Teaching manuals and the blackboard: Accessing historical classroom practices

Author:Wylie, Caitlin, EN-Engineering and SocietyUniversity of Virginia ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0002-0214-7837

The blackboard, a useful teaching tool in nineteenth-century England, was transformed into a teaching necessity in the decades from 1870, when the Education Acts made school free and mandatory for all children. The resulting huge population of schoolchildren inspired the development of teaching techniques appropriate for large-group learning. Many of these techniques relied on the blackboard as a reusable demonstration space visible to the entire class at once, unlike a book or slate. To share these new practices among teachers, particularly the novice teachers recruited to serve the increased school population, dozens of teaching manuals were published around the turn of the twentieth century. These manuals’ instructions for how to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, and nature study to elementary school students offer historians a rare glimpse into teachers’ and students’ school experiences by suggesting how the blackboard shaped classroom practices in late nineteenth and early twentieth century England.

teaching manual, teaching practice, blackboard, history of education, nature study
Source Citation:

Wylie, C.D. (2012). Teaching manuals and the blackboard: Accessing historical classroom practices. History of Education, 41(2), 257-272. https://doi.org/10.1080/0046760X.2011.584573

University of Virginia
Published Date: