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.
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Updated: 23 October 2020
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