17 SES 04, Internationalization (Part 2)
Paper Session continued from 17 SES 03 B
My attention was caught by Network 17’s call for contributions relating to the history of educational research and researchers, and in particular about the final question about the ‘networks of educators and educational researchers’ that ‘emerged in response to different societal challenges and/or different societal visions’. Many such networks of educators emerged internationally in the late 19th and early 20th century, producing publications and meeting in congresses, communicating research and developing ‘disciplines’.i However, as this part of the call suggests, it was not only professional educators, but also other networks and groupings that devised educational programmes, acting effectively as ‘researchers’ who developed programmes and materials, which they promoted among educational authorities and teachers in schools. The grouping that I investigate may not have seen themselves as ‘researchers’, but felt they could, to good effect, create, experiment with, and disseminate proposals and materials that would benefit a broad educational public.
The ‘educational’ work of religious and philanthropic groupings has been explored by a number of authors;ii the activities of secularist groups too deserve a similar consideration. This paper will therefore explore the international educational activity of one prominent English secularist group, the Ethical Movement, which argued for a universal synoptic morality appropriate for people of any or no religion. The Ethical Movement aimed not only to emphasise such a morality among its members, but, in the decades around the turn of the 20th Century, to shape the education in the country’s schools in its own vision. This was done primarily through the Movement’s formative influence within and leadership of the Moral Instruction League, which promoted secular moral instruction as (initially) an alternative to and (later) an addition to religious education in schools. Through the Moral Instruction League, educational programmes initially devised within the Ethical Movement itself for its members were promoted as suitable for state schools, nationally and internationally. In the context of what were deemed fundamental social, ideological and political changes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was argued that these proposals for systematic moral instruction would benefit pupils and through them society as a whole. But these benefits were thought not to be confined to one country, but to have ‘universal’iii applicability.
The work of the Moral Instruction League in the UK context has been explored by a number of researchers,iv but international dimensions of moral education, and particularly the role of the Ethical Movement in them, have received considerably less attention. This paper will aim to explore the Ethical Movement’s role – internationally - in developing and promoting programmes of moral instruction from the 1890s to 1914, with a focus on the ideas, spaces for educational experiment, and modes of channels of communication, that the Movement could provide. It will also investigate what happened when the movement’s proposals and priorities were translated from within the movement to state schooling more generally, and between different national and cultural contexts. It will adopt the technique of examining in some detail, primarily through Ethical Movement and Moral Instruction League texts, two key ‘moments’v of international activity in the late 19th and early 20th century: (i) The influence of the ethical movement internationally on the formation and programme of the Moral Instruction League (1892-1897); (ii) Frederick James Gould’s tours of demonstration in the USA and India between 1911 and 1914.
i See the collection of papers in R. Hoffstetter and B. Scheuwly (eds.) (2004) ‘The Role of Congresses and Institutions in the Emergence of the Educational Sciences’, Paedagogica Historica, 40:5/6. ii P. Cunningham (2001) ‘Innovators, Networks and Structures: Towards a prosopography of progressivism’, History of Education, 30:5, 433–51; C. Leach (2006) ‘Religion and Rationality: Quaker Women and Science Education 1790-1850’, History of Education, 35:1, 69–90; S. Roberts (2009) ‘Exhibiting Children at Risk: child art, international exhibitions and Save the Children Fund in Vienna, 1919–1923’, Paedagogica Historica, 45:1/2, 171–90; R. Watts (1998) Gender, Power and the Unitarians, London: Longman. iii Moral Education League Quarterly, 30, 1 October 1912, p. 8. iv R.N. Bérard (1984) ‘The Movement for Moral Instruction in Great Britain: The Moral Instruction League and its successors,’ Fides et Historia, 16:, 55–73; R.N. Bérard (1987) ‘Frederick James Gould and the Transformation of Moral Education’, British Journal of Educational Studies, 35:3, 233–47; F.H. Hilliard (1961) ‘The Moral Instruction League 1879–1919’, Durham Research Review, 12, 53–63; R.J.W. Selleck (1968) The New Education, 1870-1914, London: Pitman, 299–328; S. Wright (2006) ‘The Struggle for Moral Education in English Elementary Schools 1879–1918’, PhD thesis, Oxford Brookes University, Chapter 2. v For a comparable use of key ‘moments’ as case studies although in a different context see: C. Hall (2008) ‘Making colonial subjects: education in the age of empire’, History of Education, 37:6, 773–87, p. 784. vi Moral Instruction League (n.d.) Moral Instruction: What it is not and What it is, London: Moral Instruction League, p. 1; M.E. Sadler (1908), ‘Introduction’, in Moral Instruction and Training in Schools: Report of an International Enquiry, Volume I, ed. M.E. Sadler, London: Longmans, Green, & Co., xiii–xlix, p. xxxix.
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