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Teaching Educational History As A Course

There are a plethora of reasons for its advocacy as a course in teacher preparation programs. Teachers should have knowledge of the ensuing historical events which lead to teaching as a profession. Very frequently, the author asks questions, among others, of different professions when securing their services, such as the following:

* when were pain killers first used prior to filling a tooth decay? This question was asked a dentist while sitting in the dental chair and recalling the pain encountered while having teeth filled in the early 1940s

* without the use of pain killers. One time, upon experiencing much pain while the dentist was drilling out the cavity part, I started grabbing the dentist's arm, unintentionally. He warned me against doing this, and to see a different dentist if this happens again. Culturally, this was in a small primary community whereby the dentist and I were both Mennonites. That is quite different as compared to being unknown in an urban setting.

* when visiting a medical doctor, I asked when stethoscopes were first used, since they change in sophistication every few years, wondering if medical doctors found it extremely difficult to keep up with the latest in technology?

* automobile mechanics, too, find it challenging to keep abreast of available new technology with all the innovations that are experienced in computerized technology.

* automation has taken over much of the drudgery in farming during the writer's lifetime. For example, from the highly laboriously task of shoveling grain by hand to using a grain elevator, electrically powered, on the farm has eliminated the need for wheat shoveling and muscular power. With the turn of a switch, the grain might be augured a distance of forty feet to its bin destination.

And so it goes on, each area of work and specialization offering its many opportunities for raising questions pertaining to its history. Teachers, also, need to be able to answering questions dealing with its past historical events.

A second reason for stressing the history of education in the university teacher education curriculum is for the student to notice the evolving events and how they arrived sequentially as well as in spurts. Selected events come in spurts and remain, but in modified ways. Friedrich Froebel's (1782-1852) kindergarten and its movement was quite revolutionary with its creative methods of teaching and with extending the educational ladder downward to include kindergarten in time. Others are more sequential in being directly related to past events. Thus, the dame school in Colonial America emphasized a housewife with very minimal learning when teaching a few children in her spare time, interspersed with household duties. The teaching occurred in the home and this grew into having schoolmasters teach children in a special building.

Third, presently for example, the use of computers and other technology has truly revolutionized instruction in a very short time. When the writer retired from university teaching in 1992, he supervised student teachers whereby having a computer for each single room was truly a marvel. This has changed to the point whereby there are students in a classroom in which each has a laptop or an I pad. The rapid expansion of computers has truly changed the instructional arena and will, no doubt, continue to do so. Electronic readers, among other innovations, assist the learner to make for increased achievement in decoding content. Fourth in history of education classes, university students have a plethora of opportunities to speculate and/or take careful notice of what might transpire as the next innovation in guiding learners achievement and progress. History asks questions, such as what might be necessary to improve the curriculum for each child. Reading, as one curriculum area, appears to slow down in achievement after pupils leave the middle school, according to the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) test results. Thus, pupils do better in reading progress in the elementary as well as the middle school years as compared to the high school level. Technological inventions might well help to take care of the deficiency. This is not to say that the teacher would be unable to make and implement needed scaffolds. However, it might be also be that the teacher needs a helper when twenty five other pupils are taught in a classroom. Historians, as should classroom teachers, look for causes for an event or happening. Pupils come from diverse socio-economic level backgrounds and poverty hinders pupil achievement. One has only to look at test results of children who come from poverty home settings as compared to those from suburbia when viewing its effects. Children from poverty homes lack many opportunities which others have such as

* having computers in the home setting to do homework

* securing information as needed from a variety of motivational sources

* learning and keeping updated on computer skills in an ensuing technologically oriented society.

That said, notice the many poor/homeless people in the public library utilizing computers, especially on cold days. People tend not to be left behind in the field of innovations. History of education emphasizes trends in society and their meanings for education and the public schools.

Fifth, history of education stresses past relevant ideas on growth of public and also private schools. It becomes problematic to keep up with all the kinds of choices available in public school education, including charter schools. In a few states, there is open enrollment whereby students and parents can make selections for a free public education within state. Then too, students and parents may choose which school the offspring is to attend within a large city such as Denver, Colorado with the following options, among others:

* Montessori School

* Waldorf School

* A solid subject matter school.

Our fourth grade twin grandson, living in Denver with his parents, has spinal bifida and needs special care which his teachers have adequately provided for in the past school years. Parents of the child have very religiously navigated the school system for a school and teacher who will meet his personal needs. A history of education course should aid in university students receiving ample knowledge of the historical development of selected schools. In the above asterisked items, the Montessori school traces its roots in 1872 to Marie Montessori who was the first woman in Italian history to receive a medical degree. Her focus was upon developing eye/ hand coordination within pupils. Learning opportunities then emphasized manual dexterity. For instance, early primary grade pupils placed wooden dowels of different colors and diameters in their properly sized holes in a wooden block. Each dowel fits snuggly into the wooden block with circular holes. The last asterisked item above stresses the philosophy of William Chandler Bagley (1872-1946) with his advocacy upon pupils learning solid subject matter in each separate academic discipline. He opposed activity centered procedures of instruction as well as correlation and integration of subject matter.

Sixth, history of education is a branch of American and World History. Thus, the history of education should be taught as a part of the total history of civilization. It needs to be integrated with other academic disciplines to show mitigating factors and yet not lose its identity. There were extrinsic forces which influenced the direction of curriculum development. Happenings do not occur in a vacuum, but interrelationships become an integral part of the history of education.

Seventh, there is much happening each week in the educational arena. Current events pertaining to education must play an important part of the history of education. Somewhat rapid changes might transpire as well as those which happen incrementally. Hot button issues such as school funding and teacher evaluation based in whole or part on pupil's standardized test scores stand out as being highly salient. Motivation is indeed high when discussing involved issues! A knowledge of history plays an important role.

Summary and Conclusions

Teachers should have relevant knowledge pertaining to their profession of teaching. Events leading up to and including of what has transpired in each innovation are highly salient. History is holistic and includes how happenings in society impinge upon the educational setting. This brings us up to the present school and classroom with its innovative curriculum.

Dr. Marlow Ediger

Truman State University
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Author:Ediger, Marlow
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2018

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