History Tuesday/Education & Schools

History

Hello Tuesday today’s history lesson is about school, a school is an institution designed for teaching most countries have systems of formal education which is commonly compulsory, in these systems students progress through a series of schools, starting with kindergarten through to high school. Of course the names for these schools vary from country to country but primary school is usually for young children and high school for older children then of course you have what is considered higher education which is usually called university or college.

Now the concept of grouping students together in one location for learning has been around since ancient Greece although usually there was only primary education available to most.

Here in Australia schools as we know them have existed for more the 200 years beginning with New South Wales and expanding across the country as other settlements began to take shape. However, the public school system didn’t begin to much later and started with only primary level schools although in the 1880’s secondary education started happening around the country.

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Schools developed as the needs of society demanded meaning it was society wanting schools that lead to communities establishing schools. Way back in the 1800’s if you lived in the country you might be lucky to have a small one room schoolhouse on land donated by a local farmer, in the city you would have to be able to afford to attend a school run by the various churches if you couldn’t you would be tutored by the wife of local doctor or magistrate or so some other professional. There was no standard of education either back then and generally speaking education was only available to the wealthier middle and upper classes

Today of course we have computer-equipped classrooms and interaction between teacher and pupil is the norm and of course we have pre-schools, primary schools, high schools, and technical colleges in most towns with universities in the larger cities.

It was around the 1830’s that the idea came about that crime was a result of ignorance and ignorance was the result of no education and, therefore, education would decrease the crime rate. It was also hoped that education would forge the penal colony into an organised and orderly society.

Thus it was considered important that the government set up schools so that all children could be taught not only the so called three “R’s” ( reading, writing and arithmetic) but how to be a good and moral, law-abiding citizens. Of course there were opponents of the idea, those who didn’t thing the child of say a blacksmith needed much of an education.

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However, the government allocated money for education and this was used to pay teachers and build and equip schoolhouses with the necessary textbooks and tools to teach. The government also laid down strict guidelines as to the curriculum and the acceptable behaviour of teachers and students, and what activities could or could not be performed in the school grounds. It didn’t matter if it was a one room schoolhouse or a school with a 100 students, the rules and curriculum were the same for all.

Government schools were either set up by the government or established schools that received money from the government to education children, the majority of church-run schools were outside the system and remained so until well into the 1900’s.

Both boys and girls received the same institution in the basic subject, but girls also spent 80 minutes a day learning to sew, knit and darn, while boys spent the same amount of time learning geometry, geography and more arithmetic.

The day would start with the teacher inspecting the students to make sure their face and hands had been washed and their hair was combed and their clothes neat and without holes or tears. A primary function of the school was to instil into the children the advantages of being orderly, clean, punctual, decent and courteous and to learn how to avoid making them disagreeable to other people.

One way to achieve this was the use of discipline. Rules governed how children were to enter the room, bow to the teacher, sit down on the benches, sit when reading what was on the blackboard, sit when writing, hold their pens, the position of their writing pads, and which hand was to be used for writing and which to point to the words being copied. Most learning was by rote. Pupils learned to repeat their tables, lists of dates and capital cities of the world, and poems parrot fashion.

At one stage a child of 13 years of age, could apply to become a pupil teacher. This method of training teachers proved unsuccessful because the pupil, who stayed at school and learned from his teacher, did not have contact with other teachers and their methods. In some cases in the city, 15-year-old girls were put in charge, albeit temporarily, of a class of 100 students not much younger than themselves. School inspectors and masters did not understand why these young girls could not control the class. Pupil teachers also picked up many of their teachers’ bad habits, and became clones of their teachers.

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It has long been the case that children would attend school between the ages of 6 to 16 although usually here a child will start school around the age of 5 and leave now around the age of 18, here in Australia a few years back the law was changed that allowed children to leave school at the age of 15 and now they are suppose to stay at school till they have completed year 12. In theory this is good but in reality it is not, some children are not smart enough to do years 11 and 12, I say this because I was one of those children I left school at the end of year 10. There is no way I could have done years 11 and 12 I just wouldn’t have understood the work, all my girls left school at 15 no that is wrong Tasha was a bit older she started year 11 but she was in an IM class that was a class for students with learning difficulties and she was asked to leave as she was being disruptive in class.

Compulsory education was introduced in the 1870’s but was difficult to enforce many families would keep children home from school to help with the running of the family business and many thought girls didn’t need an education at all. Those who’s job it was to enforce the compulsory education found that they were only able to visit a particular area once a year. In fact for a long time is was commonplace for children to only attend school for a couple of years to learn the basics and then leave to get a job and help support the family.

There were few established teachers’ colleges and they were not well attended because the extra study involved did not translate into more money/pay thus most could not see the point. In fact it was the twentieth century before teacher’s colleges were established in Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia.

My sister has a problem with her step-son who is in year 11 not wanting to attend school and when he is there he is disruptive and often skips school because he doesn’t want to attend.

Mum is concerned what will happen with Dawson next year as he attends a behavioural school that doesn’t have years 11 and 12 and that means next year he will be expected to attend a main-stream school and we know that Dawson will not go and how is a 75 yr old woman expected to make a 16 ½ yr old boy go to school if the boy refuses to do so.

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2 thoughts on “History Tuesday/Education & Schools

  1. Wow, what a terrible idea, “Okay, hear me out, let’s take one of these teenagers who we won’t allow driving privileges because they are too hormonal and unpredictable, have them taught by one teacher without experience in teaching theories for, I don’t know, a year, then have that teenager teach other teenagers, and of course we don’t have to pay them!”
    Also, you are my teacher today because I didn’t know what “darn” meant outside of a polite substitute for “damn” so I looked it up.
    Speaking of a kid not wanting to go to school, I was always afraid of the dreaded “truant officer” thanks to old cartoons and Little Rascals shorts. Did/Do truancy officers exist or were they completely made up by lazy writers?

    • I have no idea if there are or have ever been truant officers, although I suspect they use to but don’t think they exist any more. I always went to school rarely missed a day, not like many children now days who are always trying to get out of going to school.

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