New Trends in Education in the Eighteenth Century

New Trends in Education in the Eighteenth Century

New Trends in Education in the Eighteenth Century

New Trends in Education in the Eighteenth Century

Excerpt

A comprehensive history of English education still remains to be written. The ground has not yet been sufficiently covered to provide adequate material for the future historian. Before he can undertake the task many individual historians and research students of University Education Departments have to publish special monographs on some particular aspect or some period of English education. Especially the study of social and economic conditions as reflected in education is urgently needed. The happenings of the last decades have opened our eyes to many new approaches, which were entirely neglected before. Leach, Adams, Adamson, Foster Watson, Archer, Montmorency, to name only a few, have done pioneering work, but they inevitably have left considerable gaps quite unexplored. Because the facts were imperfectly known the conclusions drawn from them were often one-sided and sometimes entirely wrong. The eighteenth century is one of the most neglected periods of English education and was misjudged as a 'dull and barren record', or 'a century of educational sleep' as Montmorency called it. Only the Dissenting Academies and the Charity Schools attracted attention owing to the works of Irene Parker, M. McLachlan and Miss M. Jones. The old Grammar Schools and the Universities were universally condemned and the work of private Academies and schools was simply unknown. And yet is it probable that the century of Franklin and Jefferson in America and of Rousseau, the Encyclopedists and Condorcet in France has produced nothing of note in England, which was in intimate contact with her neighbours on both sides? In the seventeenth century England was the centre of an international education movement, produced all the schemes of Hartlib and his associates around the person of great Comenius, gave John Locke to the world and created the Royal Society as the prime mover of scientific research. Can we believe that after such a brilliant start this country was at a standstill for a century?

These reflections led the author to the study of the eighteenth century and its educational institutions and movements. From the . . .

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