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Title: Metaphysics in educational theory : educational philosophy and teacher training in England (1839-1944)
Author: Berner, Ashley Rogers
ISNI:       0000 0000 4949 433X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2007
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In 1839 the English Parliament first disbursed funds for the formal education of teachers. Between 1839 and the McNair Report in 1944 the institutional shape and the intellectual resources upon which teacher training rested changed profoundly. The centre of teacher training moved from theologically-based colleges to university departments of education; the primary source for understanding education shifted from theology to psychology. These changes altered the ways in which educators contemplated the nature of the child, the role of the teacher and the aim of education itself. This thesis probes such shifts within a variety of elite educational resources, but its major sources of material are ten training colleges of diverse types: Anglican, Nonconformist, Roman Catholic, and University. The period covered by this thesis is divided into three broad blocks of time. During the first period (1839-1885) formal training occurred in religious colleges, and educators relied upon Biblical narratives to understand education. This first period also saw the birth of modern psychology, whose tools educators often deployed within a religious framework. The second period (1886-1920) witnessed the growth of university-based training colleges which were secular in nature and whose status surpassed that of the religious colleges. During this period, teacher training emphasized intellectual attainment over spiritual development. During the third period (1920-1944), teachers were taught to view education from the standpoint of psychological health. The teacher's goal was the well-developed personality of each child, and academic content served primarily not to impart knowledge but rather to inform the child's own creative drives. This educational project was construed in scientific and anti-metaphysical terms. The replacement of a theological and metaphysical discourse by a psychological one amounts to a secular turn. However, this occurred neither mechanically nor inevitably. Colleges and theorists often seem to have been unaware of the implications of their emphases. This thesis contemplates explanatory models other than the secularisation thesis and raises important historical questions about institutional identity and the processes of secularisation.
Supervisor: Garnett, Jane Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education ; History ; Philosophy ; Moral education ; Teachers ; Training of ; Great Britain ; 19th century ; 20th century