tudy, teaching and research in the history of education

2002 Volume 31 Number 2

Christine Trimingham Jack
Reproducing an English Sensibility: Landscape and schooling in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, 1944-1965
The aim of this paper is to examine the impact of school landscape on the consciousness of students and teachers. The setting of the research is the Southern Highlands of New South Wales where the Australian bush has been transformed into an English landscape complete with large country homes for wealthy Sydney families. Here a number of élite private schools were established over the past century including the school which is the focus of the study – a small Catholic girls’ preparatory boarding convent school conducted by a French religious congregation from 1944 to 1965. The choice of the Southern Highlands for these school seems tied to a desire to develop an English sensibility in the minds of the students. Yet, as Peter Beilharz argues in his analysis of the work of art historian Bernard Smith, the clipping of the old world to the new sits ‘in tension more than harmony’. Within the paper, the meanings attached to the European landscape of the school are explored through the narratives of teacher and ex-students. Themes discussed include national identity and dual vision as well as the interaction between safety in a rural setting, class and gender.

Marjoke Rietveld-van Wingerden, Johan Sturm & Siebren Miedema
Dutch Jewish Primary Schools in the first half of the 19th century: Education between modern politics and religious aspirations
During recent decades many West-European countries have experienced difficulties in dealing adequately with people from a foreign cultural and religious background who want to settle in Western Europe. Education is considered to be one of the means to resolve these problems. Immigration of economic, political and religious refugees, however, is not a new phenomenon. Neither are the objections to such groups with respect to their integration and the social cohesion of society. Jews were the first and for a long time the only cultural minority with which national governments were confronted. From the end of the sixteenth century Jews transmigrated from the Mediterranean countries and Eastern Europe to countries such as the Netherlands, where the majority of them lived in the city of Amsterdam, where they formed 10-15% of the population. They dwelt together in special areas, using their own language (Yiddish, Portuguese or Spanish), and had their own religion, education and customs.

After 1800 national governments in the Netherlands strove to strengthen social cohesion by means of education. Therefore, national legislation and centralisation of the educational system were deployed. This was also the case in the Netherlands with the national Education Act of 1806. All children had to get the opportunity to become good citizens by means of learning the national language, virtues and skills, notably writing and arithmetic. The virtues had to be derived from the belief in God as the Supreme Being as professed in the Christian belief. Therefore, the new schools based on the new legislation did not meet the demands of Jews. In this article we explore tensions between the national aspirations of the Dutch government and the demands of the Jewish community regarding education. We focus on the two major Education Acts, those of 1806 and 1857, and their implications for Jewish education. We address the following questions: What were the motives of the national government on the one hand and the Jewish community on the other hand with regard to secular education of Jewish children? How were these motives influenced by ideas concerning the social cohesion of society and the acceptance and integration of Jews as a cultural and religious minority? What were the implications of the Education Acts of 1806 and 1857 for the Jewish secular (non-religious) education?

Bill Green & Jo-Anne Reid
Constructing the Teacher and Schooling the Nation

The idea that the classroom is the crucible of the nation is a longstanding one, if somewhat confused, as well as both being complex and controversial. At issue is the view that an important link exists between school practice and nation formation, and furthermore – for us at least – that understanding the history and politics of both English teaching and public schooling is somehow thoroughly implicated in addressing such problems and questions. Yet curiously enough there would appear little in the way of systematic scholarly engagement with that very issue, at least in this country. That is precisely our task here, and also in the larger project we are currently engaged in. In this paper, we are motivated by the hypothesis that an organic relationship exists historically between English teaching and public (state-sponsored) education. Moreover, we argue that an important connection exists between the question of 'English' and the fate and fortunes of teacher education and public schooling, and has done so for over more than a century now. Particularly in the current climate of on-going debates about literacy as an increasingly significant governmental concern, the corruption of English and the 'crisis' in public education, there are important analogies to be drawn between the symbolic figure of the English teacher and that of the public schoolteacher more generally. However this is not at all unique to the present time or without historical precedent – quite the contrary. Our focus here, more specifically, is on an aspect of the historical nexus of English teaching, teacher education and public schooling.

Poised as we are at the opening-up of a new century, much effort is currently going into geopolitical and sociocultural re-positioning, as Australia seeks to locate itself within a dynamic new global economy. For some this implies the end of nations as such, and of 'nationhood' and nationalism; while for others it calls for re-imagining, and for the strenuous work of nation-(re)building. In this paper we take up the latter line of thinking, without however rejecting the former out of hand, on the grounds that at this stage it is simply too early to tell – a question, in short, precisely of and for history and historical inquiry.

Annette Patterson
Installing English at the hub of early twentieth century school curricula in Australia

This preliminary work focuses on curriculum and syllabus statements and on examination documents produced mainly in New South Wales from 1860. Two questions addressed here are: How might the pedagogical arrangements installed through state education during the latter half of the nineteenth century be described? And how did English teaching -- rather than geography or history teaching -- become aligned in the twentieth century with particular forms of moral and ethical conduct on the part of its students; conduct such as self-problematisation, self-reflection, empathy, and introspection? The paper provides some reminders about the early terrain of English education in Australia and questions the conventional historical wisdom that secondary school English either ‘filtered down’ from the universities or was established as a result of a battle between the populist, radical champions of ‘literature’ and the elite, conservative protectors of ‘classics’.

R.C. Petersen 
A School for Chinese in Adelaide, 1882-1924

The paper examines the life and times of a school, established almost accidentally, for essentially religious purposes, for members of the small Chinese community in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Adelaide. It examines the circumstances and some contexts of its establishment, key personnel in the life and work of the school, the management, organization and conduct of the school, its’ ‘clientele’ and curriculum, relations between the school and the Chinese community, some high points in the life of the school and its demise. Finally, it offers an assessment of the school’s achievements.

Mark Sinclair
Social Justice in Education in Australia circa 1983-1996:The becoming of a market  
This paper is about continuities and changes in relationships between the concept of social justice and the provision of social justice in education (SJE) initiatives in Australia. It argues that the historical record contains contradictory evidence of benefits for the targeted populations to whom SJE initiatives were directed. It concludes that advocates and sponsors of SJE were the primary beneficiaries of SJE field activity. The proposed explanation for this result is that SJE became a market.