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University of Guelph
Environmental Design and Rural Development
EDRD 3120

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 pedagogy). - 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.
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