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Title: Child-rearing and education : the thinking and practice of John Wesley and some of his contemporaries, evaluated within its eighteenth-century context
Author: Ryan, Linda Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 5938
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2015
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The originality of this study lies in how it sets John Wesley’s thinking and practice concerning child-rearing and education in its broader eighteenth-century social and cultural context. In order to do so, the study examines the educational endeavours of some of Wesley’s contemporaries including Lady Huntingdon, John Fletcher, Hannah More and Robert Raikes, and new forms of schooling, particularly that of the poor. Twenty-first century research into child-rearing and education in the period will provide an important background to the project. Over the last two decades Wesleyan scholarship has witnessed an increasing sophistication in the interpretation of Wesley’s writings; with scholarship becoming much more nuanced. Such an approach needs to be extended to investigating Wesley’s educational work. Earlier scholars have looked at Wesley’s educational practice in isolation and, in failing to apply interdisciplinary and contextual analysis, have fallen short of modern standards. As a result, there has been an over emphasis on Wesley’s significance in this field by Methodist scholars; and a downplaying of his role in the development of educational initiatives by non-Methodist scholars. By using existing scholarship, and applying a more sophisticated approach to existing resources, the principal arguments put forward in this thesis are two-fold. First, Wesley’s educational endeavours were primarily aimed at the education of young children within the family unit. The evidence demonstrates that Wesley’s work centred not on establishing a system of education, but learning within the home that conformed to Christian values of virtue, morality and piety. Indeed, in the last two decades of his life Wesley moved away from the education of children in favour of the evangelism of their parents. Secondly, Wesley’s views on child-rearing and education were complex, and in some ways contradictory. He advocated the thinking of Locke, and encouraged reading and learning. His Arminian philosophy championed self-improvement, and gave his followers an invitation for self-advancement. Nevertheless, his educational practice was more strongly evangelical than intellectual, more pious than academic, and his views on child-rearing were grounded in the Puritan traditions of the seventeenth century which emphasized original sin, and failed to acknowledge new concepts of the innocence of childhood.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available