Politics and Local Practice
Edited By Carla Aubry and Johannes Westberg Ph.D.
School medias: noble intentions or concrete realisation
Textbook supply and shortage in eighteenth-century Sweden Stefan Rimm Many of the educational supports and materials that a present-day pupil takes for granted were very hard to obtain for an eighteenth-century schoolboy. In particular, textbooks, essential for the text-centred education in the early modern school, were scarce at the time. Pupils and schools often had to go to great lengths to procure the necessary teaching materials, facing many administrative and economic obstacles. The difficulties facing an eighteenth- century pupil trying to obtain textbooks and teaching materials are even reflected today: historical conditions of textbook supply and shortage indirectly affect the efforts of a present-day researcher trying to reconstruct historical curricula. Generally speaking, study of teaching and learning in a historical context might at times be a challenging task. In this chapter, I will elaborate on some of the further challenges facing a researcher focusing on the contents of education in an older school system - which, in Sweden, usually refers to the period before 1800. Focusing on eighteenth-century Swedish trivial schools, cathedral schools and gymnasiums, and using examples from the education in rhetoric, I will show how textbook supply was regulated at different levels of legislative and administrative frameworks as well as dependent on economic factors.11 will also point to some of the problems that schools and individual pupils were facing and show how material circumstances as well as educational practices and traditions could have an effect on education, partly disconnecting the content from what policy prescribed. Schools and sources...
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