A History of English Education, from 1760

A History of English Education, from 1760

A History of English Education, from 1760

A History of English Education, from 1760

Excerpt

The life of a nation is so complex that any attempt to single out a particular aspect of its history is bound to be more or less artificial. Forces of many kinds--political, intellectual, religious, social, economic--act and react, so that the task of disentangling one particular thread is often difficult; and the result is sometimes to give a wrong emphasis or perspective to the special topic which is being considered. For this reason a study of educational history in vacuo loses a great deal of its potential value. It is obvious that the educational system of a country is closely bound up with contemporary social and economic conditions and can be understood only in relation to them. One has also to remember that the term 'Educational History' itself can embrace a variety of subjects. It includes, for example, the building-up of the actual administrative structure of the educational system- often marked by the passing of Education Acts or the issuing of official reports. There is also the development of educational theories and principles, whether or not these are expressed in professional practice. We can discuss the history of institutions, such as schools or universities, or the life-work of individual teachers and educationists. We can follow the changing conception of the curriculum and the progress of teaching techniques. All these subjects are closely interrelated, and together they make up the content of educational history. But they can never be completely isolated from the general history of a nation, of which they form only one aspect, and particularly from its social and economic history.

To obtain a clear view of our special subject against this wider background is not always an easy task; but it must at any rate be attempted if one is to avoid a narrow and distorted view of what educational history should mean. In studying a period, therefore, such as that which is discussed in this book, it will be wise to have at hand a more general history. In this way the correlations . . .

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