ERIC Number: EJ1080428
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Reference Count: N/A
Rescuing Lay Teachers in Catholic Schools from Anonymity for the Period 1870-1970
O'Donoghue, Thomas A.
Education Research and Perspectives, v31 n2 p78-93 2004
Over the last 25 years there has been a growing corpus of literature internationally on the history of teachers. During the 1980s, educational historians in the United States became particularly active in developing this general field. However, the general field of the history of Catholic teachers' lives is still much under-researched internationally. Furthermore, what little accounts there are tend towards being heroic and centre on the lives of those teachers who were priests, brothers and nuns, and who were collectively known as "the teaching religious". The emphasis in many of the histories of Catholic education on the lives of the members of religious teaching orders is hardly surprising given that for over one hundred years up to the mid 1960s they dominated the Catholic teaching force in the English-speaking world, particularly in the United States, England and Wales, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. The Catholic school came to be seen by the Church as one of its instruments for holding on to, and re-establishing its control over, the faithful. The staffing of Catholic schools with members of religious orders ensured that Catholic education could be provided for the "masses" since the labour provided was cheap. It also ensured that young Catholics were shaped in a manner which served the Church's interests, the most crucial of which were to ensure the teaching of religion, the infusion of the various subjects on the secular curriculum with Catholic principles and ideals, and the creation of a religious atmosphere in the schools which was all-pervasive. Providing a basic elementary education in the 3Rs for the great mass of Catholic children was also motivated by a desire to break down the link between being Catholic and being poor. While most of the work in Catholic schools was conducted by teaching religious, in their midst were lay teachers. These constitute a much under-researched group in Catholic education internationally. This paper is offered as one attempt to provoke some thought on this neglected group in the historiography of the Catholic teacher and, hopefully, stimulate research, in an attempt to fill the lacuna which exists.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Ireland; New Zealand; United Kingdom (England); United Kingdom (Wales); United States