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Dénes Harai (2013): Value, achievement, succes. Studies, essays on military pedagogy, military antphropology. [Érték, teljesítmény, siker. Tanulmányok, esszék a katonapedagógia, katonai antropológia körébõl]. Zrínyi Kiadó, 387 p.
Reviewed by Eszter Cecilia Hajdics-Szücs
Prof. Dr. Dénes Harai is a university professor in the Institute of Military Leadership Training at the Faculty of Military Sciences and Officer Training within the Hungarian National University of Public Service. He has been involved in university lecturing for almost three decades. He is frequent participant of national and international conferences alike.
When hearing the word ’pedagogy’, we often think about children and pupils as adult education is part of andragogy. That is why it is of great interest when such masculine words like war, battle and army is connected to pedagogy. The subtitle of the book presumes that the included studies present a new view on military education but based on the long term Hungarian military traditions.
In the introduction the author explains his understanding on military education: ’Military higher education – in accordance with military training – works well in its present structure. I believe that among the applied social studies, military pedagogy has an emphasised role in the officer training, as being a part of military officer competencies.’ (11.)
The six chapters of the book show the connection of education and men’s thoughts with soldiers in the focus: History and History of Education; War, Society, Individual; Didactics and Methodology; Military Ethics; Values and Doubts; Military Thinking.
The roots of military education date back to the Ancient times when from early childhood national defence was part of the education. The first written proof of such physical and moral education is from Persia. Later the Spartan model became the ground of all modern military education systems. In Hungary, Jozsef Martinko published the history of military secondary schools from the mid-19th century. However one could find such a secondary school even at the beginning of the 21th century, nowadays officer training requires secondary school leaving certificate and is placed in higher education or special training institutes.
The review focuses on the educational aspects, therefore we recommend the following studies and essays:
From the first chapter, History and History of Education, two studies raised our interest. The one on Finánczy Ernõ’s educational motives defines completeness and balance as main motives and presents their subcategories (indivisible human completeness, universal Christianity, impression of gender and development). The author emphasises that in the aspect of education, personality should be considered as indivisible and special emphasis must be taken on individualism. Our topic, military education is strongly related to nationalism, how Finánczy says ‘it is the role of education to make the pupils relive all major things that the nation has done in its history…’(39.)
The study on Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) pays a tribute to the great author and teacher on his 300th birth anniversary. Harai depicts the positive and negative thoughts in the masterpiece: Emile, or On Education.
In the next chapter, Didactics and Methodology, four studies can be found related to education. Háború és pedagógia (War and pedagogy) concentrates on the significance of self-recognition through examples of war situations and writings by historians (e.g.: G.F. Kennan) and teachers (e.g.: Imre Sándor). Self-recognition could not be utilised by education in the stressful times but nowadays society and even the Hungarian Army requires values-based education. The officer training university does not only give knowledge and improve abilities but also creates soldier individualities. As for Harai the 200 year history of military higher education suggests that: 1. Military training is characterised by the duality of the military system’s teaching centeredness and the institution’s learning centeredness; 2. The three main media in the military education are history, culture and society; 3. Soldiers have to follow the trend of the 21st century and widen their knowledge in all relevant areas; 4. Trainings highly depend on the trainers and what they can give to the trainees (national defence, democracy, fidelity etc.)
A valóság elve és a katonai egyetem eszméje (The principle of reality and the idea of the military university) study indicates that the modernisation of military education should not only be based on traditions but the whole military policy should be changed. The university training must be focused on the initiative ‘Soldier is someone who needs to study planned combat and war, for which the institutional form is the army.’ (166.)
The difficulties of national education and its contemporary issues in military education were discussed at a conference. In the study, A tiszt- és altisztjelöltek nemzeti nevelésének elvi és módszertani kérdéseirõl (Principals and didactics of officers’ and warrant officers’ national education), the author suggests such a national training which aims at the elite military officer trainings but also the civil ones can benefit from.
The study, ‘Oktatás és kommunikáció’ (Education and Communication), raise the attention to the interactions between (pedagogical) communication and military higher education e.g.: military language, teaching style and the relation between military lectures and communication. We emphasis some of the profession related ones as the majority of the speech acts are imperatives which can be grouped into the following subcategories: judgemental, executive, committal, conductual and demonstrational. If officers are aware of general linguistic rules then they can avoid hurting their subordinates with rude expressions. Communication has a double role in military education, firstly as a linguistic process and means of giving information and secondly as part of officers’ and warrant officers’ leadership communication training.
In the chapter, Military Ethics, such ethical dilemmata are introduced which are connected to humanitarian actions, peacekeeping tasks and also to the ethical and didactical background of the mentoring system.
As for the study, ‘A mentorálás pedagógiai, erkölcsi és módszertani kérdései’ (Educational, ethical and didactical aspects of mentoring), it is the mentor’s duty to help the trainee officers and warrant officers to use their gained theoretical knowledge to transform into practice.
The author explains the key notions of skills, solidarity and comradeship in ‘A Szakértelem, szolidaritás, bajtársiasság’ and adds a fourth one, technique, in the aspect of modern war. He writes about military skills, alliance solidarity and the most important value – comradeship. The latter one cannot be forced, cannot be taught but indirect educational tools can be used to form it.
In the last chapter, Military Thinking, the study Gyors gondolkodás és bátor cselekvés (Quick thinking brave action) discusses the educational significance of the military training. However educating is not the major function of the officer but it is part of the military officer competencies. Knowledge integrates principles like obedience, obligation to commitment, dutifulness and self-discipline. In military thinking judgement and logic are vital especially in making deductions, summaries, defining and highlighting.
The book demonstrates the characteristics of becoming a soldier, an officer from different aspects. We agree with the author that educational principals are present in any learner age is we accept the fact ‘the primary system of human history is teacher-learner’ (12.). In military higher education and training the aim is to achieve physical, moral, social and technical proficiency within a much closed education system. The personality of adults, mature students is formed so it would be more suitable to use military andragogy instead of pedagogy. The author himself underlines that it is part of adult education.
We believe that leadership and educational competences are required by military officers therefore this book is highly recommended to those who would start such a career and also to those who are interested in army related topics.