Life & Work of Christos Frangos

 

Seminar to Celebrate the Life and Work of Professor Christos Frangos
EECERA Conference 2019, Thessaloniki
Tuesday 20 August, 17:30 - 19:00
 
 
17.00-17.10     Welcome from Prof Andreas Karakitsios
17.10-17.15     Greeting from Prof Panagiotis Frangos
17.15-17.40     Christos Frangos: The intuitive teacher by Dimitrios B. Goudiras
17.40-18.05     Academic freedom as a matter of continuous struggle and fight:
                          Some commemorative fireflies for the portrait of the teacher by
       George Mavroyiorgos
18.05-18.30     Christos Frangos: A democrat with vision and ethic who shaped
                          EECERA by Tony Bertram and Chris Pascal
18.30-19.00     Memories from delegates

 

Overview of Seminar: In Celebration of Professor Dr Christos Frangos: An Outstanding Scholar and Early Childhood Pioneer
 
This seminar at the 29th EECERA Conference hosted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki is the fitting place to celebrate the extraordinary life and work of Professor Dr Christos Frangos who died in 2014 and who had an enormous influence on early childhood policy, research and practice in Greece and in the many other countries where he worked. Christos was one of Europe’s earliest early childhood scholars, and studied with Piaget in Lyon, and Bettleheim and Bloom in Chicago. He spoke several European languages and was a member of the Educational Scientific Academy of Ukraine. His career panned many decades during which he articulated a modern vision of early childhood education and teacher training which he managed to put into practice through his wonderful capacity to inspire, convince and motivate those with power to make changes, from the classroom to the ministry.
 
He was instrumental in bringing together the Greek scientific community and professional and trade union associations to capture the confidence of the Ministry of Education to institute very significant changes to make early years a wholly graduate profession in Greece. Aristotle University was the first Greek university to create a department of early childhood education in 1984 under the enlightened leadership of Christos, a democrat in heart and mind and a pioneer of early childhood education in Greece. Over his life of scholarship and teaching, Christos mentored and encouraged the efforts of many young scientists in the discipline and set out its scientific and social parameters.
 
Importantly, he was also a founding Trustee of EECERA and hosted the third EECERA conference in 1993 in the beautifully located EDURIT Centre, on the Halkidiki peninsula in Greece, of which he was the creator and the Director, and which hosted EECERA meetings until it closed after his death. Christos was a very active and hugely respected EECERA Trustee and steered the Association through its growth and development, making a central contribution to the Association’s ethics and scientific development.
 
This EECERA seminar contains 3 presentations led by four scholars who have been deeply inspired and influenced by Christos and which reflect the wonderful legacy that he has left behind for us all to take forward.

 
Presentation 1: Christos Frangos. The intuitive teacher
Dimitrios B. Goudiras
 
At this symposium in honor of Professor Christos Frangos, I would like to present the professor’s democratic principles and beliefs, which pursued to apply to Greece's educational policy, especially to the policy of vocational education of teachers of school and pre-school education, to the administration of the University, as well as in teaching and scientific research.
 
I decided to present the subject "Christos Frangos. The intuitive teacher "in this honorary event, primary because he had a vision for pedagogical science and education, which is based on the democratic principles and values. He did not hesitate to defend his democratic principles and beliefs with bravery and courage. Result of his beliefs was the abuse he suffered by the police authorities during the dictatorship in Greece (1967-1974).
 
Secondly, because Christos Frangos was himself a devotee of intuitive teaching and learning. He was inspired from the perceptions of Plato and the dialectical teaching of Sokrates, as well as the theory of Aristotle for the intuitive acquisition of knowledge.
 
He avoided the imposition of the teacher's authority in the classroom and the obsession with the strict memorization. Instead, he was practicing the dialectical and obstetrical method (maieutic) of teaching according to Socrates's Platonic model, and through this, he was motivating his students into intuitive thinking and problem solving. It is also known that intuitive teaching is inextricably linked to creative teaching and learning, while respecting the student's freedom and autonomy in acquiring knowledge and applying it in decision-making and problem-solving.
 
Christos Frangos then enriched these perceptions with the training examples of O. Dekroly, E. Claparède, J. Dewey, J. Piaget, L. Vygotsky, B. Bloom and others, who set the foundation of the new school and functional learning in the new era. Biased to all them and to his research projects, he attempted to establish a new pedagogical theory, the "functional theory for school learning", as he named it. His pedagogical interest was located in primary and pre-school education, teaching and learning and reaches to higher education. Also, approaches teaching principles, such as dialectic, aesthetic, moral and political reflection, and pedagogical choices of teaching objectives and methods, such as the cultivation of critical reflection, empathy, imagination, interactive skills and abilities, engagement with Arts, playful and experiential learning, etc.
 
Presentation 2:Academic freedom as a matter of continuous struggle and fight: Some Commemorative fireflies for the portrait of the Teacher
George Mavroyiorgos
 
My paper has a strong experiential background. I will not avoid autobiographical references, since my academic course has had the full support and enlightening guidance of my university teacher, Christos Frangos. Experiential autobiographical testimonies, of course, do not claim scientific validity and credibility, as they are fragile. With these limitations in mind, I will try to present the case as an example that may be illustrative of a pathway of fighting over vital values and principles which bind together Academia and Democracy. The presentation will be organised around the following four time lines of consideration:
(a)1964-1974: The new university of Ioannina, the seven-year dictatorship and Christos Frangos' academic resistance; (b) 1974-1984: Democratisation and the establishment of the Educational Center at the University of Ioannina; (c) 1984- 1993: New roles and responsibilities at the new Dept. of Preschool Education of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, with special reference to the establishment of the Children Center and (d) 1993-1994: The teacher’s "active withdrawal" at the Pedagogical Research Center in Kryopigi, Halkidiki (EDURIT).
 
I will try to set up the portrait of the university intellectual teacher, pedagogue-researcher, using selected thematic indicators, such as the empowerment of academic freedom principles in research and teaching, in the professional development of his assistants / later faculty members, in the process of administration. Special reference is to be made to the ways in which he used the power of the university chair for the informal establishment and democratisation of the Educational Department of Ioannina. The Educational Lab was an apprenticeship workshop in research and collegial collaboration. The overall common thread of all his actions was a continuous campaign against dominant "pedagogical regimes of truth" in Greece in relation to schooling, teachers’ education, and his struggle for academic freedom and social justice.
 
Presentation 3: Professor Christos Frangos: A democrat with vision and ethic who shaped EECERA
Tony Bertram and Chris Pascal
 
In this presentation we aim to acknowledge and exemplify how Professor Christos Frangos worked democratically and ethically to shape EECERA from its earliest days to his death in 2014. It reflects on his contribution to the creation and sustenance of EECERA using a number of philosophical and political threads of thinking and action which were interwoven through our collaborative work with him for over 20 years. We feel these binding threads will give a sense of the quality and breadth of a man with whom we developed a valued friendship and who has left an indelible impression on the development of early childhood policy internationally, touching the lives of many, like us, who had the enormous privilege of working with him and regarding him as a close friend.
 
There are four threads though which we would like to explore Christos’ contribution to EECERA. The first thread is his outward facing perspective and his openness to learning from many different social, political and cultural contexts. The second thread is his commitment to a European cultural project and the realisation of a European tradition of early childhood education. The third thread is his deep commitment to challenging dominant power and hegemonies of knowing and his promotion of social solidarity. The fourth thread is his deep interest in theoretical, philosophical and methodological dialogues revealing an openness to alternative ways of knowing, seeing and constructing knowledge. The fifth and final thread is Christos’ deep cultural life, joyous enjoyment of dialogue and conviviality, and appreciation of communities of playful learning at all ages.