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ERIC Number: EJ1004595
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0030-9230
The Dalton Plan: Recycling in the Guise of Innovation
van der Ploeg, Piet
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, v49 n3 p314-329 2013
Dalton education is the largest educational reform movement in the Netherlands. Around eighty years ago it spread throughout the world; Dalton education was found in the USA, England, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, India, China and Japan. Today there is a revival of interest in England and Germany. We examine the origins of Dalton education by comparing the work of its founder Helen Parkhurst (1886-1973) with developments in American education towards the end of the nineteenth century. From 1870 onwards, in numerous American cities, there were experiments with alternatives for lockstep teaching, including experiments with individualised instruction, individual assignments, differentiation, self-direction, self-pacing, freedom, tutor learning and co-operation. In part, these innovations stemmed from methods that were already customary prior to the dissemination of lockstep teaching--methods which, at the onset of the twentieth century, were actually still common in rural one-room schools. The Dalton Plan proves to be not very original. Parkhurst recycled various ideas and methods which had already been developed and tried out in the preceding decades. Her pretension of having introduced something new and authentic is implausible. That raises two questions: how to explain the discrepancy between the image Parkhurst presents of her own work and the image derived from historical comparison, and how to explain the popularity of the Dalton Plan in the 1920s, given that it was not unique or particularly innovative. (Contains 82 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A