Texts and Testimonies, 1907-1950
Edited by Peter Cunningham, Philip Gardner
Routledge – 2004 – 288 pages
Series: Woburn Education Series
There is an extraordinary gap in the published history of schooling in the twentieth century. Nowhere is the voice of the teacher, telling his or her own story, extensively to be heard. This book, drawing not only upon the official documentary record, but also upon the previously untapped recollections of more than 100 former classroom teachers, aims to fill this gap. In Becoming Teachers, the nation's teachers from more than half a century ago tell what twentieth century education has looked like and felt like from their side of the classroom. The book concentrates particularly on the years between the end of the First World War and the passing of the landmark 1944 Education Act. All of the former state school teachers whose testimony stands at the centre of the book began their teaching careers in this period, and most completed the bulk of their classroom teaching in these years.
Oral testimony is set alongside more conventional documentary sources and thematic analysis and individual life histories are brought together. In this respect, the work will break new ground in terms of its methodological approach as well as in terms of its substantive historical concerns.
'… a thorough and lively account of a unique group of student-teachers, based on interviews with some of them and analysis of recent documentation … The individual accounts are sad, funny, usually vivid, occasionally banal, but at other times moving and even heroic.' - Ted Wragg, Times Educational Supplement
'…an exceptionally scholarly work…the words of interviewees put the teaching profession into a social historical context that is irreplaceable, breathing life experience into the subject.' - Dr Neil Rafeek, History of Education Research No 75, 2005
Part 1 Problems and Approaches. Part 2 Policy Developed - The Student-Teacher Scheme and its Origins; Policy Debated - Conflicting Ideals for Teacher Education and Training; Policy Concluded - Demise and Legacy of Student Teaching; A Stolen Profession? Social Class and Teacher Supply; A Narrow Life? Teachers and Professional Identity; Practice - Experience of Training from Classroom to College. Part 3 Person; Mr Brian Sawkin; Mrs Delia Skelley and Mrs Lesley Thornbird; Mr Gerald Phillips; Miss Daisy Shipley and Mr Arthur Shipley; Miss Barbara Mill.