Ineluctable Ambivalence: Embodying Pedagogical Tact

  • Norm FriesenEmail author
Part of the Phänomenologische Erziehungswissenschaft book series (PHE, volume 8)


Pedagogical tact has been a topic of significant international interest since it was initially defined by J.F. Herbart in 1802—specifically as a “quick judgment and decision” able to address “the true requirements of the individual case”. This paper connects such early definitions with more recent accounts, particularly those that stress importance of reserve, of holding back for the sake of the student’s independence. It then explores manifestations of this at once active and passive character of tact in terms of body’s own aporias—its simultaneity as physical and lived (Leib and Körper), as a “visible seer,” as “hearing and heard, touching and touched, moving and moved”. By reflecting on an example of pedagogical engagement as shown in a short video clip, this paper develops the conclusion that this dual corporeal character is mirrored in the “reserved action” characteristic of pedagogical tact.


Pedagogical tact Embodiment Self-activity Tact 


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational TechnologyBoise State UniversityBoiseUSA

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