THE CONTEXT AND COURSE OF THOMAS ORDE’S PLAN OF EDUCATION OF 1787
By the mid-1780s, the inadequacy of the existing tiers of education in Ireland had become a matter of common knowledge. Proposals for their reform were not quite as forthcoming; however, spurred on by the revelations of John Howard and Jeremiah Fitzpatrick and the suggestions of John Hely-Hutchinson, Thomas Orde, the chief secretary, undertook not just to reform but to reconstitute the whole of the Irish educational system. He gathered a large fund of information from a wide range of sources and devised an educational system of five tiers stretching from parish schools to universities, which he hoped would meet the diverse needs of the kingdom. This was well received in parliament in 1787, but the major religious denominations, especially the Church of Ireland which was expected to play a central part, were dissatisfied and their resistance, together with the indisposition and retirement of Orde, frustrated all attempts to implement the scheme.
RICHARD LOVELL EDGEWORTH
Brian W. Taylor
Richard Lovell Edgeworth (1744-1817) was the owner of extensive property in County Longford and was, therefore, a man of considerable social eminence. As magistrate and, later, Member of Parliament, Edgeworth distinguished himself by his fairness, his progressive attitudes, his religious tolerance, and his humanitarian instincts. He was also an inventor and was possessed of a talent for engineering and surveying. Nowhere are his personal qualities more evident than in his views on education. He believed that education alone provided the vehicle by which the Irish people could control their own destiny and avoid cultural annihilation. He advocated education for all people, regardless of their social position or religion and as a member of both the Select Committee (of Parliament) on the Education of the Poor (1799) and the Commission of Inquiry on Irish Education (1806), was able to make his views widely known on such diverse topics as curriculum, teaching methods, religious instruction, and the place of work and exercise. Edgeworth was an eminently practical man and established a school in Edgeworthstown to educate children of all social classes and religions. The school was highly successful under the direction of his son Lovell Edgeworth, became a minor show-piece, and was visited
by Wordsworth and Scott. Edgeworth’s work for the development of education in Ireland, his contributions to educational theory, and his practical involvement in schooling clearly justify the claims made on his behalf that he was an educator of merit and foresight.
EDUCATIONAL BELIEFS AND PRACTICES OF SIXTH-CLASS TEACHERS IN IRISH PRIMARY SCHOOLS
Andrew Burke and Patricia J. Fontes
This study set out to investigate the educational beliefs and teaching practices of a sample of sixth-class teachers in Irish primary schools in the wake of a major change in the school curriculum and to identify differences in those beliefs and practices associated with location of school and sex of pupils served. A questionnaire was administered to teachers of classes consisting of only sixth-standard pupils in a representative sample of schools (N=88) stratified by location (city or town) and sex (male only or female only). On the whole, life in sixth-standard classes in Irish primary schools emerged as quite highly structured, teachercontrolled, and oriented toward the attainment of traditional goals. The number of practices and attitudes for which significant location and gender differences were found was small. In general, boys’ schools tended to have a somewhat more traditional academic orientation than girls’ schools and were also more likely to use direct disciplinary measures to ensure pupil cooperation.
AN OVERVIEW OF FEDERAL POLICY IN SUPPORT OF EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES
John R Curley
Federal involvement in and aid to education in the United States has always been limited. Nevertheless there have been very definite federal policy objectives throughout the history of the country which have given rise to a number of federal initiatives in relation to education. These various initiatives can be broadly grouped as meeting one or more of the federal education objectives of stimulating greater efficiency promoting equal educational opportunity , and preserving diversity and choice. The history of federal activities in education is briefly traced and an overview is provided of the wide range of education programmes which are currently funded through a variety of federal departments and agencies.
TEACHERS’ USE OF FICTION IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN NORTHERN IRELAND
Principal teachers and teachers of grades P3, P5, and P7 in all primary schools in Northern Irealnd were asked in a postal questionnaire to provide information about the use of fiction in classrooms. Usable questionnaires were received from 376 schools. Generally, children’s fiction was reported to play a significant part in the curriculum of schools, although particularly with the youngest children it often took a place subordinate to the use of reading schemes and associated material. The novels and stories in use in classrooms were often rather limited in range, but the organizational strategies and follow-up activities used by teachers were very varied.