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Posts Tagged ‘education’

Michael Gove’s Island Story – why history teachers are up in arms
Andrew Stone
Socialist History seminar
13 May 2013

Michael_Gove_croppedEvery now and then the Institute of Historical Research has a seminar that is not about research into History itself but about present day concerns and policies regarding how History is taught or expressed.  Today’s podcast under the spotlight is a politically charged piece looking at the Secretary of Education’s plans for a revised History curriculum.

Andrew Stone is a member of the Defense of School History campaign and in this presentation given to the Socialist History seminar he outlines why he thinks the new proposed curriculum is a backward step.  He believes that the new curriculum will provide an insular narrative in which History is seen through the prism of Imperial nostalgia.  The presentation is largely a summary of the key points in which Stone believes the new curriculum fails to meet the requirements of modern school education.  These are:

  1. Content overload
  2. Sequential teaching
  3. Pedagogy
  4. Imperial nostalgia

Stone also touches upon dissatisfaction with the level of consultation over these plans and concludes with his assessment of what he believes Michael Gove is doing and the reasons why.  Various surveys (Stone tells us) have shown that teachers and History institutions are not happy with the proposals.  One quote from the Association of School and College Teachers seems to sum this up:

 “The proposed key stage three curriculum is unteachable and will turn students away from History. Adoption could be seriously detrimental to the future take-up of History at key stage four and beyond.”

History SPOT already contains several podcasts related to the subject of History teaching.  Michael Gove himself presented his viewpoints about History education in the 2011 History in Education Conference held at the University of London.  His presentation is available alongside various other papers about the state of History education in the UK.  Then there is the Historians of Education in Scotland conference looking at the recent history of education in Scotland as well as modern day concerns.   

This podcast runs to 21 minutes and is available to listen on History SPOT.

To listen to the podcast click here.

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Voluntary Action History
14 January 2013
Dr Marcella Sutcliffe (University of Cambridge)
A Liberal Education for ‘Citizens’: The Case of the Working Men’s College (1854-1914 ca.)

‘Making them men with the culture to work together in fellowship as men’

This was one of the reasons claimed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century’s for educating working men.  It was to be a liberal education, set to provide male workers with knowledge of the classics and of their role in society.  They were to understand the context in which they lived, so that they would appreciate their role as a citizen.

 The Working Men's College, Great Ormond Street, London. Ca 1850s. (wikipedia)

The Working Men’s College, Great Ormond Street, London. Ca 1850s. (wikipedia)

Marcella Sutcliffe examines the case of the working men’s college between 1854 and 1914.  There were various debates about what the education should include.  Should it be founded on religious values, especially now that religion was not seen as a requirement of citizenship any longer?  Should the sciences be included, and if so, why?  What was the use of teaching classics and humanities?  Did such studies provide anything useful to enlarge feelings of pride about being English?

In this paper we get a discussion regarding these various educational activities and the reasoning behind the choices made.  The central question was over the purpose the education should provide for the betterment not only of individual lives, but for society as a whole.

To listen to this podcast click here.

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Historians of Education in Scotland (HEdScot) conference 2011
Glenda White (University of Glasgow)
David Stow and teacher education
21 October 2011
 

Abstract: In his day job David Stow was a successful carpet manufacturer but when, at the age of eighteen, he joined St Mary’s Parish Church in the Trongate he quickly flourished as one of Thomas Chalmers’ ‘boys’. An enthusiastic activist, he taught for ten years amongst the rags and squalor of the east end, honing the teaching skills, philosophy, and attitudes to children which were to make him one of the most influential educators of his generation. With the growing need for trained teachers, two of his weekdays schools, St John’s and St Andrew’s, were selected as ‘model’ schools for the training of teachers. This quickly led to the foundation, in 1837, of the first teacher-training institution in Great Britain based on a Stow’s comprehensive but detailed ‘system’. This paper will critically examine the considerable contribution which Stow made to teacher education in Scotland asking, controversially, if we have made much progress.

To listen to this podcast and the others from this conference click here.

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Historians of Education in Scotland (HEdScot) conference 2011
Christopher Bischof (Rutgers University)
Pay, Prestige, and Lifestyle: the Hiring of Elementary Teachers in Glasgow and the Highlands and Islands, 1846-1902
21 October 2011

Abstract: This paper examines the negotiation between school officials (managers and school boards), communities, and applicants in the hiring of elementary teachers in Glasgow and the highlands and islands between 1846 and 1902. It adopts a comparative approach, contrasting the depersonalized, rigidly bureaucratic approach to the selection of teachers in Glasgow with the more organic approach taken in the Highlands and Islands. Unsurprisingly, since it paid the highest salaries, Glasgow demanded the highest qualifications of its new hires of anywhere in Scotland. There was little else to the hiring process in Glasgow: certain qualifications were demanded, and a certain salary was paid; it was all fixed and attempts at negotiation were typically rebuffed. In the highlands and islands, unlike in Glasgow, the hiring process itself involved negotiation and unquantifiable requirements and inducements. Sometimes a large garden, living in or near the community in which they had grown up, and the independence of a headmastership (rather than an assistantship) could compensate well-qualified teachers for the lack of pay in rural schools. Teachers responded to offers by requesting higher salaries and other things, like the right to have siblings live in the schoolhouse with them. Communities also intervened in the hiring process in the highlands and islands, most commonly by exerting pressure on school officials to hire a male teacher, which, though they cost more, were widely believed to be more prestigious. The process of hiring teachers reveals much about the values of and power relations between teachers, school officials, and communities.

To listen to this podcast click here.

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Historians of Education in Scotland (HEdScot) conference 2011
Atsuko Betchaku (University of Edinburgh)
Japanese education and social welfare policies and Scottish Evangelicals, 1870s to the 1920s
21 October 2011

David Stow (1793-1864)

Abstract: This paper considers how Scottish Evangelicals’ ideas in morality and moral education were influential in late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Japan in relationship with the areas of social welfare and education.  It focuses on the influence of ideas by Thomas Chalmers and David Stow, two leading members of Scottish Evangelicals in the mid-nineteenth century. The analysis of their ideas shows how moral education and welfare system were closely related in their thinking. Their influence in Japan reflects this feature.

This paper considers Stow’s influence in Japanese ideas of moral education. Although overt Christian aspects of his ideas were not introduced, his core ideas of moral education became influential from the 1880s. However, only after the 1890s when Japan started facing social unrest Chalmers’ emphasis on education and family visitation system started to get an attention.  This paper considers Britain’s moral influence in Japanese governmental policies hitherto neglected.

To listen to this podcast click here.

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Today we bring you the first in a series of podcasts from an external conference by the HEDScot network (Historians of Education in Scotland).  This conference took place at the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 21 October 2011 and looked at various aspects of Scottish education.
 
 
HEDScot conference 2011

 

Robert Anderson (University of Edinburgh)
Edinburgh Schools and Edinburgh University: some evidence from the early 20th century
21 October 2011
 

This paper looks at two sources which illustrate the relationship between Edinburgh schools and Edinburgh University. The first is the class register of the History Ordinary class from 1894 to 1933. The second is a published analysis of successful Edinburgh candidates in the higher civil service examinations, 1896-1944. Both list the schools attended by students. The class register shows how patterns of recruitment changed, for men and women, over the period. The main conclusion is the importance of the new higher grade schools, and of changes in the teacher training system in 1906, for access to higher education; the impact of the 1918 Education Act was more limited. The civil service data suggest that despite this broadening of recruitment, entry to elite positions remained confined to a handful of schools, reflecting the social stratification of urban secondary education.

To listen to this podcast click here.

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Histories of Home
6 December 2011
Helen Schneider (University of Oxford)
Domestic responsibilities: the discipline of home economics in twentieth century China

Chinese traditional style kitchen built in the Qing Dynasty of China , located in Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China

The development of home economics education in China in the early twentieth-century was in part a parallel to similar developments in America and the Western world, but also in part an attempt in China to improve standards.  There was an entrenched belief that women were naturally inclined toward homemaking and that home economics study was to supplement and improve the skills Chinese woman already possessed.  Helen Schneider looks at how home economics provide us the opportunity to study gender roles, family, and the organisation of the home in the early twentieth century.  The Chinese example, as of those elsewhere, favoured a push towards making home economics a science focusing on hygiene, food chemistry, house design and time management skills amongst much else.  Practice homes were created to train students where decisions were made as to how western or how Chinese these should be.  For instance electric lights were added (which were less common in China than in America) but chopsticks remained.  The rise of home economics as a discipline fell again as the century progressed and it is now a largely forgotten footnote both in China and the West, yet as Schneider shows us, there is still much that can be learnt from its study. 

 To listen to this podcast click here.

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