As I write this, the nation is getting restless with all of this Covid-19 “shelter in place” stuff. The daily body count is a constant feature on any 24/7 news channel, and there are some real concerns about how we survive economically even if most of us eventually get through it medically. I’m not going to argue the science, the economics, or even the politics of the thing at the moment.
I'm sure it will surprise absolutely no one to learn that I'm not naturally the strict, by-the-book authoritarian type. In fact, I traditionally hate doing things that way – I really do.
The very concept of taxpayer-funded public schooling was less than a generation old, and all but non-existent in many areas - including most of the South. Millard Fillmore was President. California became the 31st State of the Union. Slavery was still entrenched in half the nation, and Harriet Tubman was beginning her work as a ‘conductor’ on the ‘Underground Railroad’ in defiance thereof. Fancy travel meant your wagon was covered, or in rare cases you rode on a train. Internet was still dial-up.
It was a long #$%@ing time ago is what I’m saying. And Supt. Mayhew was commissioned – by an act of the State Legislature, no less – to write a book on learnin’. Which he did.
I’ve been revisiting the chapter on “Classroom Control” from Vol. I of the 12-volume The Class Room Teacher (1927-28). We were introduced last time to a very listy list of possible methods:
(1) No control, wherein the children all do as they please.
(2) Teacher control, wherein rules are made and enforced by the teacher.
1927-28 saw the publication of a full 12 volumes of The Class Room Teacher by Corinne A. Seeds, A.M., Principal of the Training School, Assistant Supervisor of Training, University of California at Los Angeles, with the cooperation of Milo B. Hillegas, Ph.D., LL.D., Professor of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. What a mouthful.
The following excerpts are from the first volume, in a chapter titled (dryly enough) “Classroom Control: Methods of Control.” While we often chuckle at antiquated teacher requirements or student behavior issues from days gone by, there are parts of this I find fascinating.