Originally Posted by HilMama
Reggio Emilia is one example
When I was pregnant with Sydney (ugh, over 5 years ago now!) I studied Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, Private, Public, etc. In looking over those those documents, I came across this today:
Two primary influences helped shape the public schools. (MAIN POINT)
1. The widely held Calvinist viewpoint John Calvin (1509 – 1564) was a French-Swiss theologian and religious reformer who emphasized the doctrine of original sin and of the natural depravity of the human being. Calvin thought that human beings are self-indulgent, lazy, prone to wrongdoing, and deserving of eternal damnation. Salvation can come only by the predetermined, arbitrary gift of divine grace to the undeserving sinner. Many of the ethnic/religious groups that settled in the US had views similar to those of Calvin. The schools they formed were based on a negative view of human nature and on an understanding of truth as something to be received, accepted, and retained. Since children are by nature lazy and disorderly, they must be kept in order and compelled to learn with threats, punishments, and rewards.
2. The other important influence on the public school was the concept of the factory system. The industrial revolution and the development of public education occurred at around the same time. The public schools incorporated many of the characteristics of the early mills and factories. The regimentation, discipline, and piecework was applied both to teachers and to children. The school day was strictly regulated by the clock (and time marked by a bell or horn in both schools and the factories).
By the end of the nineteenth century the public school system was established, and huge.
The pedagogy was authoritarian, teacher centered, competitive, individualistic, focused on orderliness and efficiency, and dedicated to children acquiring specific intellectual knowledge and specific academic skills. Memorization, rote learning, tests, grades, and rewards and punishments were key parts of school life. Public schools aimed to educate children but also aimed to make them obedient, hard-working, good citizens.
Yet even as the system was forming, alternative educational initiatives were arising. Some of these were based on a more optimistic view of human nature and of the child’s desire and ability to learn, and on democratic, egalitarian principles.