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Introduction. History of Western Education. The Great Civilizations. Along the Nile River in Egypt Along the Tigris and Euphrates in Mesopotamia [which means between rivers]-Sumerians Northern India along the Indus River China along the Yellow River

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History of Western Education

the great civilizations
The Great Civilizations
  • Along the Nile River in Egypt
  • Along the Tigris and Euphrates in Mesopotamia [which means between rivers]-Sumerians
  • Northern India along the Indus River
  • China along the Yellow River
  • The fertility of these regions drew people to form villages, town and then cities.
the egyptians
The Egyptians
  • Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt and called it “the gift of the river.”
  • Greeks were interested in Egyptian math, astronomy, medicine and the arts.
  • They also developed a writing form called hieroglyphics meaning “sacred carving.”
  • Developed early paper from papyrus, a plant that grew in the Nile.
the sumerians
The Sumerians
  • Civilization arose around 3500 BC/BCE.
  • Also developed a form of writing [cuneiform] that stimulated the growth of schools/at least in cities.
  • Used clay tablets and a stylus/then baked it. The only history we have of them.
  • Influenced writing by Assyria, Babylonia-the code of Hammurabi, Gilgamesh epic.
the ancient greeks
The Ancient Greeks
  • Not the first to deal with education, but one of the first to link it with the society/state.
  • The colonials were products of the reformation and the renaissance.
  • Educational systems of today have traits from the ancient Greeks-in theory and in practice.
plato 427 347 bc
Plato (427-347 BC)
  • Born into aristocratic family/political power.
  • Early a student of Socrates.
  • The mouthpiece of Socrates.
  • Used dialogues to express his ideas.
  • Best student-Aristotle.
  • Grew up during Peloponnesian War-the war between Athens and Sparta [431-404BC]
  • Soldier, statesman, educator, philosopher.
  • Time of confusion, turbulence, injustice, and changing values.
  • Athens loses the war.
  • Plato loses his beloved teacher Socrates.
  • Plato blames democracy.
plato s concern the good society
Plato’s concern: the good society
  • How do we come to the good society? –largely through the proper education.
  • Best described in The Republic/The Laws.
  • Plato seeks a society where the most talented can be sorted according to ability and where one is best suited to serve the state.
  • Your loyalty is to the state not family or clan.
how he does it using education
How he does it using education
  • Birth to age six-state nurseries.
  • Age 6-18 formal schooling-math, literature, gymnastics and music.
  • Age 18-20 military training.
  • Age 20-30 math and geometry, abstractions.
  • Age 30-35 intense study of dialectic.
  • Age 35-50 back the cave-civil servant.
  • Age 50 the philosopher king-guardians!
characteristics of guardians
Characteristics of Guardians
  • Comprised of women and men.
  • Chosen on their intellectual and physical characteristics. Ability to reason.
  • Have no home, family, property-they live in state supported communes.
  • Seek wisdom-knowledge and virtue.
  • Devoted to the welfare of the state and thus the people.
plato s ideal state
Plato’s ideal state*
  • Guardians Reason
  • gold
  • Auxilaries Courage
  • silver
  • Producers
  • bronze Sense
aristotle 384 322 bc
Aristotle (384-322 BC)
  • May be most prolific scholar in Western


  • We have perhaps a third of his works.
  • Delved in biology, logic, ethics, education.
  • “The perfect thinking scientist.”
classical realism aristotle 384 322bc
Classical realism-Aristotle 384-322BC
  • Born in Stagira, Macedonia, son of a court physician, orphaned and raised in court.
  • Came to Athens as a teenager. Studied with Plato and spent 20 years with him teaching in the Academy-yet Plato chose his nephew to head the school after his death. Aristotle set up his own school called the Lyceum.
  • Hired to teach the son of Philip of Macedon who conquered Greece.
  • Philip’s son Alexander the Great. Around 12.
aristotle s view of universe
Aristotle’s view of universe
  • There is design, order and balance to the universe. Relates to the Golden Mean.
  • We can know it and we must live our lives according to this universal design.
  • No matter exists without form [idea], but we can reach better idea through a study of the material world. Humanness-acornness.
  • Everything has a purpose-telos- and man’s purpose is to think. Man is rational animal.
guiding securing knowledge
Guiding/securing knowledge
  • Material-what is it made of? How does it come into being?
  • Formal cause-what is it?
  • Efficient cause-what or who brought it about?
  • Formal cause-to what end does it exist-to what purpose?
  • These concepts are used by Aristotle throughout his works.
the educational scheme physis habitus logos
The educational schemephysis, habitus, logos
  • Birth to age 7-strong parental role, Greek nurse, careful to exposure, sponges, spectators, play.
  • Age 7 to 14- more formal, learn basics, poetry, literature, drama, music, drawing, gymnastics.
  • 14 to 21-more intense study of above-add dancing, culture and civilization.
  • Age 17 military training-physical/Spartan.
  • Age 21-legal age for Aristotle. Nurture reason and character. Astronomy, math logic, ethics, music.*
the roman period 750bc 450ad
The Roman Period (750BC-450AD)
  • Greatly influenced by Greek thought and culture.
  • This influenced the approach to education.
  • Stressed first rhetoric and then more civil service organization.
  • The fall of Rome did create a period of stagnation according to some.
  • Generally only the elite were educated.
cicero 106 43bc
Cicero (106-43BC)
  • A Roman senator, well-born, wealthy, educated and well-traveled.
  • Member of the patrician class and elite who controlled the senate and influenced Roman culture.
  • They were typically opposed to dictatorship as later seen with the Caesars
cicero on education
Cicero on education
  • “About Oratory” work written in 53BC.
  • A book about how to become an orator.
  • An important skill for the senate.
  • Study rhetoric, philosophy, politics, military science.
  • Linked virtue with political leadership =wisdom, temperance, courage and self control. Need the skill to convince others.
  • Died in plot to kill Julius Caesar.
quintilian 35 95ad
Quintilian (35-95AD)
  • A noted Roman orator and legal authority.
  • Stressed cognition and the moral aspects of education-this took many years of development.
  • Believed human development took place in stages.
  • Senate had lost its power about the time of his death. Mouthpiece of the Caesar.
institutes of oratory 95 93ad
Institutes of Oratory (95-93AD)
  • Birth to age 7-this begins education, select the right nurse and tutors, peers.
  • Age 7 to 13-the ludus, students taught, reading, writing, calculating, studies in Latin and Greek.
  • Age 13 grammaticus-language, literature, music, and studies of rhetoric if you can get that far. Rhetorical school follows the grammaticus.
the middle ages 500 1400ad
The Middle Ages (500-1400AD)
  • Rise of Christianity and its institutionalization.
  • More political, economic and social instability/some historians disagree.
  • Church is the primary formal educator. Education of the masses generally ignored.
  • Desire to rescue Jerusalem led to the crusades and contact with Islam.
st thomas aquinas 1225 1274
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
  • Born into a wealthy family in Italy.
  • At age 5 sent to the monastery at Montecassino for study.
  • Age 14 studied at the University of Naples and five years later joined the Dominicans.
st thomas aquinas 1225 12741
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
  • Islamic scholars were interested in science, math, logic and medicine and had translated much of Aristotle.
  • Some in the church thought the pagan philosopher a threat to church doctrine.
  • Aquinas refused to accept this and rationalized theology with Aristotle.
  • God creates the universe and he allows us to know it-it helps us know him by studying.
de magistro
De Magistro
  • Aquinas’ views on education are presented here.
  • Education has a purpose and that is to serve God and understand his will for us.
  • Education needs to develop the physical and spiritual, body and soul. Dualism?
  • His goal is similar to Aristotle’s, it is arete with a Christian twist.
the model teacher
The model teacher
  • Believed the teacher was called, loving, virtuous and committed.
  • Scholarly organized and well-prepared. The teacher is an authority and most likely in charge.
  • Recitation and memorization with some explanation.
the renaissance 1350 1500
The Renaissance (1350-1500)
  • A rebirth, revival and renewal of the best from Greece and Rome. Art literature, culture, etc.
  • Move to an anthropocentric approach.
  • Economic, social and political forces through a growing middle class.
  • Some challenge to the church and early birth of the nation state.
erasmus 1466 1536
Erasmus (1466-1536)
  • Dutch classical scholar who attacked injustice and ignorance of the clergy.
  • Well-traveled, multilingual, cosmopolitan, interest in secular, religious, humanist.
  • The Gutenberg Press started in 1450 and stimulated spread of knowledge. Gradual.
  • “Education of the Christian Prince,” (1516) to challenge Machiavelli’s Prince.
educating the future ruler
Educating the future ruler
  • Strong emphasis on liberal arts, literature, Greek, Latin, science, vernacular.
  • Wise ruler pays attention to the education of subjects and is moral.
  • Should be a man of peace for war is destructive. More sectarian.
  • Prudent, gentle, humane and well-educated. Not a specialist.
martin luther
Martin Luther
  • 1517 Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany to challenge the use of indulgences.
  • Political changes in move to nation state.
  • Social changes and challenge to theology in regard to faith, works, interpretation.
  • Economic change in the growing middle class and challenge to taxation from Rome. The case of Henry VIII (1491-1547)
jean calvin 1509 1564
Jean Calvin (1509-1564)
  • Father a middle class craftsman/civil servant.
  • Calvin well-educated in humanities, law and theology.
  • Studied Luther at U. of New Orleans.
  • Church “too rotten to be patched up.”
  • Education is central.
institutes of the christian religion 1536
Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536)
  • Challenged the use of sacrament and ritual in church service.
  • Developed doctrine of pre-destination.
  • The elect are chosen by God through his grace and lead virtuous lives/lead society.
  • In Geneva tried to establish to true city of god-instill in children proper theology and modified the use of the catechism.
his ideas on education
His ideas on education
  • His theology fostered the growth of literacy-all needed to read scripture.
  • This helps govern one’s life, civil order.
  • The bible is the authority
  • Favored compulsory education and linked education with economic prosperity.
  • Ministers need to learn Hebrew, Greek, Latin. The people need the vernacular.
summary of pre colonial education
Summary of pre-colonial education
  • The characteristics of esp.
  • The colonists were people of the Reformation and the Renaissance.
  • They brought with them what they knew and had experienced in education.
  • This included varying attitudes about education. Tended to remain elite.
  • Literacy was an issue/related to religion.