The purpose of this paper is to scrutinize the avowedly progressive curriculum delivered in the 1930s at the Enmore Activity School. Through this examination it delineates a gap in Australia between the theoretical formulations of progressive education and school practice. The study of this curriculum is used to locate historical trends and influences that aided or hindered the application of progressive education in Australia during the 1930s.
Through a review of the archival and historical literature on the curriculum at the Enmore Activity School the paper defines the ways progressive education was understood in Australia at that time.
The analysis reveals that Enmore delivered a type of progressive education Tyack dubs “administrative progressivism” in a programme that remained essentially orthodox. Yet although an authentically progressive curriculum proved elusive at Enmore the school did, by example, influence several later curriculums.
This close up study provides insights into how central tenets of progressive education were understood, accepted, or rejected at the local level in Australia in the 1930s. It offers fresh perspectives on contemporary educational debates about progressive education.
The author would like to express his appreciation to both Helen Proctor, Senior Lecturer, in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney and to Katie Wright, Melbourne Research Fellow in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne for their valuable and constructive suggestions during the planning and development of this research work.
Hughes, J. (2015), "Theory into practice in Australian progressive education: The Enmore Activity School", History of Education Review, Vol. 44 No. 1, pp. 115-127. https://doi.org/10.1108/HER-03-2014-0027Download as .RIS
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