Physical Education Teachers in the High School of Užice from its Establishment Until the Beginning of the First World War (1839 - 1914)

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Abstract

Since the first years of high school instruction in the Principality of Serbia, various Ministers of Education, principals and first gymnastics teachers had been thinking about physical education instruction. Better political, economic and cultural situation in Serbia together with the influences and ideas arriving from culturally developed European countries gave rise to several initiatives related to physical education instruction which were introduced into high school curricula.

Persons with different qualification levels were engaged as physical education teachers (gymnastics teachers) and they remained at that position for a few years. The aim of the paper was to establish who the PE teachers were in High School of Užice since its establishment until the beginning of the First World War (1839-1914). Historical method was used in this paper.

From 1839 until 1878 there were no organized physical education classes (physical exercise and gymnastics) because the first teachers in this school were not interested, or experienced about this type of instruction. By the written approval, the Minister of Education appointed in September 1878 the first gymnastics teacher Steva Trifunović, teacher of painting and calligraphy. In the next period the classes used to be realized by teachers of Serbian language, geometry and algebra, geography or officers and sometimes even all other homeroom teachers.

Regardless the fact that those were all people who had acquired basic knowledge on physical exercising in military schools or in gymnastic societies, it was still not enough for professional work in PE education and its further promotion.

The solution to the problem was initiated only in 1910. when Josef Jehlička came, at the invitation of the Ministry of Education of the Kingdom of Serbia, together with a group of Czeck Sokol leaders who had been sent to work in High School of Užice and improved quality of physical education classes in that school thanks to his professional competence. That led to the conditions for the PE classes in High School of Užice to become more significant in the system of general education of students.

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