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The American teacher Helen Parkhurst (1886–1973) developed, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Dalton Plan to reform the then current pedagogics and the then usual manner of classroom management. She wanted to do away with teacher-centered lockstep teaching. The Dalton Plan was based on the idea that students learn best by organizing their schoolwork themselves and freely cooperating with their teacher and fellow students. This entry discusses how Parkhurst developed the Dalton Plan, the principles of the plan, and the growth of Dalton education.

During her first experiment, which she implemented in a small elementary school as a young teacher in 1904, she noticed that when students are given freedom for self-direction and self-pacing and to help one another, their motivation increases considerably and ...

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