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Lessons from the Past

September 17, 2009


I recently had the opportunity to read a few sections of the October, 1927 edition of “Normal Instructor and Primary Plans,” a magazine for “teachers of all the grades and rural schools.”  Just for your information the magazine cost was 25 cents per issue, or $2.00 for year’s subscription.

An article caught my eye that was written by E.E. Oberholtzer, the Superintendent of Schools in Houston, Texas.  He later served as the President of the University of Houston, until retiring in 1950.  The article is titled, “A New Emphasis in Primary Education.”

The discussion centered on recent developments in science and psychology that had brought about a reinterpretation of the learning process.  Dr. Oberholtzer wrote, “Pupil participation, laboratory schools, project teaching are all educational terms which have come into existence as a result of this new interpretation.”   The reason I find this interesting is that I can read the latest journal about education in the 21st century and invariably the terms include “student driven” (pupil participation), “magnet school” (laboratory schools) and “project-based learning” (project teaching).   While these terms each have a little different twist in today’s world, the themes are very similar.

It seems the ideas and concepts of quality and “cutting edge” educational practices of the 21st century have been around for 80+ years….

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lester Sharon permalink
    September 17, 2009 9:14 pm

    It seems good ideas never really pass away forever. Sounds like very sound advice from our ancestors.

  2. Tammie Wotton permalink
    September 20, 2009 10:00 pm

    What a shame he isn’t around now to see some of his theories starting to be put into practice. And what a shame it’s taken so long to bring this into mainstream schooling. I continue to be thankful that my daughter is starting school when these methods are being discussed and hope that she will be enjoying this learning style sooner rather than later.

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