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Title: Scottish experiments in rural education from the eighteenth century to the present day, with special reference to rural arts and crafts
Author: Mason, John
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1931
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The history of rural education in Scotland has been marked by gradual developments towards a social ideal. The experiments which have been attempted in the Scottish rural school during a period of nearly two hundred years, from the Eighteenth Century until the present time, have been inspired by the ideal of establishing a closer relationship between the school and the community, and the trace of progress is distinguished by a gradual rise in effort towards the utilisation of environment as the basis of education. Throughout the whole period it has been realised that academic knowledge can scarcely of itself provide for close contact between school and community, and a solution has been sought by reference to rural industry and to all those influences which are bound up in the rural environment. Eighteenth Century experiments, conducted mainly under the support and guidance of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, were confined to the Highlands of Scotland, to those outposts of industry established through the influence of the Board of Manufactures, where community interests were centred in the arts and crafts necessary to the life and progress of a circumscribed colony,--- the art of agriculture, the growing of crops for the sustenance of life and the culture of flax for the provision of labour; the art of spinning and weaving; the subsidiary, yet necessary, crafts in leather, wood, and metal. These industries gave direction to the experiments of the schools and formed the basis of the relationship established. The work of the schools was tentative and projective, and its success or failure can by reference to the social state . At a time when industry in the highlands was relatively backward, when tradition and long-established custom proved deterrents to progress, when the influences towards the uplift of village society were few, the task of the schools was beset by many difficulties. A just estimate of the work accomplished will take consideration of the habits of industry inculcated, the skills developed, and the general development of community life. In the Nineteenth Century, two influences affected rural society and gave rise to an increased interest in the staple rural occupation, the one emerging as a result of the general Science Movement, stimulated by the Science and Art Department, South Kensington, the other as the effect of the Scotch Aducation Act of I872. During this period the rural school strove to establish close contact with occupational environnent. Agriculture as a subject of school instruction was largely introduced into the curriculum of the village school, and although the methods employed to attain the end in view were often subject to criticism, the movement marked aH step in the advancement of education towards the social ideal. During the Twentieth Century there has been a gradual development, through the agency of the Nature Study Movement, towards a better appreciation of environment and of community interest. The stress which has been laid upon actual observational work and experimentation has effected changes in educational outlook and in educational method. The various influences which have given stimulus to the movement, the attitude of the Scottish ducation Department and of the Colleges of Agriculture, have given opportunity to the rural school for the fuller understanding of all that is embraced in neighbourhood. At the present time, there are distinct signs that the rural school, from the practical aspect of its work at least, is attempting to satisfy the needs of individual capacity and of the rural community, creating a spirit of enquiry and thé habit of thoughtful activity within the social group. These conclusions have been drawn from an examination of the work of the Scottish schools. Information regarding the Eighteenth Century experiments has been derived from. the MSS Minutes of the S.S.P.C.K. and the MSS Minutes of the Board of Manufactures, while that regarding Nineteenth Century schools has been found in the Official Publications of the Science and Art Department and of the Committee of Council on Education in Scotland. This latter information has been supplemented by data kindly supplied by schoolmasters. Official Reports, letters, and replies to questionnaires have furnished particulars regarding modern rural schools.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available