Analysis Of John Burnett's Destiny Obscure

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John Burnett’s anthology Destiny Obscure tells a multitude of stories of men and women from the 1820s all the way up to the 1920s about childhood, education, and family. Excerpts from the authors autobiography concerning education in particular show the evolution of the education system in England as the school system became more accessible, standardized, and less reliant on religious Sunday schools for a formal education while maintaining some aspects such as corporal punishment.
The earliest of the excerpts shows the formal education in the 1820s when the industrial revolution was starting in Britain. James Bonwick started school at the age of six in 1823. The early organization for the classroom is described as being able to “accommodate
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Bonwick described the monitor system as “revolutionized Public Instruction in England. The great difficulty had been the expense of educating poor little ones. The Monitorial System let in the sunshine of home by relieving the expenditure.” As classrooms held so many students, the monitor system aided the teacher while giving the older children experience for becoming their own teacher. Bonwick showed through his writing that the training of new teachers was decentralized as each school had its own curriculum and so each monitor was taught differently. And to become a teacher, as in Bonwick’s case, was just to go to school as a monitor until a certain age, then the monitor was sent off to be a teacher of his own. In Bonwick’s case, he wrote of becoming a teacher at …show more content…
These stories show that the formal education system began in the 1820s as a large hall with hundreds of students, became more accessible as classrooms became smaller and scholarships became available for the gifted. The school system became more standardized as the monitor program evolved to include real teach instruction from a higher institution. Religious education slowly faded during this time as it was the central aspect to education in the 1820s, but by the 1920s, it had fallen to being just another aspect to a broader education for children. Finally, all of these examples had corporal punishment as a standard punishment for misbehavior, and despite all the progression of the education system in other aspects, corporal punishment was an unquestioned constant in schools. The education system of nineteenth and early twentieth century was the beginning of the modern education system, and the autobiographies tell the story of the start of that transformation over the course of a

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