History of education

History of Education as a field of research aims towards a better understanding of the present.

The term ”history of education” is relatively new. The most used term up until the 1970s was ”school history”, since it was mainly school history that were the targets of investigations. One consequence of this was that the parents, and their role in the education of their children, were neglected. A different reason for replacing “school history” as a term with “history of education” was to make way for a broader perspective of education, which involved aspects outside the borders of the traditional school settings. Today, perhaps about half of all educational practice appears outside the organized school system. A third weakness with “school history” as a term is that it was synonymous with the public schools only. This is problematic since there have been periods when private schools have played a far more important role than the public school system. The history of education is, together with educational psychology, the oldest of the educational support-disciplines, and it was through the seminary education of teachers in the 19th century that this discipline was introduced. Also when education as a field was introduced as a university discipline in the 1930s educational psychology and educational history dominated, a position that the history of education has not managed to maintain. Traditionally a distinction between history of education and history of educational ideas was maintained. This distinction has later, and for good reasons, diminished.

History focuses on the past, but as a research field within the science of education  it aims to understand the present. The history of education looks at developmental trends over time, not isolated single events in history. Looking at the history of education in this way can highlight development in a way that the participating persons were not able to see, give explanations of various educational phenomena today, and to form some possible prognoses about the future.

Research group

Published Aug. 3, 2011 2:47 PM - Last modified June 29, 2016 2:31 PM