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A Progressive Education?How Childhood Changed in Mid-Twentieth-Century English and Welsh Schools$
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Laura Tisdall

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526132895

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526132901

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A half-reformed education? Teaching practice and local change

A half-reformed education? Teaching practice and local change

(p.108) 4 A half-reformed education? Teaching practice and local change
A Progressive Education?

Laura Tisdall

Manchester University Press

This chapter considers the implementation of non-utopian progressivism in English and Welsh primary and secondary modern schools since 1918, contending that it was precisely because child-centred practice was only ever half-implemented in primary and secondary modern schools in England and Wales that it transformed teachers’ concepts of childhood so profoundly. This chapter considers how teacher trainers, inspectors, headteachers and teachers shaped both theory and policy at the local level, using four case studies of LEAs: Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Sheffield and Monmouthshire. It suggests that non-utopian progressive education posed a threat to teachers’ notions of expertise, shaping a limited concept of the pupil that nevertheless served a practical purpose in the classroom, especially given large class sizes, poor buildings and scant apparatus.

Keywords:   School inspectors, Local authorities, Childhood, Adolescence, Child-centred

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