New Ideas and New Problems
One of the most radical changes which has occurred in European education started in England and is now spreading throughout the Continent. That is the change in primary education. Primary education was the successor for the younger age groups to elementary education. Elementary education had been the inculcation of the elements of learning — reading, writing and arithmetic — with other elementary skills, and it had been assumed at the beginning of mass compulsory education that the child was a small adult and should be treated as such. The elementary schools, therefore, had elaborate systems of rewards and punishments, the children sat in rows of desks and worked with chalks and slates at the direction of the teacher, their progress was rigidly assessed and only on successful completion of one grade or standard could they be promoted to the next. Thus, in many countries as much as a third to a half of a class would be left behind when its contemporaries were promoted to the next class. The teaching was authoritarian and in many cases little better than rote learning, consisting of the repetition back by the class of the information given by the teacher.
KeywordsSecondary Education Primary Education Elementary Education Rote Learning Small Adult
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