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Felbiger, Johann Ignaz von


Augustinian canon regular and reformer in the fields of education and religious instruction; b. Gross-Glogau, Nov. 6, 1724; d. Pressburg, May 17, 1788. Felbiger became a Canon Regular of St. Augustine in 1746 and was engaged for a time in the reform of educational methods in the Catholic school system in Silesia and Austria. Becoming an abbot in Sagan, Silesia, in 1758, he undertook the reform of the schools attached to the chapters of collegiate churches in that district and in Prussia. In 1774 he was called by Maria Theresa to Vienna to introduce some needed improvements into the Austrian school system. In 1778, he was named chief director of the Austrian educational system, a position he held until after the death of Maria Theresa. He then was dismissed by Joseph II (1782), who was dissatisfied with Felbiger's adherence to strictly religious principles in education.

Felbiger's chief contributions to education were in the areas of organization and methodization. As an organizer, he is credited with the formation of a new educational system, the establishment of colleges for the training of teachers (a much needed contribution), the substitution of classroom education for the then customary tutorial system, and the establishment of religious instruction as a systematic subject for the schools. As a methodizer, he is noted for his introduction of the Sagan method of teaching, and for substituting the catechizing method for pure memorization. In collaboration with his prior, B. Strauch, he published three graded catechisms under the title Silesian Catechism (1766) that enjoyed wide popularity. The most important of his many publications was Methodenbuch für Lehrer der deutschen Schulen (1775).

Bibliography: n. a. weber, The Catholic Encyclopedia, ed. c. g. herbermann et al., (New York 190714) 6:2728. l. bopp, Lexikon der Pädagogik, ed. h. rombach (Freiburg 1962) 117980.

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