Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by paul from AL. paul Wonders, “who made school” Thanks for WONDERing with us, paul!
Why was school created? We're sure that's a question that every student asks from time to time. Especially on tough test days, many students WONDER exactly why they're being subjected to such cruel and unusual punishment!
If you're honest with yourself, though, you know what a great place school is. You have fun, learn all sorts of interesting things, and get to spend quality time with your friends. Sure, tests can be stressful, but think of how boring life would be if you didn't get to learn new things and see other people so often!
Schools are not a new invention. You may have seen some old one-room schoolhouses that have been around for a couple hundred years or more. The earliest schools, though, date back thousands of years!
In fact, education dates back to the very first humans ever to inhabit Earth. Why? To survive, every generation has found it necessary to pass on its accumulated knowledge, skills, values, and traditions to the next generation. How can they do this? Education! Each subsequentgeneration must be taught these things.
The earliest human beings didn't need schools to pass along information. They educated youngsters on an individual basis within the family unit. Over time, however, populations grew and societies formed.
Rather than every family being individually responsible for education, people soon figured out that it would be easier and more efficient to have a small group of adults teach a larger group of children. In this way, the concept of the school was born.
Ancient schools weren't like the schools we know today, though. The earliest schools often focused more on teaching skills and passing along religious values, rather than teaching specific subject areas like is common today.
In the United States, the first schools began in the 13 original colonies in the 17th century. For example, Boston Latin School, which was founded in 1635, was the first public school and the oldest existing school in the country.
The earliest schools focused on reading, writing, and mathematics. The New England colonies led the way in requiring towns to set up schools. The Massachusetts Bay Colony made basiceducation a requirement in 1642. However, many of the earliest schools were only for boys, and there were usually few, if any, options for girls.
After the American Revolution, education became a higher priority. States quickly began to establish public schools. School systems were not uniform, however, and would often vary greatly from state to state.
Credit for our modern version of the school system usually goes to Horace Mann. When he became Secretary of Education in Massachusetts in 1837, he set forth his vision for a system of professional teachers who would teach students an organized curriculum of basiccontent. For this reason, Mann is often called the “Father of the Common School Movement."
Many other states quickly followed Mann's system he instituted in Massachusetts. More and more states began to require schoolattendance. By 1918, every state required students to complete elementaryschool. Educational improvements grew by leaps and bounds during the 20th century, leading to the advanced systems we enjoy today.
Homework is the bane of all students’ existence, and something they’ve tried to get out of more than once. Almost no one likes doing it, so who invented homework in the first place, and why?
It’s almost universally acknowledged that Roberto Nevilis was the first to issue homework to his students. He was teaching in Venice around 1095. However, he may not have been the actual first teacher to use it.
As long as there’s been education, there’s probably been homework. Experts agree that teachers in Ancient Rome almost certainly handed out homework to their students. There’s even evidence that it was given out in Ancient Rome. Quintilian, the teacher of Pliny the Younger, mentions homework in his works on education. There’s even been stone tablets uncovered that show assignments from teachers.
Today’s students will be surprised that homework used to be frowned upon, especially in the United States. This was because before the Second World War, children were needed to help out with chores around the home. Being given homework meant they weren’t available to complete essential tasks for their parents. It was so frowned upon, in fact, that a law passed in California in 1901 banned all homework for kindergartners all the way up to eighth graders.
The reason this changed was because of the Cold War in the 1950’s. There was a need for more highly educated students, especially those in the sciences. Homework was again assigned to help bring them up to speed on the essential subjects. Of course, the 1950’s saw a lot of societal upheaval after the World Wars. Children were no longer expected to work, and the family unit again became close knit as the fathers came back home. Ever since then, homework has been a staple of the education system.
So, did Nevilis know what he was doing when he started the tradition of homework, all those years ago? He probably didn’t expect today’s students to be carrying such a heavy workload home with them. Today’s children are doing two hours of homework a week, compared to the 44 minutes they would do in 1981.
Do children need to be doing homework at all? Opinion is divided, depending on which country you live in. People who want to abolish homework point to Finland, where homework never happens. They have a high school graduation rate of 93%, as opposed to 73% in the US. Two out of three students go on to college, too.
Whether homework is helpful or not, for now at least it’s here to stay. It’s a concept that has survived centuries in the educational world, and is known to help learning in some cases. It’s no consolation to students though, who need to finish their math problems before they can go play.
Previous PostNext Post