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Welsh outlook

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Vol. 10, No. 9 Sept. 1923

The teaching of world history in the secondary schools of Wales

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It is better, for this reason, that two years out
of the four, or at least one of them, should be
devoted to the independent study of British his-
tory, unless the schemes of British and European
history are made to run concurrently throughout.
It is in any event desirable that the first year, when
the child will normally be about twelve years old,
should be devoted to the story of early times,
their remoteness being a great advantage for the
purposes of an elementary class. The young
child will understand the childhood of the race
much more easily than its manhood. There are
various obvious avenues of approach. One is by
the study of local history. A talk about some
Welsh cromlech or other ancient remains in the
school's neighbourhood makes an admirable
introduction to simple lessons about the men of
the stone age, their implements, their agricul-
ture, their modes of life. Or again, it is an easy
transition from familiar Bible stories to the early
civilisations of Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria,
Persia. It is not the names of the Pharaohs and
the Kings of Babylonia and Nineveh that are im-
portant, but the facts of the discovery of copper,
National Education: Concord
or Discord?
By Canon J. P. Lewis.
"I will give way to no man in my respect
for Welsh Nonconformists, but I do not the
less deplore their attitude on the subject of
elementary education." — Dean HOWELL.
"It is not fair to do for the Church of
England what was not done for the Noncon-
formists, and neither is it fair to do for the
Nonconformists what you will not do for the
Church of England. "-JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN
(quoted by Mr. Allanson Picton).
RETROSPECT.
BEFORE the Act of 1870 our elementary
education was managed and maintained
by the British and National Societies, i.e.,
by Nonconformists and Churchmen on
equal terms as regards both State support and
religious freedom. Church schools, neverthe-
less, were the pioneers of education in most
parishes, because Nonconformists declined to
build, preferring to see their children attending
Church schools.
The Act of 1870 gave the ratepayers the power
to build schools at the expense of the rates. The
ratepayers, however, in many parishes declined
the privilege, preferring the continuation of
Church schools.
The Act of 1870 permitted in schools provided
by the rates the form of religious teaching adopted
the invention of writing, the development of the
arts of building, of sculpture, of painting and of
government, about early industry, commerce and
navigation. There are no facts in all history
more important; there are none more easily
apprehensible by the young child, none better
calculated to appeal to his imagination and to
make him feel that history is not a drudgery,
but a fascination. He should go on to learn
something of the civilisations of Greece and
Rome, and here a considerable amount of the
teaching may profitably be made biographical in
character, made to centre round the fives of great
men. By the incorporation of a little, even if
it be but a very little, of the history of Greece and
Rome, some small measure may be secured of the
immense advantages of a classical education even
for children who will never learn either Greek or
Latin. If they get but a hint of what is meant
by the Greek spirit and the phrase, "Rome, the
mother of us all," something will be implanted
in their minds of infinitely greater value than all
the chronological and genealogical tables in the
universe.
(To be continued.)
in Nonconformist schools, while it rejected the
form adopted in Church schools.
Churchmen therefore were compelled to enlarge
their buildings, and even to build new schools to
find room for the children of Nonconformists and
ratepayers who declined to build either Noncon-
formist or Board schools. This coercion im-
posed on Churchpeople the enormous task of
contributing between 1870 and 1896 no less than
£ 14,700,000 towards Church schools.
By the 1902 Act, in return for a limited rate
support for "maintenance" only (and not for pro-
viding land, buildings, structural repairs),
Churchmen accepted the maximum of public con-
trol, consistent with the minimum of security for
their religious freedom in their own schools.
These facts must be borne in mind as we pro-
ceed to consider the proposals of the Welsh Con-
cordat Committee.
No EQUALITY.
Public opinion on the subject being divided
between the three education sects, it is obvious
that there were four, and only four, alternative
schemes possible for adoption by the Concordat
Committee.
Scheme 1.­Preference for denominationalism
and coercion for Nonconformists.
Scheme 2.-Preference for undenominational-
ism and coercion for Churchmen.
Scheme 3.-Preference for secularism and
coercion for Churchmen and Nonconformists.
Scheme 4.-No preference and no coercion for
any creed, sect, or party.
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