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ERIC Number: EJ1160880
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1358-684X
Something More than Straws and Sticks and Bits of Coloured Paper: English at Hackney Downs (Formerly the Grocers' Company's School), 1876-1881
Hardcastle, John
Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education, v18 n1 p17-29 2011
Herbert Courthope Bowen was a progressive spirit in English teaching during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Ideas about the role of activity in the development of the child--ideas usually associated with progressive teaching in the 1960s and 1970s--may be found in Bowen's published papers. In connection with the time that Bowen was Head Master of a London secondary school, I explain what turned on the amount of Latin in the school curriculum, why Latin mattered so much at the time and why English teaching at Grocers' (Hackney Downs) where Bowen taught, was so controversial. Bowen published a series of remarkable papers on key themes. At the core of all these writings lies his passionate interest in the psychological development of the individual child. From Froebel Bowen gained a rich conception of the productivity of mind as well as a sense of children's individual worth and dignity. I argue the case that his writings deserve revisiting as pivotal contributions to a theory of English that has a strong psychological component. Bowen acted as a conduit for a rich legacy of largely German ideas about self-cultivation ("Bildung"). His emphasis on "self-activity", "creativity" and the "constructive imagination" prefigures the working out of principles usually associated with progressive English Teaching in the post-war period, such as "personal growth". Indeed, many of the presuppositions, norms and assumptions of progressive educators were shaped by the ideas I discuss. By historicising them, and stripping them of their aura, I envisage opening up fresh possibilities for interrogation and critique.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A