Schools and socialisation in New Zealand 1890-1914
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This is a detailed study of the values embodied in and transmitted by state primary schools in New Zealand between 1890 and 1914. After describing the creation of a network of primary schools and the means by which regular attendance was secured it describes the schools' role in fostering the conventional virtues and certain widely held social attitudes through the "hidden curriculum", through school discipline, and through teachers' example. The social and moral content of schoolwork is then analysed with particular attention to what was said about New Zealand itself and about Maoris and racial differences. A detailed examination is made of a number of attempts to enlist the schools in particular social and moral causes: religious education, temperance, the inculcation of patriotism, sex education, military training, "correct" speech, and secular moral instruction. The closing chapters consider the differential impact of schooling and credentialling on children from different social classes and on boys and girls. This study draws on a wide variety of sources and makes extensive use of a large collection of school texts of the period~ The values schools transmitted reflected a middle class consensus, not seriously challenged by workers. The content of schooling was chiefly contested by middle class groups seeking to purify and improve the existing social order. Middle class groups were ambivalent towards the emergence of a distinctive national identity, but the schools fostered, often as unintended consequences, certain aspects of national identity.