A Brief History of Education in Ontario: Education
- Gidney suggests three central ideas that guided education reform in
North America in the 1900s: (1) Urbanization and industrialization
called for a new and more relevant curriculum. (2) Developments in
psychology changed the way classroom pedagogy and learning are
conceptualized. (3) A “widening of democracy” required extending
educatith to all children, and democratization of school itself.
- The 20 C sees constant tension between “conservative” and
“progressive” education agendas. Conservative = (traditionalist),
advocates a “back to basics” or “3 Rs” approach. Progressive =
(Deweyan), concerned with the development of the whole child and
with pedagogy as much as content (especially child-centred
- Despite progressive language in policies, these practices were not
enacted in classrooms. Rather, they embodied a more conservative
approach and were shaped by a number of seminal reports.
The Robards Plan of 1960 = concerned with “education for all”
to increase the rate of graduation. Resulted in a policy called
HS1 which laid out secondary school graduation
requirements, for the first time allowing a degree of flexibility
in courses selected. This ushered in the development of
provincial curriculum “guidelines” to direct course content and
suggest teaching materials and methods, though these
documents were not particularly rigid.