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Learning reports in the 19th century

‘Learning Reports’ – going back to the early 19th century!

So-called learning reports, i.e. written verbal feedback on students’ school performance instead of or in addition to marks, are considered a great new achievement by today’s school reformers in Basel, but were in fact used as early as the 19th century, also at the GM!

Here are the learning reports written by the then GM teacher Alexandre Vinet about Jacob Burckhardt, who was then a GM student and later became a GM teacher and a historian (both can be found at “Alumnae and Alumni”):

"J.B.: Esprit ouvert et assez vif; écolier intéressant."

(“J.B.: Open mind and quite bright; interesting student.”)

A year later: "J.B. a beaucoup des moyens, dont il pourrait tirer encore plus de parti."

(“J.B. has many talents, of which he could make still more use.”)

Another year later: "J.B.: Il a de l'imagination et l'esprit très ouvert. Un de ces disciples qui encouragent le maître. Je lui voudrais un peu plus de simplicité; il me paraît savoir trop de choses."

(“J.B.: He has a very open imagination and mind. One of those students that encourage the teacher. I wish him a bit more simplicity; he seems to me to know too many things.”)

Yet another year later: "J.B.: Esprit intélligent et vif, qui s'est déjà emparé beaucoup, peut-être de trop de notations; sa conduite et son application m'ont satisfait."

(“J.B.: Intelligent, quick mind that has already acquired a lot of knowledge, perhaps too many writing systems; his conduct and application have satisfied me.”)

In the second half of the 19th century, Jacob Burckhardt and Friedrich Nietzsche taught the older students (both can be found at “Alumnae and Alumni”).