Colonial Classroom: Then and Now

Colonial Classroom: Then and Now

Instruction in colonial schools was primarily religious and authoritarian. Its goal was preparation for eternity. The curriculum stressed the four Rs: readin’, ’ritin’, ’rithmetic, and religion. Memorization and recitation were the dominant instructional processes. The schoolmaster relied on fear to motivate children and to keep them in order. It was not uncommon for a gag to be put in the mouth of a child who talked too much or for a child who did not perform well to be made to stand in the corner, sometimes on a stool, wearing a dunce cap.

Classes often lasted from about 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a two-hour break for lunch, for eight months (March to October) and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for four months (November to February). In the early Colonial Period, classes were held in the house of the schoolmaster or the town meeting house. Later, when schoolhouses were built, they were scarcely more than a narrow log box with a master’s desk and crude wooden student benches. “Many schoolhouses did not have glass set in the small windows but newspaper or white paper greased with lard were fastened in the rude sashes, or in holes cut in the wall, and let in a little light” (Glubok, 1969, p. 120).

Choose four points from above (e.g., fear to motivate, memorization and recitation as instructional practice) and compare them to today’s classroom in the graphic organizer below.

Colonial Period

Current Day
Example: School Day from 7a.m.to 5p.m. with a 2-hour break for lunch

Example: School Day from 8a.m. to 3p.m. with a 30-minute break for lunch
In a one- to two-page essay, provide examples to demonstrate how the practices from colonial days are similar to or different from today’s practices. Describe any practices from the Colonial Period you wish were still in practice today and explain why. After reviewing the graphic organizer, explain whether or not progression has occurred in the education field over time. Outline how this transformation affects you as a classroom teacher in the 21st century.

Your finished paper must include the graphic organizer, a title page, and a reference page using APA 6th-edition formats. It should not exceed three pages in length (not including title and reference pages). Include a minimum of two sources in addition to your textbook and reference them in APA style.