Studies on Pupils and Informal Schooling Processes in Modern Europe
Edited By Anna Larsson and Björn Norlin
V. School Culture at Fons Vitae: Capturing Pupil Experiences in a Dutch Catholic Girls School, 1914–40
If we want to learn more about the formative role of school on young people, it is important to look beyond educational policy and school curricula. The general atmosphere, written and unwritten rules and extracurricular activities are all essential in shaping young minds. While we can only gain insight into a school’s culture if we analyze the educational philosophy of educators and daily school practice simultaneously, we can only determine whether schools effectively carried out their intentions by taking a closer look at this daily practice.1
In daily practice, different agents gave shape to a school’s culture (to name a few: the head teacher, the school’s administration, teachers, parents, the inspectorate, bishops in the case of Catholic schools, and pupils). In this article, I will focus on the methodological issues concerning the pupils’ perspective. It seems to be easier said than done to pay attention to the way pupils interacted with their educators. What sources are at our disposal to investigate this and how should we analyze them? This article uses a Catholic grammar school for girls in interwar Holland as a case study.
In 1914, the Franciscan Sisters of Heythuysen founded the first HBS (Higher Citizens School) for girls in the Netherlands. This school for girls from the upper middle class offered a five-year educational program that emphasized science and modern languages. An HBS degree gave access to certain fields ← 103 | 104 → of study at university. During the next few...
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