ERIC Number: ED175740
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Reference Count: 0
G. Stanley Hall and Edward Thorndike on the Education of Women: Theory and Policy in the Progressive Era.
Seller, Maxine S.
During the Progressive Era (late 19th and early 20th Centuries), the theories of educational psychologists G. Stanley Hall and Edward L. Thorndike provided a basis for educational policy formation. It is hypothesized that their educational policies led to separate and unequal educational programs for women. Review of their writing indicates that they believed women by nature were unsuited to rigorous intellectual endeavor and should be educated for homemaking, childrearing, or for nurturing and noncompetitive professions. Hall (1844-1924) felt that educational reform could solve the problems of a rising divorce rate, declining birth rate, and the appearance of mannish women and feminized men. He believed that women were mysterious, fragile, and completely dominated by the biological necessities of reproduction. His ideal school would impose a curriculum pointing toward motherhood rather than mental development. Thorndike (1874-1949) advocated the theory of variability, which maintained that the intelligence of men varies five to ten percent more from the mean than that of women. He supported this view with data showing that most famous and influential people of the past had been men. He also viewed men as instinctive aggressors and women as instinctive nurses. Critical attacks on the theories went unheard because the two men were prominent, operated within the widely accepted framework of Social Darwinism and within the mainstream of Progressive educational reform. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Progressive Era; Thorndike (Edward L)
Note: Not available in paper copy from EDRS due to light and broken print type throughout original document