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ELPA 9462: History of US Education Policy                                     History Assignment Proposal – Laura McInerne...
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Elpa 9462 history of us education policy - project proposal - laura mc inerney

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Elpa 9462 history of us education policy - project proposal - laura mc inerney

  1. 1. ELPA 9462: History of US Education Policy History Assignment Proposal – Laura McInerney Proposed Title: A Historical Analysis of UK ‘Progressive School’ LeadersIntroductionOriginating in Rousseau’s Emile (1762) the ideas of a progressive education, centred around the needs ofchildren and experiential learning, influenced both the development of education in the US and also, atvarious points, schooling within the UK. Several schools throughout the 19th and 20th Century werecreated with the purpose of providing a progressive school experience.The 1920s in particular brought a swathe of schools that were not only progressive but also ‘famous’.Sponsored by wealthy or internationally renowned individuals these schools became a national curiosity,written about frequently in the newspapers and somewhat mythologised in works since (Stewart, 1968;Skidelsky, 1969) although most recent works have focused more on sociological concerns and the careerimpact of such schooling on its pupils (Lucas, 2011).Proposed AnalysisIn this research project I propose to analyse the input of three school leaders all of whom opened theirschools during the 1920s and all of whom either previously had or subsequently garnered a level ofnotoriety related to their schooling endeavour. The proposed schools are: 1. Beacon Hill – Bertrand & Dora Russell 2. Summerhill – AS Neill 3. Malting House – Geoffrey Pyke & Susan Sutherland IsaacsAs my future research interest lies in analysing the motivations of new school leaders and alsocataloguing the reasons why new schools either maintain longevity (as in the case of Summerhill) or closequickly (as in the case both Beacon Hill and Malting House) my intention is to use the primary andsecondary sources to consider: What were the primary motivators of the school leaders? Economic, political, philanthropic? How did they plan the opening of the school, including any negotiations with local councils and other local schools? And, how did they recruit students? Did their first years of opening live up to expectation? Finally, if the school closed quickly what contributed to its demise?My main focus will be on newspaper analysis, and the original writings of the leaders. There have alsobeen several histories of the movement written which I will review as secondary materials.Historical LensOnce I have the sources it may be appropriate to consider them through a particular lens. In view of myfocus on motivation one option is to do a psychohistorical review (Erikson, 1975) of the leaders andconsider what new interpretation this might reveal about the schools, their reasons for being created and– in some cases – their subsequent demise.ReferencesErikson, E. H. and P. N. Bebb (1975). "Life history and the historical moment." History: Reviews of New Books 3(9): 232-233Rousseau, J. J., B. Foxley, et al. (1914). Emile, Or, On Education, Columbia University Institute for Learning Technologies.Skidelsky, R. J. A. (1969). English progressive schools, Penguin Harmondsworth.Stewart, W. A. C. and W. P. McCann (1967). The educational innovators, Macmillan, London and Basingstoke.

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