John Baptist de La Salle was born at Rheims, France on April
30th and the eldest of 10 children in a noble family. He studied
in Paris and was ordained in 1678. He was known for his work
with the poor.
Very involved in education, St. John Baptist de La Salle founded
the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (approved
in 1725) and established teacher colleges (Rheims in 1687,
Paris in 1699, and Saint-Denis in 1709). He was one of the
first to emphasize classroom teaching over individual instruction.
His schools were formed all over Italy.
The various educational reforms that La Salle introduced proved
that he legislated wisely. The courses of study for elementary
free schools, technical schools, and colleges are evidences
of his broad culture and wide grasp of educational problems.
If the needs of a certain locality called for special branches,
or if the times and conditions demanded certain advanced studies,
La Salle was not slow in responding nor in giving these subjects
a place commensurate in importance with their educational
La Salle, furthermore, displayed his genius in giving his
institute a distinctive character--that of a teaching body
consecrated to the work of popular education. He became the
author of a system of psychologic pedagogy that included the
essential principles adopted by later workers in the field
of educational reforms, notably by Pestalozzi, Fröbel,
Herbart, and others.
n making the vernacular the basis of all instruction, La Salle
appealed to the intelligence of the child, prepared the way
for the study of national literature, and opened up to the
grown man those avenues of real knowledge and delight that
had been closed against the eager multitude.
La Salle died at St. Yon, Rouen, on April 7. He was canonized
by Pope Leo XIII in 1900. St. John Baptist de La Salle was
named patron of teachers by Pope Pius XII in 1950.