tudy, teaching and research in the history of education

Volume 28 Number 2

Denise Meredyth & Julian Thomas
A civics excursion: Ends and means for old and new citizenship education
For a long time civics and citizenship education occupied an obscure place in accounts of Australian education. Old civics was viewed as the artefact of a past and unlamented era; historians were unimpressed by a school subject they saw as an educational and political failure.1 In the 1990s, however, civics is the subject of much wider discussion. In 1994 the Civics Expert Group report, Whereas the People, established civic education as the favoured means to revive Australian history teaching, to form the young and to foster appreciation of `the principles that underpin Australian democracy'.2 Building on a decade of disquiet about the level of political and historical understanding exhibited by young people,3 it began an elaborate process of national consultation, planning and curriculum revision designed to revive civics - a process extended, after a time, by the Coalition government's Discovering Democracy programme.

The `civics excursion' we offer here is a general view of the development of Australian civic education, from its expansion at the turn of this century, diversification in the postwar period and subsequent decline, to its contentious reappearance in the 1990s. The excursion is intended to be both descriptive and instructive. We identify rationales, aspirations and imperatives attached to both the old and the new versions of civic education in this country. Civic education, we argue, emerged in Australia at the same time as state primary and secondary education expanded and had to meet a variety of conflicting objectives. The construction of new school systems adapted to industrial expansion and an extended franchise entailed a balance between private belief and state duty, Christian doctrine and non-sectarian moral formation. Civic education was also directed towards building the skills of future workers and citizens: it involved concomitant forms of moral education and skill formation. These circumstances help to explain ambiguous elements in the politics and content of `old civics', especially the emphasis on the everyday dimensions of government, on ethical training and on the acquisition of a pluralistic range of civic skills, habits and dispositions.

Political ambiguity of this sort - over commonality and pluralism, `democratic education' and `education for democracy' - remains a feature of arguments about the `new civics' of the 1990s. Civic education programmes designed to address an identified 'civic deficit' must dispel an odour of `passive', normative pedagogy. Thus the Discovering Democracy programme is open to the charge of failing democracy itself: it harks back to the ostensible instrumentalist sins of the old civics, and has little place for self-realising students or self-determining communities. In our view the old civics was more complex and less educationally regressive than received wisdom suggests. Then, as now, school systems have to address different ends and conflicting imperatives: not only civic formation and pastoral care of each and all, but also state-building and industrial competition. The old civics was able to be more explicit than the new about setting core and common norms for the competences required by all future citizens within a functioning democracy. Such programmes are now much more difficult to negotiate. They should not, however, be abandoned.

Thomas A. O'Donoghue
Catholic influence and the secondary school curriculum in Ireland,1922-1962
Throughout the nineteenth century the Catholic Church expressed deep opposition to the great increase in state intervention in education internationally and it mounted resistance wherever possible. However, by the 1920s there was a small number of countries where it was satisfied with the school system. Ireland was one such country. Here a unique situation arose in that successive governments between the 1920s and the 1960s left management of the schools in the hands of their owners, namely, diocesan authorities and religious orders, while accepting financial responsibility for their operation. In return, the schools were obliged to provide a required number of school subjects and conform to requirements regarding facilities and teachers. This is the broad background to the following paper which arises out of a research project concerned with the manner and scope of Catholic Church influence over the secondary school curriculum in Ireland in the first four decades of Independence, namely, 1922-1962.

The paper is in four parts. First, the general background is outlined. Second, four major propositions are detailed regarding how the Church pursued its interests through the secondary school curriculum. Third, an historical explanation for this situation is proposed. Finally, an overview of the major changes which have taken place in the secondary school curriculum in Ireland since 1962 is presented, with particular reference to changes which have taken place in the influence of the Church.

General background
From the early days of the Tudor conquest, schooling in Ireland became intimately bound up with the process of colonisation, with the consequent ascendancy of the English language.1 The Irish, however, maintained their Catholicism. By the mid nineteenth century, the Church was a powerful interest group pressing its claims in educational matters with great tenacity. Its efforts, along with those of the Presbyterian Church and the (Anglican) Church of Ireland, ensured that the National schools, which had been intended to provide a multi-denominational primary school education, were attended mainly by pupils from one particular denomination and managed by local clergymen.2

The Catholic Church, along with the other churches, also sought to keep the secondary schools free from State control. What evolved was a mechanism to support denominational schools which were privately owned, managed and staffed. The State provided no funds directly for the building or equipping of schools and it did not concern itself with their uneven distribution on geographical and social class lines. The qualifications, salaries and conditions of employment of secondary teachers were determined by individual managers and the teachers they employed.

In independent Ireland from 1924 onwards, the State's responsibility for almost all kinds of education outside of the universities was vested in a Minister for Education operating through a newly created Department of Education. Money was now paid to secondary schools as capitation grants for school maintenance and as increments of salary to recognised teachers in schools fulfilling certain conditions.3 Provision was made also for a special bonus grant to schools in which the Irish language was the medium of instruction. As a condition for recognition, secondary schools had to employ a certain number of recognised teachers, each (if not a priest or a member of a religious order or teaching community) with a contract of employment and an entitlement to a minimum salary paid by the school manager. The Church was happy since the arrangement provided state subvention while preserving Church managerial control. The State, for its part, wanted no controversy with the Church. While the Department of Education inspected schools and exercised a certain degree of supervision through its powers to make grants to secondary schools as a result of inspection, it was not concerned with founding secondary schools or financing their building.

Two new examinations, the Intermediate Certificate Examination (taken at the end of a three year course) and the Leaving Certificate Examination (taken after another two years) were established, and became the focus of the secondary school curriculum. The notion that the curriculum should largely be concerned with the Gaelic development of pupils was central to the programmes for the examinations. This was a major departure from the lack of recognition given to the Irish language in the curriculum of pre-Independence days. Equally radical was that history and geography were now compulsory subjects and that they had an Irish orientation. A national programme of religious instruction for secondary schools which was prescribed by the Irish bishops was also operative and the teaching of it was inspected by each diocese's own religious inspector. These inspectors, who were priests, had free access to schools at all times and the full co-operation of the State authorities.

Satisfied that its educational interests were safeguarded by the administrative and curricular structures, the Church, in turn, supported the State's gaelicisation policy in the schools. Undoubtedly, many of those in religious life had a genuine understanding, love and appreciation of the Irish language and Gaelic culture. However, a curriculum which emphasised a `glorious' past rather than future progress also appealed to a Church opposed to liberalism, material progress and modernity. The reasons for this opposition and for its support by the Irish people had its roots in the catastrophe of the Great Famine during the middle of the previous century; reasons which will be taken up in detail in the next section of this paper.

The provision of secondary schools in Ireland from the 1920s to the 1960s was meagre and attendance was poor. In the 1920s, only five per cent of those completing primary school were progressing to complete five years of secondary schooling and by 1960 this figure had increased to a mere sixteen per cent.4 The major political parties showed little enthusiasm for the notion of free secondary education for all, preferring to continue with a very limited scholarship system designed to allow only very bright children of poor parents to progress beyond primary school. As late as 1961, however, while only thirteen per cent of the work force were professionals, managers and employers, in the secondary schools their children heavily outnumbered those from lower status occupations.5

The lack of provision of secondary schools and the fact that only a small percentage of those who left primary school went on to secondary school each year was of little concern to either the Catholic Church or the State, since the numbers involved were sufficient to fulfill their respective expectations of secondary education. The State looked to the secondary schools to produce an adequate number of suitably prepared individuals for the professions and for a variety of public and private occupations. The Catholic Church cooperated with the State in the pursuit of these objectives and, in turn, was afforded great latitude in the pursuit of its interests through the schools, and particularly in the manner in which it was able to saturate the curriculum with a religious ethos.

Janet Soler
`Keeping the well of English undefiled': Literacy in the New Zealand primary school curriculum, 1904-29
This paper explores the ascent of English in the New Zealand primary school curriculum during the early twentieth century. The rise of English as the principal subject within the primary school curriculum was associated with Arnoldian views of culture based upon late nineteenth century developments in Britain. These ideas impacted upon the development of a local New Zealand identity and culture, and supported the exclusion of Maori language and culture from educational policy and practice. The acceptance of English as the pivotal subject and `standard English' as the `common medium for communication' in the primary school curriculum is traced through the 1904, 1913, and 1928 subject prescriptions and the discussion of these syllabuses by inspectors and other educational professionals.

The paper argues that the cultural views associated with the promotion of English in the New Zealand literacy curriculum during the early decades of the twentieth century were based upon dominant ideas within the imperial culture. These were derived from a particular notion of English heritage and literature that stressed `high' culture. Literacy instruction was monocultural and asserted a particular, identifiably Arnoldian, view of `culture' over all other ideas and cultures which existed in New Zealand society.

Approaches to the history of curriculum
In recent years, historians have drawn attention to the need to interpret the curriculum as being a socially selective and culturally constructed mechanism.1 Gary McCulloch has drawn attention to the way New Zealand educational historians have tended to ignore the social and political construction of the curriculum. In so doing, he suggests, they have overlooked the historical development of the curriculum as a `fresh kind of source shedding light on social and political attitudes and practices'. He argues that New Zealand curriculum historians need to capitalize on the `critical perspectives displayed in much recent literature', and should seek to `extend their range beyond secondary schooling'.2

New Zealand educational historians have begun to respond to this challenge in their investigations of the internal politics of secondary school subject areas3 and the historical development of the primary school journal and reading texts.4 The most comprehensive historical study of the development of the primary school curriculum, however, is still J.L. Ewing's books, which were published in 1960 and 1970 respectively. These two books were promoted as the `first full historical review of what our primary schools have been attempting to do and how they have tackled it'. The `story of curriculum development' is shaped by his experiences as a senior officer in the New Zealand Department of Education and his personal involvement in the development of the curriculum processes he describes in these books.5 This work is a curriculum history that promotes a predominantly liberal progressive view of the development of the primary school curriculum moving toward a solution to the problems of inequity and disadvantage. Ewing's documentation of the `processes' of curriculum does not reveal the relationships between the `process' of curriculum development and factors such as cultural politics, and change in the wider society.6

Warwick Elley's address to the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Educational Institute in 1974, One Hundred Years of Reading Instruction, is a further example of this progressive view of the development of the literacy curriculum in New Zealand.7 Elley claimed that the teaching of reading had made `tremendous strides' in `the 100 years since compulsory education was introduced'. Examples of infant reading instruction in the late nineteenth century were compared to more recent developments in the reading curriculum to highlight the advances in the techniques of teaching reading. While he acknowledges that there have been problems in reaching appropriately high levels of literacy, overall his paper describes a progressive improvement in the teaching of reading. Not surprisingly, Elley argued that the problem areas in the future will be overcome and that progress is being made towards their solution by `some tough research tasks involved in teasing out the reasons why children fail to read'.8

An optimistic interpretation of the curriculum as the outcome of a series of events unrelated to the wider social, cultural and historical contexts presents the historical development of the literacy curriculum as a planned and guided by informed educators. This unproblematic progression towards better educational policies and practices fails to account for the relationship between curriculum change and the wider social and political forces which seek to mould the curriculum.9 It also fails to raise questions concerning the viability of mainstream conceptions of the curriculum and its construction. A progressive approach to curriculum history prevents an investigation of the way vested interests and dominant groups have shaped the content and pedagogy of literacy instruction in New Zealand schools.

Colin McGeorge
What was 'Our Nation's Story'? New Zealand primary school history textbooks between the wars
Britain's entry into the European Economic Community, recent revisionist historical writing, and the recognition of Maori claims under the Treaty of Waitangi all puzzled and dismayed older pakeha New Zealanders who had grown up assuming that New Zealand had a unique and inviolable relationship with Britain and that race relations in New Zealand were a shining example to world.

This paper examines the way in which those and other, related beliefs were presented to earlier generations through history lessons in primary schools. Specifically, it provides a thematic as well as a quantitative analysis of a series of history textbooks, Our Nation's Story, which was produced to accompany a major syllabus revision in the 1920s and was in widespread use until the primary school curriculum was overhauled in the late 1940s. Because Our Nation's Story was the only approved history series and it was remarkably faithful to the official syllabus, it provides a very good indication of the curriculum as it was delivered in practice; and it provides an equally good example of the way in which schooling has been used to foster particular attitudes and beliefs and particular models of good citizenship.

When, wondered New Zealand historian, David Jenness, does a nation start teaching its history?1 That question can be understood in a variety of ways and it raises further questions. What, for example, defines a nation and what criteria might one employ in deciding when a nation is teaching its history? The obvious answer to the latter question is when history finds a place in the curriculum, which raises the further question of what constitutes the curriculum. Curriculum theory is a notoriously amorphous field with no agreed definition of its subject, but it is not necessary in this context to decide the proper concerns of curriculum theory.2 It is sufficient to acknowledge that schools may teach, quite directly, a good deal of relevant material which is not listed in official syllabuses, for example, schools which used Nelson's Royal Readers last century presented children in the senior classes with a good deal of historical material, whether or not they offered history as a timetabled subject.3 This paper, however, is concerned with the official, published curriculum.

Jenness does not give a clear answer to his own question, but he suggests, inter alia, that perhaps `history is not written and taught until, in the particular society, there is some ideological ground to be occupied, and until it becomes consequential which version of the national story shall prevail'.4 A number of writers have commented on the New Zealand government's efforts to foster patriotism in school children in the 1920s through patriotic rituals, by giving the Navy League quasi-official status and by revising the history syllabus.5 There certainly was, as Openshaw demonstrates, ideological ground to be occupied in New Zealand by a revised history syllabus, but some writers have suggested that the syllabus only took up a flanking position, i.e., they claim that school history in the 1920s was British rather than New Zealand history, and they cite Our Nation's Story as evidence of this.6

If primary school history in the 1920s and 1930s had been wholly concerned with Britain, then the question might be when does a nation start teaching its own history and not someone else's. But while the balance in Our Nation's Story was clearly in favour of Britain, the series contained more material on the New Zealand branch of `our [British] nation' than any previous text in general use. Rather than passing over that local material because there is so much about Britain, this paper examines the series as a whole to show the particular version of the national story which prevailed and which occupied the ideological ground.

An analysis of these texts also rounds out the picture of school patriotism provided by Openshaw's account of this period. The most notable results of the government's efforts to foster school patriotism in the 1920s were speeches in schools by members of the Navy League and activities outside the classroom such as patriotic ceremonies or visits to British battleships. While Openshaw gives a general account of changes in the history syllabus and cites material from the School Journal, he is more concerned with special events, political and ideological debate, legislation and court cases than with the routine work of the schools and the part which that played in fostering loyalty and good citizenship as defined by politicians and education officials.

One problem in analysing texts as accounts of ideologies in circulation is that they often take little account of the extent of circulation - they analyse the texts without worrying about how widely they were read. Fitzgerald's account of changes in the teaching of history in United States, for instance, has been challenged by Woodward on the grounds that a significant number of the texts she analysed were not, in fact, widely used.7 The same objection cannot be made against an analysis of Our Nation's Story. Although it was a commercial, not a government, publication, the firm which produced it had dominated the New Zealand textbook market for a generation and was skilled at producing school books which found a ready market because they were closely tailored to official syllabuses.

Ruth Reynolds
Citizenship and geography education: The role of NSW geography syllabuses since World War II
Studying school subjects then provides us with a window on the wider educational and political culture of a country.1
This article traces aspects of citizenship education in the junior and senior geography syllabuses in NSW. Its purpose is to inform current debate on the need for an increased role for citizenship education in our curriculum and, in that context, on the ways in which one subject, geography, has proved capable of embodying several quite different approaches to citizenship education. Three traditions of citizenship education, as propounded by Barr, Barth and Shermis, will be used to aid the analysis.2

Citizenship education: concepts and traditions
Citizenship education is currently of great interest in Australia. Under the present conservative coalition government of Prime Minster Howard, the Ministerial Council for Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) endorsed a national program, `Discovering Democracy' in 1997 to redress a perceived lack of understanding of citizenship rights and responsibilities by Australian citizens. This program provides $17.5 million between 1997 and 2000 to produce material for primary, secondary and tertiary students and is also developing adult education materials. Although the need for increased citizenship education has been the subject of a number of parliamentary investigations,3 the present interest has been prompted by the report of the Civics Expert Group, established by the former Keating Labor federal government to advise on the establishment of a strategic plan for a non-partisan program of public education and information on the Australian system of government. This report found that among Australian citizens:
deficiencies of knowledge, capacity and civic confidence are apparent. The levels of knowledge of how the Australian system of government works is low... only 33 per cent have some knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of citizens; for most, citizenship is an abstract concept that is never given much thought.4
One of the difficulties associated with this area is that of establishing exactly what the term `citizenship education' means. The Civics Expert Group attempted to address this by pointing out that civics education and citizenship education are two separate things. According to their definition civics education is:
an identifiable body of knowledge, skills and understandings relating to the organisation and working of society, including Australia's political and social heritage, democratic processes, government, public administration and judicial system.5
Citizenship education, on the other hand, is seen as a broader concept of which civics is but one aspect. The Civics Expert Group noted that Australians do become involved in many voluntary activities and social movements that affirm civic values. To some extent this would place them as being active citizens as defined by the 1989 Senate Standing Committee on Employment Education and Training, which indicated that:
An active citizen is not someone who has simply accumulated a store of facts about the workings of the political system-someone who is able to perform well in a political quiz. An understanding of how the social and political systems work is an essential element, but equally important is the motivation and the capacity to put that knowledge to good use... an active citizen in the Committee's view is someone who not only believes in the concept of democratic society but who is willing and able to translate that belief into action. Active citizenship is a compound of knowledge, skills and attitudes: knowledge about how society works; the skills needed to participate effectively; and a conviction that active participation is the right of all citizens.6
It would appear that Australians have the skills and the conviction but lack the knowledge. Professor Phillip Hughes, a consultant for the Civics Expert Group, uses the terms 'civics' and 'citizenship' interchangeably. He sees a common set of aims for civics and citizenship education, namely the:
development of a national loyalty or commitment, knowledge of the traditions and current forms of political institutions, a commitment to the role of laws and social ethics, an active disposition to participate in the political process, a belief in foundation democratic values of social justice, tolerance, care for others and, increasingly an understanding of the global significance of citizenship.7
Thus he seems to identify more strongly with the Senate Committee's view that what should be encouraged is not only knowledge but also an active disposition to participate in one's society.

Gilbert identified four main version of the concept of citizenship in current educational debates. These were citizenship as legal status, citizenship as democratic identity, citizenship as public practice, and citizenship as democratic participation.8 According to this only the first conception - that of citizenship as legal status - would equate to the strategies urged by the Civics Expert Group. There is thus some confusion as to what citizenship education really means and leading academic commentators, such as Stuart MacIntyre, have indicated that there has been a lack of clarity regarding the place of civics and citizenship education in Australian schools since the 1960s.9 The underlying assumption in these pleas for more citizenship education appears to be that all areas need to be addressed but that the knowledge of political institutions and their traditions is the most crucial issue.