Gaskell Blog © Katherine C.
Schools in the Victorian era were generally harsh places. With only one stove or fire, the rooms were generally cold. Schools for the wealthy had higher standards but all believed a school should mirror the world outside and bullying was for the most part tolerated. In this kind of environment it’s no wonder Edward’s character gets more tyrannical.
Subjects taught ranged from geography, reading, writing, arithmetic, Latin, and Greek, but there was little knowledge of how children learn. One method was used copying and repeating what the teacher told them. The Victorian’s thought everyone could learn at the same speed so those who were slower were thought lazy or neglecting their studies and made to wear the Dunce’s cap, a humiliating punishment. Then there was the cane, which could be used for any reason, if a pupil was sulky, late, talked back, or didn’t wash their hands.
“BBC – Primary History – Victorian Britain – Victorian schools.” BBC – Homepage. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2011. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory/victorian_britain/victorian_schools/>.
“Victorian School.” Welcome to Nettlesworth Primary School. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2011. <http://www.nettlesworth.durham.sch.uk/time/victorian/vschool.html>.