Forging an Institutional Base

Sally Gregory Kohlstedt

in Teaching Children Science

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780226449906
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226449920 | DOI:
Forging an Institutional Base

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The launch of the Nature-Study Review in 1905 by Maurice A. Bigelow, a faculty member at Teachers College in New York City, marked the high point of the nature study movement. This chapter explores how Bigelow, as editor, provided a forum for discussion that balanced theory and practice and addressed the concerns of teachers, administrators, and educational psychologists. The Review and its related Nature-Study framed society as a set of mechanisms for stabilizing a definition of the curriculum and appropriate coordinate practices. Nature study was a lively topic at meetings. Its association with poetic literature is probably largely responsible for fostering sentimentality as opposed to knowledge. Nature study advocates shared a different, historically rooted sensibility; they believed that there was no firm distinction or conflict between appreciating nature aesthetically and studying it systematically. Nature study had been rhetorically and substantially framed as a reaction to narrow, dry methods of teaching scientific facts, so when poetry and imaginative literature proved effective at awakening pupils’ interest and curiosity about the natural world, teachers used them.

Keywords: nature study; Maurice A. Bigelow; curriculum; teaching; natural world

Chapter.  9887 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Education

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