You are here:

A comparative investigation of school logbooks and other historical ephemera in Birmingham and Worcestershire schools suggests that, despite the restrictions and limitations imposed by the 1862 Revised Code, there were considerable differences in the moral, patriotic and imperialist messages taught and received in schools within these two areas. Utilising the concept of the ‘Black-Box’ model of schooling put forward by Sjaak Braster, this investigation increases the transparency of the classroom environment to show specific ways in which the messages were transmitted within both formal and informal curricula. It seeks also to discover whether and how children had agency over their responses to such messages. This requires locating the ‘child’s voice’ – a task generally accepted as difficult due to a lack of documentation emanating from children themselves. Memories in adulthood are not always entirely reliable, and written memoirs capture only the self selected sample who have chosen to write them. The study therefore uses, as well as relevant extant oral and written testimony, material from other sources. These include logbooks, punishment books and HMI reports, which, when read for implied or hidden meanings can help to find aspects of this voice. This enables to us construct a view of the child as an active, rather than a passive, participant within the school, with an ability to ‘edit’ received narratives and messages in terms of their relevance to the child’s current and future circumstances.

All welcome- this seminars is free to attend but registration is required.