Education History: The American Chautauqua Education Movement

The Chautauqua movement was the most important of the popular free education movements in the history of the United States. So why is it not more known and talked about ?…

It was through the activities of the Chautauqua Institution that the world was opened to the isolated communities of the then new Middle West.  Started for the purpose of training Sunday School teachers it rapidly expanded its offerings as popular demand came from thousands of culture starved communities and angry, inchoate movements of social protest.
From its genesis in 1874 it came to found and shape not only universities but the whole of American higher education.  The Chautauqua movement was not a single, unified, coherent plan directed by a single individual or a group, it was, fundamentally, a response to an unspoken demand, a sensitive alertness to the cravings of millions of people for something better! (Joseph E. Gould, The Chautauqua Movement) Read more…

Educational History: Socrates

“You, who are the father of letters have been led by your affection to ascribe to them a power the opposite of that which they really possess…. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding, and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant.” Socrates Read more…

Educational History: Thomas Guthrie and the Ragged Schools

Thomas Guthrie was born in Brechin on 12th July, 1803, was to be a famous champion of the Ragged Schools movement that introduced free education in Britain.  His ancestors had been farmers in the county of Angus.  The 12th child and 6th son of David Guthrie and Clementina Cay, his father was a merchant and banker in Arbroath and would become Provost of that city.

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The Peer Led Teaching of the Ragged Schools

The peer led teaching methods developed by Andrew Bell and Joseph Lancaster were principal means for developing the Ragged Schools movement. Before education was free for everyone in Britain, there were Ragged Schools. Beginning in the 18th century, philanthropists started Ragged Schools to help the disadvantaged towards a better life. During the 19th century, more people began to worry about neglected children and more schools were opened. These early Ragged Schools were started by merchants and communities and staffed by volunteers.
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Educational History: Montesquieu and Relativism 1689 to 1755

Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brede et de Montesquieu was one of the early relativistic thinkers of the 18th century. He greatly contributed to the notion of a science of human society and helped develop a cultural consciousness which was aware of otherness. Although not commonly associated with education his work greatly influenced sociological views of how society is organised and interpreted.

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