Parker, Francis Wayland

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Parker, Francis Wayland

Francis Wayland Parker, 1837–1902, American educator, b. Bedford, N.H. At the age of 16 he began his first job as a teacher in New Hampshire. After serving with the Union army in the Civil War, he returned to teaching and became head of a normal school in Dayton, Ohio. In 1872 he traveled to Germany to study the new methods of pedagogy being developed there, particularly those based on the theories of Johann Herbart. Upon his return to the United States (1875), Parker served for five years as superintendent of schools in Quincy, Mass. There he originated what came to be called the Quincy movement, emphasizing such elements of progressive education as group activities, the teaching of science, informal methods of instruction, and the elimination of rigid discipline. He extended these practices as a supervisor (1880–83) of schools in Boston, as principal (1883–99) of the Cook County Normal School, Chicago, and as founder and principal (1899–1901) of the Chicago Institute, which became part of the school of education of the Univ. of Chicago. His pioneering work led to improvements in curricula and teacher training.

See biographies by I. C. Heffron (1934), F. Parker (1960), and J. K. Campbell (1967).

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