

S:  “Now I’ll be ashamed to approach them.  Please tell me where I should sit, so I’ll behave better, and write me a long story.  And please don’t show my notes to anybody.  But I really want to know what Australians look like.  What do they look like?

G:  “If they aren’t ashamed, why should you be?  If they want you, you can sit at the third table.  I ‘ll try to show you a picture of an Australian and I won’t show your notes to anybody.”

S:  “Please give me advice, because something is really bothering me.  I’m worried, because during the lesson I think about doing something bad.  But I’m afraid to do what’s bad(to steal), and I don’t want to upset anyone.  I’ll try hard not to think about it and think about voyages.  Good night.”