Anton Semyonovich Makarenko. March 1 (13), 1888 – April 1, 1939. Soviet teacher and writer. Pedagogical poet.


Life and Work:

1. According to UNESCO, only four teachers defined the way of pedagogical thinking in the 20th century. These were John Dewey, Georg Kerschensteiner, Maria Montessori and our compatriot, Anton Semyonovich Makarenko. And the UNESCO General Conference declared the year of his centenary – 1988 – the International Year of Makarenko.


2. In the 1920s, a young Odessa resident Mark Sheingauz read an article titled “The Forge of New Man” in a newspaper. He was so impressed that he wanted to meet Anton Semyonovich Makarenko. To do this, he came up with the idea to commit theft in a tram, because young criminals were sent to Gorky Colony.


3. Anton Makarenko, a son of a railway worker from the city of Belopolye, Sumy District, Kharkiv Province, did not follow in his father’s footsteps, although he did enter the primary railway school.


4. At the age of sixteen, Makarenko discovered his vocation and enrolled in a one-year teacher training course in Kremenchug.


5. On September 1, 1905, a 17-year-old teacher first entered the classroom of a two-grade railway school in Kryukov Posad near Kremenchug to teach Russian, drawing, and sketching.


6. Right at the beginning of the First World War, the experienced teacher Anton Semyonovich Makarenko entered the Poltava Teachers’ Institute. He did not get to the front line – he was demobilized due to poor eyesight.


7. That was when Anton Makarenko began to write. Not very successfully at first: he sent his first story, Stupid Day, to Gorky and received a disappointing response.


8. Makarenko graduated from the institute in the revolutionary year of 1917 with a gold medal. The topic of his graduation work was noteworthy: Krizis sovremennoy pedagogiki [Crisis of Modern Pedagogy].


9. The wonderful teacher’s finest hour came after the revolution and the Civil War – these events orphaned thousands of boys, sent them on a crooked path of criminal offenses.


10. Anton Makarenko was ordered to organize a labor colony near Poltava – in 1921, it was named after Gorky. The colonist’s badge depicted a lifering to indicate the tasks set for the teachers.


11. In 1926, the colony was transferred to Kuryazhsky Monastery near Kharkiv, and a year later Makarenko headed Dzerzhinsky Labor Commune in Kharkiv suburbs.


12. Gorky visited the colony that bore his name, came to great admiration and advised Makarenko to describe all this in a book. Anton Semyonovich followed the recommendation. Now millions of people, and not only in Russia, read the famous teacher’s books: March of the 30th Year, FD-1, Flags on the Battlements, Honor, Book for Parents, and the most famous of them all –Pedagogical Poem.


13. Makarenko’s pedagogical method seemed indisputable under the Soviet regime: it worked through the collective, which was assigned responsible tasks up to the creation of unique products for the Soviet country, such as the FED camera. Now it is criticized: barrack pedagogy, no free will.


14. It is considered that Anton Semyonovich Makarenko included elements of the paramilitary game in his method on the advice of his brother, Vitaly Semyonovich, a Russian army lieutenant and a Brusilov Offensive participant. After the revolution, he emigrated and wrote memoirs about his elder brother.


15. Anton Semyonovich himself spoke against drill: “In no case should the order be held together by drill. Ranks, teams, military subordination, marching around the building – all these are the least useful forms in the working children’s and youth team; they do not so much strengthen the team as they tire the lads physically and mentally.”


16. His other words are also quite worthy of quotation and have not become outdated over the past years: “If you do not demand much from a person, then you will not get much from them.” “The educational process is a constantly ongoing process, and its individual details are resolved in the overall tone of the family, and the overall tone cannot be invented and artificially maintained. The overall tone, dear parents, is created through your own life and your own behavior.” “Parenting is always in process, even when you are not at home.”


17. Anton Semyonovich Makarenko was a member of the USSR Union of Writers since its very foundation.


18. In 1935-36, Anton Semyonovich Makarenko worked in Kiev, as an assistant to the head of the Labor Colonies Department of the NKVD of the Ukrainian SSR. Envious, but less successful colleagues from Dzerzhinsky Commune wrote a denunciation against him, accusing Makarenko of criticizing Stalin. Fortunately, Makarenko was not put in jail, although he was forced to leave his job.


19. The wonderful teacher spent his last years in Moscow writing books. As a Soviet writer, he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.


20. In the last month of his life, Makarenko worked in a boarding house for writers near Moscow. His heart failed when got into a commuter train at Golitsyno station. The teacher and writer was buried at Novodevichy Cemetery.


21. Anton Semyonovich raised his brother Vitaly’s daughter, Olimpiada. The famous actress Ekaterina Vasilyeva is Makarenko’s great-niece.


22. Over the years, the Kharkiv Machine-Building Plant FED was founded on the base of Dzerzhinsky Commune workshops. Now it produces equipment for the aerospace industry. On the territory of the plant there is a monument to its most famous employee, Anton Semyonovich Makarenko.