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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 »

Karmel Report: Schools in Australia

Australia, 1972-1974

After the federal Labor government, led by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, won office in 1972 it moved quickly to implement its election promises for school reform.

The Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission was appointed in December 1972, to be chaired by Professor Peter Karmel. The Committee was to examine the position of government and non-government primary and secondary schools throughout Australia and make recommendations on their needs and on ways of meeting the needs.… Continue Reading »

Public and private in Australian schooling

Australia, 1788-2010

The words public and private have been used in attempts to describe the ownership, governance and purposes of Australian schools and education from close to the beginnings of British colonisation in 1788. They are concepts that had little meaning for Indigenous society before, and for some time after initial colonisation.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The meanings of these words shift over time.… Continue Reading »

Films with students, teachers and schooling

Australia, 1920-2010

Australian films have depicted schools, teachers and school students at least from the 1920s. The films listed here are not documentaries, nor are they the films usually produced by state education departments for school use.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The representations of schools, teachers and students in these feature films derive from a range of sources that include the creative imaginations of the writers, directors and actors, among many others, who made them.… Continue Reading »

Adelaide school of social history: childhood, family and education

Australia, 1976-2000

From the mid-1970s through the 1990s, a group of historians came together in Adelaide, South Australia, to research and write new social histories of education, childhood and youth. The central figure was Ian Davey, a historian at the University of Adelaide based in its Education Department from 1976 to 1994. Many of these Adelaide scholars, though not all, had their doctorates supervised by him.… Continue Reading »

Picot Report/”Tomorrow’s Schools”

New Zealand, 1945-2013

A prescription for radical change

The Picot Report, 1988

In April 1988 Administering for Excellence, the report of a taskforce headed by Brian Picot, identified ‘serious weaknesses’ in New Zealand’s three-tiered 110 year-old education system that in its view justified replacement by an entirely new two-tiered structure. The Taskforce envisaged the replacement of the Department of Education by a Ministry of Education and the abolition of regional education boards.… Continue Reading »