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Education in Victorian Era
Education in the Victorian era differed depending on a class. Lower class was educated differently than the members of the upper class. The more money the parents had, the better education their children were able to receive, while the lower class' education was usually sponsored by either churches or the place they worked in. What both of those classes educational systems had in common was the fact that corporal punishment was used to keep the students in line. The systems in which the children were educated in varied not also between classes, but also between the places they lived in. The people who lived in villages were educated in a very different way than those who resided in the cities. The education in the cities was much more broad and complete that the one conducted in the villages.
Any disobedience as well as the use of the left "unpure" or "evil" hand were punished. The punishment was chosen by the teacher who had the power over the class.
When the children began to learn how to write, they would only be allowed slate and chalk and only after that would they be allowed ink, quill and paper since it was more expensive. The lower class children usually had a regular slate and chalk or a wax slate with a special chisel.
Those were located mainly in the villages and were for boys and girls alike, though the classes were held separately and different things were taught. The education in them was supposed to obligatory, to decrease the level of illiteracy, but in reality about 75% of the children did not attend the schools. Parochial schools were instituted back in the Middle Ages and continued in the Victorian Epoque, which took many things from the Middle Ages. However, those schools were les controlled by church than they were before. In fact, the clergy took little to no interest in it. Most often, the lessons took place in the taverns or there were old houses rented, houses that were not far from being called ï¿½ruinsï¿½. The curriculum was poor and teachers were often old people without appropriate education. Boys were taught how to read, write and study bible. The Christian education was the most important one to them. Girls were also taught how to draw and do housework. Usually the classes were held for a short time, so that they do not interfere with the work they had to do at home.
Those had the lowest level of all of the other schools. They were initiated, because the work force thought educating children to be a waste of time, which could be used more effectively. Robert Raikes decided that children need to be educated morally and so he spent most of his money on educating children. The school was very popular, so the clergy decided to act. They took over the existing schools and removed arithmetics, writing or reading from the curriculum, instead focusing solely on the religious education. The Sunday schools were mostly devoted to the readings of the bible. They taught that they have to work all of their lives in the conditions they were born in. Only by hard work they could achieve something. They said that modesty, humility and obedience could make their lives better.
Many of the boys from the lower class used to work in factories to support their families with at least a small amount of money. Since 1833 it was legally forbidden to hire children under 9 to work, but many companies did not follow those laws and were not punished, because they hid it well. With many uneducated children working in the factories, the ratio of accidents was constantly growing. That's why Joseph Lancaster invented what was later called ï¿½a monitoral systemï¿½. The same system was invented in Madras, India, one of the British colonies, in an orphanage for boys.
The factories hired one teacher to take care of the young employees. It was often the case that one, young teacher was responsible for a big number of students, that sometimes could even reach one hundred. For that reason the teacher appointed the best students as the Monitors. The Monitors were the best educated student, which could read. He was instructed by the teacher as to what to do and how to take care of his charges. The Monitor decided which student to punish and which should be promoted to the next class. The students in each group were numbered from one to ten. The highest number was the Monitor and the lowest was the worst student. Every number took care of the education of the number below it, thus leaving number one without anyone to teach. If the lower number knew the answer to the question asked to the higher number than the two switched places, the lower number became higher and vice-verse.
The lessons took place once or twice a week, usually on the weekends, when the children didn't work in the factories. The teacher was responsible for organizing the class and giving the instructions to the monitors, while the boys in charge kept the class registers and lists. Discipline was held by frequent changes of routine, a code of command, and exact movements. There was a so called: Black Book, in which there were held all faults, which where then read to the entire school and commented on. Children will classified by their ability to in reading and arithmetic.
It was one of the first systems that was invented with the focus on the poor people. It wasn't perfect, in fact, it had many flaws, but it was cheap and so it lasted for a long time. It was a good method during that time, when there were lacks in properly educated teachers, motivation was high and it was a very good system to keep order in the class. It's main fault was the fact that no student can be a teacher, even the best one. The mistakes were repeated, because there was no one to correct them and thus it lead to secondary illiteracy.
Middle class was often forgotten in all of the educational theories, but that does not mean they didn't get any education themselves. Giving voice to urbanization and industrialization the middle-class emphasized competition, thrift, prudence, self-reliance and personal achievement as opposed to privilege and inheritance. Depending on the wealth of the middle classes, their education differed. The wealthier the family, the better education they could afford.
Most of the middle classes citizens decided to educate their children with their neighborï¿½s children by hiring a private tutor. The tutor would come to one of the houses and teach a small group of children (usually no bigger than ten). The education by the help of the tutor did not start before the age of six or seven. It was mostly up to the mothers to teach their children how to read and write and the very basics of arithmetic. The lower-middle class children would attend elementary schools, at the age 6 or 7, with their lower class colleagues and then go to school where they would be prepared for their future occupations. The sons almost always had the same occupations as their fathers. So if father was a merchant, the son would most likely be one too.
The middle class universalized a set of principles based on individuality and progress. In moving from a society based on rank and privilege to one based on free exchange, the very idea that an individual, through hard work, thrift and self reliance, could achieve social and economic success provided an equalizing principle.
Female education was almost absent and they were basically taught languages, dancing, drawing, music, sewing, embroidery, accounts etc. at home. Ones that were unmarried, could have entered the schools that prepared them for being teachers and governesses. The ages varied from 16 to eighteen. Women were only provided with the opportunity to study refined subjects such asï¿½history,ï¿½geographyï¿½and general literature which would provide them with interesting but noncontroversial topics for discussion. Despite the restrictions and stigmatization, some women did excel in "male" subjects such
asï¿½law,ï¿½physics,engineering,ï¿½scienceï¿½andï¿½art. These women pioneered the path for the much improved gender equality in modern education in the UK. Women were rarely given the opportunity to attendï¿½university. It was even said that studying was against their nature and could make them ill. They were to stay more or less an "ornament of societyï¿½. If the woman acted ï¿½scandalousï¿½ and tried too much to achieve more than men, she could have been sent to one of the many psychiatric asylum, where she spent the rest of her life.
Most of the upper class schools were very elitist. The richer the parents were, the better education their child got. From the very early age, the children were surrounded by nurses and governors or governesses that took care of the child's needs. Many children were sent to boarding school. Boys to all male schools and girl's to the female pensions. The French language was especially fashionable then, and girls were taught it among with dance, etiquette and other things required for a Victorian lady. Until the second half of the XIX century, everything had to be learned by heart and badly constructed curriculum caused the youth to spend most of their time on demoralizing actions. Most of the young men who decided to continue their education on universities did so outside of their family town, only to return to it after they finish schooling.Pre-School
Pre-schools educated children of the upper class from ages 2-5. The teachers were very well educated and made sure that the parents will be satisfied with their children's preparation to the school. During classes children could use from toys and other didactic helps. The physical exercises were adjusted to the age, the care about hygiene and good nutrition caused the children to grow up healthy. In the moral education special pressure was put upon harmonic existence in the society. Group work in the forms of fun played a very important role in the education.
Spencerian education system
This was the system that was implemented in the second half of the XVIII century. It was created by Herbert Spencer, who said that in times that people need to work for a living, the knowledge they get from school should be satisfactory to get a job that would give them a good salary and satisfaction. He thought that sacrificing a few years of life to study languages â€‹â€‹and outdated prejudices is unnecessary or even harmful. Most of the boys after the "public schools" should work as adults in shops, offices, banks, and in these positions Latin is not useful to them. Industry requires a knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. Spencer believed that every day we hear of the mouth of different people the question: "how to live that life was full and happy?".
In response to this very question, he discussed the major areas of human life which give it such a life. In the first place Spencer put concern for health. In order to take care of them, a man must know physiology. The second area of â€‹â€‹activity was the job. Labour productivity depends on the knowledge of physics, chemistry, logic, sociology, mechanics, geometry, geology, biology and astronomy. The third thing was the upbringing and education of offspring. Each school should therefore take into account the principles of pedagogy and psychology. At the fourth set Spencer civic duties. Preparing for this story, but more social than this, they were taught before. On the last point placed Spencer leisure time. His plan to have any leisure time entertainment culture, reading and aesthetic experiences.
In the second part of his work Spencer has discussed methods of education of the mind. He showed a close relationship with these methods and learning objectives of the ruling regime in a given period. First, the method of learning everything by heart is to give way to the induction. A thorough observation of the phenomena of the child was considered to be the basis of all success. The method of presenting the truths in the form of an abstract method must be replaced to present everything in a concrete form. The teacher must systematically develop the child's perceptive abilities, because it is based on a visual learning. The key is to know the exact sense. Besides this the teacher must ensure that learning is fun for the child. Only this will guarantee that the child will want to just learn. With the knowledge of psychology is possible characteristics of child psychology in particular periods of development. Therefore, the content of the curriculum and teaching methods should be tailored to students' perceptual abilities. Hence the principle of transition from the simple to more complex.
Referring to the evolution, Spencer claimed that the child's education was in line with the historical education of mankind. Therefore, the teaching of each subject must move from experimental to a rational factor. He supported the independent development of each individual, recommending from the earliest years of observation and research, and draw their own conclusions.
Spencer also had his views on physical education. First, he sharply criticized the nobility because of their ignorance of the elementary principles of education. The landed gentry in his opinion, devoted much time to horse breeding, pet therapy, and child-rearing burden on the shoulders of women pushed completely unprepared for this, those that do not care about their physical strength. These forces are considered as the basis Spencer prosperity in the lives of individuals. Firstly, children should eat well, fought fiercely ascetic views influence remains the problem of feeding the young.
In his opinion, less bad effects caused to overfeeding than not feeding. He did not believe in the good results of hardening. Instead, he advocated a moderate dressing children. The most important and most efficient means to develop the physical strength of children by doing what they considered to be fun and exercise outdoors. Spencer, sharply condemned the school for girls, according to which the ideal of girls were pale, deprived of health and strength to live young women. It was felt that these qualities more befits a lady. Healthy, strong ruddy girls were regarded as something plebeian, and their motility almost as a crime. In his most dangerous enemy of physical development is constantly increasing mental overwork.
At the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century, young people devoted 10-11 hours a day at school, and only an hour of exercise. Excessive activity of the brain causes the decline in growth and a weaker structure, exerts a bad influence on digestion and the action of various glands and causes a general physical degeneration. Overloading of minds has a negative impact on physical and intellectual development.
Spencer correctly assessed the needs of English industry. He demanded the replacement of one-sided education, "public schools" the unilateral scheme based almost exclusively on mathematics and natural sciences subjects. Crossed from the list and the Humanities. Those were intended for secondary school aristocracy.
Corporal punishment is a form of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offense, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behavior deemed unacceptable. The term usually refers to methodically striking the offender with an implement, whether in judicial, domestic, or educational settings. This form of punishment was extremely common during the Victorian times. It was used towards those of lower class and upper class alike. To prevent the misuse of physical punishment a special law was implemented:
ï¿½By the law of England, a parent or a schoolmaster (who for this purpose represents the parent and has the parental authority delegated to him), may for the purpose of correcting what is evil in the child, inflict moderate and reasonable corporal punishment, always, however, with the condition, that it is moderate and reasonable. If it be administered for the gratification of passion or of rage, or if it be immoderate or excessive in its nature or degree, or if it be protracted beyond the child's powers of endurance, or with an instrument unfitted for the purpose and calculated to produce danger to life and limb: in all such cases the punishment is excessive, the violence unlawful, and if evil consequences to life or limb ensue, then the person inflicting it is answerable to the law, and if death ensues it will be manslaughter.ï¿½
Naughty students were beaten by either cane, paddle or tawse. There were only certain areas which a teacher could target:
- The buttocks, whether clothed or bare
- Lashing the back of the thighs and calves
- Whipping the upper back and the shoulders (the most popular punishment in the United Kingdom)
- Boxing the ears (slapping a child over both ears very hard)
Corporal punishment were considered good, causing modesty and obedience and thus were often used, especially in public schools and towards the lower class.
Education of wizards
If you made it this far, you probably wonder what it all has to do with the Wizarding world and what we know about it. Let me start from the use of corporal punishment.
As evidenced by Filch's constant complains, corporal punishment was used at Hogwarts. That meant that the teacher who held power over the class could have hit the disobedient child. Now, of course the methods could have been different from the muggle ones, as wizards could perform spells so that the canes beat the students without the professor touching them.
The upper class of the magical world, hired governesses and tutors for their children to teach them the basic knowledge they'd need before Hogwarts. Aside from that, upper class girls were taught the things that a proper young lady needed, like etiquette. That lasted until they went to Hogwarts. The school of magic was a substitute for female pensions the girls and boarding schools for boys. After finishing it, the boys were free to continue to get an education or get a job, while girls, after their coming out ball, were supposed to prepare for becoming a wife and a mother. They were raised to become an angel in the house - a wife and mother who was selflessly devoted to her children and submissive to her husband.The school was meant to be a mean for young girls to find husbands and thus married or obviously pregnant girls were quietly let go.
The members of middle-class had more freedom than their colleagues from the upper class, because the expectations weren't as high for them. Their education varied according to the money the parents had. The richer middle-classers could afford private tutors to teach their children with their neighbors, while the poorer had to do it themselves if there was no elementary school nearby. The girls, much like those of upper class, were supposed to get married right after they finish their education at Hogwarts and the same rule applied to them.
As for the lower class goes, those children who were amongst the working class, working in all sorts of factories would have been taught in the monitoral system. The others could attend elementary schools if there were some nearby. Most of them, however, would remain uneducated and illiterate until they go to Hogwarts, if they can afford to go to it at all. Those who could not afford it, would stay illiterate. The men and women who didn't attend the school were taught how to do their jobs properly. Aside from that, women were supposed to learn how to run a house and do chores.
At Hogwarts the classes were held like in the books, except for the fact boys and girls aren't allowed to sit together. There were some extra-curriculum activities for the ladies that would teach them how to do a woman's work and their exams would focus much more on the knowledge they would use as the future wives and mothers, whereas men had exams like they were described in the books. Much more attention was ascribed to boys than girls, as they were thought to be the future of the nation.