If you were a student in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, you would have been given a classical education. This was especially true for boys. Girls were taught more feminine subjects such as music, needlework and home management, but increasingly they, too, were becoming educated.
Students of a classic education studied numerous subjects. Today, some of these subjects seem odd to teach children.
The subjects were:
- Classic literature
- Logic, examining and analyzing ideas
- Rhetoric, debating ideas
Students of a classical education often went on to a college or university where they studied medicine or law.
Starting around the turn of the 20th century, classical education began being replaced with a progressive education. It differed from a classical education in that its goal was not to prepare wealthy students for university, but to level the playing field for all students.
Other differences included:
- School was thought of as a form of community, preparing children to take their place in society
- The belief that children learned by identifying and solving problems
- Learning was more hands-on
- Students could work to attain individual goals
- Teachers instructed not just concepts but world experiences
Both forms of education still exist, although they have been modified to accommodate subjects contemporary students need to prepare them for adulthood.
Updated: 23 October 2020
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