History events at the IHR

The origins of the traditional school curriculum

06 December 2012, 17:30 - 19:30

Event Type: Seminar


Professor John White (Institute of Education London)



This seminar is about the origins of the standard school curriculum as exemplified in the 1988 English National Curriculum, but also found, with variations, more widely across the globe. Anything like a complete account of this must be highly complex, but this presentation hypothesises that one strand in this is likely to be found in radical Protestant ideas of education, originating in the pedagogical revolution of Peter Ramus and his encyclopaedist successors in north-west Germany, Keckermann, Alsted and Comenius. The British story is pursued via the influence of this group during the Civil War and Interregnum, an influence that persisted in Dissenting Academies and related institutions.

As well as briefly sketching how this educational movement helped to shape ideas of middle-class secondary education in the nineteenth century and later, the seminar also touches on its influence outside Britain, in other Protestant countries and beyond; looks at changing kinds of justification given for what we now think of as the 'traditional' curriculum; and tries to test the main hypothesis of the paper via possible counterexamples.

Please note: this session takes place in Room 784 at the Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL

Venue: Institute of Education

20 Bedford Way
London WC1H 0AL

Related Events: History of Education History