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Developmentalists Tradition

  • By: Cynthia A. Lassonde
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

The developmentalists tradition consisted of educational reformers who, at the turn of the 19th century, helped to determine the course of U.S. curriculum. Developmentalists believed that children should be taught based on the natural order of their development. Developmentalists agreed that schools in the 1800s generally treated children as receptacles of academic knowledge. Children were presented with subjects and teaching methods that opposed their natural predilections. Develop-mentalist reformers promoted the introduction of active participation that was harmonious with children's instincts and interests and child-centered study. In this way, developmentalists believed curriculum could become a means to unharness a child's natural learning. This entry describes the beliefs of the developmentalists tradition; the child-study movement; the work of its pioneer leader, G. Stanley Hall; and the criticisms ...

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