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Playcentre: Whānau tupu ngātahi – Families growing together

New Zealand (Aotearoa), 1940s to 2014

Unique to  New Zealand (Aotearoa), Playcentre is a parent-led educational organisation providing adult and early childhood education since the 1940s.  Founded on democratic principles embedded in the Progressive Education movement, Playcentre has evolved in response to the social changes in New Zealand society, in particular the changing role of women. As well as pioneering adult education publications and pedagogies, Playcentre was part of the normalisation of very young children in spaces designed for their learning through play.… Continue Reading »

Arnoldian school culture

Australia, 1860-2010

During the second half of the nineteenth century in England, the cultures of the great public schools were reformed. Even though Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby from 1828 to 1841 gave his name to the reforms, he was only one of a number of school principals who influenced the process.

In general the reforms meant schools were more likely to attract wealthier middle class families.… Continue Reading »

Australian College, The

Sydney, Australia, 1831-1854

The Australian College for boys was established in November 1831. It was one of the earliest collegiate schools in the colony to offer a comprehensive curriculum in post-elementary school subjects, although Rev. Henry Fulton’s Academy had offered a limited classical curriculum in his private school at Castlereagh since 1816. Also the Sydney Free Public Grammar School, originally established by Dr Halloran in the 1820s as a private venture, may have taught some students at the junior post-elementary level.… Continue Reading »

Young, Gay and Proud (1978)

Australia, 1970s

“Whilst realising the difficulties of setting up a human relationships programme in many schools, we feel that an unequivocal affirmation of the validity of homosexual relationships is the only responsible course open to educators. Gay students need support and they need it now. … Effective change in the situation for gay students will not be achieved by decree or by mere good intentions.Continue Reading »

Differentiated schooling

Australia and New Zealand, 1840-2000

Different schools and different courses of instruction for different groups of students have existed throughout the history of schooling. It is only in relatively recent times, mainly from the mid-nineteenth century that common schools with a common curriculum developed, usually in public school systems.

In this entry, recent approaches to ‘differentiated teaching’ are not considered to any great degree.… Continue Reading »

Teaching and pedagogy (1)

Australia, 1788-1850

The range and nature of instructional methods used by teachers with students has a long history. Most teachers adapt variably from this historical bank of teaching theory and methods. In this sense every teacher teaches differently. Nevertheless there are a number of basic approaches that have been used in schools since the British colonisation of Australia from the late eighteenth century.… Continue Reading »

Education for Complete Living (1938)

Australia, 1930-1960

Edited by Kenneth Cunningham, the first director of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), this volume collected the papers given during the travelling conference of the New Education Fellowship through 1937.

Education for Complete Living was likely the most influential of any nongovernment publication about education and schooling in Australia in the first half of the twentieth century.… Continue Reading »

Free, compulsory and secular Education Acts

Australia, 1850-1910

In each of the Australian colonies, usually in the 1870s, there were education acts passed that established public school systems. Their defining characteristics have usually been described as ‘free, compulsory and secular’. The Act that came closest to establishing all three of these conditions at the same time was the Victorian Education Act of 1872.… Continue Reading »

Making the Difference (1982)

Australia, 1970-2010

This book was co-written by R. W. Connell (Bob/Robert/Raewyn), D. J. Ashenden (Dean), S. Kessler (Sandra) and G. W. Dowsett (Gary). It was almost certainly the most influential social study of schooling that was written in Australia in the second half of the twentieth century. It had an impact on educational policy, the sociology of education, teacher education, teacher union policy and teachers.… Continue Reading »

Comprehensive government high school

Australia, 1950-2010

The idea that a secondary school could include all youth in a community or neighbourhood, regardless of their social circumstances, belongs to the twentieth century. By the 1970s such comprehensive schools educated a majority of Australian 12-17 year-old youth, but the size of the majority has been in a steady, though slow decline, from the 1980s.… Continue Reading »