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Beyond the Classroom

Studies on Pupils and Informal Schooling Processes in Modern Europe


Edited By Anna Larsson and Björn Norlin

The research on educational history has traditionally focused on its institutional, political and pedagogical aspects, more or less habitually analyzing schooling as a top-down, adult-controlled phenomenon. Even if change has been visible during the last decades, there still remain important topics that are rarely discussed in the field. These topics include practices related to day-to-day school life that are not part of the formal curriculum or classroom routine, but which nevertheless allow pupils to become actively involved in their own schooling. This book provides historical case studies on such extracurricular and informal schooling processes. It argues that the awareness of such topics is essential to our understanding of school settings – in both past and present.
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II. ‘It is Better to Learn than to be Taught’: Pupil Culture and Socialization in The Hazelwood Magazine in the 1820s


We are careful to lose no opportunity of providing motives and means for self-instruction; thoroughly convinced that the great maxim of education ought to be – “It is better to learn than to be taught.”1

This chapter explores pupil culture at Hazelwood School, Birmingham, in the 1820s as seen through the surviving pages of The Hazelwood Magazine. The school was a progressive institution established and run by the Unitarian Hill family and is best known for its innovative curriculum and model of pupil self-government. Historical sources for the school are scarce and consist in the main of two bodies of material that disseminated the principles of the Hills’ educational experiment and progressive pedagogy to an audience beyond the school itself. Firstly The Hazelwood Magazine, a rare example of a publication printed by the pupils of a British school between 1822 and 1830 which is the focus of this chapter, and secondly the publications of the Hill brothers, most notably Public Education which was first published anonymously in 1822 but is believed to have been authored by Matthew Davenport Hill with contributions from his bothers Rowland and Arthur.2 In this chapter I will use the Magazine in particular to explore the process of pupil participation, socialization and moral regulation at Hazelwood. The chapter will begin by providing ← 25 | 26 → a brief description of the development of the school and its system, before going on to discuss the content of the magazine and consider how The Hazelwood Magazine...

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